Spirulina has been promoted as “the food of the future” with “exceptional constituents” that contribute to high energy levels.

In 2008, researchers from the UK and Greece reviewed the evidence, and it’s still relevant.

Allergic rhinitis

  • Spirulina has documented anti-inflammatory effects.

Arsenic poisoning

  • In 1 study, taking Spirulina extract + zinc twice daily for 16 weeks appeared useful for treating chronic arsenic poisoning.


  • Some studies support the cholesterol-lowering effects of Spirulina.
  • Larger studies are required before definitive conclusions can be made.

Anticancer effects

  • The anticancer effects of Spirulina might be derived from the anti-oxidant effects of beta-carotene.
  • However, the link between beta-carotene level and the risk of caner has not been established.

Chronic fatigue and in antiviral applications

  • There’s insufficient evidence for beneficial effects of Spirulina in chronic fatigue or as an antiviral agent.

The bottom line?
Spirulina is the common name for human and animal food supplements produced primarily from 2 species of cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae).

The authors identified several areas where Spirulina appears to have promising effects. In general, however, they recommend that more research is needed.

12/29/08 22:12 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.