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Stroke

Spirulina Blocks Stroke Damage

16 years, 3 months ago

7762  0
Posted on Apr 20, 2005, 4 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Eating antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables could reduce brain damage from stroke up to 75%. Blueberries, spinach and the algae spirulina have been shown in rats to reduce brain cell loss and improve recovery of movement following stroke. "I was amazed at the extent of neuroprotection these antioxidant-rich diets provided," says Paula Bickford of the University of South Florida (USF).
Eating antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables could reduce brain damage from stroke up to 75%.

Blueberries, spinach and the algae spirulina have been shown in rats to reduce brain cell loss and improve recovery of movement following stroke.

"I was amazed at the extent of neuroprotection these antioxidant-rich diets provided," says Paula Bickford of the University of South Florida (USF). "The size of the stroke was 50% to 75% less in rats treated with diets supplemented with blueberries, spinach or spirulina before the stroke."

Bickford and colleagues suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances in the foods may reduce nerve cell injury and death triggered by stroke.

The study builds upon previous USF research showing that diets enriched with the same fruits and vegetables reverse age-related declines in memory and learning in old rats.

Chow supplements

In the new study, the researchers studied four groups of rats fed equal amounts of food for one month. One group's chow was supplemented with blueberries, another's with spinach and another's with spirulina, while the control group received no supplementation.

After four weeks, the researchers induced an ischemic stroke in the animals.

The size of the stroke in the rats fed blueberry or spinach supplements was half that seen in the brains of untreated rats.

Rats on spirulina-enriched diets had stroke lesions 75% smaller than untreated counterparts.

The researchers are now investigating whether rats treated with antioxidant-rich diets after stroke have improved recovery. They also plan to investigate whether combination diets provide even greater protection against stroke damage.

The research is reported in the journal Experimental Neurology (read abstract).

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