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Spirulina research shows treatment of breast cancer tumors, HIV virus, and other viruses

Monday, October 25, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: Cyanotech, spirulina, microalgae

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Gerry: Spirulina contains some anti-viral and immune stimulating compounds that we're just learning about.

Mike: Can you talk more about that? Do you have some clinical trials on that yet, or what's the science behind that so far?

Gerry: We don't have any specific clinical trials. There's been some research out of Japan showing that a sulfonated polysaccharide which they've named calcium spirolan inhibits many viruses from invading cells, and this includes herpes and actually the HIV virus. And there's also been some work out of the University of Mississippi where they have extracted a compound, again a polysaccharide from spirulina, which greatly stimulates the immune system.

Mike: Interesting. It also reminds me of a study I've mentioned in the past -- I think this was out of Japan as well, where they took the cyan pigmentation from spirulina and injected it into breast cancer tumors and were amazed that those tumors vanished. They were destroyed by this pigment phytochemical.

Gerry: Yes, and there's also been a study in India with a group of people that chewed tobacco quite a bit and eventually developed mouth cancer, and they gave the group spirulina, and I think the remission rate was something like 80% of those folks with pre-cancerous lesions in their mouth if they took spirulina.

Mike: Very interesting.

Gerry: Yes. The other interesting compound in spirulina that really isn't found anywhere else in the plant kingdom or animal foods is something called phycocyanin. This is a blue pigment. That's why spirulina is actually called blue-green algae, because of the phycocyanin blue pigment. And it's a phycobiliprotein and research has shown that it really provides a great deal of protection to both the liver and the kidneys. It's actually an antioxidant pigment or protein pigment.

Mike: I find it so fascinating -- there are so many health-enhancing attributes of these phytonutrients, and yet they are largely unstudied. There's a whole universe waiting to be explored there. And I'm curious, are there any institutions that are really doing hard research on the health benefits of consuming spirulina?

Gerry: Well, certainly there's a lot of work being done in Japan. The Japanese have been doing work with another microalgae, chlorella, and I think they are certainly now discovering some of the health benefits and the superior health benefits of spirulina. And the University of Mississippi has a very good program. It's the National Center for Natural Products Research, and it's in the School of Pharmacy and they actually are looking at some of the natural health benefits of spirulina.

Mike: It does seem like the good research on this always comes out of the universities.

Gerry: Yes.

Mike: Obviously, the pharmaceutical companies don't have much interest in looking at the health benefits of spirulina, since that would typically compete with many of their drugs.

Gerry: Well, it certainly would, and they wouldn't have a great deal of patent protection to move forward.

Mike: Indeed. Well, that's an interesting point -- what about your own cultures? Is there any intellectual property involved here, or can competitors grow the same thing you're growing?

Gerry: Well, they certainly can grow spirulina platensis, but our drying process, the Ocean Chill drying process, is a patented process, so they would not be allowed to use that, and also the strain that we have really developed here in Kona after 20-some years of culturing spirulina is unique. We haven't really determined scientifically if it's a new strain, but we do know that it does contain higher levels of carotenoids than original, it's a little bit larger strain, and so it would take quite some time for somebody to reproduce the type of strain we have developed now here in Kona.

Mike: Now here's an interesting question -- is spirulina something that an individual could somehow grow or harvest in their backyard, and if not, why not?

Gerry: Well, it is something somebody could grow in their backyard, but it would be, first of all, very difficult to get the type of product quality that we can get out here in a large commercial production system. The reason for that is that one of the major ingredients to grow spirulina is baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate. It requires a lot of baking soda, as well as some sources of nitrogen, phosphate and trace minerals. It has to be very carefully balanced and maintained almost on a daily basis. And when it's harvested, it's harvested rather easily through a fine mesh screen, washed extensively, but when you come to the drying system, it's very hard for an individual to have an efficient low-temperature drying system that does not destroy the phytonutrients. Putting spirulina in an oven for instance, even at a low temperature, the amount of time that it takes and the exposure to oxygen during that time really would destroy a lot of the phytonutrients.

Mike: So a person could end up with a powder that looks like spirulina, but nutritionally it's not the same thing at all.

Gerry: That's correct. Now it certainly would have the protein content, which is over 50%, but you wouldn't get some of the subtle phytonutrients which are so very important, like beta carotene, zeaxanthin and alpha carotene.

Mike: Indeed, and I want to emphasize too, to readers, that those nutrients are what I think are the essential benefits of consuming spirulina.

Gerry: I certainly agree.

This article is part of an exclusive interview with Dr. Gerry Cysewski, CEO and founder of Cyanotech Corporation http://www.cyanotech.com, located in Kona, Hawaii. Cyanotech's spirulina and astaxanthin products are available in retail stores (look for products made with "Hawaiian spirulina") or through Nutrex-Hawaii at http://www.nutrex-hawaii.com.

The aerial photo on the left shows Cyanotech's farms. The dark green culture ponds contain spirulina, while the reddish ponds contain astaxanthin in various stages of growth. The dark land mass on the right is a lava field.

Editors note: Spirulina is one of the superfoods I consume on a daily basis. Due to my passion about superfoods nutrition, I traveled to Kona, Hawaii to conduct a series of interviews with Cyanotech personnel. To find all available articles on Cyanotech, just type "Cyanotech" in the search box below. New articles are being added regularly.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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