The antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of Spirulina

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

Spirulina is a species of filamentous cyanobacteria that has long been used as a dietary supplement. Thanks to the high protein and vitamin content, Spirulina is used as a nutraceutical dietary supplement, although its other potential health benefits have attracted a lot of attention. Oxidative stress and dysfunctional immunity cause many diseases in humans, including atherosclerosis, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, and hypertension. Thus, the antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activities of these microalgae may play an important role in human health.

Antioxidant activity of Spirulina

Reactive oxygen species attack and damage molecules in biological systems, leading to various disturbances and diseases. Thus, oxidative stress plays a role in many diseases, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, ischemic disease and malignancy. Lipid peroxides, malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxinonenal are important markers of oxidative stress. Recently, much attention has been paid to the antioxidant potential of Spirulina species. Therefore, in vitro and in vivo studies show that this nutraceutical treatment significantly reduces oxidative stress. These antioxidant and protective effects are mediated by phycocyanins, β-carotene and other vitamins and minerals contained within Spirulina.

Immunomodulatory activity

Studies show that this is a powerful immune system stimulator. Since, it stimulates phagocytic activity of macrophages, causing NK cells to accumulate in tissues, stimulating the production of antibodies and cytokines, and activating and mobilizing T and B cells. One study showed that Spirulina increases IL-1, IL-4 and IFN-γ by almost 2.0, 3.3 and 13.6 times, respectively. Another study showed that Spirulina phycocyanin leads to a significant increase in IFN-γ production, but unlike the previously reported study, they found that phycocyanin reduced IL-4 production. These differences may be due to the presence of other active compounds in Spirulina extracts.

Anti-inflammatory activity of Spirulina

The immune system is the main mediator of inflammation in the body, with the activity of cytokines playing a central role in the onset of inflammation. Activation of the immune system results in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNFα, IL-1 β, and IL-6. To date, its benefits in building immunity and improving resistance to the inflammatory response are well documented. Cox-2 is well known to be the main isoform involved in inflammation, and cox-2 induction is responsible for the production of prostaglandins at the site of inflammation. In a human whole blood trial, phycocyanin significantly inhibited COX-2. The anti-inflammatory activity of phycocyanin may be due, in part, to its selective inhibitory effect of COX-2, although its ability to efficiently eliminate free radicals and effectively inhibit lipid peroxidation may also be involved. It has a very promising anti-inflammatory effect on colitis and arthritis.

Clinical practice

Spirulina works by activating antioxidant enzymes and eliminating free radicals. Studies show that Spirulina protects against oxidative stress by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and preventing DNA damage. Currently, understanding the functional mechanisms underlying Spirulina’s activities is limited. However, it is known that phycocyanin and β-carotene are important active ingredients of this nutraceutical and contribute to antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activity.


Study suggestion:
Beneficial effects of Spirulina on brain health

Watch the video on Science Play with Carol Moreno:
Antioxidants for metabolic syndrome control

Wu Q, Liu L, Miron A, Klímová B, Wan D, Kuča K. The antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory activities of Spirulina: an overview. Arch Toxicol. 2016 Aug;90(8):1817-40. Doi: 10.1007/s00204-016-1744-5. Epub 2016 Jun 3. PMID: 27259333.

Nos siga nas redes sociais

Mais lidas

Próximos eventos

Artigos relacionados