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The Magic Food (7 of 7)

Genene Tefera, DVM, PhD
Microbial Genetic Resources Department, Institute of Biodiversity Conservation
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January, 2009


Some of the health benefits of Spirulina are
• Encouraging weight loss
• Counteracting toxins in the body
• Helping purify the liver
• Increasing mental alertness
• Lowering blood cholesterol and excess triglycerides
• Helping fight viral infections
• Treating radiation sickness
• Enhancing ability to generate new blood cells
• Improving blood sugar problems
• Strengthening the nervous system
• Strengthening the immune system
• Removing toxic metals such as lead and mercury from the body
• Improving healing of wounds


Amha Belay, Yoshimichi Ota (1993): Current knowledge on potential health benefits of Spirulina. Pub. in Journal of Appl. Phycology, 5:235-241.

Ayehunie S, Belay A, Baba TW, et al. (1998): Inhibition of HIV-1 replication by an aqueous extract of Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira platensis). J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol, 18:7–12.

Becker EW, Jakober B, Luft D, et al.(1986): Clinical and biochemical evaluations of the alga Spirulina with regard to its application in the treatment of obesity. A double-blind crossover study. Nutr Rep Intl, 33:565–73.

Dagnelie PC, van Staveren WA, van den Berg H. (1991): Vitamin B-12 from algae appears not to be bioavailable. Am J Clin Nutr, 53:695–97.

Dillon JC, Phuc AP, Dubacq JP. (1995): Nutritional value of the alga Spirulina. World Rev Nutr Diet, 77:32–46.

Gonzalez de Rivera C, Miranda-Zamora? R, Diaz-Zagoya? JC, et al. (1993): Preventive effect of Spirulina maxima on the fatty liver induced by a fructose-rich diet in the rat, a preliminary report. Life Sci, 53:57–6

Hayashi K, Hayashi T, Kojima I. (1996): A natural sulfated polysaccharide, calcium spirulan, isolated from Spirulina platensis: in vitro and ex vivo evaluation of anti-herpes simplex virus and anti-human immunodeficiency virus activities. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 12:1463–71.

Hayashi O, Katoh T, Okuwaki Y. (1994): Enhancement of antibody production in mice by dietary Spirulina platensis. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 40:431–41.

Hongyan Wu, Kunshan Gao, Virginia E. Villafañe, Teruo Watanabe, E. Walter Helbling (2005): Effects of Solar UV Radiation on Morphology and Photosynthesis of Filamentous Cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(9):                5004-5013.

Iwata K, Inayama T, Kato T. (1990): Effects of Spirulina platensis on plasma lipoprotein lipase activity in fructose-induced hyperlipidemic rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 36:165–71.

Johnson PE, Shubert LE. (1986): Accumulation of mercury and other elements by spirulina (cyanophyceae). Nutr Rep Intl, 34(6):1063–71.

Kapoor R, Mehta U. (1993): Effect of supplementation of blue green alga (Spirulina) on outcome of pregnancy in rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1993; 43:29–35.

Kebede Elizabeth (1996): Phytoplankton in a Salinity-Alkalinity? Series of Lakes in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Uppsala University (Sweden), 178 pp.

Kim HM, Lee EH, Cho HH, et al. (1998): Inhibitory effect of mast cell-mediated immediate-type allergic reactions in rats by spirulina. Biochem Pharmacol, 55:1071–76.

Mathew B, Sankaranarayanan R, Nair PP, et al. (1995): Evaluation of chemoprevention of oral cancer with Spirulina fusiformis. Nutr Cancer, 24:197–202.

Mishima T, Murata J, Toyoshima M, et al. (1998): Inhibition of tumor invasion and metastasis by calcium spirulan (Ca-SP), a novel sulfated polysaccharide derived from a blue-green alga, Spirulina platensis. Clin Exp Metastasis, 16:541–50.

Nakashima MJ, Angold S, Beavin BB, et al. (1989): Extraction of light filth from Spirulina powders and tablets: collaborative study. J Assoc Off Anal Chem, 72:451–53.
Nakaya N, Homma Y, Goto Y. (1988): Cholesterol lowering effect of Spirulina. Nutr Rep Intl 1988; 37:1329–37.

Orio Ciferri (1983): Spirulina, the edible organism. Microbiological Reviews, 47(4): 551–578.

Schwartz J, Shklar G, Reid S, Trickler D. (1988): Prevention of experimental oral cancer by extracts of Spirulina-Dunaliella? algae. Nutr Cancer, 11:127–34.

Susan M. Aubrey (2006): Spirulina: Answer for the hungry. Family Health News, www.familyhealthnews.com/articles-spirulina.html

Yang HN, Lee EH, Kim HM. (1997): Spirulina inhibits anaphylactic reaction. Life Sci, 61:1237–44.

A big and warm thank you goes out to Genene Tefera, DVM, PhD of the Microbial Genetic Resources Department, Institute of Biodiversity Conservation, and
to the institute itself for so kindly allowing us to use "SPIRULINA: The Magic Food", as the basis for our webpage about the spirulina health benefits!

If you want to learn more about spirulina health benefits you can read the book Earth Food Spirulina online here: Earth Food Spirulina - online spirulina book




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Spirulina benefits to your immune system "Spirulina activates many of the different immune cells, including macrophages, T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells. It also activates the organs involved with immune function such as the spleen, liver, bone marrow, lymph nodes, tonsils, and thymus gland." A Natural Physician's Healing Therapies by Mark Stengler ND, page 427

Huge health benefits
As spirulina is a natural source of food packed with essential nutrients like no other, spirulina is literally teaming with potential health benefits. Studies show that spirulina increases phagocytic activity of macrophages and stimulate antibodies and cytokines production.  Spirulina may also facilitate lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Studies demonstrate healthy benefits against several types of virus, toxicity and cancers. Spirulina is also thought to increase digestion and absorption of nutrients, prevent fatigue, support weight loss, prevent malnutrition and undernourishment, improve recovery after strenuous training, rejuvenate cells and reduce the effects of ageing. All these health benefits and many more are attributed to a near perfect combination of nutrients and antioxidants of extremely high bioavailability in spirulina.

Health against hunger Almost 30 years ago founder of Florida whole-food nutrition company Re-Vita realized that spirulina is the perfect food to fight hunger. Bob Weatherly wanted to develop a nutrient dense natural food that would have profound health benefits, help prevent hunger and feed children suffering from malnutrition. The result came in 1986, a molecular nutrition whole-food product enriched with liquefied spirulina called Liqua Health. Re-Vita has since donated over 46 million servings to hungry and malnourished children all over the world.

Immunity and spirulina In a 2002 Japanese study, 12 adult males were administered an oral hot water extract of spirulina, and the number and activity of their natural killer (NK) cells was measured before and after treatment. (NK cells destroy tumour cells by binding to them and delivering lethal chemicals that kill on contact.) At the study's end, there was a significant increase in the production and cancer-killing ability of these subjects' NK cells. When their NK cells were exposed to a bacterial product after treatment, production of interleukin-12 (IL-12), a measure of immune strength, was significantly increased in comparison to IL-12 production in NK cells without pre-exposure to spirulina. The authors concluded that spirulina acts directly and indirectly on NK cells in humans. This study suggests that the immune-enhancing effects of spirulina are persistent, as heightened immunity continued to be seen up to five weeks after the subjects stopped receiving spirulina.

Important spirulina health benefits
"Health Benefits: spirulina lowers cholesterol, suppresses fatty accumulation in the liver, prevents tumor formation, enhances the immune system, and protects kidneys."
New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood, page 322