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Nutritional Supplement

Blue-Green Algae (Spirulina)

  • Weight Management

    Obesity

    Blue-green algae, or spirulina, helps promote reductions in weight, body fat, waist circumference, and triglyceride levels.
    Obesity
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    Blue-green algae, or spirulina, is a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. It also provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, and one constituent from spirulina has been found to inhibit pancreatic lipase, a fat-digesting enzyme.2 In one placebo-controlled trial, 64 people with obesity took 1 gram of spirulina or placebo daily for 12 weeks; those taking spirulina lost 3.5 pounds and reported a significant decrease in appetite, while those taking placebo lost 1.4 pounds and reported increased appetite.3 Another placebo-controlled trial that included 52 subjects with overweight or obesity found 2 grams of spirulina daily taken during a 12-week reduced-calorie diet program reduced appetite and enhanced weight loss, body fat loss, and waist circumference reduction.4 In a multi-phase crossover trial, people with overweight or obesity had more improvement in body weight and fitness during a six-week exercise program if they were given 4.5 grams of spirulina daily compared to placebo, and the synergistic effect of spirulina and exercise was more profound in those with obesity. In addition, spirulina had positive impacts on body weight and some markers of fitness even in the absence of exercise.5 Comprehensive reviews and a meta-analysis of results from five controlled trials add further weight to findings that spirulina can reduce body weight, body fat, waist circumference, and appetite, and may have positive effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with overweight and obesity.6,2
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Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

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References

1. Dillon JC, Phuc AP, Dubacq JP. Nutritional value of the alga Spirulina. World Rev Nutr Diet 1995;77:32-46.

2. DiNicolantonio J, Bhat A, J O. Effects of spirulina on weight loss and blood lipids: a review. Open Heart 2020;7:e001003.

3. Zeinalian R,Farhangi MA,Shariat A, et al. The effects of Spirulina Platensis on anthropometric indices, appetite, lipid profile and serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in obese individuals: a randomized double blinded placebo controlled trial. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2017 Apr;17(1):225

4. Yousefi R,Mottaghi A,Saidpour A. Spirulina platensis effectively ameliorates anthropometric measurements and obesity-related metabolic disorders in obese or overweight healthy individuals: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2018 Oct;40:106-112

5. Hernández-Lepe MA,López-Díaz JA,Juárez-Oropeza MA, et al. Effect of Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima Supplementation and a Systematic Physical Exercise Program on the Body Composition and Cardiorespiratory Fitness of Overweight or Obese Subjects: A Double-Blind, Randomized, and Crossover Controlled Trial. Marine drugs. 2018 Oct;16(10)

6. Moradi S,Ziaei R,Foshati S, et al. Effects of Spirulina supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2019 Dec;47:102211

7. Johnson PE, Shubert LE. Accumulation of mercury and other elements by spirulina (cyanophyceae). Nutr Rep Int 1986;34:1063-70.

8. Slotton DG, Goldman CR, Franke A. Commercially grown spirulina found to contain low levels of mercury and lead. Nutr Rep Int 1989;40:1165-72.

9. Elder GH, Hunter PR, Codd GA. Hazardous freshwater cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Lancet 1993;341:1519-20 [letter].

10. Salazar M, Chamorro GA, Salazar S, et al. Effect of Spirulina maxima consumption on reproduction and peri- and postnatal development in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 1996;34:353–9.

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

12. Chamorro G, Salazar M. Teratogenic study of Spirulina in mice. Arch Latinoam Nutr 1990;40:86-94 [in Spanish].

13. Iwasa M, Yamamoto M, Tanaka Y, et al. Spirulina-associated hepatotoxicity. Am J Gastroenterol 2002;97:3212-3. [Letter]

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2021.

Copyright © 2021 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2021.