Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) has been linked to weight loss and a reduction in appetite. A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked into its effects on the anthropometric indices, appetite, lipid profile and serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in obese individuals. The study was funded by a grant from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences.
The researchers randomized 64 obese individuals into an intervention group (29 members) and a control group (27 members). Both groups were asked to take two tablets every day. The first group was given spirulina (500 milligrams per tablet) while the second group received starch tablets.
The scientists took note of the participants' anthropometric parameters and serum VEGF and lipid profile at the beginning and the end of the 12-week study. They assessed dietary intake and appetite using the 24-hour recall method and a standard visual analog scale (VAS) respectively.
They noted decreases in BMI in both groups, but the reduction in the intervention group was greater than that in the control group. The spirulina group also showed reductions in total cholesterol and appetite levels. Mean serum VEGF, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and triglyceride levels showed no significant changes, however.
The results led the researchers to conclude that spirulina supplementation (a gram per day for 12 weeks) could help in weight loss by modulating body weight and reducing appetite and serum lipids.
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Zeinalian R, Farhangi MA, Shariat A, Saghafi-Asl M. THE EFFECTS OF SPIRULINA PLATENSIS ON ANTHROPOMETRIC INDICES, APPETITE, LIPID PROFILE AND SERUM VASCULAR ENDOTHELIAL GROWTH FACTOR (VEGF) IN OBESE INDIVIDUALS: A RANDOMIZED DOUBLE-BLINDED PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIAL. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1670-y