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A Review on Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina

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Spirulina is free-floating filamentous microalgae growing in alkaline water bodies. As early as over 400 years ago, Spirulina was eaten as food by the Mayas, Toltec’s and Kanembu in Mexico during the Aztec civilization. Spirulina is a well-known source of valuable food supplements, such as proteins, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, fatty acids, etc. It is widely used in human and animal nutrition, as well as in the cosmetic industry. Both in vivo and in vitro trials have shown effective and promising results in the treatment of certain cancers and allergies, anemia, hepato-toxicity, viral infection, vascular diseases, radiation protection, and obesity. The antioxidant activities of Spirulina were demonstrated in a large number of preclini-cal studies. Antioxidants in preventing many human diseases. Findings of this study showed Spirulina can be used as a source of antioxidants.
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Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports
Review Article
Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports, Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2016; 345-351
All rights reserved for official publication of Baqiyatallah university of medical sciences
©
A Review on Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina
Asieh Asghari1, Mohammad Fazilati1*, Ali Mohammad Latifi2*, Hossain Salavati1,
Ali Choopani1,2
Abstract
Introduction
Cancer is now a major cause of mortality throughout the
World [1]. In the developed world, it is generally exceeded
only by Cardiovascular disease but developing countries
are responsible for the globally increasing trend. Over 10
million new cases and over 7 million deaths from cancer
occurred worldwide in 2000. The contribution of develop-
ing countries was 53% for incidence and 56% for deaths.
From 1990 to 2000, the incidence and deaths increased by
2.4% per annum by 2020, it is predicted that these diseases
will be causing seven out of every 10 deaths in developing
countries (Fig. 1) [2-5].
Figure 1. Static of cancer incidence and deaths in 2012.
Based on high costs cancer treatment strategies (Fig. 2)
[6], in recent years antioxidants therapy has been devel-
oped to prevent cancer. Studies showed that free radicals
can lead to degenerative disease like cancer, aging, age
related macular degeneration etc [7].
Figure 2. Cost of cancer care by phase of care, in 2010.
Antioxidants help to protect the body against free radicals;
these are substances that neutralize free radicals or their
actions. Antioxidants include carotenoids, flavonoids and
related polyphenols, α-lipoic acid, glutathione etc. The
main source of antioxidants for the body is vegetables and
fruits. Unavailable of fruit and vegetables in many aria of
world, scientists rethought to provide antioxidants from
other sources [8, 9]. Starting at middle 1980’s, great efforts
and extensive investigations have been turned to the
development of nutraceuticals or functional food for
preventing or managing various diseases [10-13]. The first
Spirulina is free-floating filamentous microalgae growing in alkaline water bodies.
As early as over 400 years ago, Spirulina was eaten as food by the Mayas, Toltec’s
and Kanembu in Mexico during the Aztec civilization. Spirulina is a well-known
source of valuable food supplements, such as proteins, vitamins, amino acids, min-
erals, fatty acids, etc. It is widely used in human and animal nutrition, as well as in
the cosmetic industry. Both in vivo and in vitro trials have shown effective and
promising results in the treatment of certain cancers and allergies, anemia, hepato-
toxicity, viral infection, vascular diseases, radiation protection, and obesity. The
antioxidant activities of Spirulina were demonstrated in a large number of preclini-
cal studies. Antioxidants in preventing many human diseases. Findings of this study
showed Spirulina can be used as a source of antioxidants.
Keywords: Spirulina, Microalgae, Antioxidant, Anticancer
1. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of
Biologic Science, payame noor University, Tehran,
Iran
2. Applied Biotechnology Research Center,
Bqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Teh-
ran, Iran
*Corresponding Authors
Mohammad Fazilati
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biologic
Science, payame noor University, Tehran, Iran
E-mail: Mfazilati@yahoo.com
Ali Mohammad Latifi
E-mail: amlatifi290@gmail.com
Submission Date: 12/18/2015
Accepted Date: 3/29/2016
Asieh Asghari, et al. Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina
178 Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports, Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2016
reports on antioxidants employed for food lipids were
about using natural sources; in 1852, Wright reported that
elm bark was effective in preserving butterfat and lard [8,
9, 13].
Spirulina was initially classified in the plant kingdom
because of its richness in plant pigments as well as its
ability of photosynthesis. It was later placed in the bacteria
kingdom based on new understanding on its genetics,
physiology and biochemical properties [14]. Spirulina
naturally grows in high-salt alkaline water reservoirs in
subtropical and tropical areas including America, Mexico,
Asian and Central Africa [14, 15]. The nutritional value of
Spirulina is well recognized with its unusual high protein
content (6070% by dry weight) and its richness in
vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and other
nutrients [15-17]. Recent studies suggest that Spirulina, a
unicellular blue-greenalga (Fig. 3), may have a variety of
health benefits and therapeutic properties and is also
capable of acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
agent [18]. Spirulina is also used for health food, feed and
forthe biochemical products since 1980s. In fact, Spirulina
is the most concentrated and nutritious whole food known
to science, Moreover Spirulina has got no side effects and
is non-toxic in nature [9, 14, 16].
Figure 3. Microscopic view of Spirulina.
Spirulina have well-documented protective effects against
viral and bacterial infections, cancer, allergies, diabetes,
inflammation, and hyper lipidemia in addition, due to its
concentrated nutrition, Spirulina was recommended by
both National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) as one of
the primary foods during long-term space missions.
Spirulina has been orally administered to patients as an
anti-cancer and anti-viral agent although the molecular
mechanism by which Spirulina acts on the immune system
remains largely undefined. Recent study showed that when
the Spirulina was enriched with Selenium and combined
with theanticancer drugs, a significant decrease of the
proliferation rate and an increase of apoptosis rate were
observed [9, 13, 17, 19, 20]. Spirulina is a complete food
resource of Chlorophyll, Phycocyanin, & Carotenoids. It is
also has an application as a natural dye in food industry,
cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry [21].
Figure 4. Amount of pigment in one gram Spirulina powder.
Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is an essential compound in many everyday
products. It is used not only as an additive in pharmaceuti-
cal and cosmetic products but also as a natural food
coloring agent. Additionally, it has antioxidant and
antimutagenic properties (Fig. 5) [22, 23].
Figuer 5. Structure of chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll has been found to accelerate wound healing
by more than 25% in some studies. Since chlorophyll
stimulates tissue growth; it prevents the advancement of
bacteria and speeds up the wound healing process. Chloro-
phyll is similar in chemical structure to hemoglobin and, as
such, is predicted to stimulate tissue growth in a similar
fashion through the facilitation of a rapid carbon dioxide
and oxygen interchange. Because of this property,
chlorophyll is used not only in the treatment of ulcers and
oral sepsis but also in proctology [23-25].
Chlorophyll derivatives such as pheophorbide b and pheo-
phytin b have always been known as strong antioxidants.
However, these derivatives exist in very low concentra-
tions in fruits and vegetables. The most significant activity
of chlorophyll derivatives in the prevention of cancer is the
trapping of mutagens in the gastrointestinal tract. Further-
more, the ability of both natural and commercial
chlorophyll derivatives to act as photosensitizers have en-
abled their utilization as effective agents in photodynamic-
therapy of cancer. in vitro and in vivo consistent with the
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Asieh Asghari, et al. Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina
Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports, Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2016 177
prevention of cancer including antioxidant activity, anti-
mutagenic activity, modulation of xenobiotic metabolizing
enzymes, and induction of apoptotic events in
cancer cell lines [23, 25].
Carotenoids
Spirulina extracts containing carotenes and various carote-
noids (Fig. 6) are frequently used as natural coloring
materials [19]. Carotenoids are vitally important antioxi-
dants. Numerous studies have indicated that people whose
diets contain a lot of foods rich in carotenoids lower their
risk of developing various types of cancer [10].
Figure 6. Molecular structure of natures two forms of beta-
carotene.
They possess antioxidant activity, especially in the pres-
ence of light. Carotenoids also have important metabolic
functions in animals and man, including conversion to Vit
A, enhancement of the immune response and protection
against diseases such as cancer by way of scavenging free
radicals, β-carotene, as a major carotenoid of Spirulina is a
potential antioxidant having anti-carcinogenic and
radio-protective effects. Spirulina contains up to 2,000
IU/g dry weight of β-carotene [26-28]. Eating foods rich in
antioxidants such as carotenoids, phycocyanin, superoxide
dismutase and vitamins C and E is another great way to
help prevent cancer. [7, 29]. Numerous studies have
indicated that people whose diets contain a lot of foods
rich in carotenoids lower their risk of developing various
types of cancer [30], most people get only 25-30% of the
daily dietary carotenoid intake recommended in a cancer-
preventive diet; and many people are unwilling to make
radical dietary changes[19]. Spirulina is a whole food with
its beta-carotene in a naturally chelated food matrix. And
Spirulina is not only rich in beta-carotene, it contains other
very important carotenoids like zeaxanthin and beta-
cryptoxanthin as well as lesser known carotenoids such as
myxoxanthophyll and echinenone. Spirulina extracts are
capable in inhibiting carcinogenesis [31]. In one study
found that Spirulina stabilized the liver disease and
prevented the disease from progressing to cirrhosis. An-
other mouse study showed that Spirulina reduced both skin
and stomach tumors significantly. Spirulina was shown to
reduce both the size of the tumors and to reduce the inci-
dence of tumors. They concluded that diets
containing carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables may be
protective against prostate cancer [19]. Many earlier
studies have found similar relationships between carote-
noid intake and other forms of cancer. Beta-carotene may
also help to protect the skin against the damaging effects
of sunlight and help to prevent skin cancers [26]. The
results of the trial were surprising in that contrary to the
hypothesis, the beta-carotene supplemented group had a
small (statistically insignificant) increase in the incidence
of lung cancer. Interestingly, the group in the study with
the highest blood levels of beta carotene from dietary
sources had the lowest incidence of lung cancer [26].
Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food known, having
over ten times more beta carotene than any other food,
including carrots. Beta carotene is one of the most
effective substances for deactivating free radicals, which
damage cells, leading to cancer. Free radicals are molecu-
lar fragments from environmental pollution, toxic
chemicals, drugs, and physical and emotional stress [32].
Beta carotene prevents free radicals from reacting, and
decreases incidence of lung cancer, prevents chemically
induced tumors in animals, prevents precancerous pre-
chromosome damage and enhances immunological re-
sistance. Evidence linking natural beta carotene and cancer
prevention is impressive [7, 26]. For those who do not eat
4-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, Spirulina will
add natural carotene insurance[19]. According to the find-
ings of the National Cancer Institute, United States of
America, an intake of 6.0 mg ß-carotene daily may be ef-
fective in minimizing the risk of cancer. If anybody takes
4.0 g Spirulina daily, that is sufficient to get 6 mg ß-
carotene [28].
Beta carotene was found to significantly inhibit the for-
mation of squamous cell carcinoma of hamster buccal
pouch when a solution was applied topically three times
weekly for 22 weeks in an experiment with 40 hamsters. In
a second experiment with 80 hamsters, beta carotene was
found to inhibit oral carcinogenesis in an initiation-
promotion hamster buccal pouch system. Beta carotene in
hibited both initiation and promotion [33]. Studies among
preschool children in India have demonstrated Spirulina
fusiform is to be an effective source of dietary vitamin A.
Supplementation with Spirulina did not increase serum
concentrations of retinal or beta carotene, nor was it asso-
ciated with toxicity [32, 34].
Another study showed that beta-carotene reduces the size
of tumors that were already present in hamsters and
slowed new tumor growth, extending the hamsters' surviv-
al time [10, 33]. Numerous studies have shown that people
whose diets are high in beta-carotene have a lower
incidence of various cancers. Smokers, who are especially
vulnerable, should maintain their beta-carotene levels.
Low beta-carotene levels in the blood of smokers have
been connected with the later appearance of lung cancer.
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have
shown that beta-carotene exerts a protective effect against
the development and progression of cervical cancer. Beta-
carotene may also help to protect the skin against the
damaging effects of sunlight and help to prevent skin
cancers. In the early 1980’s a landmark study by the US
National Science Foundation entitled Diet, Nutrition
and cancer, concluded on the basis of epidemiological
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Asieh Asghari, et al. Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina
178 Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports, Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2016
evidence that diets rich in beta carotene were correlated
with a reduction in the incidence of cancer. In fact, over
200 studies of dietary consumption of beta-carotene
indicated a reduction of a range of cancers [19, 26].
Phycocyanin
Phycocyanin is one of the key ingredients that make
Spirulina such a wonderful Super food, and a vital
difference between Spirulina and other green foods like
chlorella, wheat grass and barley [35]. The Japanese have
found that phycocyanin protects the liver and the kidneys
during detoxification, as well as activating the immune
system. Researchers at the Osaka Medical Center for
cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases said “Spirulina is
surmised to potentiate the immune system leading to sup-
pression of cancer development and viral infection [36].
Spirulina selectively inhibited development of some
tumoral cell lines, showing potential anticancer activity
against human stomach cancer cells (AGS), human liver
cancer cells (Hep3B), human lung cancer cells (A549), and
breast cancer cells (MCF-7) [16]. Phycocyanin is a power-
ful water soluble antioxidant [27, 37]. A great deal of
research has been done in Japan on phycocyanin. The
Japanese have found that phycocyanin protects the liver
and the kidneys during detoxification, as well as activating
the immune system. Researchers at the Osaka Medical
Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases said
Spirulina is surmised to potentiate the immune system
leading to suppression of cancer development and viral
infection [19]. C-phycocyanin (C-PC) is one of the major
Bili proteins of Spirulina with antioxidant and radical
scavenging properties (Fig. 7) [38].
Figure 7. Chemical structure of C-phycocyanin.
C-PC, a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, induces
apoptosis in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7
macrophages. It is also known to exhibit anti-
inflammatory and anticancer properties. Phycocyanin has
the ability to scavenge free radicals, including alkoxyl,
hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals. It also decreases nitrite
production, suppresses inducible nitric oxide synthase
(iNOS) expression, and inhibits liver microsomal lipidpe-
roxidation. Phycocyanin of Spirulina inhibits the growth of
human leukemia K562 cells [35].
Serum glutamate oxaloacetate and serum glutamate py-
ruvate transaminase activity along with increase in liver
GSH level. The activities of antioxidants enzymes
superoxide dismutase, catalase and Glutathione-S-
transferase were also concomitantly restored to near
normal level by Spirulina supplementation to mercuric
chloride intoxicated mice. The results clearly demonstrate
that Spirulina treatment augments the antioxidants defense
mechanism in mercuric chloride induced toxicity and
provides evidence that it may have a therapeutic role in
free radical mediated diseases [39, 40]. phycocyanin is a
potent peroxyl radical scavenger with an IC(50) of 5.0 μM
and the rate constant ratios obtained for phycocyanin and
uric acid (a known peroxyl radical scavenger) were 1.54
and 3.5, respectively. These studies clearly suggest that the
covalently linked chromophore, phycocyanobilin, is
involved in the antioxidant and radical scavenging activity
of phycocyanin [7, 41].
Other studiesof Spirulina application in cancers
Liver fibrosis is a chronic liver disease that will further
develop to cirrhosis if severe damage continues to form. A
potential treatment for liver fibrosis is to inhibit activated
hepatic stellate cell (HSC) proliferation and, subsequently,
to induce HSC apoptosis. It has been reported that antioxi-
dants are able to inhibit the proliferation of HSCs. In this
study, the aqueous extract of Spirulina was chosen as the
source of antioxidant to investigate the inhibitory effect on
the proliferation of HSC [42].
The growth inhibitory effects of aqueous Spirulina and
chlorella extract on human liver cancer cells, HepG2, were
also studied and compared in pairs. Results indicated that
the total phenol content of Spirulina was almost five times
greater than that of chlorella (6.86 +/- 0.58 vs 1.44 +/- 0.04
mg tannic acid equivalent/g of algae powder, respectively).
The aqueous extracts of these two algae both showed anti-
proliferative effects on HSC and HepG2, but Spirulina was
a stronger inhibitor than chlorella [42].
Water-soluble polysaccharides of Spirulina appear to dis-
play antioxidant, anticancer, and antiviral effects [36]. In
addition, Spirulina does not have secondary undesirable
effects, not being described episodes of occasional human
or animal death as occurred with other microalgae, mainly
due to the presence in those microalgae of hepato and neu-
rotoxins. In parallel with those initial antiviral and anti-
cancer studies, Spirulina extracts were tested for their
immunomodulatory capacities. Since then, enhancement of
the immune system by Spirulina has turned into a key
research line for future uses of this organism. Recently, the
Food and Drug Administration of the United States of
America has included Spirulina in the group of Generally
Recognized as Safe (GRAS) products [16, 20].
It is well established that exercise promotes the production
of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which contribute
to skeletal muscle fatigue and damage. Two clinical trials
were conducted to investigate the effects of Spirulina on
preventing excise induced skeletal muscle fatigue and
damage through its antioxidant property. In one study with
16 student volunteers, intake of a diet containing 5%
Spirulina for 3 weeks resulted in a significant reduction of
plasma oxidative marker malondialdehyde (MDA) with a
concurrent increase in the blood superoxide dismutase
(SOD) activity [11, 29, 43].
In a study from the Department of Microbiology and
Immunology at Hokkaido University in Japan, Spirulina
extract was found to excite antitumor natural killer cell
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Asieh Asghari, et al. Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina
Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports, Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2016 177
response. For their study, the researchers transplanted tu-
mors into a specific species of mice. After orally adminis-
tering hot water extracts of Spirulina to the mice, they
watched for molecular signals in the major histocompati-
bility complex of the micecells. At first, a sub cell line
showed slight expressions of NT response, but as the study
furthered, they noticed natural killer cell activation signals
going off through expressions of Rae-1, a ligand for NK
activation. With natural killer cells now arriving onto the
scene of the tumor-ridden cells, the implanted melanoma
slowly regressed, until the natural killer cell defense effec-
tively eliminated the entire tumor [36, 37].
In China, the influence of water soluble polysaccharide
from Spirulina platensis on excision repair of DNA was
investigated by means of endonuclease assay and radio
autography. The results showed that the presence of the
polysaccharide enhanced significantly both the repair
activity of radiation damaged DNA excision and the
unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS). During the examina-
tion of the time course of the excision process, it was
found that the presence of polysaccharide of Spirulina not
only increased the initial rates of the damaged DNA
excision and the UDS, but also postponed the saturations
of both important reactions of excision and repair DNA
synthesis [44, 45].
Researchers in both Japan and China have examined the
potential of Spirulina’s polysaccharides in cancer therapy.
In a study titled “Inhibition of tumor invasion and metasta-
sis by Calcium Spirulan,” scientists at Japan’s Toyama
Medical and Pharmaceutical University found that lung
metastasis was significantly reduced by Calcium Spirulan
by inhibiting tumor invasion of the cell membranes [46].
The results of the present study clearly point to the thera-
peutic potential of Spirulina in Cadmium-induced terato-
genicity and probably through its antioxidant activity. Or-
ganic foods often contain high levels of cadmium it is a
little-known fact that the USDA organic program does not
regulate, or measure, or in any way limit the concentration
of heavy metals in "certified organic" foods. Natural News
has found that many "organic" foods contain alarming
levels of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury,
arsenic and even lighter metals like aluminum [47, 48].
The iron chelating properties of Spirulina was discovered
when human neuroblastoma cells in vitro were exposed to
toxic amounts of iron and then to Spirulina, which
revealed that the iron induced oxidative stress was
reduced. Geriatric patients administered Spirulina for 16
weeks showed a remarkable improvement in the antioxi-
dant potential, as measured by the increased levels of
antioxidant status in plasma of these individuals. A dou-
ble-blinded, placebo controlled study performed on indi-
viduals after exercise, showed decreased amount of crea-
tine kinase, (an indicator of muscular breakdown) when
they were supplemented with Spirulina. Moreover, their
exhaustiontime in the treadmill exercise increased by 52
seconds.This could be explained by the antioxidant poten-
tial of Spirulina [32].
Studies the influence of Spirulina on IgA levels in human
saliva and demonstrated that it enhances IgA production,
suggesting a pivotal role of micro alga in mucosal immuni-
ty. A Japanese team identified the molecular mechanism of
the human immune capacity of Spirulina by analyzing
blood cells of volunteers with pre- and post-oral admin-
istration of hot water extract of Spirulina platensis. IFN-γ
production and Natural Killer (NK) cell damage were
increased after administration of the micro alga extracts to
male volunteers. In a recent double-blind, placebo con-
trolled [49].
Study from Turkey evaluating the effectiveness and
tolerability of Spirulina for treating patients with allergic
rhinitis, Spirulina consumption significantly improved the
symptoms and physical findings compared with placebo (P
< .001), including nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal conges-
tion and itching [49].
Spirulina can also be exploited for the production of
various enzymes especially antioxidant enzymes. It has a
very high amount of the superoxide dismutase enzyme,
which is an important free radical scavenging enzyme.
This enzyme can be used therapeutically for the treatment
of various diseases related to oxidative stress or as a com-
ponent in anti-wrinkle skin lotions and face masks as aging
is believed to a consequence of oxidative stress [9, 50].
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can be generated in a
biological system by processes such as irradiation. These
affect various systems like digestive, hematopoietic,
immune etc. Defense mechanisms include antioxidant
enzymes such as super oxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione
peroxidase (GPx) and catalase, as well as the non-
enzymatic antioxidants like beta-carotene, glutathione,
vitamin E etc. Radiation protection offered by Spirulina
may be due to the phytopigments (carotenoids, chloro-
phyll, phycocyanin) as well as polysaccharides [51].
Another mouse study showed that Spirulina reduced both
skin and stomach tumors significantly. Spirulina was
shown to reduce both the size of the tumors and to reduce
the incidence of tumors [39]. The study determined the
histopathologic and hematologic effects of Spirulina
platensis and Moringa oleifera Lam., and their synergism
on tumor-induced Sprague-Dawley rats. Induction of tu-
mors was done through intraperitoneal administration of
1,2-dimethylhydrazine and 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene
for four weeks. Readily available capsules and tablets of
Spirulina and malunggay mixed with water were used to
achieve the desired 50% and 75% concentration. Intraper-
itoneal administration of the extracts and intravenous
administration of 5-fluorouracil as the positive control
treatment were done for two weeks post tumor induction.
After treatment, representatives of each treatment groups
were drawn blood and dissected for hematologic and his-
topathologic examination, respectively. Results show anti-
tumor activity of all extracts in the liver in contrast to their
ineffectiveness in the lungs. Furthermore, all but the 75%
Spirulina extract were effective against gastric tumor
development while both concentrations of Spirulina and its
75% concentration successfully countered development of
tumors of the small intestine and large intestine, respec-
tively. All of the extracts caused a general negative effect
on the complete blood count. In conclusion, S. platensis
proved to be the more effective against tumor
development [52].
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Asieh Asghari, et al. Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina
178 Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports, Volume 3, Issue 1, Winter 2016
Thus Selenium-enriched Spirulina as a vector for anti-
cancer drug delivery enables to associate any anticancer
drug with Se. This process allows high drug delivery and
produce significant anti-proliferative effect the functionali-
zation of selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) with Spirulina
polysaccharides (SPS) that has been developed in a study.
Results suggest that the strategy to use SPS as a surface
decorator could be an effective way to enhance the cellular
uptake and anticancer efficacy of nanomaterials. SPS-
SeNPs may be a potential candidate for further evaluation
as a chemo preventive and chemotherapeutic agent against
human cancers [53].
Also study of antimicrobial activities of Spirulina extract
against Staphylococcus aureus (Gram positive bacterium),
Escherichia coli (Gram negative bacterium), Candida
albicans (yeast) and Aspergillus niger (fungus) showed
that C. albicans is the most sensitive microorganism to all
Spirulina fractions, which were obtained by the supercriti-
cal fluid extraction. This antimicrobial activity could be
related to a synergic effect of fatty acids.
Conclusion
Spirulina is a potent mixture of antioxidants and most of
Spirulina’s health benefits are associated with its antioxi-
dant pigments. These are carotenoids (mixture of carotenes
and xanthophylls), chlorophyll and the unique blue
pigment phycocyanin. A little of its usage in medicine has
been established by numerous studies still more of its
hidden properties are yet to be explored. Some of its
properties such as Anti oxidant, Anti inflammatory, Anti
cancer, Anti aging (prevents cell death), Drug delivery
system., etc. Along with these actions in Humans has been
described briefly in this Review. Hope this review will
serve the purpose of aiding in future Research work to
unleash the further components present in Spirulina.
Acknowledgements
This study is extracted from MSc’s thesis which approved
and supported by Applied Biotechnology Research Center,
Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
The authors would like to thanks the staff of this research
center for their kind help.
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... The results may be similar in the 60-day storage period, as treatment T5 recorded the lowest values of the characteristics of peroxide, thiobarbituric acid and total volatile nitrogen compared to control treatment T1, followed by the effect in treatment T4, then T3 Then T2. The reason for the significant decrease in the oxidation indicators (PV, TBA, TVN) of the meat stored by freezing for 30 and 60 days may be due to the role of spirulina used in the diets of broiler meat, which contributed to preventing the deterioration of the quality of the meat by inhibiting the process of oxidation, rancidity, and the decomposition of fats and fatty acids, considering Spirulina is a source of antioxidants [33] because of its higher content of phenolic compounds than other algae, especially tannic acid, as it constitutes more than 63% of the phenols that have the ability to fix roots by donating a hydrogen atom or an electron [34] and also containing phycocyanin, beta-carotene and phenols [12] that increase the formation and effectiveness of antioxidant enzymes such as catalase (CAT), peroxidase (PX), superoxidase (SOD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) that preserve cells and prevent the formation of free radicals and get rid of Hydrogen peroxide in animal tissues [35]. The unique dyes active in spirulina, such as phycobiliprotein, phycocyanin, and phycoerythrin, also play an important role as effective antioxidants [36]. ...
... components and chemical analysis (%) of experimental diets for Final diet(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34)(35)(36)(37)(38)(39)(40)(41)(42) days. was indicated by the company producing Spirulina XI'an Ceres Biotech. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study was conducted at the Poultry Research Station of the Agricultural Research Department / Ministry of Agriculture in Abu Ghraib for the period from 25/2/2019 to 7/4/2019 (42 days) with the aim of using several levels of Spirulina (SP) Spirulina platensis in broiler diets. And their effect in the concentration and types of fatty acids, oxidation indices and sensory characteristics of the broiler carcass, 400 birds were used in this experiment One day old broiler birds of the Ross 308 strain are un sexed, with an average starting weight of 40 g / bird, and the birds were randomly distributed into five treatments with four replications per treatment (20 birds / duplicate). The following treatments included: the first (T1) control treatment (the basic diet without additives), the second (T2), third (T3), fourth (T4) and fifth treatments (T5) were used in the basic ration algae SP by 1%, 2% and 3% And 4%, respectively. The two treatments T4 and T5 showed significant superiority (P≤0.05) compared to the control group in the concentration of oleic acid, palmitic acid, and the concentration of docosahexaenoic acid and linoleic acid for the treatments T3, T4 and T5 compared to the control treatment. The value of peroxide (PV) was significantly decreased (P <0.05) in the 30-day storage period for treatment T5 birds compared with the two treatments T1 and T2 and the value of thiobarbituric acid (TBA) and total volatile nitrogen (TVN) for all treatments compared to the control treatment, and for the storage period of 60 One day, all oxidation indexes (PV, TBA, TVN) were significantly decreased (P <0.05) for all treatments using Spirulina. No significant effect of spirulina was shown on sensory evaluation scores for the chest and thigh cuts compared to the control treatment.
... The results may be similar in the 60-day storage period, as treatment T5 recorded the lowest values of the characteristics of peroxide, thiobarbituric acid and total volatile nitrogen compared to control treatment T1, followed by the effect in treatment T4, then T3 Then T2. The reason for the significant decrease in the oxidation indicators (PV, TBA, TVN) of the meat stored by freezing for 30 and 60 days may be due to the role of spirulina used in the diets of broiler meat, which contributed to preventing the deterioration of the quality of the meat by inhibiting the process of oxidation, rancidity, and the decomposition of fats and fatty acids, considering Spirulina is a source of antioxidants [33] because of its higher content of phenolic compounds than other algae, especially tannic acid, as it constitutes more than 63% of the phenols that have the ability to fix roots by donating a hydrogen atom or an electron [34] and also containing phycocyanin, beta-carotene and phenols [12] that increase the formation and effectiveness of antioxidant enzymes such as catalase (CAT), peroxidase (PX), superoxidase (SOD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) that preserve cells and prevent the formation of free radicals and get rid of Hydrogen peroxide in animal tissues [35]. The unique dyes active in spirulina, such as phycobiliprotein, phycocyanin, and phycoerythrin, also play an important role as effective antioxidants [36]. ...
... components and chemical analysis (%) of experimental diets for Final diet(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34)(35)(36)(37)(38)(39)(40)(41)(42) days. was indicated by the company producing Spirulina XI'an Ceres Biotech. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study was conducted at the Poultry Research Station of the Agricultural Research Department/Ministry of Agriculture in Abu Ghraib for the period from 25/2/2019 to 7/4/2019 (42 days) with the aim of using several levels of Spirulina (SP) Spirulina platensis in broiler diets. And their effect in the concentration and types of fatty acids, oxidation indices and sensory characteristics of the broiler carcass, 400 birds were used in this experiment One day old broiler birds of the Ross 308 strain are un sexed, with an average starting weight of 40 g/bird, and the birds were randomly distributed into five treatments with four replications per treatment (20 birds/duplicate). The following treatments included: the first (T1) control treatment (the basic diet without additives), the second (T2), third (T3), fourth (T4) and fifth treatments (T5) were used in the basic ration algae SP by 1%, 2% and 3% And 4%, respectively. The two treatments T4 and T5 showed significant superiority (P<0.05) compared to the control group in the concentration of oleic acid, palmitic acid, and the concentration of docosahexaenoic acid and linoleic acid for the treatments T3, T4 and T5 compared to the control treatment. The value of peroxide (PV) was significantly decreased (P <0.05) in the 30-day storage period for treatment T5 birds compared with the two treatments T1 and T2 and the value of thiobarbituric acid (TBA) and total volatile nitrogen (TVN) for all treatments compared to the control treatment, and for the storage period of 60 One day, all oxidation indexes (PV, TBA, TVN) were significantly decreased (P <0.05) for all treatments using Spirulina. No significant effect of spirulina was shown on sensory evaluation scores for the chest and thigh cuts compared to the control treatment.
... It is well known that SP has antioxidant properties. [19][20][21][22] It plays roles in various stages of free radical generation by restoring the decreased activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and by reducing glutathione 23 or by reducing oxidative stress damage and augmenting antioxidant catalase activity. 21 In addition, SP has immunomodulatory properties 24-26 and antitumoral effects against ultraviolet B irradiation in the skin through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. ...
Article
Purpose: To evaluate the radioprotective effect of spirulina (SP) on the lacrimal glands after RAI treatment. Methods: A total of 30 rats were separated into control, RAI and SP group. The radioprotective effect of SP on lacrimal glands was evaluated with histopathological and cytopathological analysis. Lacrimal glands were analyzed for tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), total oxidant status (TOS) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) levels. Results: RAI increased TNF-α (p = .001), IL-6 (p = .018), and NF-κB levels (p < .0005). Following the administration of SP, TNF-α (p < .0005), IL-4 (p = .026), and IL-6 (p = .006) levels decreased. RAI decreased the TAC levels (p = .001), and co-administration of SP increased the TAC level, but was not statistically significant. SP decreased the TOS level after RAI (p = .022) . Conclusions: SP protects lacrimal glands from RAI-induced damage.
... On the other hand, the aqueous extract of S. maxima showed potential activity against several tumoral cell lines such as human stomach, liver, lung and breast cancer cells [10]. The polysaccharides isolated from Spirulina species demonstrated A RT I C L E I N F O A B S T R AC T anticancer, antioxidant, and antiviral activities [11]. Among these polysaccharides, calcium spirulan (Ca-SP) exhibited strong inhibitory effect against some enveloped viruses [12], beside it could suppress the replication of herpes simplex, mumps, measles, influenza A viruses and cytomegalovirus [13]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: To evaluate the glycoprotein isolated from Spirulina platensis (S. platensis) as antiHCV, cytotoxicity, antioxidant and hypolypidemic activities. Method: Cold and hot aqueous extraction methods (SCEM and SHEM) of S. platensis were performed and their physico-chemical characterizations were studied. Further, monosaccharides and amino acids composition of SCEM and SHEM were studied using GLC and amino acid analyzer, respectively. Both glycoproteins SCEM and SHEM were evaluated in vitro for anti-HCV replicon, cytotoxicity, antioxidant and hypolipidemic activities. SCEM was fractionated and their physico-chemical characterization and anti-HCV replicon were studied. Results: The yield of SCEM and SHEM was 4.45% and 3.37% of dried algal sample, respectively. The physico-chemical characterizations of SCEM and SHEM revealed the presence of ash (13.33% and 10.42% w/w), sulfur (1.22% and 0.71% w/w), nitrogen (7.14% and 5.59% w/w) and sugar (67.29% and 64.66% w/w) contents. The physico-chemical characterizations confirmed that SCEM and SHEM were polysaccharide bounded protein (glycoprotein). Twelve and eleven sugars could be identified in SCEM and SHEM polysaccharide of S. platensis using gas chromatography analysis, respectively. Glucose, galactose and mannose are predominant sugars in both extracts. Further, amino acid analysis of SCEM and SHEM revealed the presence 16 amino acids. Aspartic acid and alanine were detected as predominant non-essential amino acids in SCEM while glutamic and aspartic acids were existed as dominant amino acids in glycoprotein SHEM. Whereas leucine, phenylalanine and valine were presented as mean essential amino acids. Evaluation of both glycoproteins of SCEM and SHEM for anti-HCV, cytotoxic, antioxidant, and hypolipidemic activities revealed that SCEM reduced the HCV (genotype 4 replicon) to 50% at non-toxic dose (522 µg/mL). In addition, SCEM inhibitd enzyme activity, β-hydroxy-β- methyl glutaryl coA reductase, to 80% and had scavenging efficacy against nitric oxide 67.57%–62.16% at the concentration of 100–500 µg/mL. While, SHEM exhibited cytotoxic activity against Hep G2 human cell line with IC50 of 69.49 µg/mL. Conclusions: Polysaccharide bounded protein (glycoprotein) isolated from cold water extract of S. platensis might become increasingly important in drug development for treatment hepatic disease.
Article
Background Spirulina, a type of blue-green algae, is used as an adjuvant treatment of metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Evidence about the effects of spirulina on antioxidant system are conflicting. Thus, this quantitative review aimed to summarize the effects of spirulina administration on antioxidant status biomarkers. Methods Systematic searches were conducted using the PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, and EMBASE, up to May 2021. Random effect analysis was applied to perform meta-analysis. Subgroup analyses and multivariate meta-regression were performed to find heterogeneity sources. Quality assessment was conducted using Cochrane Collaboration’s tool. Trim and fill analysis were also carried out in case of the presence of publication bias. Results A total of 9 articles that enrolled 415 subjects were included in the present meta-analysis. Obtained findings exhibited that spirulina supplementation had marginal significant effect on total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (SMD= 0.49; 95% CI: -0.001, 0.98; P=0.05) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity (SMD=0.72; 95% CI: -0.03, 1.46; P=0.06), while did not affect glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity (SMD= 0.27; 95% CI: -0.23, 0.77; P=0.29). Conclusions Spirulina consumption may exert beneficial effects on enhancement of antioxidant system. A marginal significant increasing effect on TAC and SOD activity were found by spirulina administration. However, it did not affect GPx activity.
Article
Full-text available
The human body needs essential nutrients in order to function, grow, and stay healthy. Our bodies cannot make these nutrients, so get them from our diet. On the other hand, some diet-related diseases can be caused by certain improper food ingredients and body inability of absorbing them. Then the idea of purifying beneficial ingredients formed. Poly-unsaturated fatty acid such as gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is a group of essential fatty acids particularly favorable for its application in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. GLA plays significant roles in improving human body functions. It has gained its importance in the last four decades for having a positive effect on the most of the chronic diseases of modern society, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, etc. Then, it has been used as a dietary supplement for the treatment of various health problems and have inflammatory component. One of the richest sources of GLA is a kind of microalgae; Spirulina. Spirulina is a blue-green alga primarily originated from two species of cyanobacteria and is believed to be the first form of plant life on the earth. This article reviews GLA applications and properties; favorable conditions for increasing its amount within Spirulina; and how to extract it from the algae. © 2016, Baqiyatallah university of medical sciences. All rights reserved.
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Spirulina is a fresh water microalgae which has been used as a food supplement since many years. This alga contains a diverse concentration of nutrients and has emerged as a wonder drug because of its varied uses. It boosts the immunity and increases resistance to various infections. The antioxidant properties of spirulina are well known and anticancer action has also been reported. Spirulina plays an important role in metabolic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, anemia & others. Thus this multi beneficiary action of spirulina makes it an important natural product for the improvement of health of humans.
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The study determined the histopathologic and hematologic effects of Arthrospira platensis and Moringa oleifera Lam., and their synergism on tumor-induced Sprague-Dawley rats. Induction of tumors was done through intraperitoneal administration of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene for four weeks. Readily available capsules and tablets of Spirulina and malunggay mixed with water were used to achieve the desired 50% and 75% concentration. Intraperitoneal administration of the extracts and intravenous administration of 5-fluorouracil as the positive control treatment were done for two weeks post tumor induction. After treatment, representatives of each treatment groups were drawn blood and dissected for hematologic and histopathologic examination, respectively. Results show anti-tumor activity of all extracts in the liver in contrast to their ineffectiveness in the lungs. Furthermore, all but the 75% Spirulina extract were effective against gastric tumor development while both concentrations of Spirulina and its 75% concentration successfully countered development of tumors of the small intestine and large intestine, respectively. All of the extracts caused a general negative effect on the complete blood count. In conclusion, A. platensis proved to be the more effective against tumor development.
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Doxorubicin (DOX) is an anthracycline derivative antibiotic, used as anticancer agent, it causes generation of free radicals and induces oxidative stress, associated with cellular injury and participate in hepatonephrotoxicity in normal human cells .The protective effect of Spirulina Platensis (SP) , a filamentous blue green algae , on Doxorubicin induced oxidative stress and hepatotoxicity was evaluated in male rats. Oral administration of water extract of Spirulina (1000 mg/kg/b.wt) for six weeks following an acute toxic dose of Doxorubicin (1.0 mg/kg/b.wt) , reduces the hepatotoxicity and attenuates doxorubicin-induced stress .The post-treatment with Spirulina reduces the activity of Liver marker enzymes such as serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and Renal function disorders represented by urea. The ratio of decrease were lower in the first three weeks if compared with the last three weeks. On the other hand, Oral administration of Spirulina extract for six weeks following an acute toxic dose of Doxorubicin, led to an obvious increase in the activity of antioxidant Parameters including Catalase (CAT) and Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD). The results clearly demonstrate that Spirulina treatment augments the antioxidants defense mechanism in Dox induced toxicity and provides evidence that it may have a therapeutic role in free radical mediated diseases.
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Background and objective: Oxidative stress is intimately associated with many diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Study objectives include a comparison of the oxidative stress, antioxidant status, and lipid profile between COPD patients and controls and evaluation of the effect of spirulina intervention on oxidative stress, antioxidant status, and lipid profile of COPD patients. Methods: 30 patients with COPD and 20 controls with no respiratory problems were selected. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria were served as the basis of COPD diagnosis. The serum content of malondialdehyde (MDA), lipid hydroperoxide, glutathione (GSH), vitamin C, cholesterol, triglyceride (TG), and high density lipoprotein (HDL) was measured. The activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione-s-transferase (GST) was also measured. Two different doses, (500 × 2) mg and (500 × 4) mg spirulina, were given to two groups, each of which comprises 15 COPD patients. Results: All targeted blood parameters have significant difference (P = 0.000) between COPD patients and controls except triglyceride (TG). Spirulina intake for 30 and 60 days at (500 × 2) mg dose has significantly reduced serum content of MDA, lipid hydroperoxide, and cholesterol (P = 0.000) while increasing GSH, Vit C level (P = 0.000), and the activity of SOD (P = 0.000) and GST (P = 0.038). At the same time, spirulina intake for 30 and 60 days at (500 × 4) mg dose has favorable significant effect (P = 0.000) on all targeted blood parameters except for HDL (P = 0.163).
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The purpose of this paper is to first describe the species Arthrospira platensis, previously referenced as ‘Spirulina platensis’ (commonly referred to as ‘Spirulina’), and then to provide a review of the literature in regards to four main areas of Spirulina research: Immune system modulation; anti-viral activity; cancer preventive properties, and cardiovascular benefits. This paper focuses on research done since the year 2000, but references some important work completed before 2000 in certain cases. All citations are from published journals.
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The study of the enhancement of the immune system by administration of algal cell components is a current research field of great interest for future development of algal biotechnology. Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis is one of the key organisms, showing interesting results in the treatment of certain tumors, viral infection, and immunodeficiency. Polysaccharides from Arthrospira, together with phycocyanin, seem to be responsible for most of these positive effects. In this work, we isolated the acidic polysaccharide fraction from A. platensis and tested its capacity to induce the production of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha in macrophages. For this purpose, we modified a previous isolation method developed by one of us, which includes several depigmentation steps, as well as differential partitioning with N-cetylpyridinium bromide (Cetavlon). Infrared spectroscopy of the acidic polysaccharide fraction indicates the presence of hydroxyl radicals, aliphatic residues, carbonyl groups, sulfate groups, and sulfate esters, as well as amine residues. Liquid chromatography confirmed the polysaccharidic nature of the fraction, revealing its high purity, essentially free of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) contamination (0.0017% w/w), and complying with international pharmacological standards. The results indicate that a very high production of tumor necrosis factor- α (TNF−α) occurred in macrophages in the presence of the polysaccharides in the range 5–100 μg mL−1, reaching values of 8 ng TNF-α mL−1 after 24 h and 30 ng TNF-α mL−1 after 48 h. These data demonstrate that acidic polysaccharides from Spirulina elicit TNF-α production levels comparable to LPS at ~100× higher concentration than LPS, but without significantly increasing the risk of septic shock or deleterious pyrogenesis.
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