Phycocyanobilin from Spirulina — the Master Antioxidant

The chief source of oxidative stress in many health disorders is the NADPH oxidase complex; in many of these disorders, the oxidants produced by this complex either cause the syndrome, or at least make it worse. Although the natural metabolite bilirubin functions as a potent inhibitor of NADPH oxidase, it is not practical to use this compound as a supplement. Fortunately, the blue-green algae spirulina is a very rich source of a chemical relative of bilirubin, known as phycocyanobilin (PhyCB), that likewise can potently inhibit NADPH oxidase. This probably explains why spirulina has shown such a broad range of protective anti-inflammatory effects in rodent studies. Hence, it seems likely that regular ingestion of adequate amounts of spirulina – perhaps in the range of 1-2 tablespoons daily – can make a great contribution to health. This essay provides some practical tips on spirulina supplementation.

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