Spirulina prevents atherosclerosis by reducing hypercholesterolemia in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2010;56(1):34-40. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.56.34.


The anti-atherogenic effects of spirulina (Spirulina platensis) were investigated in the New Zealand White (NZW) rabbit model. The animal had hypercholesterolemia induced by being fed a high cholesterol diet (HCD) containing 0.5% cholesterol for 4 wk, and then fed a HCD supplemented with 1 or 5% spirulina (SP1 or SP5) for an additional 8 wk. Spirulina supplementation lowered intimal surface of the aorta by 32.2 to 48.3%, compared to HCD. Serum triglyceride (TG) and total cholesterol (TC) significantly were reduced in SP groups. After 8 wk, serum low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) remarkably decreased by 26.4% in SP1 and 41.2% in SP5, compared to HCD. On the other hand, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was markedly increased in SP1 and SP5 compared with that in the HCD group from 2 to 8 wk. These results suggest that spirulina intake can cause the reduction of hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis, associated with a decrease in levels of serum TC, TG and LDL-C, and an elevation of HDL-C level. Spirulina may, therefore, be beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aorta
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet, Atherogenic*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / pathology
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Rabbits
  • Spirulina*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Tunica Intima / drug effects*
  • Tunica Intima / pathology


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Plant Preparations
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol