"We have given too much attention to the enemy and have to some extent overlooked our defenses."
—M. Behar, World Health, February-March, 1974
Microorganisms, bacteria, and fungi have been exploited for almost a century to provide useful drugs, antibiotics, and other pharmacologically active compounds. 95
Antibiotics, active against bacteria, fungi, and even viruses, have been isolated from marine algae, especially macroalgae. 96 Microalgae as well as macroalgae are able to produce a wide variety of pharmacologically active compounds.
Beneficial effects of Microalgae
Beneficial effects in leprosy were first observed in the 1940s. "Jorgensen and Convit fed a soup made from concentrated Chlorella to eighty patients at a treatment colony in Venezuela. The improvement in those patients’ physical condition was the first documented evidence of the potential of microalgae as a health supplement." 97
Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties have been found in dozens of micro-algae species. 99-101
Compounds and extracts from blue-green algae, as well as other microalgae, showing HIV inhibitory activity are often active against other retroviruses such as Herpes simplex virus types 1 & 2, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), cytomegalovirus, measles virus, mumps virus, and influenza A virus. 113-117
Aph. flos-aquae blue-green algae shows an inhibitory effect on the growth of Salmonella bacterial strains, in amounts greater than 2 mg. 122 A hot water extract of the green alga, Chlorella, given to mice infected with Listeria mono-cytogenes, significantly increased the survival rates of mice, as well as demonstrating an increased immune cellular response. 123,124 Unicellular green algae have also been shown to increase resistance against E. coli and cytomegalovirus infections. 125-128
Beta-carotene, which is plentiful in microalgae, may also decrease susceptibility to respiratory infections. As beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A, deficiencies associated with vitamin A—such as increased risk of respiratory disease—might be reduced. 130,131