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Nutr Res Pract. 2016 Aug;10(4):418-23. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2016.10.4.418. Epub 2016 Apr 22.

The influence of obesity on the effects of spirulina supplementation in the human metabolic response of Korean elderly.

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Food and Nutrition, Kookmin University, Seoul 02707, Korea.
Food Science and Nutrition, Dongseo University, 47 Jurye-ro, Sasang-gu, Busan 47011, Korea.



Spirulina, a blue-green alga, is widely produced and commercialized as a dietary supplement with bio- and immune-modulatory functions. We have previously shown that spirulina had favorable effects on lipid profiles, immune functions, and antioxidant capacity in healthy Korean elderly. Despite favorable effect of spirulina supplementation, some sub-populations have shown a poor response to supplementation. Obesity is a factor related to poor-response. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the immuno-modulation, antioxidant capacity, and lipid-lowering effect of spirulina in obese and non-obese Korean elderly.


The subjects were 78 elderly aged 60-87 years. In a randomized double blind, placebo-controlled study, subjects were fed either placebo or spirulina daily, at 8 g for 12 weeks. Subjects were divided into the non-obese group and the obese group based on body mass index (BMI) criteria for Asians suggested by the International Obesity Task Force: BMI < 25 kg/m(2) (non-obese) and BMI ≥ 25 kg/m(2) (obese).


In the non-obese group, spirulina supplementation showed a significant lowering effect on plasma concentration of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, a significant increase in interleukin (IL)-2 concentration (P < 0.01) and a significant increment (P < 0.05) in IL-2/IL-6 ratio, and a significant increase in total antioxidant status level and a significant decrease in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances level. However, these effects were not observed in the obese group.


These results demonstrated that blood lipid lowering and immune and antioxidant improving response for spirulina supplement was affected by obesity in Korean elderly.


BMI; antioxidant effect; dyslipidemia; immunity; spirulina

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