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
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...
Algae.Tec Ltd has received its first purchase order from Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited (RIIHL), in connection with the arrangements announced on Ja...
Solazyme, Inc. has announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013. “2013 was a year of great progress for Solazyme as we readied our first...
Valensa International and Contract Biotics have announced that Contract Biotics has started construction of an additional six acres of algae production units at the compa...
One of 12 winners of the 2014 Lexus Design Award, the Ooho algae balloon was created by three London-based designers to contribute a solution to the rising number of plas...
Santa Fe Community College has been awarded a $50,000, SEED Infrastructure Grant from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), for commercial ...
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) released the following statement calling on the EPA to include Carbon Capture and Utilization strategies in rules proposed June 2, 20...
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 ...
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...
The Guardian reports that Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada-based Solarvest has created an inventive system utilizing a specific algal strain to grow and produce EPA ...
Algae manufacturer Cyanotech Corporation has announced implementing three major initiatives to improve Astaxanthin production at their Kailua Kona, Hawaii-based cultivati...
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...
Following a request from the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was recently asked t...
Researchers at the Paul Scherer Institute (PSI) in Wädenswil, Switzerland, have succeeded in producing energy-rich gas from microalgae, and in doing so have demonstrated ...
Analia Murias 
reports for fis.com that Chilean exports of products made from macroalgae generated a total of $195 million US in the first seven months of 2014, according...
Arizona is taking advantage of its open land and ample sunshine to assume a leadership position in the algae biofuel field. The state is home to two national algae testbe...
A team of Michigan State University algae researchers have discovered a cellular "snooze button" that has the potential to improve biofuel production and offer ...