IIMSAM - Publications and Reports

Selected Scientific Studies on the Effects of Micro-algae Spirulina
BELARUS
  • Spirulina- natural sorbent of radionucleides.
    by L.P. Loseva and I.V. Dardynskaya . Sep 1993. Research Institute of Radiation Medicine, Minsk, Belarus. 6th Int'l Congress of Applied Algology, Czech Republic. Belarus.
Spirulina, a natural food supplement, reduced urine radioactivity levels by 50% in only 20 days. This result was achieved after giving 5 grams a day to children at the Institute of Radiation Medicine in Minsk, Belarus. The Institute has developed a program to treat 100 children every 20 days. This 1993 report confirms 1990-91 research on the beneficial health effects of spirulina on children with radiation sickness. It concludes: "Use of spirulina decreases radioaction dose load received from food contaminated with radionuclides, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90. Spirulina is favorable for normalizing the adaptative potential of children's bodies in conditions of long-lived low dose radiation."
  • Spirulina platensis and specialties to support detoxifying pollutants and to strengthen the immune system.
    by L.P. Loseva. Sep 1999. Research Institute of Radiation Medicine, Minsk, Belarus. 8th Int'l Congress of Applied Algology, Italy. Belarus.
Main purpose of the study is researching the influence of spirulina platensis on the immune system on normalization of peroxide lipid oxidation and anti-oxidant activity, also on the content of long-life radionucleides. In the studies were involved children and teenagers residing in the areas with radiant pollution and people injured by the Chernobyl catastrophe. To achieve desirable results with spirulina it is recommended to take it during 3 months and if not continued, this course should be repeated in half a year again. Possible therapeutic mechanisms: a) The natural combination of nutrients supports the formation of non-absorbable complexes of radionucleides through analogues such as calcium, potassium, etc., and promotes their excretion. b) the general intake of easily digestible micro and macro elements of spirulina has a positive influence on many functions of the immune system.

BRAZIL

Increasing interest is being shown in the cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis because of its nutritional properties when used as food supplement and therapeutic effects. One of the most important areas being studied is the development of alternative nutrient sources which can be used to decrease the production costs of commercially produced Spirulina platensis and obtain highproductivity. Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, Dpartment of Chemistry, FederalUniversity Foundation of Rio Grande, P.O. Box 474, Rio Grande-RS, 96201-900, Brazil.

BURKINA FASO

  • Nutrition Rehabilitation of HIV-Infected and HIV-Negative Undernourished Children utilizing Spirulina in Burkina Faso, October 2005

CUBA

  • Spirulina 'Miracle' Invades Cuba
A tiny blue-green algae known as spirulina is taking over Cuba. Approximately 100 tons a year of this sea species serve the island as a raw material for hundreds of products, ranging from hair-loss creams to skin toning lotions, and even as supplements to fight cancer or HIV/AIDS. This microscopic algae began to be used as a nutritional supplement in the 1980s because it was found to contain some 60 substances that are beneficial to the human organism, including all known amino acids and a broad variety of minerals and vitamins, including B-12, whose normal source in the average diet is meat.

The Cuban products created using spirulina, which is nearly two-thirds protein, are already being sold in a dozen countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Multicellular photosynthetic Cyanophyceae, the scientific name for spirulina (so called for its spiral shape) has inhabited Earth for at least three billion years in salt water and in some lakes.

It played a key role in the nutrition of the Aztecs, who called the algae "tecnitlatl", before the Spaniards conquered what is Mexico today. Some experts say spirulina is a possible solution to the nutritional problems afflicting large portions of the human population. In several countries it is already being exploited as "the food of the future". It can be cultivated in ponds or lakes, primarily in sub-tropical climates Spirulina is marketed internationally as a food supplement, not as a medication. But numerous studies show that it has therapeutic value, particularly because it does not produce side effects and because its consumption does not create dependence. Initial research in the 1980s found that the algae produced positive results for patients suffering certain illnesses. Today it is known to provide benefits -- as a dietary supplement -- for people diagnosed with intestinal or kidney problems, diabetes mellitus, acne, cardiovascular problems, cancer and even HIV/AIDS. It has been shown that consumption of spirulina by persons exposed to radiation reduces the radioactivity of their urine by 83 percent. Phycocyanin, one of the algae's pigments, reduces the predisposition for the development of cancerous cells. Cuban physician Idalina Suárez told Tierramérica that spirulina "is very good for reducing the risk of circulatory ailments, preventing cancer and even diminishing the effects of premenstrual syndrome, a problem affecting many women."

CHINA

  • Spirulina in Jiangxi China.
    by Miao Jian Ren . 1987. Academy of Agricultural Science. Presented at Soc. Appl. Algology, Lille France Sep. 1987. China.

In Nanjing Childrens Hospital, 27 children, 2-6 years old, recovered in a short period from bad appetite, night sweats, diarrhea and constipation from a baby nourishing formula containing 1.5g spirulina, 12g baked barley sprout, Vitaimn B1 and Zinc. The clinical effects showed spirulina is a genuine health food for children.

  • The study on curative effect of zinc containing spirulina for zinc deficient children.
    by Wen Yonghuang, et al. 1994. Capital Medical College, Beijing. Presented at 5th Int'l Phycological Congress, Qingdao, June 1994. China.

Spirulina with a high zinc content may be twice as effective as a zinc supplement in curing zinc deficiency in children. The effective dose of zinc from spirulina was 2 to 4 times less than the zinc from a common supplement, zinc sulfate. More than two times the children were cured with high zinc spirulina. One hundred children were diagnosed as suffering from zinc deficiency. For a three month period, 50 children were given zinc sulfate and 50 were given spirulina tablets. Doctors concluded spirulina's effect was much better than zinc sulfate. Spirulina had no side effects and was easy to administer for long periods of time. They theorized that high zinc spirulina had many bioactive and nutritious substances which improved mineral absorption, general health and the immune system.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

  • Effectiveness of spirulina algae as food for children with protein-energy malnutrition in a tropical environment.
    by P. Bucaille. 1990. University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France. Oct. 1990. Zaire. (in French).

GERMANY

  • Clinical and biochemical evaluations of spirulina with regard to its application in the treatment of obesity.
    by E.W. Becker, et al. 1986. Inst. Chem. Pfanz. Pub. in Nutrition Reports Int'l, Vol. 33, No. 4, pg 565. Germany.

INDIA

  • Evaluation of chemoprevention of oral cancer with spirulina.
    by Babu, M. et al. 1995. Pub. in Nutrition and Cancer, Vol. 24, No. 2, 197-202. India.

The blue-green microalgae spirulina, used in daily diets of natives in Africa and America, has been found to be a rich natural source of proteins, carotenoids and other micronutrients. Experimental studies in animal models have demonstrated an inhibitory effect of spirulina algae on oral carcinogenesis. Studies among preschool children in India have demonstrated spirulina fusiformis to be a effective source of dietary vitamin A. We evaluated the chemoproventative activity of spirulina (1 g/day for 12 months) in reversing oral leukoplakia in pan tobacco chewers in Kerala, India. Complete regression of lesions was observed in 20 of 44 (45%) evaluable subjects supplemented with spirulina, as opposed to 3 of 43 (7%) in the placebo arm. When stratified by type of leukoplakia, the response was more pronounced in homogeneous lesions: complete regression was seen in 16 of 28 (57%) subjects with homogeneous leukoplakia, 2 of 8 with erythroplakia, 2 of 4 with verrucous leukoplakia, and 0 of 4 with ulcerated and nodular lesions. Within one year of discontinuing supplements, 9 of 20 (45%) complete responders with spirulina developed recurrent lesions. Supplementation with spirulina did not increase serum concentrations of retinal or beta carotene, nor was it associated with toxicity. This is the first human study evaluating the chemopreventive potential of spirulina. More studies in different settings and different populations are needed for further evaluations.

  • Bioavailability of spirulina carotenes in preschool children.
    by V. Annapurna, et al. 1991. National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India. J. Clin. Biochem Nutrition. 10 145-151. India.

The bioavailability of total carotenes and beta carotene from spirulina was examined in apparently healthy preschool children and found to be comparable to those values reported for other plant sources like leafy vegetables and carrots. The study also showed spirulina is a good source of Vitamin A, as there was a significant increase in serum retinol levels. Researchers concluded spirulina can be used as a source of Vitamin A in the diet, is relatively inexpensive, has higher beta carotene than any other plant source and can be cultivated throughout the year.

JAPAN

  • Clinical experiences of administration of spirulina to patients with hupochronic anemia.
    by T. Takeuchi, et al. 1978. Tokyo Medical and Dental Univ. Japan.

Eight women had been limiting their meals to stay thin and were showing hypochronic anemia - lower than normal blood hemoglobin content. They took four grams of spirulina after each meal. After 30 days blood hemoglobin content increased 21% from 10.9 to 13.2, a satisfactory level, no longer considered anemic.

  • Cholesterol lowering effect of spirulina.
    by N. Nayaka, et al. 1988. Tokai Univ. Pub. in Nutrition Reports Int'l, Vol. 37, No. 6, 1329-1337. Japan.
Thirty healthy men with high cholesterol, mild hypertension and hyperlipidemia showed lower serum cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL (undesirable fat) levels after eating spirulina for eight weeks. These men did not change their diet, except adding spirulina. No adverse effects were noted. Group A consumed 4.2 grams daily for eight weeks. Total serum cholesterol dropped a significant 4.5% within 4 weeks from 244 to 233. Group B consumed spirulina for four weeks, then stopped. Serum cholesterol levels decreased, then returned to the initial level. Researchers concluded spirulina did lower serum cholesterol and was likely to have a favorable effect on alleviating heart disease since the arterioscelosis index improved.

  • Spirulina can also boost the human body's immune system, according to a study published in March by Japanese researcher Tsukasa Seyaa, an immunologist at the Cancer and cardiovascular Medical Center in Osaka.

MACEDONIA

  • Influence of extensive training on the number of erythrocytes and hemoglobin level and its correction.
    by Z. Trojacanec et al. 1998 . Institute for Medical, Experimental and Applied Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Skopje, Macedonia. Pub in XXIV FIMS World Congress of Sports Medicine, June 1998.

Pub in XXIV FIMS World Congress of Sports Medicine, June 1998. Extensive training processes are very often followed by changes in blood composition. There is evidence of the high correlation between the training rate and intensity of exercise and the athlete's hipochromy. In athletes we found a characteristic non-anaemic iron deficit. Our goal was to monitor the haematological parameters in athletes with hipochromy and to examine the period of correction using iron supplementation. 20 male and 20 female athletes ages 18-22 years took part in the study. Blood samples were collected and the total number of erythrocytes, haemoglobin, serum iron and the staining index were calculated. All athletes received Earthrise Spirulina tablets, containing 1.5 mg Fe2+, 3 times a day for 2 months. Monitoring was done for 3 months. Significant changes were found in the female group for haemoglobin level, as well as increase of the serum iron and staining index.

Distinct rise of the serum iron was observed in both male and female athletes. The clinical symptoms such as exhaustion, muscle fatigue and somnolence disappeared after the correction of the iron deficit. Addition of Spirulina improves the prevention of non-anemic iron deficiency in athletes especially females. Improvement of the iron reserves is a simple dietary modification that can optimize athletes health and physical capacity.

MEXICO

Clinical experimentation with spirulina.
by R. Ramos Galvan. 1973 . National Institute of Nutrition, Mexico City, Mexico (in Spanish).

ROMANIA

  • Observations on the utilization of spirulina as an adjuvant nutritive factor in treating some diseases accompanied by a nutritional deficiency.
    by V. Fica, et al. 1984. Clinica II Medicala, Spitalui Clinic, Bucuresti. Med. Interna 36 (3). Romania. (In Romanian).

Spirulina tablets were given to 21 patients with various nutritional deficiencies. They had suffered weight loss in conjunction with gastric resection, tubercular infection, chronic pancreatitis and gastritis, rheumatoid arthrtis, anemia and disbetes mellitus. With spirulina the patients gained weight and their proteinograms improved.

RUSSIA

  • Means to normalize the levels of immunoglobulin E, using the food supplement Spirulina.
    by L. Evets, et al. 1994. Grodenski State Medical Univ. Russian Federation Committee of Patents and Trade. Patent (19)RU (11)2005486. Jan. 15, 1994. Russia.

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) of children living in highly radioactive areas is greatly above normal. Studies with 270 children show that consuming about 5 grams per day of spirulina tablets normalized IgE within 6 weeks. Children not consuming spirulina did not change IgE levels. No side effects were observed. Spirulina lowers the amount of IgE in the blood, which in turn normalizes and reduces allergies.

SPAIN

Characterization of proteins from Spirulina platensis microalga using capillary electrophoresis-ion trap-mass spectrometry and capillary electrophoresis-time of flight-mass spectrometry. Department of Food Analysis, Institute of Industrial Fermentations (CSIC), Madrid,Spain. Capillary electrophoresis • Electrospray • Food analysis • Intact proteins • Mass spectrometry Microalgae