Spirulina: A Source of Gamma-linoleic Acid and Its Applications

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biologic Science, Payam-e-Noor University, Tehran, Iran

2 Applied Biotechnology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


The human body needs essential nutrients in order to function, grow, and stay healthy. Our bodies cannot make these nutrients, so get them from our diet. On the other hand, some diet-related diseases can be caused by certain improper food ingredients and body inability of absorbing them. Then the idea of purifying beneficial ingredients formed. Poly-unsaturated fatty acid such as gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is a group of essential fatty acids particularly favorable for its application in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. GLA plays significant roles in improving human body functions. It has gained its importance in the last four decades for having a positive effect on the most of the chronic diseases of modern society, in­cluding cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, etc. Then, it has been used as a dietary supplement for the treatment of various health problems and have inflammatory component. One of the richest sources of GLA is a kind of microalgae; Spirulina. Spirulina is a blue-green alga primarily originated from two species of cyanobacteria and is believed to be the first form of plant life on the earth. This article reviews GLA applications and properties; favorable conditions for increasing its amount within Spirulina; and how to extract it from the algae.


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