Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of consumption of an aqueous cyanophyta extract (ACE) from Arthrospira platensis on chronic pain in humans, in two clinical pilot studies.
Design and interventions: The two pilot studies each involved 12 subjects experiencing chronic pain. The initial study followed an open-label 4-week study design involving consumption of 1 g ACE per day. A subsequent placebo-controlled, single-blind, crossover study involved consumption of 500 mg ACE, 250 mg ACE, or 0 mg ACE (placebo) per day for 1-week duration, separated by 1-week washout period.
Subjects: Adult subjects of both sexes, with chronic joint-related pain for at least 6 months prior to enrollment, were recruited after obtaining written informed consent.
Outcome measures: Visual analog scales were used to score pain at rest and during physical activity for each person’s primary and secondary areas of chronic pain. An activities of daily living questionnaire was used to collect data on physical functioning.
Results: The data showed rapid reduction of chronic pain in people consuming ACE, where the reduction in pain scores for each person’s primary pain area reached a high level of statistical significance after 2 weeks of consumption (P<0.01), both when at rest and when being physically active. Secondary pain areas when physically active showed highly significant improvements within 1 week of consumption of 1 g/d (P<0.001) and borderline significant improvements within 1 week of consuming 500 mg/d (P<0.065) and 250 mg/d (P<0.05). This was accompanied by an increased ability to perform daily activities (P<0.05). A small but significant weight loss was observed during the 4-week study, as the average body mass index dropped from 31.4 to 29.4 (P<0.01).
Conclusion: Consumption of ACE was associated with reduction of chronic pain, as well as a dose-dependent increased ability to perform activities of daily living.