Spirulina and Malnutrition

Spirulina and Malnutrition

According to the United Nations World Health Organisation (UNWHO) the real challenge today is malnutrition-the deficiency of micro-nutrients that no longer allows the body to ensure growth and maintain its vital forces (**55).
In an effort to support the eradication of malnutrition by a food fortification approach through Spirulina, several international initiatives have been undertaken.

An Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Microalgae Spirulina against Malnutrition (IIMSAM) was formed (http://www.iimsam.org/) under multilateral treaties recognized in the UN Treaty Series 37542/43. IIMSAM was granted a Consultative Observer Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in keeping with Resolution number E/2003/212.
Italy is the recognized host of the Treaties. Member states of Treaties that constitute IIMSAM include several countries from Africa.

Antenna Technologies, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, works with local NGOs and International Associations to fight malnutrition by developing the tools necessary for the local production of Spirulina (https://www.antenna.ch).

In an effort to analyze the influence of Spirulina on the nutrition rehabilitation of undernourished children a research study was conducted in Burkina Faso with 550 undernourished children of less than 5 years old (**53).
The results of this research indicated that Spirulina plus traditional meals (millet, vegetable fruits) or Spirulina plus Misola (local bouillon, mixture of millet, soya and peanut) synergically favour the nutrition rehabilitation better than the simple addition of protein and energy intake.

In a similar study involving 84 undernourished children HIV-infected and 86 undernourished children HIV-negative, the impact of an alimentary integrator composed of Spirulina and traditional meals (millet, vegetable fruit) on the nutritional status of the children was examined.
Rehabilitation with Spirulina showed an average weight gain of 15 and 25g/day for HIV-infected and HIV-negative children respectively.
The level of anaemia decreased during the study in all children, but recuperation was less efficient among HIV-infected children (**54).

Spirulina supplementation was also successfully used in a trial to treat children suffering from chronic vitamin A deficiencies. 1g of Spirulina per day reduced the incidence of visual symptoms on these children from 80 to 10 per cent (**56).

The general conclusion from the above studies is that Spirulina is a beneficial food supplement for undernourished children.

(**) Literature on the subject