Effects of a Spirulina-based dietary supplement on cytokine production from allergic rhinitis patients

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97 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spirulina represents a blue-green alga that is widely produced and commercialized as a dietary supplement for modulating immune functions, as well as ameliorating a variety of diseases. We have previously shown that the in vitro culture of Spirulina with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) modulated the production of cytokines. In the present study, we evaluated the impact of a Spirulina-based dietary supplement (Earthrise Nutritionals, Inc., Irvine, CA) on patients with allergic rhinitis by assessing the production of cytokines [interleukin (IL)-4, interferon (IFN)-γ. and 1L-2] critical in regulating immunoglobulin E-mediated allergy. In a randomized double-blinded crossover study versus placebo, allergic individuals were fed daily with either placebo or Spirulina, at 1,000 mg or 2,000 mg, for 12 weeks. PBMCs isolated before and after the Spirulina feeding were stimulated with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) prior to determining the levels of cytokine from cell culture supernatants. Although Spirulina seemed to be ineffective at modulating the secretion of Th1 cytokines (IFN-α and 1L-2), we discovered that Spirulina, administered at 2,000 mg/day, significantly reduced IL-4 levels by 32% from PHA-stimulated cells. These results indicate that Spirulina can modulate the Th profile in patients with allergic rhinitis by suppressing the differentiation of Th2 cells mediated, in part, by inhibiting the production of IL-4. To our knowledge, this is the first human feeding study that demonstrates the protective effects of Spirulina towards allergic rhinitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-30
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medicinal Food
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Keywords

  • Antioxidants
  • Blue-green algae
  • Interleukin-4
  • Spirulina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

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