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
The cause of the arsenic contamination is currently