Rhapsody in blue-green

As much as I talk about supplements in this space, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about spirulina before. But in light of the new study I came across recently, I’d say that now is as good a time as any.

Spirulina is blue-green algae. Scientists have been researching its health benefits for centuries now. And results show that it may combat conditions ranging from allergies to cancer to heart disease.

According to the most recent research, you can add type 2 diabetes to this list. A new study from a team of Indian researchers shows that spirulina can balance blood sugar levels, too.

This is fantastic news–especially since India’s diabetes epidemic may ultimately exceed ours. In fact, during my clinical research in India several years ago, I discovered that many of the patients we enrolled were diabetic…and only finding out for the first time as a result our screening.

Anyway, onto this new study’s details…

Researchers randomly assigned a group of 25 diabetic patients to take either 2 grams of spirulina or a placebo each day for two months.

At the end of the study period, results showed that the subjects supplementing with spirulina had lower fasting blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels than subjects taking a placebo.

Spirulina also cut triglyceride levels, as well as total cholesterol and artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. And it boosted levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

But that’s not all. Researchers observed significant changes in other key markers of artery health, too. Specifically, it improved ratios of two fat-binding proteins called apolipoprotein A1 and apolipoprotein B.

Lower levels of Apo-A1 and higher levels of Apo-B point to higher arterial plaque accumulation. And at the end of the day, factors like this are much stronger indicators of your heart health than total cholesterol levels.

So if you’ve never had your cholesterol looked at in this way, ask your doctor for a VAP test–it’s a much more in depth look at your lipid profile.

Beyond that, the take home message here is obvious: If you’re concerned about your blood sugar–and believe me, you should be–then it might be smart to put spirulina on your shopping list today. You can find it in most health food stores.

Whitehead, RJ. “Spirulina can better manage blood sugar in diabetes patients.” Nutraingredients-usa.com. 29 April 2013.