Spirulina (dietary supplement)

From WikiMD
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Spirulina tablets

Template:Nutritionalvalue

Spirulina is a cyanobacterium that can be consumed by humans and other animals and is made primarily from two species of cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima.

Arthrospira is cultivated worldwide; used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food; and is available in tablet, flake and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium and poultry industries.[1]

Etymology and ecology

The maxima and plaetensis species were once classified in the genus Spirulina. There is now agreement that they are in fact Arthrospira; nevertheless, and somewhat confusingly, the older term Spirulina remains in use for historical reasons.[1][2]

Arthrospira are free-floating filamentous cyanobacteria characterized by cylindrical, multicellular trichomes in an open left-hand helix. They occur naturally in tropical and subtropical lakes with high pH and high concentrations of carbonate and bicarbonate.[3] Arthrospira platensis occurs in Africa, Asia and South America, whereas Arthrospira maxima is confined to Central America.[1] Most cultivated spirulina is produced in open channel raceway ponds, with paddle-wheels used to agitate the water.[3] The largest commercial producers of spirulina are located in the United States, Thailand, India, Taiwan, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar), Greece and Chile.[1]

Historical use

Spirulina was a food source for the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th century; the harvest from Lake Texcoco and subsequent sale as cakes were described by one of Cortés' soldiers.[4][5] The Aztecs called it "tecuitlatl".[3]

Spirulina was found in abundance at Lake Texcoco by French researchers in the 1960s, but there is no reference to its use by the Aztecs as a daily food source after the 16th century, probably due to the draining of the surrounding lakes for agricultural and urban development.[2][3] The first large-scale spirulina production plant, run by Sosa Texcoco, was established there in the early 1970s.[1]

Spirulina has also been traditionally harvested in Chad. It is dried into cakes called dihé, which are used to make broths for meals, and also sold in markets. The spirulina is harvested from small lakes and ponds around Lake Chad.[6]

Nutrient and vitamin content

Protein

Dried spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein. It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.[2][7]

The U.S. National Library of Medicine said that spirulina was no better than milk or meat as a protein source, and was approximately 30 times more expensive per gram.[8]

Other nutrients

Spirulina's lipid content is about 7% by weight,[9] and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA).[7][10] Spirulina contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E.[7][10] It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc.[7][10] Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3'-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin and oscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin.[1]

Vitamin B12 controversy

Spirulina is not considered to be a reliable source of Vitamin B12. Spirulina supplements contain predominantly pseudovitamin B12, which is biologically inactive in humans.[11] Companies which grow and market spirulina have claimed it to be a significant source of B12 on the basis of alternative, unpublished assays, although their claims are not accepted by independent scientific organizations. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada in their position paper on vegetarian diets state that spirulina cannot be counted on as a reliable source of active vitamin B12.[12] The medical literature similarly advises that spirulina is unsuitable as a source of B12.[11][13]

Possible health benefits and risks

Safety

Toxicological studies

Toxicological studies of the effects of spirulina consumption on humans and animals, including feeding as much as 800mg/kg,[14] and replacing up to 60% of protein intake with spirulina,[15] have shown no toxic effects.[16] Fertility, teratogenicity, peri- and post-natal, and multi-generational studies on animals also have found no adverse effects from spirulina consumption.[17] Spirulina intake has also been found to prevent damage caused by toxins affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, neurons, eyes, ovaries, DNA, and testicles.[17] In a 2009 study, 550 malnourished children were fed up to 10 g/day of spirulina powder, with no adverse effects. Dozens of human clinical studies have similarly shown no harmful effects to spirulina supplementation.[18]

Quality-related safety issues

Spirulina is a form of cyanobacterium, some of which are known to produce toxins such as microcystins, BMAA, and others. Some spirulina supplements have been found to be contaminated with microcystins, albeit at levels below the limit set by the Oregon Health Department.[19] Microcystins can cause gastrointestinal disturbances and, in the long term, liver cancer. The effects of chronic exposure to even very low levels of microcystins are of concern, because of the potential risk of cancer.[19]

These toxic compounds are not produced by spirulina itself,[20] but may occur as a result of contamination of spirulina batches with other toxin-producing blue-green algae. Because spirulina is considered a dietary supplement in the U.S., there is no active, industry-wide regulation of its production and no enforced safety standards for its production or purity.[19] The U.S. National Institutes of Health describes spirulina supplements as "possibly safe", provided they are free of microcystin contamination, but "likely unsafe" (especially for children) if contaminated.[21] Given the lack of regulatory standards in the U.S., some public-health researchers have raised the concern that consumers cannot be certain that spirulina and other blue-green algae supplements are free of contamination.[19]

Heavy-metal contamination of spirulina supplements has also raised concern. The Chinese State Food and Drug Administration reported that lead, mercury, and arsenic contamination was widespread in spirulina supplements marketed in China.[22]

Safety issues for certain target groups

Due to very high Vitamin K content, patients undergoing anticoagulant treatments should not change consumption patterns of spirulina without seeking medical advice to adjust the level of medication accordingly.

Like all protein-rich foods, spirulina contains the essential amino acid phenylalanine (2.6-4.1 g/100 g),[3] which should be avoided by people who have phenylketonuria, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the body from metabolizing phenylalanine, which then builds up in the brain, causing damage.[23]

In vitro research

The primary active component of spirulina is Phycocyanobilin, which constitutes about 1% of Spirulina by weight.[24][25] This compound inhibits NADPH oxidase.[26] Spirulina has been studied in vitro against HIV,[27] as an iron-chelating agent,[28] and as a radioprotective agent.[29] Animal studies have evaluated spirulina in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced heart damage,[30] stroke recovery,[31] age-related declines in memory,[32] diabetes mellitus,[33] in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,[34] and in rodent models of hay fever.[35]

Human research

In humans, small studies have been undertaken evaluating spirulina in undernourished children,[36] as a treatment for the cosmetic aspects of arsenic poisoning,[37] in hay fever and allergic rhinitis,[38][39] in arthritis,[40] in hyperlipidemia and hypertension,[40][41] and as a means of improving exercise tolerance.[42]

At present, these studies are considered preliminary. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, at present there is insufficient scientific evidence to recommend spirulina supplementation for any human condition, and more research is needed to clarify its benefits, if any.[21]

Advocates

In the late 1980s and early 90s, both NASA (CELSS)[43] and the European Space Agency (MELISSA)[44] proposed Spirulina as one of the primary foods to be cultivated during long-term space missions.

See also

Notes and references

Metabolic.jpg

Featured disease

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of the most dangerous heart attack risk factors: diabetes and prediabetes, abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Affects one in three adults

Affecting about 35 percent of all adults in the United States according to the CDC, metabolic syndrome contributes to weight gain, by causing a state of internal starvation called metabolic starvation. This in turn leads to increases hunger, sugar cravings and increased portions leading to overeating and weight gain.

Cause and effect misunderstood

Since we traditionally thought that the portion control (which in turn was attributed wrongly to poor will power)is the cause of weight gain, rather than the effect of this metabolic starvation, all our traditional ideas about cause and effect of obesity were not only wrong but lead to the “blame the victim” attitude when it comes to obesity.

Secret of weight gain revealed

Secret of weight gain, and metabolic syndrome revealed - it has been recently proven that metabolic syndrome, and the weight gain itself are caused by a process called insulin resistance. Check your metabolic syndrome risk using the free Metabolic syndrome meter. Watch this amazing Ted Med video that reveals the secret of weight loss - Stop blaming the victim for obesity


Template:Commonscat

External links

  • "Blue-green Algae". MedlinePlus. National Institutes of Health. December 2011.
  • "Blue-green Algae". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. December 2011.
  • "Spirulina". University of Maryland Medical Center. June 2011.
  • "Spirulina". Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. August 2011.

fr:Spiruline (complément alimentaire) it:Spirulina platensis

th:สาหร่ายเกลียวทอง

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Vonshak, A. (ed.). Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira): Physiology, Cell-biology and Biotechnology. London: Taylor & Francis, 1997.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Habib, M. Ahsan B. (2008). "A Review on Culture, Production and Use of Spirulina as Food dor Humans and Feeds for Domestic Animals and Fish" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations. Retrieved November 20, 2011. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  4. Diaz Del Castillo, B. The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, 1517–1521. London: Routledge, 1928, p. 300.
  5. Abdulqader, G., Barsanti, L., Tredici, M. "Harvest of Arthrospira platensis from Lake Kossorom (Chad) and its household usage among the Kanembu." Journal of Applied Phycology. 12: 493-498. 2000.
  6. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3
  7. "Blue-green algae". MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. November 18, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  8. http://www.ejbiotechnology.info/content/vol9/issue4/full/5/
  9. 10.0 10.1 10.2
  10. 11.0 11.1
  11. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets
  12. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874198000804
  13. 17.0 17.1
  14. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/fcn/gras_notices/GRN000394.pdf
  15. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3
  16. 21.0 21.1 "Blue-green algae". MedlinePlus. National Institutes of Health. July 6, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  17. "China's drug agency rejects state media claims of cover-up in lead found in health supplement". Washington Post. April 10, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  18. Attention: This template ({{cite pmid}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by PMID 11482785, please use {{cite journal}} with |pmid=11482785 instead.
  19. Attention: This template ({{cite pmid}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by PMID 18158824, please use {{cite journal}} with |pmid=18158824 instead.
  20. Attention: This template ({{cite pmid}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by PMID 16129699, please use {{cite journal}} with |pmid=16129699 instead.
  21. Ayehunie, S. et al. "Inhibition of HIV-1 Replication by an Aqueous Extract of Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira platensis)." JAIDS: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes & Human Retrovirology. 18, 1, May 1998: 7-12.
  22. Radioprotective effect of extract from spirulina in mouse bone marrow cells studied by using the micronucleus test, by P. Qishen, Kolman et al. 1989. In Toxicology Letters 48: 165-169. China.
  23. Wang, Y., et al. "Dietary supplementation with blueberries, spinach, or spirulina reduces ischemic brain damage." Experimental Neurology. May, 2005 ;193(1):75-84.
  24. Gemma, C., et al. "Diets enriched in foods with high antioxidant activity reverse age-induced decreases in cerebellar beta-adrenergic function and increases in proinflammatory cytokines." Experimental Neurology. July 15, 2002; 22(14):6114-20.
  25. Chen, LL, et al. "Experimental study of spirulina platensis in treating allergic rhinitis in rats." 中南大学学报(医学版) = Journal of Central South University (Medical Sciences). Feb. 2005. 30(1):96-8.
  26. Simpore, J., et al. "Nutrition Rehabilitation of HIV-Infected and HIV-Negative Undernourished Children Utilizing Spirulina." Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. 49, 2005: 373-380.
  27. Mir Misbahuddin, AZM Maidul Islam, Salamat Khandker, Ifthaker-Al-Mahmud, Nazrul Islam and Anjumanara. Efficacy of spirulina extract plus zinc in patients of chronic arsenic poisoning: a randomized placebo-controlled study. (Risk factors ). Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology. 44.2 (March 2006): p135(7).
  28. 40.0 40.1 Attention: This template ({{cite doi}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by doi:10.1159/000151486, please use {{cite journal}} with |doi=10.1159/000151486 instead.
  29. Characterization of Spirulina biomass for CELSS diet potential. Normal, Al.: Alabama A&M University, 1988.
  30. Cornet J.F., Dubertret G. "The cyanobacterium Spirulina in the photosynthetic compartment of the MELISSA artificial ecosystem." Workshop on artificial ecological systems, DARA-CNES, Marseille, France, October 24–26, 1990

Ad. Tired of being overweight? W8MD's insurance weight loss* program can HELP | Advertise on WikiMD

Disclaimer: The entire contents of WIKIMD.ORG are for informational purposes only and do not render medical advice or professional services. If you have a medical emergency, you should CALL 911 immediately! Given the nature of the wiki, the information provided may not be accurate and or incorrect. Use the information on this wiki at your own risk! See full Disclaimer. * Individual results may vary.