The spirulina wikipedia page is deliberately misleading the public!
Over the years, Spirulina advocates and researchers have been trying to change the content of the Spirulina wikipedia page, but when one examines the HISTORY of that page, going back at least seven years, most attempts to collaboratively edit it have been DELETED and EDITED OUT word for word by individuals from vested groups usually within 24 hours, and without giving any good solid reason.
Spirulina is a 3.6 billion year old ancient cyano-bacterium, generally classified as a blue-green algae, which has filled the Earth’s atmosphere with oxygen. It is an autotroph with excellent functional nutrient content, unusual phytonutrients, antioxidants with proven health benefits. It has been used since ancient times by the Aztecs, and both NASA and European Space Agency, describe it as the food of the future.
When you google the word Spirulina, the Wikipedia page on Spirulina is the first to pop up.
As you know, Wikipedia is one of the largest reference websites, attracting over 300 million unique visitors per month. The reason Wikipedia enjoys this authoritative status as a source of information is because it is written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers who write without getting paid. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles. In a true collaborative environment, each contributor has an almost equal ability to add, edit, and remove text (Source: Wikipedia). However this is not so when vested interest group(s) want to control the content of a Wikipedia Page.
What we are going to describe below will shock and surprise you!
When you read the spirulina Wikipage there are several subtle and not so subtle statements which mislead the readers, intentionally drawing them away from using Spirulina. For instance, this sentence is misleading:
Even though there is a reference cited, when you read the reference it ONLY REFERS to the adverse drug interactions, while there is NO Reference for the other prior insinuations about it being no better than other protein sources, and being more expensive gram for gram, which are both not true. It is the best source of protein as its production occupies least environmental footprint, with considerable efficiencies in terms of water use, land use and energy consumption, when compared to traditional terrestrial crops and beef [i].
The vitamin B12 controversy
Then they refer to vitamin B12 content and its controversy, which is again misleading and erroneous. The Wikipedia table and paragraph state that there is NO vitamin B12 in spirulina. They quote two references which are both old and are not direct research articles. More recent data such as this clearly shows that vitamin B12 has been purified, identified and characterized in Spirulina Plantensis [ii]. This is extremely important for vegetarians as their diet otherwise can be deficient in Vitamin B12.
Quality-related safety and toxicology
The Wikipedia’s reference to “Quality-related safety and toxicology” is very misleading and has mis-citations. The Wikipedia page refers to contamination with toxic algae ‘Microcystins’, which can occur when Spirulina is harvested from natural water bodies, and that is exactly the reference they cite is microcystin contamination in Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) in southern Oregon. However, there is minimal if no risk in “cultivation of Spirulina” where the pH is extremely alkaline, thus not allowing for any such contamination. The Spirulina Wikipedia Page does state that Spirulina itself does not produce any toxic metals, but the very next sentence is extremely misleading:
“Because spirulina is considered a dietary supplement in the U.S., no active, industry-wide regulation of its production occurs and no enforced safety standards exist for its production or purity. “
It fails to mention that Spirulina has been granted the status of Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. Moreover, the Global Spirulina Network counts over 200 Spirulina growers from all over the world, and NO ONE so far has had a problem with microcystin contamination in their ponds!!!!! So it is extremely safe if Good Practices are followed in the cultivation, which is true with all commercially available products. Overall Wikipedia manages to scare a lay person from the use of Spirulina with over hyped claims about toxicology. In addition, this sentence in that same paragraph is misleading:
“One study reported the presence of lead up to 5.1 ppm in a sample from a commercial supplement.[iii] The paper cited actually is an excellent review of the use of Spirulina in Protein Energy Malnutrition, cataloguing all human and animal studies; the Wiki authors have not given credit to the actual content of the paper, which talks about the health benefits of Spirulina and have misquoted the above number from a reference of a reference.
The most misleading sentence of all on the Spirulina Wikipedia Page is the following, regarding research:
“At present, research is preliminary. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence is insufficient to recommend spirulina supplementation for any human condition, and more research is needed to clarify its benefits, if any. “
The reference cited is a 2011 Medline webpage from National Institutes of Health, wherein there are plenty of references on the health benefits and studies with Spirulina which have not been cited. There are numerous other studies documenting the health benefit of Spirulina for malnutrition, allergies, cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and arsenic poisoning, just to name a few.
Not a Word about Spirulina and Gut-Microbiome
As noted in the table below, the most robust research data on the reversal effects of spirulina on malnutrition, which are not mentioned at all on the Wikipedia page. The postulated mechanism for this effect is improvement in the gut-microbiome. Researchers such as Jeffery Gordon, from St. Louis, MO, USA, has clearly demonstrated the poverty of gut-microbiome diversity among malnourished children in Bangladeshi children.v Spirulina is known to have in-vitro, and in-vivo, pro/pre biotic effects.[iv] [v] Studies are underway to examine the effect of Spirulina on gut-microbiome among humans. There are several important implications of this research in the use of Spirulina. We believe that since Spirulina has the potential to be the best “superfood” and a ‘panacea’ for a lot of health conditions, especially considering it is pre/pro-biotic with a potential to impact the ‘gut microbiome’[vi]. Emerging data suggest that the ‘human microbiome’ is intimately associated with human health and disease[vii], it appears that it is extremely unsettling for the nutraceutical /pharmaceutical and other vested groups who for their profits control the information which is available on the Wikipedia page, which is their way of controlling its use in general population.
The Conspiracy: Who’s Controlling the Spirulina Wikipedia Page?
All the above mis-representations have been attempted to be corrected by Spirulina advocates and researchers over the years, but when one examines the HISTORY of the Spirulina Wikipedia page, going back at least seven years, most attempts to collaboratively edit have been DELETED and EDITED OUT word for word by individuals from vested groups usually within 24 hours of the addition. For instance, in the last several months, we have tried to edit the Research sub page, and as you will see in the attached Screen Shots, a person by the pseudonym “Zefr” has edited out our content without giving any good solid reason. Similarly, the same person has promptly edited out other attempts in the last two years.
History Repeats Itself
Back when the Spaniards began colonizing the Americas, they banned Spirulina production among the native Mexicans to weaken and control the population; it is not surprising that vested interest groups are now controlling the one commodity which can be controlled…. “the right for information”, for nothing but their own greed and power. The Spirulina Wikipedia Page is definitely NOT collaboratively edited by anonymous unpaid writers, but appears to be controlled by industry paid ‘watch dogs’, much to the detriment of general public interest. Spirulina is cheap and widely available online and in local stores, but it can also be grown at home easily and only requires some very basic equipment. You can access the work on malnutrition and spirulina at www.spirulinafoundation.org.
Spirulina can be purchased online from the Spirulina.Network website. The usual dose is 6 grams of spirulina per day as tablets, capsules, powder or value added products such as chocolates etc., Research on Spirulina published in peer-reviewed journals and ongoing research which forms the backbone of all medical research.
|Health Condition||Type of Study||Description of the Study and Outcome||Reference|
|Allergies||Randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial Non randomized before and after study Pre and Post In-Vitro Study A randomized double blind Placebo controlled study from Turkey||Individuals with allergic rhinitis were fed daily, either with placebo or Spirulina for 12 weeks Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated before and after the Spirulina feeding and levels of cytokines (interleukin-4 (IL-4), interferon-γ(IFN-γ) and interleukin-2), which are important in regulating immunoglobulin (Ig)E-mediated allergy, were measured. The study showed that high dose of Spirulina significantly reduced IL-4 levels by 32%, demonstrating the protective effects of this microalga toward allergic rhinitis. Ishii et al. studied the influence of Spirulina on IgA levels in human saliva and demonstrated that it enhances IgA production, suggesting a pivotal role of microalga in mucosal immunity. A Japanese team identified the molecular mechanism of the human immune capacity of Spirulina by analysing blood cells of volunteers with pre- and post-oral administration of hot water extract of Spirulina platensis. IFN-γ production and Natural Killer (NK) cell damage were increased after administration of the microalga extracts to male volunteers . Evaluated the effectiveness and tolerability of Spirulina for treating patients with allergic rhinitis, Spirulina consumption significantly improved the symptoms and physical findings compared with placebo (P < .001), including nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching .||Mao TK, van de Water J, Gershwin ME. Effects of a Spirulina-based dietary supplement on cytokine production from allergic rhinitis patients. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2005;8(1):27–3 Ishii K, Katoch T, Okuwaki Y, Hayashi O. Influence of dietary Spirulina platensis on IgA level in human saliva. Journal of Kagawa Nutrition University. 1999;30:27–33. Hirahashi T, Matsumoto M, Hazeki K, Saeki Y, Ui M, Seya T. Activation of the human innate immune system by Spirulina: augmentation of interferon production and NK cytotoxicity by oral administration of hot water extract of Spirulina platensis. International Immunopharmacology. 2002;2(4):423–434. Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology. In press.|
|Anti_Viral Properties||In Vitro Study In Vitro Study||The active component of the water extract of S. platensis is a sulfated polysaccharide, calcium spirulan (Ca-Sp). According to Hayashi et al, Ca-Sp inhibits the in vitro replication of several enveloped viruses including Herpes simplex type I, human cytomegalovirus, measles and mumps virus, influenza A virus and human immunodeficiency virus-1 virus (HIV-1). An aqueous extract of S. platensis inhibited HIV-1 replication in human T-cells, peripheral blood mononuclear cells and Langerhan cells.||Hayashi K, Hayashi T, Maedaa M, Kojima I. Calcium spirulan, an inhibitor of envelope virus replication, from a blue-green alga Spirulina platensis. Journal of Natural Products. 1996;59:83–7. Ayehunie S, Belay A, Baba TW, Ruprecht RM. Inhibition of HIV-1 replication by an aqueous extract of Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira platensis) Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology. 1998;18(1):7–12. ·|
|Hyperlipidemia and Anti-Diabetic Effects and Obesity Effects||Non-randomized Pre-Post Study Non-randomized Pre-Post Study Non-randomized Pre-Post Study Double Blind Cross-over Study||Nakaya et al. in the first human study, gave 4.2 g day−1 of Spirulina to 15 male volunteers and, although there was no significant increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, they observed a significant reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol after 8 weeks of treatment. The atherogenic effect also declined significantly in the above group. Ramamoorthy administered Spirulina supplements in ischemic heart disease patients and found a significant reduction in blood cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol. Mani et al. in a clinical study, found a significant reduction in LDL : HDL ratio and glycated proteins in 15 diabetic patients who were given Spirulina. 2.8 g of Spirulina thrice a day over a period of 4 weeks showed a small but statistically significant reduction of body weight in obese outpatients.||Nakaya N, Homa Y, Goto Y. Cholesterol lowering effect of Spirulina. Atherosclerosis. 1988;37:1329–1337. Ramamoorthy A, Premakumari S. Effect of supplementation of Spirulina on hypercholesterolemic patients. Journal of Food Science and Technology.1996;33(2):124–128. Mani UV, Desai S, Iyer U. Studies on the long-term effect of Spirulina supplementation on serum lipid profile and glycated proteins in NIDDM patients. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods. 2000;2(3):25–32. Becker EW, Jakober B, Luft D, and et al. Clinical and biochemical evaluations of the alga spirulina with regard to its application in the treatment of obesity. A double-blind cross-over study. Nutr Report Internat 1986;33:565-574.|
|Anti-Cancer Effects||Un-blinded, non-randomized trial||This study looked specifically at the effects of Spirulina on oral carcinogenesis, in particular leukoplakia. The study conducted on a cohort of 77 patients reported that 45% of their study cohort showed complete regression of leukoplakia after taking Spirulina supplements for 1 year.||Mathew B, Sankaranarayanan R, Nair PP, et al. Evaluation of chemoprevention of oral cancer with Spirulina fusiformis. Nutrition and Cancer. 1995;24(2):197–202. ·|
|Chronic Arsenic Poisoning||A placebo-controlled, double-blind study||To evaluate the effectiveness of spirulina extract plus zinc in the treatment of chronic arsenic poisoning. Forty-one patients with chronic arsenic poisoning were randomly treated by either placebo (17 patients) or spirulina extract (250 mg) plus zinc (2 mg) (24 patients) twice daily for 16 weeks. Results showed that spirulina extract plus zinc twice daily for 16 weeks may be useful for the treatment of chronic arsenic poisoning with melanosis and keratosis.||Misbahuddin M, Islam AZ, Khandker S, Al-Mahmud I, Islam N, Anjumanara Efficacy of spirulina extract plus zinc in patients of chronic arsenic poisoning: a randomized placebo-controlled study. Clinical Toxicology. 2006;44(2):135–141. ·|
|Malnutrition||Randomized Study Randomized Single Blinded Study Randomized Single Blinded Study||A total of 228 children (6–11 years) were recruited and randomly divided into three groups supplemented with 4 g, 2 g or 0 g spirulina 5 d/ week for 10 weeks, respectively. After the 10-week intervention, serum β-carotene concentrations of children with 2 or 4 g spirulina supplement increased by 0·160 and 0·389 μmmol/l, respectively. Total-body vitamin A stores increased significantly, with a median increase of 0·160 mmol in children taking 2 g spirulina and of 0·279 mmol in children taking 4 g spirulina. Spirulina is a good dietary source of β-carotene, which may effectively increase the total-body vitamin A stores of Chinese school-age children. 52 patients were randomized and in this preliminary study, results showed that both spirulina and soja improved on nutritional status of malnourished HIV-infected patients but in terms of quality of nutritional improvement, subjects on spirulina were better off thansubjects on soyabeans. Secondly, nutritional rehabilitation improves on immune status with a consequent drop in viral load. 550 undernourished children were recruited into 3 arms. Anthropometrics and haematological parameters allowed us to appreciate both the nutritional and biological evolution of these children. The rehabilitation with Spiruline plus Misola (this association gave an energy intake of 767 ± 5 kcal/day with a protein assumption of 33.3 ± 1.2 g a day), both greater than Misola or Spiruline alone, seems to correct weight loss more quickly.||Spirulina can increase total-body vitamin A stores of Chinese school-age children as determined by a paired isotope dilution technique Lei Li, Xianfeng Zhao, Jie Wang, Tawanda Muzhingi, Paolo M. Suter, Guangwen Tang and Shi-an Yin Journal of Nutritional Science (2012), vol. 1, e19, page 1 of7 Potential of Spirulina Platensis as a nutritional supplement in Malnourished HIV-Infected Adults in sub-saharan Africa: A Randomised, single-Blind study M. Azabji-Kenfack, S. edie Dikosso, e.g. Loni, e.A. Onana, e. Sobngwi, e. gbaguidi3, A.L. Ngougni Kana, g. Nguefack-Tsague, D. Von der Weid, O. Njoya and J. Ngogang. · · Nutrition rehabilitation of undernourished children utilizing Spiruline and Misola Jacques Simpore, · Fatoumata Kabore, · Frederic Zongo, · Deleli Dansou, · Augustin Bere, · Salvatore Pignatelli, · Daniela M Biondi, · Giuseppe Ruberto and · Salvatore MusumeciNutrition Journal20065:3 DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-5-3|
|Malnutrition||Field Level Trials Ongoing Field Level Study||In 1991, a large non-randomized study of 10,000 children, (5000 cohort and 5000 controls) was conducted in more than 200 villages in Tamilnadu, India by the [[Murugappa Group]], funded by the [[Government of India]]. Children less than 5 years were supplemented with 1 gram of Spirulina for 12-18 months. A dramatic eighty percent reduction in clinical signs of Vitamin A deficiency as manifested by reduction in Bitot’s spots, and xerosis was seen. A statistically significant increase in beta-carotene and retinol levels were also seen. Due to untimely demise of the Principal Investigator, [[C V Seshadri]], the results were not published, but the complete report is available as a Monograph. In 2013, [[JSW Group]], in India, launched a large community based “Mission Against Malnutrition”, in the [[Bellary]] district of [[Karnataka]]. Over 3 years, more than 30,000 malnourished children, < 6 years, have received granulated 1-2 grams of Spirulina over 6 months A dramatic 45% reduction in acute malnutrition has been documented, as manifested by reversal in weight for age z-scores. This impact was sustained for 6 months post-supplementation These results were validated, in a non-randomised study, of 1000 children, where a 46% and 67% reduction in malnutrition was evidenced among children who received 1 and 2 grams of Spirulina respectively, as compared to little change in the control groups A significant cognitive improvement has been noted among children who received Spirulina. This mission is ongoing and is the largest such mission against malnutrition to be conducted in India or worldwide.||http://www.amm-mcrc.org/Publications/CVS_Monographs/Large_Scale_Nutritional_Supplementation.pdf </ref> · http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/foundation-spirulina-enhances-micronutrients/article8789940.ece http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/He-grows-spirulina-in-Bengalurus-backyard-to-fight-malnutrition/articleshow/52709433.cms http://www.deccanherald.com/content/540587/malnourished-children-state-get-spirulina.html http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/drop-in-malnutrition-cases-among-women-children-in-sandur-taluk/article7075818.ece http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Corporates-help-govt-fight-malnutrition-using-spirulina/articleshow/52472904.cms. Rajachar V, Gupta MK, Sengupta A. An Intervention Study for “Mission Against Malnutrition” in Bellary District, Karnataka. IPHA 2016: Towards Healthy Lifestyle. Organized by Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 4th to 6th March 2016.|
[ii] Purification, identification, and characterization of methylcobalamin from Spirulina platensis. Kumudha A, Kumar SS, Thakur MS, Ravishankar GA, Sarada R.
J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Sep 22;58(18):9925-30. doi: 10.1021/jf102159j
[iii] Siva Kiran RR, Madhu GM, Satyanarayana SV (2015). “Spirulina in combating Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) and Protein Energy Wasting (PEW) – A review”. Journal of Nutrition Research. 3 (1): 62–79
[vi] Probiotic Efficiency of Spirulina platensis – Stimulating Growth of Lactic Acid Bacteria Dola Bhowmik, Jaishree Dubey and Sandeep Mehra. World Journal of Dairy & Food Sciences 4 (2): 160-163, 2009
[vii] The Human Microbiome, Accessed March 2017.