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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 531053, 4 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nen058
Review Article

Spirulina in Clinical Practice: Evidence-Based Human Applications

1Department of Otolaryngology, Liverpool University Hospitals, Liverpool, UK
2Department of Surgery, Hippocrateio Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
3Department of Otolaryngology, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece

Received 11 March 2008; Accepted 20 August 2008

Copyright © 2011 P. D. Karkos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Spirulina or Arthrospira is a blue-green alga that became famous after it was successfully used by NASA as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions. It has the ability to modulate immune functions and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the release of histamine by mast cells. Multiple studies investigating the efficacy and the potential clinical applications of Spirulina in treating several diseases have been performed and a few randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews suggest that this alga may improve several symptoms and may even have an anticancer, antiviral and antiallergic effects. Current and potential clinical applications, issues of safety, indications, side-effects and levels of evidence are addressed in this review. Areas of ongoing and future research are also discussed.