The blocking of blood vessels by blot clots (thrombus) is known as Thrombosis.

This disrupts the normal blood flow and creates serious health complications.

It can occur in veins or arteries. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

  • Venous thrombosis occurs in the veins which carry blood from body parts to the heart. It can be caused by injury, fracture, obesity, medications, genetic and autoimmune disorders.
  • Arterial thrombosis blocks the arteries which take blood from the heart to other body parts. It happens due to thickening of the arteries by calcium or fatty deposits (plaque).

The symptoms of thrombosis include chest pain, leg pain, swelling or numbness.

People with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, old age, smoking habits, poor diet, lack of physical activity and family history of the disease are at greater risk of developing thrombosis.

If left undetected and untreated, Thrombosis can cause stroke, heart attack and breathing problems.

Anticoagulants and blood thinners are used to treat thrombosis, but they have certain side effects.

One can reduce the risk of having Thrombosis by taking balanced diet and supplements.

Spirulina is a type of edible blue-green algae which has anti-coagulating properties. It can be used for treating and preventing Thrombosis without having potentially adverse effects.

It is entirely natural, rich in various nutrients and has several health benefits.

This microalga is grown in fresh or salt water bodies or cultivated in labs.

There are many species of Spirulina but commonly used are Anthrospira platensis, Anthrospira maxima, and Anthrospira fusiform.

6 Proven Benefits of Spirulina For Thrombosis

Following properties make it a suitable dietary supplement for use in Thrombosis:

Benefits of Spirulina For Thrombosis (1)

1. It Prevents the Formation of Blood Clots

As a result of injury to the blood vessels, platelets in the blood get activated. They aggregate and adhere to the damaged area.

Together with fibrin (a fibrous protein), they tend to stop blood flow by forming a clot (thrombus), which is called coagulation.

This blood clot so formed can sometimes obstruct the blood flow and result in congestion and reduced blood flow to or from the affected organ or body part.

The blood clot can also break off and travel to other body areas causing blockage of vessels and ceasing of blood supply to that particular body part.

These conditions pose a risk of serious health complications like swelling, numbness, stroke, headaches, ischemia, etc.

Research proves that C-phycocyanin, protein from Spirulina inhibits the aggregation of platelets.

It is considered an effective antiplatelet agent which inhibits the activity of cell signaling proteins involved in clotting.

It also inhibits the free radicals produced by platelets, which prevents them from combining.

The formation of the enzyme thromboxane (produced by platelets to induce aggregation) was also hampered. [6] [7]

Another study conducted on 24 people to find out the safety of using Phycocyanin present in Spirulina showed that 2 weeks of Spirulina intake did not increase the platelet levels and the clotting time. Also, the percentage of activated platelets was reduced. [8]

Calcium Spirulan (Ca-SP), a sulfated polysaccharide was found to be present in Spirulina which showed anticoagulant properties.

It prevents clot formation by inhibiting thrombin (a coagulation protein) mediated by the expression of heparin cofactor II (a protein that has anti-coagulating functions). [9] [10]

Spirulina also decreases the proliferation of cells involved in clot formation. [11]

Heparin-like substances which have anti-coagulating properties were also extracted from Spirulina to develop drugs for preventing cardiovascular problems. [12]

Moreover, Spirulina kinase extract delays thrombosis by prolonging the coagulation time and bleeding time. [13] [14]

What does this Mean? Spirulina components in Spirulina prevent the formation of blood clots by extending bleeding and clotting time and preventing aggregation of platelets.

2. It is Anti-Oxidant in Nature

Oxidants are generated in the body from metabolic reactions, injuries or decreased antioxidant capacity.

This leads to builds up of oxidative stress.

The oxidants are free radicals that tend to stabilize by reacting with cells and tissues and in turn, damaging, them.

In this way, oxidative stress leads to activation of platelets and thrombus formation. [15] [16]

Selenium and C- phycocyanin present in Spirulina can scavenge (identify and neutralize) free radicals. [17] [18]

Spirulina also contains Vitamin A (β-carotene) which is an excellent antioxidant. [19] [20] [21]

Studies have also shown that β-carotene, obtained from natural sources has greater bioavailability than those which are chemically synthesized. This means it can be efficiently utilized by the body for its benefits. [22]

These antioxidant properties of Spirulina protect the blood vessels from damage, thereby preventing clot formation and blocking of vessels.

What does this Mean? Anti-oxidants in Spirulina combat oxidative stress that can result in damage and thrombus formation.

3. It has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is believed to mediate and promote thrombosis by activating coagulants and inhibiting anticoagulants present in the blood.

By the process of fibrinolysis, the body breaks down clots and prevents its growth. However, inflammation suppresses fibrinolysis. [23]

Studies show that inflammatory mediators are actively involved in the process of thrombus formation.[24]

Anti-inflammatory substances can suppress inflammation and delay or inhibit the formation of clots.

Spirulina is an anti-inflammatory agent that can reduce platelet activation and prevent thrombosis. [25]

What does this Mean? Spirulina prevents clot synthesis by suppressing inflammation.

4. It helps in Maintaining Favorable Lipid Profile

High cholesterol results in a buildup of plaques (fatty deposits) on the arterial walls.

The body has a mechanism to regulate cholesterol in the body, but high intake of cholesterol over the years starts accumulating and leads to the formation of fat deposits.

These can cause reduced or obstructed blood flow in the arteries and development of clots around the deposits, leading to arterial thrombosis.

If it occurs in the aorta (main artery from the heart) it can cause heart attacks and strokes. It also restricts blood flow to body tissues depleting them of oxygen and nutrients and causing their death.

If blood flow is limited to the brain, the likely outcome is a stroke.

Moreover, if the plaque breaks due to increased blood flow, it can damage vessels and cause the formation of clots.

To prevent these, one must maintain optimum levels of cholesterol.

Spirulina reduces cholesterol levels. It decreases Triglycerides (TG), Total cholesterol (TC), LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and increases the HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

The HDL cholesterol is called good cholesterol because it does not contribute to the formation of plaques and is good for health, while LDL cholesterol is referred to as bad cholesterol as it causes health concerns. [26] [27]

In a study, 15 patients were given a diet rich in Spirulina (6g) daily. At the end of six months, there was a considerable decrease in levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.

The levels of HDL cholesterol and Hemoglobin increased. [28]

In this way, Spirulina helps in maintaining a healthy lipid profile that prevents the occurrence of thrombosis.

Also, Phycocyanobilin derived from Spirulina prevents breaking of plaques which can cause clot formation and thrombosis. [29]

What does this Mean? Spirulina reduces cholesterol levels and prevents the formation of plaque and its rupture.

5. It Lowers the Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can cause serious damage or injury to organs and blood vessels, which can result in clot formation and thrombosis.

The high pressure of blood can also rupture the plaque formed by fat deposits. The breaking of the plaque causes arterial damage and thrombus formation.

The phycocyanin in Spirulina is known to reduce blood pressure and thus prevent thrombosis. [30]

What does this Mean? Spirulina reduces the blood pressure which prevents damage to vessels and breaking of plaque, thereby preventing clots.

6. It Contains Healthy Nutrients

Spirulina is full of healthy nutrients. It contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, like omega-3 fatty acids that prevent the formation of plaque by providing healthy cholesterol to the body.

It also reduces blood pressure, blood clotting, platelet aggregation, and extension of clotting time. [31] [32]

Thus it can be used by people as a good source of nutrients without posing a risk of thrombosis.

What does this Mean? Healthy fats in Spirulina make it an excellent health supplement for use by people with thrombosis.

Dosage

  • Spirulina is available commercially in tablet, flakes or powder forms. Depending on the ease of use, one can opt for any kind. [33]
  • Dosage is individual-dependent which can be determined by the health conditions in consultation with a medical professional.
  • Ideally, it is recommended to take 4-6 tablets of 500mg daily, or if one is taking powder form, 1-2 teaspoons daily.
  • Spirulina powder can be easily added to shakes, soups or smoothies to facilitate its intake.
  • Branded products from reliable sources are best suited to avoid toxicity and adverse effects of contamination.

Precautions

  • People on certain previous medications should consult with a doctor before Spirulina use as it has the potential to interact with some drugs. [34]
  • Individuals with other health conditions like Phenylketonuria, auto-immune diseases and allergies are advised to avoid Spirulina usage. As Spirulina contains phenylalanine, phenylketonuria is unable to metabolize it. Spirulina can also activate the immune system which worsens the auto-immune condition. Also, if Spirulina is grown in salty water, it should be avoided by people with seafood allergies.
  • The dosage and safety of usage for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should be consulted with the physician.
  • Some lakes contain toxic substances which can be absorbed by Spirulina. Therefore, it is important to know the source of Spirulina cultivation or use branded and pure. One can also opt for lab-grown varieties.

Conclusion

Spirulina offers multiple health benefits for the prevention and may help in treatment of Thrombosis.

It has anti-coagulating properties which delay or prevent clot formation.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature of Spirulina helps it to avoid clotting of blood.

It is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that help in maintaining a suitable lipid profile for people with thrombosis.

It also lowers the blood pressure and prevents the conditions that can result in thrombus formation.

It is perfectly safe for use and has no adverse effects. Therefore, it is very suitable for consumption by people with the risk of thrombosis or to prevent thrombosis.

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