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For millions of us the arrival of Spring heralds the arrival of hay fever. As pollen fills the air the hay-fever season starts. But according to a hay fever study by Cemal Cingi of Eskisehir Osmangazi University in Turkey shows that spirulina is effective against hay fever.
In the 1990s researchers at Wonkwang University discovered that rats reacted less severely to substances they were allergic to if they had been given spirulina. [Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 Apr 1; 55(7): 1071-6.] In 2005, Chinese researchers discovered that spirulina could prevent and reduce rats’ allergic reactions to egg protein – a rodent equivalent of human hay fever. [Zhong Nan Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2005 Feb; 30(1): 96-8.]
In the same year American researchers found indications that spirulina may also work against hay fever in humans. In that study hay-fever sufferers were given just 2 grams of spirulina daily. The hay fever sufferers’ immune cells produced 34 percent less interleukine-4 than normal in test tubes. That’s an indication of reduced allergic reactions. [J Med Food. 2005 Spring;8(1): 27-30.]
The Turkish researchers chose a more direct approach in their study. They used 129 hay-fever sufferers, aged between 19 and 49. Half of the subjects took 2 grams of spirulina daily for six months [SIP]. The researchers used supplements they had made themselves, which contained dried Spirulina platensis. The other half were given a placebo containing no active ingredients.
The subjects kept a hay-fever diary in which they noted how badly they had been affected by symptoms such as nasal discharge, nasal itching and sneezing. They used scores from 0 to 3: 0 = not noticeable; 1 = mild symptoms, noticeable but not bothersome; 2 = moderate symptoms, noticeable and disturbing some of the time; 3 = severe symptoms, very disturbing some of the time and/or disturbing most of the time.
The study showed that spirulina made a big improvement to the way the hay fever sufferers were affected. The differences between the curves of the spirulina group and the placebo group shown below are statistically significant.
“Spirulina is clinically effective on allergic rhinitis when compared with placebo”, the researchers conclude. “Further studies should be performed in order to clarify the mechanism of this effect.”