Study under review: The effects of spirulina on glycemic control and serum lipoproteins in patients with metabolic syndrome and related disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that appear to revolve around insulin resistance. This cluster of conditions, depicted in Figure 1, includes impaired glucose tolerance (post-meal blood sugar), elevated triglycerides, and aberrant cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2DM), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and other chronic diseases, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As of 2012, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the U.S. was about 35% in adults and about 5-7% in young adults. As such, treatments that can address metabolic syndrome are needed.
Lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions are the leading approaches to addressing and managing metabolic syndrome. In terms of lifestyle modification, exercise, caloric restriction, and weight loss are all efficacious in the management of the syndrome. Pharmaceutical interventions involve targeting metabolic syndrome components. These include, for example, the use of glucose-lowering agents like metformin and/or lipid lowering agents such as statins, fenofibrates, or thiazolidinediones.
In addition to lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions, there have been efforts to discover and implement nutraceutical interventions like fish oil, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Spirulina, a species of cyanobacterium (blue-green algae), has been used as a food supplement due to its high nutrient content, as it contains calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. Recently, however, some evidence has suggested that spirulina might exert beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome. For example, a study found that among people with type 2 diabetes, spirulina led to improvements in serum triglycerides, independent of changes in bodyweight. The present study is a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs regarding the effect of spirulina on glucose and lipid metabolism among participants with metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that likely reflect insulin resistance, such as elevated blood glucose and blood lipids. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that displays some glucose-lowering and lipid-lowering effects. The present study is a systematic review and meta-analysis on the effect of spirulina on glucose and lipid metabolism among people with metabolic syndrome.
Other Articles in Issue #60 (October 2019)
Vitamin D on the mind: can vitamin D help with Alzheimer's?
This randomized controlled trial suggests that supplementation has a surprisingly strong effect on aspects of cognition in people with mild Alzheimer's disease. But are the results a little too surprising?
NERD Mini: Is vitamin D supplementation useful for pregnant women?
We've previously covered evidence suggesting that pregnant women supplementing with vitamin D have a lower risk of giving birth to babies with low birthweight. This Cochrane review suggests vitamin D may have other benefits as well.
Can vitamin D impact mortality?
This meta-analysis suggests that if it does, the effect size on all-cause mortality is pretty darn small. However, supplementation may reduce the risk of dying from cancer.
The surprisingly satiating effects of fasted cardio
Skipping breakfast before morning cardio cuts out some calories early in the day, but are those calories just consumed later on?
Does plate size matter?
Previous research looking at whether shrinking one's plate actually shrinks one's food intake has been equivocal. This well-designed study sheds some stronger light on the issue.
Red flags in study design cast doubt on soy supplementation study results
Want to know some reasons why we don't usually cover studies looking at proprietary supplement blends? Then read on.
Interview: Suzanne Robotti, Founder of MedShadow
In this interview we chat with the founder of MedShadow, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide the information needed to weigh the risks and benefits of healthcare treatments.