From fruits to exercise, there are a lot of things you can do to prevent cancer. And when it’s the country’s second leading cause of death, it’s definitely worth thinking about.1
This is where spirulina or arthrospira comes in. This blue-green alga is full of protein, vitamins, and minerals – just to name a few. It can even ward off cancer, making it your new best friend.2
Once you learn about these five ways Spirulina algae prevents cancer, you’ll want to add it your diet.
1. Prevents Oxidative Stress
Spirulina has amazing anti-oxidative properties. This means it can hunt and destroy free radicals, sparing the body from oxidative stress. As a result, these harmful molecules won’t cause cellular damage and therefore, cancer.
The phycocyanin in spirulina specifically decreases peroxyl radicals, while sulfated polysaccharide also stops oxidation. Additionally, spirulina increases the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase – two enzymes that kill major free radicals.
When combined with other antioxidants, spirulina’s cancer-fighting ability increases.3
2. Protects DNA
Oxidative stress messes with your DNA and leads to cancer. But thanks to spirulina, even your DNA will have protection. It prevents DNA fragmentation while regulating the way genes are expressed. This way, genes can’t be altered in a dangerous way.4
Spirulina also has sulfated polysaccharide, a substance that can repair damaged DNA.5
3. Kills Cancer Cells
Even if cancer develops, spirulina will continue to fight. Its high level of γ-Linolenic acid (GLA) reduces the expression of cancer cells while destroying them.6
Spirulina is also full of phytochemicals, which are known for their ability to stop cancer cells from spreading. In fact, they can slow down the growth of cancer in the skin, brain, colon, ovaries, prostate, pancreas, breast, and blood. Tumor regression is another beneficial effect of spirulina.
These abilities are so powerful that spirulina may be an alternative treatment to chemo. According to the Journal of Cancer, it can suppress breast cancer tumors caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2, along with ovarian cancer cells.7
4. Strengthens Immune System
A strong immunity is crucial for cancer prevention. The better it is, the healthier you’ll be.
Spirulina can help it out by promoting antibody production and activating white blood cells. Macrophages or cells that “eat” foreign substances will also improve. These benefits stem from spirulina’s amazing level of phycocyanin, phycocyanobilin, and beta-carotene.8
The immune-boosting effect is so powerful that it can even help HIV patients. When combined with a balanced diet, six months of daily spirulina supplementation reduced their viral load.9 If it can manage HIV, imagine what it can do for cancer prevention.
5. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation plays a big part in the development of cancer. It makes cells extremely vulnerable so that genes are easily altered. The inflammatory state also creates the perfect environment for tumors to grow.10
However, spirulina has major anti-inflammatory abilities. The phycocyanin and beta-carotene hinder the expression of inflammatory genes, keeping cells in good shape.
Inflammation is also primarily controlled by the immune system. As spirulina strengthens your immunity, it’ll handle inflammation better.11 As a result, cancer will be less likely.
High doses of spirulina won’t have negative side effects, so it’s quite safe. It may, however, be contaminated with dangerous substances. Always choose a trustworthy brand.
If you’re taking a drug that’s designed to suppress your immunity, don’t take spirulina. You should also avoid it if you have an autoimmune disease, as it can stimulate your immune system.
Finally, don’t take spirulina if you have phenylketonuria. It has the amino acid phenylalanine which can’t be metabolized by people with this condition.
How to use: To take spirulina, dried powder or flakes can be added to smoothies or baked goods. You can also buy supplements as capsules.12 Check out your local health food store!
|↑1, ↑7||Ouhtit, Allal, Rajiv Lochan Gaur, Mohamed Abdraboh, Shubha K. Ireland, Prakash N. Rao, Shailaja G. Raj, Hamad Al-Riyami et al. “Simultaneous inhibition of cell-cycle, proliferation, survival, metastatic pathways and induction of apoptosis in breast cancer cells by a phytochemical super-cocktail: genes that underpin its mode of action.” J Cancer 4, no. 9 (2013): 703-15.|
|↑2, ↑12||Spirulina. University of Medical Maryland Center.|
|↑3, ↑5, ↑6, ↑8, ↑11||Wu, Qinghua, Lian Liu, Anca Miron, Blanka Klímová, Dan Wan, and Kamil Kuča. “The antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory activities of Spirulina: an overview.” Archives of toxicology 90, no. 8 (2016): 1817-1840.|
|↑4||Hassan, Aziza M., Sekena H. Abdel-Aziem, and Mosaad A. Abdel-Wahhab. “Modulation of DNA damage and alteration of gene expression during aflatoxicosis via dietary supplementation of Spirulina (Arthrospira) and whey protein concentrate.” Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 79 (2012): 294-300.|
|↑9||Ngo-Matip, Marthe-Elise, Constant Anatole Pieme, Marcel Azabji-Kenfack, Bruno Moukette Moukette, Emmanuel Korosky, Philippe Stefanini, Jeanne Yonkeu Ngogang, and Carl Moses Mbofung. “Impact of daily supplementation of Spirulina platensis on the immune system of naïve HIV-1 patients in Cameroon: a 12-months single blind, randomized, multicenter trial.” Nutrition journal 14, no. 1 (2015): 70.|
|↑10||Rakoff-Nahoum, Seth. “Why cancer and inflammation.” Yale J Biol Med 79, no. 3-4 (2006): 123-30.|