Take spirulina now, and avoid hay fever in the spring
For millions of Europeans and Americans spring spells problems. As pollen fills the air the hay-fever season starts. But for many hay-fever sufferers there may be a dirt-cheap solution. Spirulina is a supplement you can buy in every drugstore, and in 2008 Cemal Cingi of Eskisehir Osmangazi University in Turkey published a study that shows it's effective against hay fever.
Spirulina, an anti-allergen
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. When the Americans gave hay-fever sufferers 2 g spirulina daily, the 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 g 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 spirulina worked. 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."
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23.
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