Among the many benefits of spirulina, this microalgae that has one of the highest protein concentrations of any food on the planet, loads of antioxidants and is even touted for its ability to detox heavy metals out of the body.
But does it also have the ability to fight or prevent cancer?
A couple of studies delve into whether or not this is possible, so let’s take a closer look.
Spirulina vs. Lung Cancer
In 2018, a group of Polish researchers set out to discover whether or not spirulina would have a cytotoxic effect on human lung cancer cells, non-small-cell carcinoma, and published their findings in the journal Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. The researchers introduced a commercial spirulina powder to a cell culture of the cancer cells as well as to healthy human skin cells.
The results were outstanding for a few reasons. First of all, they found the spirulina to be toxic to the cancer cells, but had no toxicity to the healthy cells. Additionally, the spirulina-treated cancer cells showed a reduced proliferation to below 62 percent versus the control cells. The spirulina powder also induced morphological changes in the cancer cells, including such important things as the disintegration of cell membranes.
Perhaps most important are the cancer cell death results the researchers observed. They found the apoptosis rate (programmed cell death) increased from 4 percent in the control cells to over 22 percent in the spirulina-treated cancer cells and the necrotic rate (cell death by injury or external factors) increased from 2.6 percent in the control to over 19 percent in the spirulina group.
Spirulina vs. Pancreatic Cancer
In 2014, a group of researchers from the Czech Republic published encouraging findings in the journal Annals of Hepatology. The researchers tested spirulina on several human pancreatic cell lines in vitro and on on mice in vivo (we are against animal testing here and present these findings for informational purposes only).
At the end of their study, they found the spirulina to be effective in decreasing pancreatic cancer cell viability in all the lines they tested, in a dose-dependent manner. These findings were seen in both the in vitro testing and the in vivo testing.
Are These Benefits of Spirulina Useful to Us?
These benefits show us that spirulina needs to be studied on a larger scale and in humans to determine how effective spirulina and/or its compounds really are at treating different cancer cell lines as well as how we ought to apply them.
For example, if spirulina benefits us as an effective treatment against a particular cancer cell line, how would one apply it? Would it need to be applied directly against the cancer cells, like an injection, or could somebody take it orally and rely on the blood to transport it to the cancer cells? And in either case, what dose would be considered effective? These are things we don’t know.
Because of these unknown factors, all we can say for sure is that these compounds have the potential to help us, although that potential may be great. So, if we are to take them we should do so for preventative purposes first, with the hope that they can treat or prevent things like cancer.
Additionally, they should be part of a comprehensive, preventative dietary plan, alongside other superfoods that show similar potential to heal, in order to give ourselves the best chance at great health and healing.
Even these studies show a reduction in cancer cells rather than an outright removal of them, although we will not rule out that being possible and perhaps with longer studies and appropriate application that could happen. We simply do not know right now and cannot say for sure.
What we can say is one healing superfood is great, but the benefits of many healing superfoods, like spirulina, taken together in the appropriate amounts can give a much greater chance at superb health.
As always, do not consume any foods you are allergic to and consult your licensed health professional when starting or changing any treatment plan for any condition.
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