Spirulina, a green-blue algae developed by Bangladeshi and French scientists several years ago, has been found to have "very good effects" on people suffering from arsenic poisoning caused by the recently-discovered contamination of much of the groundwater in Bangladesh.
Up to this point, doctors in Bangladesh have been virtually helpless in treating dying arsenic patients.
Bangladeshi researchers conducted a three-month hospital-based study in which 33 patients were given spirulina and 17 were given placebo doses. 82% of those taking Spirulina showed tremendous improvement.
Experts fear that more than 18 million people are likely to face eventual death from the poisoning, which at acute stages causes liver, lung, intestinal, stomach and kidney cancers.
Bangladeshi authorities say that approximately 70 million people, out of a population of 120 million, are at "great risk" from arsenic poisoning and a search for alternative water sources is under way. Arsenic was found in tube-wells in 59 of 64 districts.
Ironically, the use of contaminated well water became much more prevalent recently due to a large concerted effort over the past several decades by the Bangladeshi government and private organizations in an attempt to prevent water-borne diseases that can come from drinking bacteria-infested surface water. The campaign was so successful that now approximately 97 percent of the population has access to tube-well water.
Leading dermatologists, who joined a major health conference in Dhaka this week, unanimously recommended Spirulina to treat arsenic patients.
The cause of the arsenic contamination is currently unknown.
Clearly, acute arsenic poisoning is not a major problem in this country, but I find it fascinating that it is possible to treat this problem with spirulina. Algae is a powerful source of nutrition and I recommend most consider adding it to their diet program for general maintenance. There are two major types - spirulina and chlorella. I use chlorella regularly in my personal vegetable juicing program. Chlorella, not spirulina will also facilitate the removal of heavy metals like mercury from the body.
I understand that the US EPA is seriously considering substancialy lowering the upper limit for the allowable amount of arsenic in drinking water supplies and I anticipate covering this story in more detail in an upcoming issue.