Spirulina and malnutrition

Spirulina and malnutrition

As a solution to malnutrition


3 Antenna photo

Spirulina as solution to malnutrition, has proved in Africa, India, Southeast Asia.. Many local NGOs are involved in this huge task: sometimes producing for export, allowing it to fund programs for free distribution.

Some French producers part of Federation des Spiruliniers de France are involved in the establishment of farms around the world. Antenna Technologies (http://www.antenna.ch) does an important work on this issue over the last twenty years.
On this subject, we can put forward, in addition to the extraordinary qualities of spirulina, the fact that production is done on site, avoiding the importation of nutrient complex and promoting autonomy in populations.

We cannot ignore that malnutrition exists also in Western countries, affecting nearly 10% of the population in some EU countries. Another form of malnutrition among us is linked to junk food: excess sugar, meat, bad saturated fats, excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, obesity … all this food valued by advertising, made ​​by companies whose main concern is a short-term profitability.

What actions are to be undertaken to develop a healthy diet, where spirulina, unique food, has its place.
And say, there has increasingly free space in our countryside where install spirulina farms….


Ripley Fox, pioneer of use of Spirulina to combat malnutrition summarizes:
1 Ripley Fox

“In the East, the evidence is not on paper,but in the smiles and cheers of children who,if they did not receive Spirulina, have joined in the statistics 600,000,000 others who have died since the last world war.

It is true that this figure can haunt your head and heart.This is certainly a question of morality.

                   Malnutrition is not a disease, it is a political fact. “




Cédric Coquet, French producer involved in the creation of farms in Africa ad the question:
‘’Could spirulina combat malnutrition? Spirulina itself can combat malnutrition, it is easy to grow locally,harvest and prepare.Its nutritional composition is impressive.
Unfortunately, as Man will not be decided to radically change behaviour, the answer to this question is no. Let me quote Jean Ziegler, Rapporteur at the UN: “A child who dies of hunger is a murdered child.” Share and malnutrition will be an old nightmare. ”


Hunger and malnutrition

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925 million people suffer from hunger in the world, mostly in developing countries *. If the right to food is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 25) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 11) rights, there is no international legal framework to enforce the commitment of States parties. But more than hunger, the real issue is malnutrition. This condition is due to a deficiency of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids), which no longer allows the body to ensure its growth and maintain its vital functions.

* Source: FAO, Department of Economic and Social Development, 2010

Chronic malnutrition: an invisible killer

According to WHO, malnutrition is implicated in about 40% of the 11 million child deaths under five years recorded each year in developing countries. But only a fraction of these children die of hunger in contexts of famine or war. In most cases, they suffer from moderate chronic malnutrition, which does not present clinical symptoms. However, recurrent nutritional deficiencies have disastrous consequences on child health: reduced immunity, developmental delay, increased risk of mortality. Improve sustainably nutritional status of these children is possible thanks to the local culture of Spirulina.

Spirulina, local production of a food supplement

Antenna supports local production and distribution of spirulina microalgae with high nutritional value: a few grams per day improve spectacularly the nutritional status of malnourished children. Antenna also supports outreach and information on nutrition and spirulina.


Practice example in a clinic in Togo

These centres host malnourished people. The staff provides a dose of spirulina which varies with the state of person, age, and weight. For a child, we see remarkable effects from doses of 1 to 3 grams of spirulina per day for 4-6 weeks initially. Generally in these clinics spirulina is added at the beginning of meals in a small amount of boiled, sauce or rice (but keep all its nutritional benefits, it should not be heated). Children old enough to feed themselves, digest very well this new yet unknown food by their organisms. For those who cannot feed themselves, spirulina is administered by stomach tube in powder form with water. From a weighing and measuring daily the size and abdominal perimeter we observe:

  •  weight gain is from the first day, and significant: on average 20g per day, apart from those with kwashiorkor.
  •  between the 5th and 10th day the swelling of organs or tissues, called oedema, begin to melt.
  •  “smile-response” appears between 8 and 13 days after the start of the treatment.
  •  haemoglobin (a protein that transports oxygen in the body) increases after one or two weeks.
  •  an increase of bio markers:   in the blood, the rate of pre-albumin (a protein involved in the transport of vitamin A) and transferrin (protein that combines with iron).

4 Kofi 18 months


In December 2004, Kofi 18 months, weighs 6.2 kg,
it is a case of acute malnutrition, classified as “unrecoverable” by pediatricians and WHO.



5 Kofi 20 months


Two months later,the same boy fed with Spirulina





Regarding pregnant women, lactating women and the elderly, cures are 3 weeks due to 5 grams of spirulina per day. Doses can be increased as needed and without risk up to 40 grams per day. In the case of AIDS, resulting in a decrease of immunity promoting infections, spirulina suggests a positive effect by stimulating the immune system. Several testimonies of people living with HIV, taking permanent treatment of 5 to 10 grams per day of spirulina, are encouraging. Indeed, their health is significantly improved and the suspension of the use of spirulina leads to recurrence of symptoms immune suppressed. However, only indirect scientific research has been done.
U.S. researchers from the National Cancer Institute are interested in a sulfolipid having ” a remarkably active effect against HIV AIDS virus ”
(K. Gustavson, Journal of the National Cancer Institute , 1989 volume 821 , No. 16 , pages 1254-1258 ) .
Or the sulfolipid, a fatty acid derivative is present in spirulina.