Spirulina may be able to help support healthy immune function and immunosenescence. Studies revealed an increase in mean corpuscular hemoglobin, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) activity, and white blood cell count in senior men and women (1).
Research also suggests that spirulina may help improve the immune response by covering nutritional deficiencies that lead to poor production of immune cells like T cells, natural killer cells, and cytokines (2).
Studies conclude that spirulina may help reduce tumor size and growth in certain types of cancers (3).
Spirulina and other blue-green algaes are high in C-phycocyanin (C-PC), a biliprotein that has been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory and therapeutic effects on the body (4). Studies show that C-PC inhibits proinflammatory cytokine formation and COX-2 expression to reduce inflammation (5).
Spirulina can help reduce or prevent allergic reactions by releasing histamine from mast cells (6). Studies also show that spirulina is effective in reducing allergic rhinitis and symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching (7).
Studies show that spirulina supplementation can improve lung function and help support those with respiratory conditions, specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma (8). Much of this is attributed to spirulina’s ability to reduce oxidative damage.
Gut Health Support
Spirulina can support a healthy gut by promoting the growth of helpful intestinal microflora (9). Studies also show it could help reduce inflammation in the gut, improve gut permeability, and prevent gut dysbiosis (10).
Spirulina may be a natural defense against type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Studies show that spirulina enhances insulin sensitivity to manage blood sugar levels (11). Spirulina has also been shown to reduce hypertension and blood lipid levels (12).
Anemia is a common cause of fatigue and low energy. Studies show that spirulina can increase hemoglobin levels in circulating red blood cells to effectively reduce anemia and boost energy (13).
Other studies show that spirulina can be used to increase strength and endurance for active individuals (14).
Spirulina is high in tryptophan, the natural precursor to 5-HT and serotonin. Studies suggest that spirulina may help to boost mood and improve conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and other mood disorders by improving serotonin levels (15).
Spirulina may help improve sleep disruption by regulating the production of melatonin (16).
- Selmi, C. et al. The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens. Cell Mol Immunol 8, 248–254 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2010.76
- P. D. Karkos et al, "Spirulina in Clinical Practice: Evidence-Based Human Applications", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 531053, 4 pages, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nen058
- Mathew B et al. Evaluation of chemoprevention of oral cancer with Spirulina fusiformis. Nutr Cancer. 1995;24(2):197-202. doi: 10.1080/01635589509514407. PMID: 8584455.
- Romay Ch et al. C-phycocyanin: a biliprotein with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2003 Jun;4(3):207-16. doi: 10.2174/1389203033487216. PMID: 12769719.
- Shih CM et al. Antiinflammatory and antihyperalgesic activity of C-phycocyanin. Anesth Analg. 2009 Apr;108(4):1303-10. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e318193e919. PMID: 19299804.
- Hyung-Min Kim et al, Inhibitory Effect of Mast Cell-Mediated Immediate-Type Allergic Reactions in Rats by Spirulina, Biochemical Pharmacology, Volume 55, Issue 7, 1998, Pages 1071-1076, ISSN 0006-2952, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-2952(97)00678-3.
- Cingi, C. et al. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 265, 1219–1223 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-008-0642-8
- Ismail, Md et al. “Effect of spirulina intervention on oxidative stress, antioxidant status, and lipid profile in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.” BioMed research international vol. 2015 (2015): 486120. doi:10.1155/2015/486120
- Kulshreshtha, Archana et al. “Spirulina in Health Care Management.” Latest TOC RSS, Bentham Science Publishers, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cpb/2008/00000009/00000005/art00009.
- Yu, T et al. Spirulina platensis alleviates chronic inflammation with modulation of gut microbiota and intestinal permeability in rats fed a high‐fat diet. J Cell Mol Med. 2020; 24: 8603– 8613. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.15489
- Ou Y et al. Antidiabetic potential of phycocyanin: effects on KKAy mice. Pharm Biol. 2013 May;51(5):539-44. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2012.747545. Epub 2013 Feb 1. PMID: 23368938.
- Torres-Duran, Patricia V et al. “Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of Mexican population: a preliminary report.” Lipids in health and disease vol. 6 33. 26 Nov. 2007, doi:10.1186/1476-511X-6-33
- Selmi, Carlo et al. “The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens.” Cellular & molecular immunology vol. 8,3 (2011): 248-54. doi:10.1038/cmi.2010.76
- Kalafati M et al. Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jan;42(1):142-51. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ac7a45. PMID: 20010119.
- Sasie, Sileshi. (2018). Spirulina as a main source of tryptophan for mental illness: Improving level of serotonin through tryptophan supplementation. 7.
- Kashani, Arash et al. “Effect of dietary supplementation with Spirulina on the expressions of AANAT, ADRB3, BTG2 and FASN genes in the subcutaneous adipose and Longissimus dorsi muscle tissues of purebred and crossbred Australian sheep.” Journal of animal science and technology vol. 57 8. 4 Mar. 2015, doi:10.1186/s40781-015-0047-3