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Vol. 52, No. 4, 2008
Issue release date: September 2008
Ann Nutr Metab 2008;52:322–328

A Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study to Establish the Effects of Spirulina in Elderly Koreans

Park H.J. · Lee Y.J. · Ryu H.K. · Kim M.H. · Chung H.W. · Kim W.Y.
aFoods R&D, CJ CheilJedang Corp., Seoul, bNutritional Science and Food Services, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, cFood Science and Nutrition, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, and dObstetrics and Gynecology, Ewha Womans University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

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Aims: This study was conducted to determine the antioxidant capacity, immunomodulatory and lipid-lowering effects of spirulina in healthy elderly subjects and to document the effectiveness of spirulina as a functional food for the elderly. Methods: A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed. The subjects were 78 individuals aged 60–87 years and were randomly assigned in a blinded fashion to receive either spirulina or placebo. The elderly were instructed to consume the spirulina or placebo at home, 8 g/day, for 16 consecutive weeks. Results: In male subjects, a significant plasma cholesterol-lowering effect was observed after the spirulina intervention (p < 0.05). Spirulina supplementation resulted in a significant rise in plasma interleukin (IL)-2 concentration, and a significant reduction in IL-6 concentration. A significant time-by-treatment intervention for total antioxidant status was observed between spirulina and placebo groups (p < 0.05). In female subjects, significant increases in IL-2 level and superoxide dismutase activity were observed (p < 0.05) after spirulina supplementation. There were significant reductions in total cholesterol in female subjects. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that spirulina has favorable effects on lipid profiles, immune variables, and antioxidant capacity in healthy, elderly male and female subjects and is suitable as a functional food.

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