Pharmacology and toxicology of the alga Spirulina

Germán Chamorro, María Salazar, Luis Favila, Héctor Bourges

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific review

68 Scopus citations


Spirulina, an unicellular filamentous blue-green alga has been consumed by man since ancient times in Mexico and central Africa. It is currently grown in many countries by synthetic methods. Initially the interest in Spirulina was on its nutritive value: it was found almost equal to other plant proteins. More recently, some preclinical testing suggests it has several therapeutic properties such as hypocholesterolemic, immunological, antiviral and antimutagenic. This has led to more detailed evaluations such as nucleic acid content and presence of toxic metals, biogenic toxines and organic chemicals: they have shown absence or presence at tolerable levels according to the recommendations of international regulatory agencies. In animal experiments for acute, subchronic and chronic toxicity, reproduction, mutagenicity, and teratogenicity the algae did not cause body or organ toxicity. In all instances, the Spirulina administered to the animals were at much higher amounts than those expected for human consumption. On the other hand there is scant information of the effects of the algae in humans. This area needs more research.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages349
JournalRevista de Investigacion Clinica
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1996

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    Chamorro, G., Salazar, M., Favila, L., & Bourges, H. (1996). Pharmacology and toxicology of the alga Spirulina. Revista de Investigacion Clinica, 389-399.