Spirulina (also called blue-algae) may boost your immune system by increasing antibody production in response to pathogens. These algae was found to increase immune response through enhanced production of the immunoglobulin IgA, interleukin-6 and interferon-gamma. Also, enhances immunity through increased phagocytic activity of macrophages, stimulates production of antibodies and cytokines, increases accumulation of natural killer cells in tissue, and activates and mobilizes T and B cells.
Spirulina Benefits and Immune System
Spirulina activates very of the several immune cells, including macrophages, T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells. Besides, activates the organs involved with immune function such as the spleen, liver, bone marrow, and thymus gland. In vitro experiments found that spirulina had antiviral activity against cytomegalovirus, mumps, measles, influenza A viruses, HIV and herpes simplex. Researchers discovered that it not just stimulates the immune system, also, improves the body’s ability to generate new blood cells.
In 1979, Russian researchers reported first research on the immune stimulating effects on rabbits from lipopolysaccharides in spirulina. More new researches in Japan and China have shown polysaccharide extracts increased macrophage function, antibody production and infection-fighting T-cells. Natural killer cells target and kill cancer in the body as well as enhance the ability to fight off disease. Some clinical trials have shown that spirulina may help the immune system fight off cancer cells by increasing NK (natural killer) cells. Two preliminary studies using spirulina at 400mg daily noted that natural killer cell activity increased by 40% and mRNA production of natural killer cells increased by 37-55% after a week of supplementation. Spirulina significantly increases cytokine production in cultured immune system cells, according to a research reported in the Fall edition of the “Journal of Medicinal Food“. According to a study reported in October 2005 in the Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology; spirulina develops the activity of white blood cells, stimulates antibodies and enhances the number of natural killer cells.
At the 30th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Immunology held in Nov, 2000, researchers from the “Osaka Institute” reported a spirulina clinical study. In the study, spirulina significantly increased the tumor-killing ability of natural killer cells and interferon-gamma in participants aged 40 and above, and it continued for 12 to 24 weeks after stopping the administration of spirulina. A new twelve-week study involving 30 participants over 50 who took Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica, produced by Cyanotech, found improved immune blood markers in the majority of participants. The study found a steady improve in haemoglobin in both sexes with women benefiting more rapidly. Furthermore, found improved immune blood markers in the majority of participants.
The radioprotective properties of an extract of Spirulina platensis has been investigated using the micronucleus test in polychromatic erythrocytes of bone marrow of mice. In this system the extract caused a important decreased of the micronucleus frequencies induced by gamma-radiation. Spirulina has a dark blue-green color, because it is rich in a brilliant blue polypeptide called phycocyanin, which affects the stem cells found in bone marrow. Researches show that phycocyanin affects the stem cells found in bone marrow. Phycocyanin also stimulate hematopoiesis, simulating the effect of the hormone erythropoietin. Hormone erythropoietin. is produced by healthy kidneys and regulates bone marrow stem cell production of red blood cells. Phycocyanin regulates production of white blood cells, even when bone marrow stem cells are damaged by toxic chemicals or radiation. Based on this property, spirulina is approved in Russia for treating radiation sickness. This nutrient was shown to correct the immune cell parameters in a study with children exposed to prolonged low dose radiation in Chernobyl. In all the children an improve in T-lymphocytes and T-helper cells was seen, and T-suppressor cells were normalized. IgA levels became normal. In an animal-based study, spirulina was shown to modulate radiation induced hematological and biochemical alterations. Swiss Albino mice were exposed to gamma radiation. The average hemoglobin, total erythrocyte count and total leucocyte count were elevated in the group receiving spirulina.
Spirulina Against HIV
Compounds isolated from spirulina inhibit the replication of HIV in test-tube studies. A study reported in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome found that the use of spirulina inhibited HIV replication in the blood. Taking extract concentrations between 0.3 and 1.2 micrograms per milliliter reduced viral production by approximately 50 %. In 1989, the results of a study in vitro, demonstrated that sulfoglycolipids in blue-green algae (like spirulina) exhibited powerful antiviral activities. Other study, reported in the “Journal of Natural Products“, demonstrated that Ca-SP (Calcium Spirulan), a spirulina polysaccharide extract, too has antiviral effects. Recent studies indicate that spirulina also presents clinically important anti-viral and immuno-stimulating effects in people infected by HIV. A study conducted in Cameroon and reported on the May 2011 in “Nutrition and Metabolic Insights” showed the nutritional efficiency of spirulina in terms of weight gain in HIV-infected malnourished patients.