Alaria Esculante


J Appl Phycol. 2012 Jun; 24(3): 575–582.
Published online 2011 Dec 29.
doi: 10.1007/s10811-011-9766-0
PMCID: PMC3354323

J. Teas1 and M. R. Irhimeh2

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Dietary algae have been reported to decrease HIV viral fusion/entry and replication and increase immune response, suggesting that regular consumption of algae by people in Japan, Korea, and Chad could be an important factor in their relatively low HIV/AIDS rates. Five antiretroviral-naïve people with HIV (three females, two males; five African Americans) living in Columbia SC participated in the phase I study of acute toxicity. Subjects were randomly assigned to 5 g day-1 brown seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida), Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis), or a combination of both. Endpoints included HIV viral load, complete blood count (CBC), metabolic and lipid panel, and quality of life questionnaire data. When no short-term toxicities were observed, six additional subjects (four females, two males; five African Americans, one Latina) were recruited to further evaluate short- and long-term toxicities (phase II). No adverse effects were observed for the 11 subjects in the phase I trial, and quality of life indicators improved at 3 weeks. No significant changes were observed in CBC, metabolic or lipid panel analyses. CD4 cells (milliliters) and HIV-1 viral load remained stable over the first 3-month phase II study period. One subject continued in the study for 13 months and had clinically significant improvement in CD4 (>100 cells mL−1) and decreased HIV viral load of 0.5 log10. Our pilot data suggest that Undaria, Spirulina, and a combination of both were nontoxic and over time may improve clinical endpoints of HIV/AIDS. Keywords: CD4 T cells, HIV viral load, Clinical trial, Quality of life, Undaria