Spirulina and chlorella, both algae varieties used fresh as food or dried as supplements, may provide a range of benefits, including brain health. Whether the body and mind advantages of these algae may serve as a primary or complementary treatment, consult your doctor first to ensure the therapy is right for you.
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Consuming spirulina may provide benefits to your memory. A study published in the "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology" suggests that older mice given spirulina reduced age-related brain degeneration. Researchers suggest that this finding may correlate to positive memory influence in older human adults, although more research is needed to confirm this theory.
Add chlorella to your diet if you have diabetes; it may protect your eyes. People with diabetes often experience retinal damage as they age, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. Research featured in the May 2011 issue of "Food and Function" indicates that extracts present in chlorella and other microalgae suppress oxidative stress, an issue that may contribute to diabetic retinopathy.
The Herpes Viruses Association notes that "virtually everybody worldwide" has been infected by the Epstein-Barr virus, which can trigger a mononucleosis infection. This virus may hibernate in your body and reactivate years after infection. A study available in the May 2011 "Journal of Zhejiang University" investigated the effects of spirulina on the Epstein-Barr virus; researchers note that this algae has antiviral properties that may effectively fight off recurrences.
Chlorella may protect against cancer. Evidence published in the 2010 edition of the Brazilian journal "Clinics" suggests that chlorella triggers apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and changes to your DNA in liver cancer cells. A study in the January/February 2011 issue of "Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine" indicates that spirulina may also prove helpful for cancer treatment, particularly as an alternative treatment for breast cancer.
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- "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology"; Spirulina prevents memory dysfunction, reduces oxidative stress damage and augments antioxidant activity in senescence-accelerated mice; J.H. Hwang, et al.; 2011
- PubMed Health; Diabetic retinopathy; April 2010
- "Food and Function"; Protective actions of microalgae against endogenous and exogenous advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) in human retinal pigment epithelial cells; Z. Sun, et al.; May 2011
- Herpes Viruses Association
- "Journal of Zhejiang University"; Inhibitory activities of microalgal extracts against Epstein-Barr virus DNA release from lymphoblastoid cells; Y.Y. Kok, et al.; May 2011
- "Clinics"; Hot water extract of chlorella vulgaris induced DNA damage and apoptosis; Y.A. Yusof, et al.; 2010