Spirulina Aids Weight Loss, Insulin Sensitivity, Immunity
Spirulina platensis, a form of algae with tremendous nutritional benefits, has now been found to reduce appetite, stimulate weight loss, increase insulin sensitivity and boost the immune system.
We have reported that spirulina can boost the immune system in other research. We have also reported that spirulina decreases LDL-cholesterol. We have also published research showing that this unique greenfood also reduces thyroid nodules.
Now we find in clinical research that spirulina can reduce appetite and aid weight loss. The recent research also shows it can reduce oxidative stress, increase insulin sensitivity and boost the immune system. This makes spirulina a great candidate for those who want to lose weight without resorting to complex or risky weight loss regimes.
Spirulina reduces appetite
In a 2019 study, researchers tested 56 obese people. They were between 20 and 50 years old. The subjects were divided into two groups. One group received 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) of Spirulina platensis supplementation daily and the other group received a placebo.
The researchers tested the subjects for 12 weeks. Before and after the supplementation period, the researchers tested the patients’ blood for MIC-1 concentrations. They also tested for oxidative stress markers and body weight and body mass index. The researchers also tested the patients’ appetites using the visual analog scale (VAS).
The research determined that the spirulina group had significantly reduced MIC-1 concentrations. They also had significant improvements in the superoxide dismutase levels, along with other oxidative stress markers.
The spirulina group also had significantly reduced appetites.
What is MIC-1?
MIC-1 stands for macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1. This is part of the immune system’s regulatory system. It helps regulate the activation of macrophages, which are the scavengers of the immune system. Macrophages help engulf and deter invasions into the tissues and blood.
To boost MIC-1 means, basically, to sharpen the immune system. Issues related to chronic inflammation are better controlled when MIC-1 levels are increased.
Spirulina helps drop pounds in other research
In a 2017 study, researchers tested 64 people who were obese or overweight. The patients were given two 500 milligram doses of spirulina twice a day for three months or a placebo.
After the end of the supplementation period, the researchers found that body weight and body mass index (BMI) were significantly reduced. The research also found that total cholesterol was also significantly reduced among the spirulina group.
A 2016 study from Seoul’s Dongseo University tested 78 people. The subjects were given either a placebo or 8 grams (8,000 milligrams) of spirulina per day for 12 weeks.
At the end of the 12 weeks, the researchers found that the spirulina had significantly reduced LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol, and boosted IL-2 concentrations. This again illustrated the effect of boosting immunity. These improvements, however, were not seen in the obese group.
As the researchers discussed these results, they concluded that obese individuals should likely require higher dosing.
Perhaps the opposite may be true, as was illustrated in the studies that dosed at 1,000 milligrams a day.
Spirulina improves insulin sensitivity
One of the reasons why spirulina is such a great aid for losing weight may be related to its ability to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin helps escort glucose into the cells. This means more glucose is utilized and that decreases blood sugar. It also increases the body’s efficiency when it comes to utilizing energy from our foods.
This also relates directly to appetite because the body is utilizing more of the foods we are consuming.
Researchers from Poland’s University of Medical Sciences studied 50 obese patients with insulin resistance and poor cholesterol levels in a 2017 study. The patients also experienced higher inflammation levels, as
The researchers gave half the patients 2 grams (2,000 milligrams) of spirulina daily. The other half were given a placebo. After three months of supplementation, the researchers retested the patients – for their insulin sensitivity levels, their LDL-cholesterol levels and their interleukin-6 levels to test their inflammation levels.
The researchers found that the spirulina significantly reduced their LDL cholesterol levels, boosted their insulin sensitivity levels, and decreased their inflammation levels.
The scientists concluded:
“The favorable influence of Spirulina supplementation on insulin sensitivity, plasma lipid levels along with inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers reported in this study creates the promise for new therapeutic approaches in obese patients with well-treated hypertension.”
Spirulina is also a great source of nutrients. It contains significant levels of vitamins A, C, E, K, B vitamins and choline. It is also a complete protein, with 64 grams of protein per 112 grams.
This may also help explain why spirulina helps weight loss.
Shariata A, FarhangibAM, Zeinalianc R. Spirulina platensis supplementation, macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1 (MIC-1), oxidative stress markers and anthropometric features in obese individuals: A randomized controlled trial. J Herbal Med. 2019 Sept-Dec;17-18.
Zeinalian R, Farhangi MA, Shariat A, Saghafi-Asl M. The effects of Spirulina Platensis on anthropometric indices, appetite, lipid profile and serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in obese individuals: a randomized double blinded placebo controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Apr 21;17(1):225.
Park HJ, Lee HS. The influence of obesity on the effects of spirulina supplementation in the human metabolic response of Korean elderly. Nutr Res Pract. 2016 Aug;10(4):418-423.
Szulinska M, Gibas-Dorna M, Miller-Kasprzak E, Suliburska J, Miczke A, Walczak-Gałezewska M, Stelmach-Mardas M, Walkowiak J, Bogdanski P. Spirulina maxima improves insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, and total antioxidant status in obese patients with well-treated hypertension: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017 May;21(10):2473-2481.
Bootcov MR1, Bauskin AR, Valenzuela SM, Moore AG, Bansal M, He XY, Zhang HP, Donnellan M, Mahler S, Pryor K, Walsh BJ, Nicholson RC, Fairlie WD, Por SB, Robbins JM, Breit SN. MIC-1, a novel macrophage inhibitory cytokine, is a divergent member of the TGF-beta superfamily. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Oct 14;94(21):11514-9.