Use as supplement to cancer patients
Cancer is a debilitating disease. Mortality in cancers is primarily due to cachexia / nutritional deficiency leading to secondary ailments or infections. Protein supplementation and dietary requirements falling short can be appended by giving Spirulina in these patients. Some require parenteral nutritional supplement too. Additional to the disease per sē, the aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy reduces energy levels of the patient. This is further complicated by weight loss and development of GI symptoms. In some cases, the conditions become extremely unbearable leading to cessation of the therapy. Some cancer patients present themselves in such physical conditions and nutritional status that they cannot be enrolled for any therapy. In summary, the cancer patients either fail to enrol for the therapy, aborts the therapy or exhibit delayed response to the therapy due to lack of nutritional status.
Spirulina has an established major role as nutritional supplement apart from known anti-cancer properties.
Why Spirulina used as nutritional supplement?
Spirulina constituents are ideal and are present in recommended proportions. In addition, the easy digestibility and high bioavailability aids in the adequate nutrition to individuals. Amongst all vegetarian diet, Spirulina is a food supplement having highest protein content (~60%), also containing all the essential amino acids. The microalgae also exhibits sufficiency in vitamins and other micronutrient demands of an individual. Transient conditions like neutropenia, anaemia and thrombocytopenia are results of chemotherapy induced suppression of bone marrow. Hence, these patients are generally administered colony stimulation factors after the therapy. Particularly in such cases, Spirulina is known to stimulate regeneration of hematopoietic elements via Vitamin B12, folic acid, iron and other micronutrients.
What are the anticancer effects?
Spirulina exhibits anticancer effects due to dense presence of its antioxidants. Spirulina has highest antioxidants contents of beta-carotene, superoxide-dismutase, and phycocyanin. Spirulina prevents DNA damage by its effect on immune system and in regulating the free radicals generated by the immune system and the environmental toxins. It is also been proposed that Spirulina has or aids in DNA repair mechanism.