Posted by James Quinn

HIV Studies Show Possible Benefits of Spirulina Use

This article focuses on two studies conducted several years ago by the Institute of Nutritional Sciences at Germany’s University of Giessen dealing with adult females in Africa living with the human immunodeficiency virus.  Subjects in both test groups responded better to the Spirulina diet even though the placebo group was given a supplement that was created to have a similar nutritional (soybean) composition to that of the experimental group. 
Both studies lasted 90 days with the first monitoring 72 women who were given five grams of the respective supplements daily and were tested for the following at the beginning and end it.
  • CD4 T-cell counts (higher good)
  • CD8-CD-38 T-cell counts (lower good)
  • Viral Load: level of infection in the body
  • Antioxidant activity in the body
  • Kidney function
  • Weight and Body Mass Index
In the first test neither group was taking antiviral medication.  Both groups gained weight during the study from the extra protein but the Spirulina group gained more. The placebo group experienced 3 HIV related infections while the Spirulina group had none. Additionally, 21 of the 30 (70%) of the  placebo subjects who completed the test experienced HIV related events verses only 12/28 (40%) for the Spirulina group (a handful dropped out of the study on both sides).  Another amazing statistic is that within two weeks of the study completion 10 members of the placebo group had worsened to the point of needing antiviral drugs verses only 3 from the Spirulina group.
Both T-cell counts showed greater benefits for the Spirulina group.  While the CD4 T-cell counts did not increase for either group; the Spirulina group showed a smaller reduction while at the same time the CD8-CD38 T-cell count showed a greater reduction in the Spirulina group than the placebo group.  These two result comparisons were deemed "Non-Significant" by the researchers but both showed slightly better results from the Spirulina group
The antioxidant level in the Spirulina group increased while decreasing in the placebo group.  This Total Antioxidant Capacity test jumped from 330 to 387 (+57) for the Spirulina group verses a decrease of 357 to 336 (-21) in the placebo group.  The previously mentioned kidney testing also showed better results from the Spirulina group with creatine levels decreasing while at the same time slightly increasing in the placebo group.
The second 90 day study was done on two groups of 26 Sub-Saharan woman who were already taking antiviral medication and called for an increased supplement amount that was a percentage of the subject's body weight (.37 grams per kilogram body weight during the first 30 days and .20 grams per kilogram daily for the remainder). The average spirulina intake (53KG was the average subject weight) was between 19 and 20 grams for the first 30 days decreasing to around 11 grams for the remainder.
This study again had the Spirulina group seeing higher benefits in antioxidant levels as well as fat free body mass (though the placebo group did average a higher weight gain {between two and three kilograms more on average than in the spirulina group}).  The most important finding was that the CD4 T-cells increase was greater (although slightly) in the Spirulina group than in the placebo group.
Here is the official conclusion of the report which states that more research has to be done and also acknowledges the difference in HIV related events as well as Spirulina's antioxidant benefits-


"In the context of the present study, Arthrospira platensis is a food rich in nutrients and bioactive molecules that can be grown locally. The consumption in the form of 10 capsules of dry powder, up to five grams a day, showed a non-significant clinical effect and no immunological activity for pre-HAART HIV-infected women over three months. Viral load and CD4 cell count were unaffected. However, the intervention seemed to reduce the incidence of concomitant events, as well as opportunistic infections and showed a positive effect on weight stabilization.

Although the number of cases in this study was low, an effect of Asp on the antioxidant status could be documented in HAART-naive HIV patients. The use of Asp for antiretroviral activity should be looked at carefully, since we did not generate data supporting such an effect in the present study. However, Asp can be recommended as a food supplement capable of reinforcing the body’s antioxidative status"

Three points to take away from these studies.
  • Spirulina did better than the comparable nutrients provided by the soybean/placebo group.  The mission of this website is to show the benefits of natural super foods including Spirulina.  A diet rich in greens will always beat a diet that is lacking in it no matter the human condition; be it HIV or living in a smog filled-city.
  • Antiviral drugs have been a godsend to people suffering from HIV since the late 1980s and it is important in a world that extolls movie stars and athletes to give praise to those who have had a literal impact on human life such as Luc Montagnier; who along with his research team in the early 1980s was able to determine what the virus was in the first place.
  • More studies like these have to be done. Studies like these (on a relatively inexpensive super food such as spirulina) are relatively rare.  The correlation between the number of a clinical trials done on a food or drug and the amount of money to be made from them is staggering and paints a horrible picture of the overall progression of our species.  These two studies help give a better perspective to the options people can consider adding to their nutritional regiment.
 
 A full test report can be found at;
The effect of Arthrospira platensis capsules on CD4 T-cells and antioxidative capacity in a randomized pilot study of adult women infected with human immunodeficiency virus not under HAART in Yaoundé, Cameroon. http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC4113773