The effects of Spirulina Platensis on anthropometric indices, appetite, lipid profile and serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in obese individuals: a randomized double blinded placebo controlled trial

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Apr 21;17(1):225. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-1670-y.


Background: In recent years, a great attention has been focused on Spirulina platensis as a source of potential valuable nutrients for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. The objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of Spirulina platensis on anthropometric parameters, serum lipids, appetite and serum Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in obese individuals.

Methods: In the current study sixty four obese individuals aged 20-50 years were enrolled and randomly allocated into two groups of intervention and placebo. Intervention group (n = 29) received each 500 mg of the Spirulina platensis a twice-daily dosage while the control group (n = 27) received two pills daily starch for 12 weeks. Anthropometric parameters and serum VEGF and lipid profile were measured in fasting blood samples at the beginning and end of the study period. Dietary intakes were assessed by a 24-h recall method and appetite was measured using standard visual analogue scale (VAS).

Results: Body weight and body mass index (BMI) were decreased in intervention and placebo treated groups although the mean reduction in Spirulina platensis-treated group was significantly higher (P < 0.05). Serum total cholesterol (TC) significantly reduced in intervention group (P < 0.05). Also, treatment with Spirulina platensis significantly reduced appetite (P = 0.008). Mean serum VEGF, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and triglycerides did not change significantly after intervention. Serum high density lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations (HDL-c) significantly increased in both groups while no difference in mean difference of this change has been observed.

Conclusion: Spirulina supplementation at a dose of 1 g/d for 12 weeks is effective in modulating body weight and appetite and partly modifies serum lipids. This can further confirm the efficacy of this herbal supplement in control and prevention of obesity and obesity- related disorders.

Trial registration: Iranian registry of clinical trials (IRCT registration number: IRCT2015071219082N7 ; Date registered: September 12, 2015).

Keywords: Appetite; Lipid profile; Spirulina Platensis; Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Spirulina*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood*
  • Weight Loss*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A