Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is a type of cyanobacteria, a family of microorganisms that can live in both freshwater and saltwater; it is commonly known as blue-green algae. It can carry out photosynthesis to produce energy it needs just like plants. Spirulina is rich in nutrients such as protein, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), copper, iron, essential fatty acids (omega 6 & 3), magnesium, potassium and vitamin B 12 (cobalamin).


One of the many benefits of spirulina is to protect the body against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to inflammation, which can contribute to cancer and other degenerative diseases1. Spirulina contains a potent antioxidant called phycocyanin (gives spirulina its blue-green colour); which can help to reduce proinflammatory cytokines in the body as well as provide antioxidant protection to the body. When phycocyanin is evaluated in vitro, it is shown to be able to scavenge alkoxyl, hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals and to react with peroxinitrite (ONOO-) and hypochlorous acid (HOCl). It is also shown to inhibit microsomal lipid peroxidation induced by iron (II) ascorbate or the free radical initiator 2, 2, azobis (2-amidinopropane) hydrochloride (AAPH). Furthermore, it can help to reduce carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)-induced lipid peroxidation in vivo model. By suppressing all these harmful chemicals, phycocyanin can reduce the release of histamine, cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) & tumor-necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and the levels of prostaglandin (PGE (2) and leukotriene (LTB-4) in the inflamed tissues2, 3. According to Park et al 2008, 16 weeks consumption of 8g/day spirulina consumption also shows to improve superoxide dismutase (SOD, a powerful antioxidant) level among elderly Korean populations (p<0.05)4.


Ischemic heart disease is the number one killer in 2018 and has shown an increasing trend from 13.9% in 2017 to 15.6% in 20185. Spirulina is shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL-cholesterol while raising HDL-cholesterol level. A study includes 25 subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus administered with 2g/day spirulina supplementation for two months were shown to have significant reduction of triglyceride level with other markers showing improvement6. Another study includes 52 middle-aged Cretan patients given 1g/day spirulina supplementation for 12 weeks reports 16.3% reduction in TG and 10.1% reduction in LDL-cholesterol7.


Lipid peroxidation is the key driver for the development of many cardiovascular illnesses by causing atherosclerosis8. Spirulina contains many antioxidants such as phycocyanin, carotenoids, ɣ-linoleic and plant sterols that can help to reduce lipid peroxidation, inflammation and intestinal absorption of cholesterol; which give a protective effect to CVDs9.  In a study involving 37 Korean patients with T2DM, consumption of 8g spirulina per day significantly reduces inflammatory markers like TNF-α, IL-6 and MDA while increasing antioxidant levels in the body10. Other than reducing lipid peroxidation, spirulina helps to lower blood pressure which will lead to CVD and chronic renal failure if not treated. A study by Torres-Duran et al 2007, 4.5g spirulina supplementation can help to reduce blood pressure by approximately 8 to 10mmHg for both readings. The reduction of BP is likely due to a stimulation of nitric oxide, a vasodilator by endothelium of blood vessel11.


There is also some evidence showing that spirulina can help in managing blood glucose level. Phycocyanin in spirulina helps to inhibit the gene expression of p53 in order to protect pancreatic islet cells from damage. Phycocyanin promotes glucokinase (GK) expression that functions to promote the liver to convert glucose to glycogen as storage12. Phycocyanin’s antidiabetic effect is likely due to it being able to enhance insulin sensitivity, amelioration of insulin resistance of peripheral target tissues and regulation of glucolipide metabolism13.

Last but not least, spirulina able to enhance endurance during exercise and able to extend the time of exhaustion after 2-hour run exercise by significantly reduce carbohydrate oxidation rate by 10.3% and increased fat oxidation rate by 10.9% as compared to the placebo16. Therefore, spirulina supplementation is a good addition to be taken before working-out in order to improve the endurance of the athlete.


Aspen Liquid Spirulina contains about 450mg spirulina extract per 15ml. It can be consumed everyday to improve the general health and energy level of an individual.


  1. Simone Reuter, Subash C. Gupta, Madan M. Chaturvedi, & Bharat B. Agagrwal. (2010) Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer: How are they linked? Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Vol. 49. Issue 11. Pages: 1603-1616
  2. Ch Romay, R Gonzalez, N Ledon, D Remirez & V Rimbau (2003). C-phycocyanin: a biliprotein with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Curr Protein Pept Sci. 4(3). 207-16
  3. Chao-Ming Shih, Shin-Nan Cheng, Chih-Shung Wong, Yu-Ling Kuo and Tz-Chong Chou (2009). Antiinflammatory and Antihyperalgesic Activity of C-Phycocyanin. Anesth Analg;108:1303–10
  4. HJ Park, YJ Lee, HK Ryu, MH Kim, HW Chung, & WY Kim. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study to establish the effects of spirulina in elderly Koreans. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008; 52(4): 322-8
  5. Department of StatisticsMalaysia (2019). Statistics on the Causes of Death Malaysia, 2019. Published at 1200 hours, Wednesday, 30 October 2019
  6. Panam Parikh, Uliyar Mani & Uma Iyer. Role of spirulina in the control of glycemia and lipidemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Med Food. (2001), 4(4): 193-199
  7. Elias E Mazopakis, Ioannis K Starakis, Maria G Papadomanolaki, Niki G Mavroeidi, & Emmanuel S Ganotakis. The hypolipidemic effects of Spirulina (Arthospira platensis) supplementation in a Cretan population: a prospective study. J Sci Food Agric. 2014. 94(3): 432-7
  8. Yasushi Ishigaki, Yoshitomo Oka & Hideki Katagiri. Circulating oxidized LDL: a biomarker and a pathogenic factor. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2009; 20(5): 363-9
  9. Chai Siah Ku, Yue Yang, Youngki Park, and Jiyoung Lee. Health Benefits of Blue-Green Algae: Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. J Med Food 16 (2) 2013, 103–111
  10. Eun Hee Lee, Ji-Eun Park, Young-Ju Choi, Kap-Bum Huh and Wha-Young Kim. Arandomized study to establish the effects of spirulina in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Nutrition Research and Practice (2008), 2(4), 295-300
  11. MA Juarez-Oropeza, D Mascher, PV Torres-Duran, JM Farias, & MC Paredes-Carbajal. Effects of dietary Spirulina on vascular reactivity. J Med Food. 2009. 12(1): 15-20
  12. Yu Ou, Lin Lin, Xuegan Yang, Qin Pan, & Xiaodong Cheng. Preventive effect of phycocyanin from Spirulina platensis on alloxan-injured mice. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2012. 34(3): 721-6
  13. Yu Ou, Lin Lin, Xuegan Yang, Qin Pan, & Xiaodong Cheng. Antidiabetic potential of phycocyanin: effects on KKAy mice. Pharm Biol. 2013. 51(5): 539-44  
  14. M Kalafati, AZ Jamurtas, MG Nikolaidis, V Paschalis, AA Theodorou, GK Sakellariou, Y Koutedakis & D Kouretas. Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2010). 42(1): 142-51
  15. Patricia V Torres-Duran, Aldo Ferreira-Hermosillo and Marco A Juarez-Oropeza. (2007). Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of mexican population: a preliminary report. Lipids in Health and Disease 2007, 6:33
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