By now, Americans are well aware of the need to maintain healthy cholesterol levels in order to prevent heart attacks and strokes, two of the leading causes of death in America. The best way to lower cholesterol is to make dietary improvements and as such, the search is underway to identify natural foods that have a cholesterol-reducing effect, such as fish oil and oat bran.
BAC is one of these foods.
In a study conducted by the Department of Internal Medicine of Tokai University in Japan, it was concluded that spirulina (as contained in BAC) lowers serum cholesterol and is likely to have a favorable effect in alleviating heart disease.
Thirty males with high cholesterol, mild hypertension, and hyperlipidemia showed lower serum cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL (undesirable fat) levels after eating spirulina for eight weeks. These men had not made any changes to their diet apart from adding spirulina.
The first group consumed 4.2 grams of spirulina daily for eight weeks. Total serum cholesterol dropped a significant 4.5% within four weeks from 244 to 233. The second group consumed spirulina for four weeks and then stopped. Serum cholesterol decreased but shortly returned to the initial level. Researchers found triglyceride levels decreased slightly and LDL cholesterol decreased a significant 6.1% within four weeks. The reduction of serum cholesterol was even greater in those men with the highest cholesterol levels. The study did not speculate on how spirulina lowered cholesterol. No adverse effects were noted. 1
In another study done with rats, researchers attempted to find the method by which spirulina lowers serum cholesterol. They discovered that it might have an effect on the metabolism of lipoproteins. The oil soluble portion was found to suppress cholesterol levels in the serum and liver of rats. 5
Researchers in West Germany had previously discovered cholesterol reduction during a weight loss study with spirulina 2, while the Japanese research showed lower cholesterol without weight loss, suggesting that cholesterol reduction was not related to weight loss. Spirulina had been chosen in this study because it had previously been shown to lower serum cholesterol in rats. 3,4
- Nayaka, N. et al. Cholesterol lowering effect of spirulina. Tokai Univ, Japan. Nutrition Reports Int’l, June 1988, Vol 37, No. 6, 1329-1337. Nakaya, N. Effect of spirulina on reduction of serum cholesterol. Tokai Univ. Progress in Med. Nov. 1986, Vol 6, No. 11.
- Becker, E.W. et al. Clinical and biochemical evaluations of spirulina with regard to its application in the treatment of obesity. Inst. Chem. Pfanz. Nutrition Reports International, April 1986, Vol. 33, No. 4, p. 565.
- Devi, M.A. and Venkataraman, L.V. Hypocholesterolemic effect of blue-green algae spirulina platensis in albino rats. Nutrition Reports International, 1983, 28:519-530.
- Kato, T. and Takemoto, K. Effects of spirulina on hypercholesterolemia and fatty liver in rats. Saitama Med. College, Japan. Japan Nutr Foods Assoc. Jour. 1984, 37:321.
- Iwata, K. et al. Effects of spirulina on plasma lipoprotein lipase activity in rats. Journal Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 1990, 36:165-171.