Spirulina extract may reverse pain sensitivity

June 04, 2009

C-phycocyanin is a compound found in the blue green algae Spirulina; it may reduce inflammation and have pain killing effects, according to a new animal study. Increasing doses of C-phycocyanin reduced levels of inflammatory markers in rats administered carrageenan, a chemical injected into the rat’s paw that causes pain and inflammation. The researchers were led by Tz-Chong Chou from Taiwan’s National Defence Medical Center.

Dr. Chou and co-workers used male Sprague-Dawley rats that were divided into two groups, one of which was used as the control, and the other administered carrageenan to induce inflammation. The carrageenan rats were further divided into three groups and given one of three doses of C-phycocyanin. All doses of C-phycocyanin were found to “significantly attenuate carrageenan-induced” inflammation, said the researchers. Markers of inflammation, including inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), the COX-2 enzyme, the formation of nitrate, TNF-alpha, and prostaglandin E2, were also measured. According to the Taiwanese team’s findings, induction of both iNOS and COX-2 was suppressed by the compound, and this was accompanied by an inhibition of the nitrate, PGE, and TNF-alpha formation. The study is published in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia 2009, Volume 108.