Spirulina: A wonder herb to treat topical diseases

 

Kushagra Nagori, Mukesh Sharma

Rungta College of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research,  Bhilai, C.G. India.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: kushagranagori13@yahoo.co.in

 

ABSTRACT:

Our skin is our body’s largest organ and barrier from the outside world. When our skin is constantly exposed to pollutants and UV damaging rays over an extended period of time, it becomes more vulnerable to free radical damage.  Excessive free radical exposure through a toxic diet and environmental pollutants harm the skin by damaging DNA and cell membranes that keep the skin plump and firm. As we all know, some of our illnesses are caused by having insufficient nutrients in our body. These illnesses are just the symptoms to show us that we may be lacking in some nutrients. If we replenish these nutrients in time, the symptoms usually disappearWith over 100 nutrients, Spirulina is often described as the most complete food source in the world. The American National Aeronautical and Space Agency includes it in their astronauts diet and plans to grow Spirulina in it’s space station.Japan has some good examples of some Japanese seniors who have only relied on Spirulina and water for more than 20 years showing how good is Spirulina for the human body. Spirulina is effective in treating dark circles dry eye symptoms,detoxifies skin,dandruff,aging skin,rinkle and hairfall.

 

 

KEYWORDS:

 

 


INTRODUCTION:

Spirulina is 100% natural and a highly nutritious micro salt water plant. It was discovered in South American and Africa in natural alkaline lakes. This spiral shaped algae is a rich food source. For a long time (centuries) this algae has constituted a significant part of the diet of many communities. Since the 1970's, Spirulina has been well known and widely used as a dietary supplement in some countries.(1)Spirulina contains rich vegetable protein (60~ 63 %, 3~4 times higher than fish or beef ), multi Vitamins (Vitamin B 12 is 3~4 times higher than animal liver), which is particularly lacking in a vegetarian diet. It contains a wide range of minerals (including Iron, Potassium, Magnesium Sodium, Phosphorus, Calcium etc.), a high volume of Beta- carotene which protects cells (5 time more than carrots, 40 time more than spinach), high volumes of gamma-Linolein acid (which can reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease). (2)Further, Spirulina contains Phycocyanin which can only be found in Spirulina.

 

Spirulina is naturally-occurring blue-green algae. It is very rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and many other nutrients, as well as being an excellent source of antioxidants. Studies done in test tubes indicate that spirulina might be a natural wonder drug, as it has benefits that seem to go far beyond what one would expect from a simple algae.Cyanobacteria, CyanobactérieIn USA, NASA have chosen to use it for astronauts food in space,and even plan to grow and harvest it in space stations in the near future. (3)

 

Nurturing and natural features of Spirulina

“Blue-green algae are commonly found in tropical or subtropical waters that have a high-salt content, but some types grow in large fresh water lakes. The natural color of these algae can give bodies of water a dark-green appearance. The altitude, temperature, and sun exposure where the blue-green algae are grown dramatically influence the types and mix of blue-green algae in the water. (4)

 

There are four major conditions for growing Spirulina.

1.      Tropical weather

2.      Strong sunshine

3.      Pure water resource

4.      Pollution free environment

It is not possible to grow Commercial Spirulina culture in a cold or temperate area. Spirulina needs consistent high temperature which helps it’s growth. Spirulina will not grow anywhere that has constant low temperature (under 25 degrees). Under 20c degrees Spirulina will stop reproducing and die in a short time. (5)

 

Dosage of  Spirulina. (6)

A typical standard dose is four to six tablets each day, of 500 mg each. If this choose to take spirulina in something other than pill form, keep the 500 mg dosage in mind. It is also important to remember not to take spirulina when pregnancy or nursing.Make sure to take spirulina with only water, either cold or warm. Avoid taking it with things like juice, tea, soda, or milk. Also avoid these things for at least 30 minutes after taking spirulina, as they can destroy some of the good effects. In addition to taking spirulina, drink at least an extra half-liter of water every day to help it better absorb into your body.

 

Skin:

Our skin is a remarkable barometer of our body’s health and is therefore affected by how well we are internally. So getting our body’s systems working optimally is crucial to addressing skin problems. Diet is also key – eating foods which nourish our body while limiting those which are toxic or contribute no nutritional value is important. (7)


Skin Nutrition:
(8)

The health of our skin depends on 3 basic elements: 

1.The quality of nutrients taken in from our diet
2.How well these nutrients are digested and absorbed
3.The effectiveness of the bodies waste removal

 

It is important to nourish and balance each cell in the body with proper nutrients and water to help skin look and feel great. The human body has an innate intelligence; give the body what it needs (not what it desires), and the body will take care of all aspects of its health. The skin is part of the body, and it has many functions. It is the largest organ of the body. (9) (10) (11)It serves as a protective cover, helps to regulate the body’s temperature, defends the body against foreign invaders (through the immune system), and helps the body’s detoxification process. It is also called “the third kidney.” If the kidney’s elimination pathways are backed up, toxins will eliminate through the skin.

 

It is important to examine and incorporate the nutritional foundations because:

Beautiful skin on the outside begins with good health on the inside.

The condition of skin is a direct reflection of our health; what is going on inside the body will be reflected on the outside of the body.

The body will take care of the rest: a healthy body, more energy and beautiful complexion.

 

Instructions for glowing healthy skin at any age. (12-14)

Drink more water and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Sounds obvious, but it can make a real difference.

Limit your intake of sugary foods, refined carbohydrates (white bread etc) and anything fried.

Eat more antioxidant-rich foods such as carrots, pumpkin, watercress, berries, broccoli, fish and seafood.

Boost your intake of essential fats that help to keep your skin soft and supple – so eat a handful of unsalted nuts and seeds each day and have oily fish a few times a week.

If you experience other health issues – particularly with digestion or hormone balance – these can manifest in skin problems, so take steps to find out more and address these

 

Spirulina, the wonder nutrient for the skin. (15-17)

It not only contains just about every skin nutrient,but it cleanses and purifies the body.

It naturally detoxes daily. “Spirulina has an antioxidant system which prevents the harmful action of radicals in the dermis and epidermis

Its outstanding nutritional profile also includes the essential fatty acids, GLA fatty acid, lipids, the nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), B complex, vitamin E and phytochemicals, such as carotenoids, chlorophyll (blood purifier), and phycocyanin (a blue pigment), which is a pigment that is known to inhibit skin cancer.

 

Spirulina (dried)

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy

1,213 kJ (290 kcal)

Carbohydrates

23.9 g

Sugars

3.1 g

Dietary fiber

3.6 g

Fat

7.72 g

Saturated

2.65 g

Monounsaturated

0.675 g

Polyunsaturated

2.08 g

Protein

57.47 g

Tryptophan

0.929 g

Threonine

2.97 g

Isoleucine

3.209 g

Leucine

4.947 g

Lysine

3.025 g

Methionine

1.149 g

Cystine

0.662 g

Phenylalanine

2.777 g

Tyrosine

2.584 g

Valine

3.512 g

Arginine

4.147 g

Histidine

1.085 g

Alanine

4.515 g

Aspartic acid

5.793 g

Glutamic acid

8.386 g

Glycine

3.099 g

Proline

2.382 g

Serine

2.998 g

 

 

Vitamins

Vitamin A equiv.

beta-carotene

Lutein zeaxanthin

(4%) 29 μg

(3%) 342 μg

0 μg

Thiamine (B1)

(207%)

2.38 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

(306%)

3.67 mg

Niacin (B3)

(85%)

12.82 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

(70%)

3.48 mg

Vitamin B6

(28%)

0.364 mg

Folate (B9)

(24%)

94 μg

Vitamin B12

(0%)

0 μg

Choline

(13%)

66 mg

Vitamin C

(12%)

10.1 mg

Vitamin D

(0%)

0 IU

Vitamin E

(33%)

5 mg

Vitamin K

(24%)

25.5 μg

Trace metals

Calcium

(12%)

120 mg

Iron

(219%)

28.5 mg

Magnesium

(55%)

195 mg

Manganese

(90%)

1.9 mg

Phosphorus

(17%)

118 mg

Potassium

(29%)

1363 mg

Sodium

(70%)

1048 mg

Zinc

(21%

2 mg

 

How it is work for healthy skin. (20-23)

Spirulina absorbs sunshine and then creates a reaction in its cells. When this reaction starts, Spirulina will produce the nutrients in the cell and will convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Strong sunshine helps Spirulina produce more nutrients.

Spirulina provide an improved skin tone, more skin elasticity and general skin nutrition.

Spirulina has a vast range of properties which enables it to effectively fulfill its purpose to the skin and this includes:

A high content of necessary vitamins and minerals which adequately help nourish the skin, taking care of very sensitive skin and blushing skin. These ingredients are also responsible for moisturizing and soothing sore and broken skin.

Spirulina is also able to maintain moisturized skin through preventing water evaporation from the skin surface improving on the nutrition and the soothing effects on the skin

Its skin soothing effect enables this mask powder deal with skin troubles, enhance a glowing skin and cure the skin after peeling.

Spirulina also allows for pore contraction, leading to a cooling effect on the skin. It enables the skin maintain its elasticity and skin pore shrinkage, leaving a calm and refreshed skin feeling.

A major advantage in the use of Spirulina mask powder is that it is perfect for all kinds of skin. The product is medically approved for use on all kinds of skin including oily skin, tired skin, highly irritable skin and all other skins requiring soothing and special treatment.

 

Spirulina Health Benefits: (24-28)

Spirulina is a “superfood” which possesses tremendous nutritional value. Being rich in vital nutrients, this plant offers the following health benefits:

 

1. Treatment of Allergies:

According to research, Spirulina can help in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Consumption of Spirulina helps in reducing symptoms like nasal discharge, sneezing, congestion and itching.

 

2. Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels:

Spirulina reduces the blood cholesterol levels naturally and boosts the absorption of vital minerals. Consumption of several grams of Spirulina daily can reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and improve the cholesterol ratio. This normalization of cholesterol plays a great role in weight reduction.

 

3. Beneficial in Diabetes:

In a study it was observed that taking Spirulina as a dietary supplement for 12 weeks results in a significant reduction in blood-fat levels. It is particularly beneficial for diabetics as it decreases inflammation and helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

4. Aids in Weight Loss:

Spirulina is rich in beta-carotene, chlorophyll, fatty-acid GLA and other nutrients which are particularly beneficial for overweight people. Taking this supplement is beneficial while fasting, as it supplies the nutrients that are needed to cleanse and heal your system, while curbing your appetite.

 

5. Prevents Cancer:

Several studies have proven that Spirulina can arrest the development of cancer progression, reduce the risk of cancer initiation and boost your immune system.  It is a great substitute for animal products as it contains a special form of protein that assimilates well. Unlike animal proteins, it does not burden your body with waste products. It is also rich in phycocyanin, a pigment with anti-cancer properties. It strengthens immunity and inhibits excess cell division. Spirulina also offers some protection against oral cancers.

6. Improves Brain/Cognitive Function:

Folate and vitamin B-12 play an important role in the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system. Being rich in these nutrients, Spirulina helps in protecting cognitive function as one starts to age. This nutritional supplement helps maintain brain function.

 

7. Cures Depression:

Spirulina is a good source of folic acid which provides nourishment for the brain and supports the production of energy and blood cells. This makes it beneficial in the treatment of depression.

 

8. Eye Health: (29-32)

Research has shown that Spirulina is beneficial for the eyes. It is proven to be effective in treating eye diseases such as geriatric cataracts, diabetic retinal damage (retinitis), nephritic retinal damage and hardening of retinal blood vessels (angiosclerosis).

 

9. Treatment of Ulcers:

Spirulina acts as a good treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, thanks to the presence of amino acids, cysteine and a high content of high quality protein. Being rich in chlorophyll, it is great for retaining and restoring a good digestion.

 

10. Treatment of Hepatitis and Cirrhosis:

Clinical reports have indicated that Spirulina prevents, as well as cures, fatty liver and hepato-cirrhosis. This supplement should be taken for at least one month to notice beneficial results.

 

11. Promotes Sexual Vitality:

The high content of protein in Spirulina, as well as the presence of other vitamins, minerals and enzymes, makes it beneficial for improving sexual vigor.

 

12. Dental Health:

Spirulina has a high content of phosphorus and helps improve your teeth.

 

13. Antibacterial Properties:

Chronic candida yeast is responsible for worsening symptoms of various autoimmune diseases. Spirulina keeps candida overgrowth under control by encouraging and supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in your stomach.

 

14. HIV and AIDS:

Spirulina can cure the symptoms that are a side-effect of HIV and AIDS treatment. It also helps inactivate the human immunodeficiency virus associated with HIV and AIDS.

 

15. Beneficial during Pregnancy: (33-36)

Spirulina has a high content of iron which is required during pregnancy, particularly for those with anemia. It also prevents constipation.

16. Other Uses of Spirulina:

Spirulina possesses antimicrobial properties that can destroy bacteria and viruses such as HIV-1, enterovirus, cytomegalovirus, measles, mumps, influenza A and herpes simplex. It also boosts the immune system by making it produce more monocytes, natural killer cells and macrophages, all of which destroy invading pathogens in the body.

 

Skin Benefits of Spirulina:

Being loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, Spirulina has a lot to offer in terms of skincare. It is beneficial for your skin in the following ways:

 

17. Skin Toner:

Spirulina has a high content of vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin E, calcium, iron and phosphorus, all of which are vital for your skin’s health. Free radicals make your skin look tired, limp and flabby. Taking Spirulina supplements on a regular basis works wonders for your skin, making it look toned, youthful and vital. It also treats flabby skin by eliminating the body’s metabolic waste products and strengthening the body as a whole.

 

18. Treatment of Dark Circles:

Spirulina is effective in treating dark circles and dry eye symptoms. Its detoxifying effects give your eyes new energy and power, removing dark shadows and dryness.

 

19. Anti-ageing Benefits:

Spirulina contains tyrosine, vitamin E or tocopherol, and selenium, all of which are known for their anti-ageing effects. Tyrosine slows down the ageing of skin cells. The antioxidants present in it eliminate free radicals which are responsible for skin ageing. Try this facial mask to prevent premature ageing of skin and fight acne. Make a paste by mixing some Spirulina with water and apply it on your face. Keep on for 20 minutes and wash off. This will make your skin amazingly soft and smooth as well as prevent signs of ageing like wrinkles.

 

20. Detoxifies Skin:

Spirulina facilitates faster cell turnover that helps skin heal faster. It wards off free radicals and eliminates toxins from the skin to increase skin metabolism. It also prevents candida overgrowth that can cause acne breakouts.

 

21. Healthy Nails:

Regular use of Spirulina treats fingernail ridges and other nail problems. Spirulina contains 70% high-value protein which is required by the body. Consuming it for about 4 weeks can cure nail problems and warts.

 

Hair Benefits of Spirulina: (37-41)

Spirulina is being widely used for promoting hair growth and to combat hair problems like thinning hair and baldness. Spirulina contains amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamin A and beta-carotene, all of which are great for hair. Some of its hair benefits are as follows:

22. Promotes Hair Growth:

External use of Spirulina can speed up hair growth. Besides consumption, this algae is used as an ingredient in shampoos and conditioning treatments. It also helps in hair re-growth.

 

23. Treatment of Hair Loss:

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease characterized by hair loss at an alarming rate. It is not just confined to the scalp alone but also leads to hair loss across the body and face. This can result in bald spots, even in women, and even complete baldness. Spirulina acts as an alternative medicine to deter further loss of hair and facilitate hair renewal.

24. Treatment of Dandruff:

Spirulina acts as an antioxidant compound and taking it for 4 weeks makes your hair completely dandruff-free, glossy and stronger.

 

Nutritional Value of Spirulina(42-46)

Spirulina is a super food that has a rich nutritional value incorporating a multitude of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids which contribute to its various benefits. Being one of the most nutritious and concentrated food sources, it is frequently used in natural foods and beverages, including green foods and drinks, energy bars and oral supplements. Its nutritional profile is explained below:

 


Other benefits of Spirulina

Good For

Reasons

Immune System

Spirulina can increase the number of antibodies in the blood, helping the body fight off infections. It might also help ward off serious diseases, such as cancer.

Protein Supplement

Spirulina is mostly made up of amino acids – 62 percent, in fact. That means that it can be used as an effective nutritional supplement.

Allergic Reactions

When allergic reactions occur, spirulina can guard against them by working as an antihistamine, easing the symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and the like.

Antibiotic-Related Disease

When antibiotics work in the body, they kill both the bad bacteria and the beneficial ones. This can then lead to diarrhea and other problems. Spirulina can boost the growth of the good bacteria, giving your body the balance it needs.

Infections

In test tube trials, spirulina has been effective against serious infectious diseases, such as HIV, influenza and herpes. Studies have yet to determine just how effective it is in humans, however.

Oral Cancer

Spirulina tends to reduce precancerous lesions, as seen by limited studies. More studies are needed to determine whether spirulina will be an effective course of treatment alongside chemotherapy, radiation and the like.

Liver Disorders

Spirulina has been shown to help prevent and slow the progress of liver cancers, cirrhosis and other liver disorders.

Blood Pressure

Spirulina, when taken along with a regular regimen of diet and exercise to treat blood pressure, can help reduce hypertension. It has been shown to have limited benefits when used on its own.

Cholesterol

Though diet and exercise do matter when getting cholesterol under control, adding spirulina can help lower your cholesterol numbers even more.

Stroke

In studies on rats, it was found that spirulina helped combat free radicals and lowered the chances of stroke.

Cancer

Studies have shown that spirulina infused with selenium had a positive effect on breast cancer patients, and might have the same effect on other cancers as well.

 

 


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43.     Hirahashi T, Matsumoto M, Hazeki K, et al. Activation of the human innate immune system by Spirulina: augmentation of interferon production and NK cytotoxicity by oral administration of hot water extract of Spirulina platensisInt Immunopharmacol 2002;2:423-34.

44.     Vitale S, Miller NR, Mejico LJ, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial of super blue-green algae in patients with essential blepharospasm or Meige syndrome. Am J Ophthalmol 2004;138:18-32.

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46.     Hayashi O, Katoh T, Okuwaki Y. Enhancement of antibody production in mice by dietary Spirulina platensis. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1994;40:431-41.

 

 

 

 

Received on 10.12.2014                    Accepted on 28.12.2014  

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Res. J. Topical and Cosmetic Sci. 5(2): July –Dec. 2014 page 56-61