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...
Biomass abounds on Earth, as forests, fields, sewage and seaweed. But only a small fraction, mostly human or agricultural waste, can be harvested without posing environme...
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...
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...
Algatechnologies (“Algatech”), Israel, has announced a more than 100% expansion of its production capacity of AstaPure® brand natural astaxanthin. This doubling of capaci...
Libourne, France-based Fermentalg, an industrial biotechnology company that specializes in the production of oils and proteins derived from microalgae, has completed a su...
As the number of photobioreactors in an algae growing operation increases, there is a need for both autonomous control and monitoring of individual PBRs, as well as centr...
Algenist®, Solazyme’s anti-aging skincare brand featuring microalgae, has announced its launch in Nordstrom locations throughout the United States. The launch into Nordst...
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 ...
Four years after the first optimistic calculations, the experimental cultivation of algae at Wageningen University in the Netherlands appears to be meeting expectations. ...
Jamie Radford writes in the Illawarra Mercury that Pia Winberg, from the University of Wollongong, believes that the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia (NSW) is in...
Gilbert, AZ-based Heliae has announced a partnership with Sincere Corporation, a Japanese waste management and recycling company, to form a joint venture and develop a co...
Starting in the early 70s, agencies in the former USSR invested more than 20,000 person-years of research and development to produce Bio-Algae Concentrates (BAC) that hel...
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...
The EPA has released the Annual Use of Pesticides in the U.S. Report. We now know that American farmers apply roughly a billion pounds of toxic chemicals intentionally in...
Chase Ezell writes in Earth911.com about the irony of Algenol’s biggest friction source on the way to marketing their carbon reducing algal-based ethanol being — the EPA ...
Portuguese cement facility, Secil, and microalgae biotechnology company, A4F, also based in Portugal, have formed AlgaFarm, a joint venture to develop the use of cement f...