Hypocholesterolemic effect of spirulina in patients with hyperlipidemic nephrotic syndrome

J Med Food. 2002 Summer;5(2):91-6. doi: 10.1089/109662002760178177.


In nephrotic syndrome, large amounts of plasma proteins are lost in urine, causing a decrease in the plasma oncotic pressure. This leads to enhanced hepatic synthesis of albumin and other proteins, including lipoproteins, causing a secondary hyperlipidemia. Essential fatty acids such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can prevent accumulation of cholesterol in the body, and spirulina has an appreciable amount of GLA. In this study 23 patients (age 2 to 13 years) with nephrotic syndrome received either medication (group I) or medication plus 1 g/day Spirulina (group II). Height, weight, and serum levels of fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, total cholesterol (TC), and low- and high-density cholesterol fractions (LDL-C and HDL-C, respectively) were measured before and after the 2-month study period. Mean height and weight were normal compared with healthy, age-matched Indian children. Lipoprotein cholesterol levels were significantly increased at baseline. TC significantly decreased by 116.33 mg/dl, LDL-C by 94.14 mg/dl, and triglycerides by 67.72 mg/dl in group II; in control group I, these values fell by 69.87, 61.13, and 22.62 mg/dl, respectively. The LDL-C:HDL-C ratio also decreased significantly, by 1.66 in group II and 1.13 in group I. TC:HDL-C decreased by 1.96 in group II and 1.19 in group I. HDL-C:LDL-C also improved significantly in both the groups. It can be concluded that spray-dried Spirulina capsules, rich in antioxidants, GLA, amino acids, and fatty acids, helped reduce the increased levels of lipids in patients with hyperlipidemic nephrotic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Male
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / complications*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Spirulina
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid
  • Cholesterol