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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3247528, 14 pages
Review Article

Antioxidant, Immunomodulating, and Microbial-Modulating Activities of the Sustainable and Ecofriendly Spirulina

1Center of Nutrition, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA-NUT), Via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Rome, Italy
2Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer”, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Rome, Italy
3Laboratory of Natural and Local Bioresources, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Hassiba Benbouali, 02000 Chlef, Algeria

Correspondence should be addressed to Ilaria Peluso

Received 8 September 2016; Revised 26 November 2016; Accepted 12 December 2016; Published 15 January 2017

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Cirillo

Copyright © 2017 Alberto Finamore 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.


The highly nutritional and ecofriendly Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) has hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, and antihypertensive properties. Spirulina contains functional compounds, such as phenolics, phycocyanins, and polysaccharides, with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulating effects. Studies conducted on Spirulina suggest that it is safe in healthy subjects, but attitude to eating probably affects the acceptability of Spirulina containing foods. Although the antioxidant effect of Spirulina is confirmed by the intervention studies, the concerted modulation of antioxidant and inflammatory responses, suggested by in vitro and animal studies, requires more confirmation in humans. Spirulina supplements seem to affect more effectively the innate immunity, promoting the activity of natural killer cells. The effects on cytokines and on lymphocytes’ proliferation depend on age, gender, and body weight differences. In this context, ageing and obesity are both associated with chronic low grade inflammation, immune impairment, and intestinal dysbiosis. Microbial-modulating activities have been reported in vitro, suggesting that the association of Spirulina and probiotics could represent a new strategy to improve the growth of beneficial intestinal microbiota. Although Spirulina might represent a functional food with potential beneficial effects on human health, the human interventions used only supplements. Therefore, the effect of food containing Spirulina should be evaluated in the future.