Spirulina

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Information about Spirulina

Spirulina is a dietary supplement made from blue-green algae (cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis) that is used both as a food and as a medicinal supplement to counteract unintentional weight loss and to ameliorate a variety of medical conditions including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, allergic rhinitis, hypertension, diabetes, stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression. 

Liver safety of Spirulina

Spirulina has been implicated in isolated case reports in causing clinically apparent liver injury, but the role of spirulina as opposed to other herbal components or contaminants has not been shown.  Liver injury due to spirulina must be very rare if it occurs at all.  

Mechanism of action of Spirulina

Spirulina is a dietary supplement prepared from the biomass of blue-green algae which is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.  Spirulina refers to a large number of photosynthetic eubacterial species belonging to the phylum Cyanobacteria (Arthrospira platensis and maxima).  While known as blue-green algae, spirulina it is a prokaryotic, eubacterial species belonging to the phylum Cyanobacteria.  Spirulina typically grows in warm open lakes with high alkalinity and can be contaminated with other blue-green algae that produce toxins (microcystins).  Spirulina has been used as a food and source of nutrients for centuries by the people of Mexico and Central America but only recently has been prepared as commercial dietary supplements.  Spirulina is particularly rich in protein (65% to 70%) as well as vitamins, phycocyanin, beta-carotene, polyunsaturated fatty acids, linolenic acid, calcium and iron.  The blue-green pigment phycocyanin accounts for up to 20% of its dry weight and has been proposed to be the active ingredient responsible for its medicinal properties. 

Animal studies showed antioxidant properties

In animal experiments, spirulina has demonstrated antioxidant, antiinflammatory and analgesic effects and has been well tolerated without evidence of toxicity even in high doses.  There have been limited studies in humans, but it has not been proven to be effective in treating any medical condition.

Side effects of Spirulina

Studies have found it to be safe without significant adverse events.

Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements

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