5 Grams Daily of Spirulina
REVERSED Severe Radiation Poisoning in Chernobyl
Posted By Dr. Mercola | November 09 2011
By Dr. Mercola
Due to the many requests I received from concerned readers asking for
guidance about strategies to help protect against radioactive fallout in
the wake of the Japanese nuclear disaster, I recently wrote an
article addressing those concerns.
Although the suggestions I made were all based on the latest
scientific research, my investigation will be continuing in this area so
that I can further refine those recommendations.
And as I learn more, I will pass along that information to you.
That said, one specific superfood that jumps to the top of the list
is spirulina, and it’s this very special blue-green “algae”
that I want to expand upon today.
There is a great deal of research about spirulina’s effectiveness in
insulating you from the effects of radiation.
Spirulina was actually used to treat children exposed to chronic
low-levels of radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which I’ll
be covering in more detail below.
“Up to very recently, the interest in Spirulina was mainly
in its nutritive value. Currently, however, numerous people are
looking into the possible therapeutic effects of Spirulina.
Many pre-clinical studies and a few clinical studies suggest
several therapeutic effects ranging from reduction of cholesterol and
cancer to enhancing the immune system, increasing intestinal
lactobacilli, reducing nephrotoxicity by heavy metals and drugs and
Spirulina is ranked by AARP as the #1 superfood for extending your
lifespan, and the UN has identified it as a primary ingredient in the
fight against malnutrition worldwide. But what exactly is spirulina? You
may be surprised!
Spirulina: One of Nature’s Near-Perfect Foods
Spirulina is similar to sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp, nori,
kombu, arame, wakame, etc. Along with its cousin chlorella
(another of my favorites) spirulina is a member of the
“blue-green” family�but this family is actually not algae.
Although you will often hear the term “blue-green algae,”
spirulina and its kin are actually cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are
classified as bacteria because their genetic material is not organized
in a membrane-bound nucleus. Unlike other bacteria, they have
chlorophyll and use the sun as an energy source, in the way plants and
Spirulina is primarily produced by two species: Arthrospira
platensis and Arthrospira maxima.
One of the special traits of spirulina is its rich protein
content�it’s up to 70 percent protein by weight and
contains all of the essential amino acids. Records of the Spanish
conquistadors suggest that the Aztecs consumed spirulina as a food
source, and the Kanembu people of Central Africa harvested it from what
is now called Lake Chad.
Wild spirulina grows in the alkaline lakes of Mexico and on the
African continent, although it is commercially grown and harvested all
over the world. It reproduces quickly, and because the individual
organisms tend to stick together, it is easy to harvest. Commercial
production of spirulina is estimated to reach 220,000 tons by the year
Japan is the largest producer�and also the largest consumer�of
Spirulina Offers Across-the-Board Health Benefits
Spirulina is high in various B vitamins (including B-12),
beta-carotene and other carotenoids, and minerals including calcium,
iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium and zinc. It is also a
great source of gamma-linoleic
acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid for your heart and joints.
Many of these vitamins and minerals have strong antioxidant
properties, which help you eliminate toxins and fight disease. Spirulina
is highly effective for heavy metal detoxification, and many studies now
point to spirulina as a natural cancer-fighting agent. Research on
spirulina suggests it offers potential benefits for a wide variety of
health issues, including:
tempering appetite, stabilizing
blood sugar and reducing diabetes risk
gut flora and fighting Candida
your liver, heart, kidneys, and brain
your immune system
But what is it about spirulina that explains its ability to protect
you from the damaging effects of ionizing radiation? One of the
explanations is cyanobacteria’s unique blue pigment, phycocyanin.
Spirulina is 16 percent phycocyanin by weight. Phycocyanin attaches to
spirulina’s membranes to impart the distinctive bluish color.
Besides being a pigment, phycocyanin is also a nitrogen storage
molecule. The nitrogen atoms bind with heavy metals, such as radioactive
caesium-137, strontium-90, and potassium-40, hence “cleansing”
these radioactive metals from your body.
It All Started with Chernobyl
The benefits of spirulina for radiation treatment really came to
light just after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, near the Belarus border of
When the Chernobyl reactor melted down, approximately 134 plant
workers and firefighters were exposed to high doses of radiation�800
to 16,000 mSv�and developed acute radiation sickness.
Of those 134 workers, 28 died within 3 months of exposure.
In total, more than 160,000 children and 146,000 cleanup workers
became victims of radiation poisoning as a result of living and working
in that radiotoxic environment, raising the incidence of birth defects,
leukemia, anemia, cancers, thyroid disease, liver and bone marrow
degeneration, and overall severely compromised immune systems.
According to Bill Bodri’s 2004 book How to Help Support the
Body’s Healing After Intense Radioactive or Radiation Exposure,
after the Chernobyl disaster a British company reportedly sent shipments
of spirulina to clinics in Belarus to treat child victims of radiation
sickness. Soviet physicians at the Institute of Radiation Medicine in
Minsk administered 5 grams of spirulina daily to some of the
radiation-exposed children for 45 consecutive days.
They were amazed to see these children show rapid improvements,
compared to the children who did not receive spirulina, in the following
- The spirulina-treated children showed bone marrow, spinal fluid,
blood cell and liver regeneration.
- Dangerously low white blood cell counts of about 1,000 (typical of
leukemia) rose to 3,000 in only 20 days.
- Urine radioactivity levels decreased by 50 percent in 20 days.
According to Bodri, “Health restoration was reported even when
radiation sickness was so advanced that the children’s eyes were bulging
out of their sockets.” And the results occurred despite ongoing
radiation exposure from contaminated food and water.
Based on the Minsk results, the Belarus Ministry of Health concluded
that spirulina accelerates the evacuation of radionuclides from
the human body, without adverse side effects. Spirulina was
particularly efficient at deactivating radioactive caesium from their
More Russian Studies Soon Followed�With Encouraging Results
A 1993 report
(author L.P. Loseva) confirmed the 1991 findings about the benefits
of spirulina for children with radiation sickness, leading to the
awarding of a Russian patent for spirulina in the treatment of radiation
A follow up report (also written by Loseva in September of 1999 for
the 8th International Congress of Applied Algology)
“Spirulina platensis is an effective natural
adsorbent of long-life radionuclides caesium-137, strontium-90, and
potassium-40 and can lead to a reduction of radioactive contamination
in children ages 10 to 16 years of age.”
There is also a report that younger children, aged 3 to 7, in
Beryozovka (near Grodno on the Polish border) who were poisoned with
radioactivity from Chernobyl, as well as simultaneous lead poisoning
from a nearby glass factory, showed improvement after being treated with
spirulina for 45 days.
Radiation causes Hematopoietic syndrome, marked by a three-way drop
in blood cells: the result is infection (related to insufficient white
cells), anemia (inadequate red blood cells), and bleeding (diminished
platelets). Spirulina helps with
these symptoms. Physicians saw T-cell suppressors and beneficial
hormones increase, and urine radioactivity decrease, in 83 percent of
the children who received the treatment.
study (L. Evets, et al. 1994) involving 270 children living in
highly radioactive areas found that the children’s elevated
immunoglobulin E levels (IgE) were normalized by 5 grams of spirulina
per day for 6 weeks. Normalizing IgE reduces allergic reactions.
Spirulina’s Glowing Reports as a “Radiation Shield”
It is thought that spirulina protects your body from radiation damage
and helps it detoxify through a combination of the mechanisms outlined
in the following table.
has high natural iodine, which protects NOT ONLY
your thyroid, but all glandular tissues in your body.
is abundant in vitamins and minerals and antioxidants,
which collectively promote healing and strengthen your immune
is high in phytopigments (phycocyanin, chlorophyll,
beta-carotene and other carotenoids), which enhance
antioxidants and reduce free radical damage from radiation, as
well as from pollutants, drugs and other environmental toxins.
These pigments may also help explain spirulina’s anti-inflammatory
is high in metallo-thionine compounds (proteins combined with
metals) that bind heavy radioactive isotopes and
eliminate them from your body (Matsubara et al. “Radioprotective
effect of metallo-thionine,” presented at Radial Rays
Conference, Tokyo Japan 1985)
at the Gastro-Intestinal Laboratory at McGill University in
Montreal demonstrated that alginates derived from Laminaria could reduce
by 50 to 80 percent the amount of radioactive strontium absorbed
through the intestine.
is rich in highly bioavailable iron, which helps
prevent anemia. A new
study published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Biology in
January 2011 confirms this effect, finding spirulina effective
in the treatment of anemia and age-related immune dysfunction
among senior citizens.
has a number of blood-strengthening properties,
as found by this
2001 animal study from China. The study concluded that
spirulina has chemo-protective and radio-protective capabilities
and shows potential for fighting cancer. Immune cells in your
blood are highly radiosensitive and considered to be good
indicators for biological effects taking place at the molecular
somehow helps shield cells from gamma radiation,
as shown by this study
on the bone marrow of mice.
helps to protect your kidneys, which are some of
the FIRST organs to suffer damage after significant radiation
exposure. Research suggests spirulina helps protect from the
nephrotoxicity of cancer treatments, antibiotics and analgesics.
A great many more research studies
about spirulina can be accessed here, demonstrating the wide array
of spirulina’s health benefits.
WARNING About Contamination of Sea-Derived Nutrients
Typically, terrestrial vegetables provide enormous health benefits,
but those from the sea can provide loads of additional benefits over
land-based vegetables. But, just like eating fish, the issue of
contamination is of major concern today.
You probably know I don’t advise eating fish, because most are now
contaminated with heavy metals like mercury and chemicals like PCBs and
dioxins. Unfortunately, most sea vegetables and cyanobacteria are
similarly contaminated. So, while they are an ideal source of nutrition,
you need to be VERY careful about which ones to consume.
If you are purchasing sea vegetables or spirulina that were harvested
since the Japanese nuclear event, you will want to make sure they have
been screened for radiation by an independent third party lab.
Dr. David Brownstein, an expert on iodine and your thyroid, sent a
number of sea vegetable samples to labs and found most of them to be
contaminated with heavy metals, actually containing bromine
instead of iodine, which is the “toxic bully” of the
I believe that toxin-free sea vegetables and spirulina are likely the
ideal way to obtain your iodine�just as toxin-free fish is the best
source of animal based omega-3 fats. However, with all of the pollutants
in today’s environment, those ideals are increasingly difficult to
Spirulina Dosing Recommendations
Assuming it’s from a pristine source, spirulina can be a
tremendous nutritional supplement for you, your children, and your
pets, providing highly bioavailable iodine and a bonanza of
If you are going to start on a spirulina regimen, the recommended
dosage is 3,000 mg per day for adults, and 500 to 1,500 mg for
children, for use as a preventative. For therapeutic use, 10,000 to even
20,000 mg per day is required for adults.