Preclinical antitoxic properties of Spirulina (Arthrospira)

Pharm Biol. 2016 Aug;54(8):1345-53. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2015.1077464. Epub 2015 Oct 6.


Context: Spirulina (Arthrospira) exerts a wide spectrum of pharmacological activities which are mainly attributed to its antioxidant effect. However, Spirulina has also been reported (both in preclinical and in clinical scenarios) to exhibit other bioactive effects, including an antitoxic potential.

Objective: We performed a systematic review of the literature, conducted in TOXNET, PubMed/MEDLINE, and Science Direct-Scopus; all available years were included. Searching criteria included the effects of Spirulina on experimental poisonings from arsenic, cadmium, carbon tetrachloride, deltamethrin, fluoride, hexachlorocyclohexane, iron, lead, lindane, and mercury.

Results: In all cases, it was established that the blue-green alga, and its isolated compounds, effectively counteracted these pollutants toxic effects on the exposed organisms. Some molecular mechanisms are proposed, although they have not been fully elucidated yet.

Conclusion: Spirulina could be a useful coadjuvant agent within clinical practice for treatment of these or other pollutants poisonings.

Keywords: Antidotes; environmental pollutants; occupational pollutants; poisoning; therapy; toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidotes / isolation & purification
  • Antidotes / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants / poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Poisoning / drug therapy*
  • Poisoning / metabolism
  • Spirulina / metabolism*


  • Antidotes
  • Antioxidants
  • Environmental Pollutants