This independent overview of spirulina protection against cancer highlights the chemo-protective and radio-protective capability, and the benefits of enhanced tumoricidal NK activation.
Specific studies highlight the impact of spirulina in preventing Carcinoma, Melanoma and Fibrosarcoma Oral Cancer, Leukemia, Liver Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Skin Cancer, Colon Cancer and Breast Cancer.
A great deal of investigation has taken place showing promise for Spirulina in the prevention and treatment of various cancers.
The anti-cancer research has been conducted on pure (dried) Spirulina biomass as well as on 1) polysaccharides isolated from Spirulina; 2) hot water extracts of (dried) Spirulina biomass that has not been specifically isolated for a single active constituent; and quite notable and extensive research on 3) the blue pigment found only in Spirulina and other species of blue-green microalgae called ‘phycocyanin.’
This research has examined a variety of cancers in an assortment of different organs.
CARCINOMA, MELANOMA AND FIBROSARCOMA
Polysaccharide cancer research began in 1998 on Calcium Spirulan with a study examining its effects on three different types of cancers - carcinoma, melanoma and fibrosarcoma. Calcium Spirulan significantly inhibited the invasion of each of these tumor cells.
CHEMO-PROTECTIVE AND RADIO-PROTECTIVE CAPABILITY
Further research conducted on stem cell systems has also shown potential for Spirulina-derived polysaccharides. One such study from 2001 concluded, ‘The polysaccharide of Spirulina platensis has chemo-protective and radio-protective capability, and may be a potential adjunct to cancer therapy’.
A later study in the same area found that the polysaccharide extract from spirulina significantly increased the levels of interleukins 1 and 3 and tumor necrosis factor alpha.
Water extracts from spirulina contain the water soluble pigment C-phycocyanin. There are several recent studies over the last few years that show cancer related benefits to both unrefined water extracts of spirulina as well as isolated C-phycocyanin.
Two studies have shown an effect again on oral cancer and a third demonstrated an enhancement of antitumor natural killer cells through consumption of the extract.
ENHANCED TUMORICIDAL NK ACTIVATION
The third study is of particular interest - conclusions drawn found that orally administered spirulina enhanced tumoricidal NK activation and inferred a potential for antitumor immunotherapy.
Research has been conducted in the last six years on phycocyanin’s antitumoral effect. The results have proven very promising:
•49% decrease in the proliferation of leukemia cell lines
•50% decrease in the proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cell lines
•significant decrease in HeLa cells in vitro compared to control cells (HeLa cells are an immortal cancerous cell line extracted from cervical cancer cells in 1951)
•inducement of apoptotic features including cell shrinkage in these same HeLa cells
•impedance of the reproduction of HeLa cells
MELANOMA AND BREAST CANCER
•in conjunction with selenium, phycocyanin was found to be a potent antiproliferative agent against human melanoma cells and human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells.
Many researchers find phycocyanin to be a truly exciting compound - described as a non-toxic fluorescent protein pigment with potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. This pigment is only found in spirulina and other species of blue green algae.
An interesting study compared the activity of spirulina with two other nutritional compounds - Vitamin E and germanium-132 - in pre-cancerous crypts in the colon.
While the researchers found that all three compounds had some inhibitory effects, they pointed out that when tested after 9, 13 and 16 weeks, the number of aberrant crypts was significantly less in the spirulina group as compared to the control group.
SKIN AND STOMACH TUMORS
Another study on pure spirulina biomass measured the inhibition of tumors in skin and stomach. At spirulina usage levels in rodents of 250 mg and 500 mg/kg body weight, inhibition of tumors was found in both the skin and stomach regions. The skin tumors in the Spirulina group reduced from 4.86 to 1.20% at the lower dose and from 4.86 to 1.15% in the higher dose group. In stomach tumors, the low dose group found a reduction from 3.73 to 2.05% and the high dose group found a reduction from 3.73 to 1.73%.
Potential health benefits of spirulina microalgae - an overview ResearchGate NUTRAFOODS - Page 22
Curated by Spiruliving Institute
Spiruliving Institute is a non-profit dedicated to building awareness of the benefits of fresh and fresh-frozen (never dried) spirulina for cancer prevention, as an alternative and/or complementary treatment, and as a functional treatment for cancer survivors to boost health and prevent cancer recurrence.
We curate independent research and make it available to the public.