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Excess weight and obesity: the positive effects of spirulina

Spiruline Tackling excess weight and obesity has become a genuine public health issue1. Defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health, overweight and obesity has reached epidemic proportions, affecting almost 2 billion adults worldwide2. Given these alarming statistics, the vital role of prevention is emphasised by the WHO. The importance of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is undisputed but a number of scientists are also working to develop therapeutic solutions. These include natural products with properties that may help tackle excess weight and obesity. One such substance is spirulina, a type of micro-algae highly valued in phytotherapy for its nutritional composition and its many virtues. Drawing on a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences3 we review here the beneficial effects of this super-food.

Spirulina, a super-food with multiple properties

In recent years, spirulina’s exceptional content in vitamins, minerals, trace elements and natural pigments, which together offer multiple health benefits, has made it the subject of numerous scientific studies. While it is particularly valued by sportspeople for improving post-exercise recovery, this super-alga also offers significant potential against excess weight and obesity. Several articles have reported on its beneficial effects on glycaemia, the lipid profile and blood pressure. Supplementing with spirulina may therefore prove particularly beneficial for preventing the development of certain cardiovascular problems such as hypertension, a common condition in overweight individuals.

Evaluation of therapeutic potential of spirulina treatment

In view of the harmful consequences of excess weight on cardiovascular health, a team of Polish scientists decided to explore the effects of spirulina supplementation in hypertensive individuals. Their three-month study involved 40 patients, who were given either a placebo or a spirulina supplement. In order to assess the latter’s efficacy, a number of markers were measured before and after the intervention, including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, arterial stiffness index and various anthropometric parameters.

Supplementation beneficial against excess weight

At the end of the three-month study, the researchers observed positive results in the spirulina-supplemented patients, noting significant reductions in body mass index, weight, systolic blood pressure and stiffness index. No such changes were seen in the placebo group. These results thus confirm the benefits of spirulina supplementation for preventing or combatting overweight and obesity. Providing further evidence of spirulina’s super-food status, the study concluded that treatment with spirulina may not only offer benefits for weight loss but also for preventing health complications such as hypertension. This beneficial alga is now offered in various forms, including spirulina powder in easy-to-take capsules, available from the SuperSmart catalogue: (Spirulina. > Sources :
1. Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS), 10 faits sur l’obésité, Mai 2014.
2. Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS), Obésité et surpoids, Aide-mémoire N°311, Juin 2016.
3. A. Miczke, M. Szulińska, R. Hansdorfer-Korzon, M. Kręgielska-Narożna, J. Suliburska, J. Walkowiak, P. Bogdański, Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function in overweight hypertensive Caucasians: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2016; 20 (1): 150-156.
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