Research

Spirulina extract’s effects on seniors’ health

October 10, 2013 — by Jack Mazurak
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Dr. Gailen Marshall displays immulina in its capsule form.

Dr. Gailen Marshall displays immulina in its capsule form.

Can spirulina, the blue-green algae rich in linoleic acids, B vitamins and a variety of minerals – and used for centuries across ancient cultures to promote better health – improve immune systems in today’s seniors?

A clinical trial still enrolling participants is under way, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in the Division of Allergy and Immunology, to test the theory that it may.

The pilot study at UMMC aims to identify whether and how much of the spirulina extract immulina it takes to improve the immune response of adults 60 and older. Seniors stand a greater risk for complications from colds, flu and other common infections.

“As people age, their susceptibility to mortality from influenza increases,” said Dr. Gailen Marshall, professor and R. Faser Triplet Sr. M.D. Chair in Allergy and Immunology. “Even the flu vaccine becomes less effective for them.”

Immulina magnified

Immulina magnified

Similarly, people’s immune systems weaken with age. That’s why older people die from infections, including flu, pneumonia, West Nile virus and sepsis, more often than younger people.

“If we can improve people’s immune system response with immulina, they may respond more robustly to the vaccine, which would better prepare their bodies to fight off the actual, live flu virus,” Marshall said.

He plans to enroll 50 people into the study. He began taking volunteers in August and will accept more on a rolling basis.

Participants will receive an envelope of pills – either immulina or a placebo – to take four times daily. They will visit a UMMC clinic weekly for four weeks to fill out questionnaires and give saliva samples and two tablespoons of blood.

After researchers collect the remaining pills, participants will make two return visits two weeks apart. By analyzing blood and saliva samples taken during and after the immulina treatment, Marshall and his team will be able to tell to what level and how long the immune-boosting effects lasted.

For the pilot study, Marshall is working with the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, which is supplying and preparing the immulina. “I’ve collaborated for a couple years with Dr. Larry Walker and Dr. David Pascoe,” Marshall said. “They’d been working with immulina for a while and have considered it for use in cancer patients.”

If the results show promise, Marshall will apply to the National Institutes of Health to fund an investigation of immulina’s abilities to boost the effectiveness of flu vaccines in seniors. “That study would also consider whether immulina’s effects are different based on gender and race,” he said.

The pilot represents a piece in a larger puzzle, too. Marshall aims to establish a center for integrative medicine at UMMC that will investigate, teach and practice proven treatments and methods from the world’s major medical systems. To gather feedback from UMMC faculty, staff and students, he’s posted a questionnaire about his proposed center (click here).

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Heliae, SCHOTT North America and Arizona State University (ASU) have announced a partnership to bring Heliae’s algae production technology to ASU’s algae testbed facility...
Natural carotenoid specialists Piveg Inc., with production facilities based in Celaya, Central Mexico, has announced immediate availability of natural astaxanthin materia...
University of Adelaide researchers are using nanotechnology and the fossils of diatoms to develop a novel chemical-free and resistance-free way of protecting stored grain...
Libourne, France-based Fermentalg, an industrial biotechnology company that specializes in the production of oils and proteins derived from microalgae, has completed a su...
Yereth Rosen reports in the Anchorage Daily News that scientists at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute have found extremely high levels o...
Algenist®, Solazyme’s anti-aging skincare brand featuring microalgae, has announced its launch in Nordstrom locations throughout the United States. The launch into Nordst...
Santa Fe Community College has been awarded a $50,000, SEED Infrastructure Grant from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), for commercial ...
By sending algae into space, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his team will be able to study some of the key mechanisms that control plant growth and...
A new, outdoor system at the University of Dayton Research Institute has been producing a high volume of algae since its installation in the summer of 2013, even through ...
Kazuaki Nagata reports from Japan that while the Fukushima nuclear disaster has prompted vigorous discussion about alternative energy in Japan, there is a lack of a paral...
A University of New South Wales (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird qua...
Algae Industry Magazine is pleased to announce a new Algae 101 series by our popular blogger, Mark Edwards, Professor, Arizona State University. The Algae Solutions to Na...
Kyae Mone Win reports in the Myanmar Times that spirulina has been harvested from Twin Daung lake in Sagaing’s Bu Ta Lin township for over a decade, but climate change an...
Algae manufacturer Cyanotech Corporation has announced implementing three major initiatives to improve Astaxanthin production at their Kailua Kona, Hawaii-based cultivati...
Steven Mufson reports for the Washington Post that Algenol Biofuels estimates hackers have attempted to break into its computers 39 million times in four months this year...
A recent discovery in the multicellular green alga, Volvox carteri,has revealed the origin of male and female sexes, showing how they evolved from a more primitive mating...
Biofuels derived from the oils produced by algae may offer a low-cost sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. To achieve this goal, optimization of cost effective strate...
Perth, Western Australia-based Algae.Tec Limited has announced that the Reliance Group has converted the first tranche of options following the positive progress achieved...