Hepatoprotective effects of Spirulina maxima in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a case series

J Med Case Rep. 2010 Apr 7:4:103. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-4-103.


Introduction: Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases range from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The "two hits" hypothesis is widely accepted for its pathogenesis: the first hit is an increased fat flux to the liver, which predisposes our patient to a second hit where increasing free fatty acid oxidation into the mitochondria leads to oxidative stress, lipoperoxidation and a chain reaction with increased ROS. Clinical indications include abdominal cramps, meteorism and fatigue. Most patients, however, are asymptomatic, and diagnosis is based on aminotransferase elevation and ultrasonography (or "brilliant liver"). Spirulina maxima has been experimentally proven to possess in vivo and in vitro hepatoprotective properties by maintaining the liver lipid profile. This case report evaluates the hepatoprotective effects of orally supplied Spirulina maxima.

Case presentation: Three Hispanic Mexican patients (a 43-year-old man, a 77-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman) underwent ultrasonography and were treated with 4.5 g/day of Spirulina maxima for three months. Their blood samples before and after the treatment determined triacylglycerols, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The results were assessed using ultrasound.

Conclusion: Treatment had therapeutic effects as evidenced by ultrasonography and the aminotransferase data. Hypolipidemic effects were also shown. We conclude that Spirulina maxima may be considered an alternative treatment for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases and dyslipidemic disorder.