DIET AND FITNESS:

Spirulina--Ancient Food That
Lowers Cholesterol
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January 15, 2010

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor
and Featured Columnist


What food or food supplement lowers cholesterol fastest?
According to research studies, the anwer may be "spirulina".
Spirulina is not one of the
common cholesterol-lowering
foods you will find in your refrigerator. You can only find it
in health food stores.

Spirulina is believed to be one of the oldest plants on earth,
originating 3.6 billion years ago. A dark, blue-green algae
which grows naturally in clear sunny alkaline lakes of Japan,
Greece, the United States and India, spirulina was used by
the ancient Aztecs and Mayans as a staple food source.

Now, new studies have found that spirulina may become one
of our most powerful weapons against cholesterol and heart
disease.

What Is Spirulina?

Spirulina is one of the richest sources of protein on earth,
consisting of almost 70% protein. A member of the plant
genus cyanobacteria, one of the oldest and simplest plant
forms,  spirulina derives its name from its spiral-shaped
filaments. Spirulina has a thin cell membrane, making it easy
to digest for humans. Spirulina is a rich source of iron and
other trace minerals, it has more beta-carotenes than carrots
and contains a host of other powerful anti-oxidant nutrients,
such as phenolic acids, tocopherols and linolenic acid, which
studies have shown acts as an appetite suppresant.

Spirulina was re-discovered as a food source in the 1970’s
following its use by NASA as a part of the space diet for
astronauts. NASA has also announced that it will grow
spirulina as a long-term food source of astronauts on the
permanent space station. The Japanese lead the world in the
consumption and cultivation of spirulina.
Spirulina has no known side effects and is listed by the FDA
as “Generally Recommended for Safe Use” as a food
supplement. Spirulina is normally sold as dark green
powdered supplement or as tablets in health food stores.

The Evidence That Spirulina Lowers Cholesterol



























In one the few human studies on spirulina, Japanese
researchers from the University of Tohoku have found that
spirulina’s significantly lowers cholesterol. In a 1988 study,
researchers gave 15 male volunteers 4.2 grams of spirulina
each day. After 8 weeks of treatment, they found that LDL,
so-called “bad cholesterol” had dropped significantly.  There
was no change in the levels of HDL, so-called “good
cholesterol”. The amount of fatty deposits in the arteries of
the patients also significantly declined.

A later study was even more dramatic results. In 1996, a
study by researchers from Deemed University in India found
that use of aspirulina can lower cholesterol up to   %.  The
patients in the study all suffered from extremely high
cholesterol, from 250 to 400 mg/dl.  The recommended
healthy cut-off for total cholesterol is 200 mg/dl, so the
patients studied had cholesterol from 25% to 100% above
the healthy limit.  Sound like you?

The patients were divided into groups. The first group,
Group A, received 2 grams of spirulina daily for 3 months.
The second group, Group B, received twice that amount, 4
grams daily.  The third group, Group C, received nothing.

Total Cholesterol Drooped 22 to 33%

At the end of the study, Group A’s total cholesterol dropped
22%. Group B, which took 4 grams of Spirulina, saw their
total cholesterol drop 33%.  Group C which had received no
spirulina had no significant changes in their cholesterol.

LDL, “bad cholesterol, also dropped after using spirulina.
Group A’s LDL dropped 31%. Group B, the group which took
4 grams a day, dropped 45%.

Finally, HDL, “good cholesterol, improved after spirulina use.
Group A’s HDL increased 11.5%. Group B’s HDL improved
almost 13%.

VLDL, a little known dangerous form of cholesterol, dropped
22% in Group A and 23% in Group B.

How much Spirulina should you take to lower Cholesterol?

Based on the Indian study, the patients who took 4 grams a
day for 3 months saw their total cholestrol drop 50% more
than those who took 2 grams a day. However, there is no
research study which has found that "more is always better"
beyond the 4 gram amount taken in the study.

You're just getting started. Learn more about the
relationship between your diet and your risk for other
diseases and conditions:
List of Common Foods That Lower
Cholesterol /How Much Is Too Much Salt? /Sugar-The
Disease Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your Health? /
Ideal Breakfast for
Diabetics / Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis
/
Healing Foods Links /  Foods That Shrink Your Waist /  
VLDL-The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That Reduce Blood
Pressure

Index of Articles on
This Site


Snoring Linked to
Stroke

How to Stop Bad Breath

BRAIN HEALTH



DIETS AND FITNESS

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH
SALT

HOW MUCH SALT IS IN MY
FOOD

SALT CONTENT OF COMMON
FOODS

150,000 DIE FROM EXCESS
SALT

I HAVE HIGH BLOOD
PRESSURE!

FOODS THAT LOWER YOUR
BLOOD PRESSURE

QUINOA-THE NEW
SUPERFOOD

INFLAMMATION INSIDE
THE BODY

FAT--IT'S ALIVE!

WHY WE GO SOFT IN THE
MIDDLE

WHY EUROPEANS ARE
THINNER

>VEGETARIAN RECIPES


MY HEART ATTACK

CANCER SURVIVORS


MONEY AND BUDGET

RESOURCES

AMERICAN HEART
ASSOCIATION

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Add spirulina to your orange juice in the mornings