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Detox Your Way Out of Covid?

Updated: Apr 11

Or whatever is coming next!


A biomass of cyanobacteria, meaning blue-green algae, spirulina (arthrospira platensis), a cyanobacterium is consumed by both humans and animals, cultivated worldwide. Purported to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant effects, in Western society any claims must be backed by well-designed, randomized controlled trials.


The form Arthrospira is used as a dietary supplement or whole food. What’s the effect of high-dose Spirulina supplementation on hospitalized adults with COVID-19? With not a lot of research backing such a question, a Persian team of scientists affiliated with Pasteur Institute of Iran, Bahalrloo Hospital at Tehran University of Medical Sciences and even one of the scientists affiliated with Tufts University in the U.S. sought to evaluate the efficacy and safety of high-dose Spirulina platensis for SARS-CoV-2 infection.


The results are frankly remarkable,


but the study has limitations—the open-label introduces the opportunity for biases, and the study size suggests the need for larger confirming studies, the results published in the Frontiers in Immunology peer-reviewed journal point to a significant finding. Western medicine would not accept these findings as particularly earth-shaking, but nonetheless, TrialSite points out some possibly intriguing outcomes.


the intervention group will receive 15/2 g spirulina platensis algae powder daily.


 

Lewis: We now know that covid/sars initiates other infections like EBV, HSV, CMV, mycoplasmas - so it is possible that this result is a general reduction in infection - or possibly - the spirulina "mops up" the cytokines - leading to less overall damage. The team presents changes in cytokines below.


Here is my favorite source of spirulina and also has many other ingredient consumed daily by the longest lived society - the Japanese.


This product frequently goes on sale for <$8. I take between 3 and 5 daily.


It would be nearly impossible to get the spirulina dose used in the study with this supplement, but they just took it for 7 days. I take this daily as part of a detox program.


Besides spirulina, it contains fucoidan, which is the key ingredient in Endocaylx Plus - but for pennies on the dollar.


Here is what AI has to say about fucoidan.


"Fucoidan, a seaweed-derived material, has been shown to have vascular health benefits. Fucoidan has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anticoagulative, and antiaggregatory effects. It also inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation. Fucoidan can promote angiogenesis, which may lead to blood remodeling in ischemic areas. Fucoidan can also reduce thrombin generation in microvasculature, which may attenuate myocardial infarction."


Do I put artificial intelligence outputs in quotes?



Brief Background

The general class of product is used as feed supplement across aquaculture, aquariums and poultry industries. The use of this natural product started in the Americas—actually in present day Mexico by the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th century. Upon the Spanish conquest soldiers of Cortes documented its use. Fast forward to modern day in addition to use as a supplement and for the industries mentioned above, spirulina is under investigation to address food security and malnutrition, plus as dietary support in scenarios such as space flight or even the Mars mission. With less need for land and water than livestock, the supplement represents an economical source of protein and energy.


What’s the basis for this Persian study?

In many societies, dietary supplements are reportedly helpful as supplements in response to viral infections. Take Spirulina, the filamentous, gram-negative cyanobacterium—a blue-green microalga that is a non-nitrogen-fixing photoautotroph according to the authors of this study recently published in Frontiers in Immunology.

Rich in protein (over 70%), plus vitamins, minerals (e.g., D, B12, provitamin A (beta carotene) and iron), numerous other ingredients are present such as phycocyanobilin (PCB), according to the Persian authors, which is a blue pigment protein with anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant properties.


Citing previous research, the authors of this study articulate that Spirulina consumption boosts B-group vitamins, especially B6, while decreasing interleukin-4 (IL-4) levels in persons with allergic rhinitis. But the substance also increases immunoglobulin A levels in saliva, suggesting that it could possibly enhance mucosal immunity. The supplement is also known to increase function of natural killer (NK) cells while boosting interferon-y (IFN-y) secretion, thus in aggregate overall better innate immune system health.

Finally, with a substance known as calcium spirulan (Ca-Sp) also present, the Iran-based investigators cite in vitro studies suggesting that this substance inhibits growth of select enveloped viruses, such as mumps virus, measles virus, influenza A (IAV), HIV-1, human cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex type 1. But in Western society, this is not widely touted, at least not in medical establishment circles. Evidence requires well-designed randomized studies.


Corresponding authors for this study included Seyed Ahmad Seyed Alinaghi, M.D., M.Phil, Ph.D. with Tehran University of Medical Science, Iranian Research Center for HIV/AIDs, Iranian Institute for Reduction of High-Risk Behaviors.


The Study

The Persian team designed a randomized controlled trial (IRCT20210216050373N1) investigating the research hypothesis: can high dose Spirulina supplement reduce COVID-19-related mortality or accelerate hospital discharge within seven days; secondary endpoint involved overall discharge or mortality?


This study was an open-label trial, conducted in a multi-center environment involving both Ziaeian Hospital  and Baharloo Hospital, both affiliated with Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The trial site team recruited patients from July 27, 2021, through to February 17, 2022.


Importantly, the trial site team had to change the study from single-blind trial due to the patients in the Tehran hospitals not trusting the placebo, meaning recruitment was too challenging.  This is why the investigators had to remove the placebo. The authors appeared to have followed good clinical practices, triggering protocol change, etc.

Randomized and controlled, the study team’s trial involved 189 patients with COVID-19, randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to an experimental group receiving 15.2g of Spirulina supplement plus standard of care (44 non-intensive care units and 52 ICU).

Conducted over a six-day period, the trial site team monitored immune mediators on days 1,3,5 and 7.


What were the study findings?

By day 7 of the study, no deaths associated with COVID-19 were reported in the Spirulina group. 15 deaths (15.3%) occurred in the control group. Within seven days, the Persian study team reported, “A greater number of patients discharged in the Spirulina group (97.7%) in the non-ICU compared to the control group (39.1%) (HR, 6.52; 95% CI, 3.50 to 12.17).” 


The study team reports mortality was overall higher in the control group (8.7% non-ICU, 28.8% ICU) compared to the Spirulina group (non-ICU HR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.97; ICU, HR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.05 to 0.48).


What about the non-ICU patients? Those study subjects receiving Spirulina as intervention time increased evidenced marked a reduction in the following levels:

  • IL-6 (similar to CRP)

  • TNF- α

  • IL-10

  • IP-10


Additionally, the team reports those patients in the ICU and in the Spirulina, arm evidenced “significant decrease in the levels of MIP-1α and IL-6.” Meanwhile, in those subjects in the intervention group (Spirulina) across ICU and non-ICU subgroups as intervention time increases reported IFN-y levels were significantly higher.


Of course, this latter observation represents a cytokine playing a critical role in the immune response against both viral and bacterial infections, as well as in regulating immune response, inflammation and tumor surveillance.


The study authors report no presentation of side effects related to the Spirulina supplements.

Conclusion

The Persian team finds that high-dose Spirulina combined with the standard of care regimen in that part of the world targeting COVID-19 “may improve recovery and remarkably reduce mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.”


 

Here is the clinical trial study design.


Here is the link to the full study.


 

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