by Maria Tarnev-Wydro, HD from Essona Organics.
Spirulina has been used for centuries around the world as a vital source of nutrition. Throughout history in Mexico, Africa, South America and Asia, people have been using it as a nutritional food source. Since the 1970s when the roots of today’s health revolution first gained traction, the cultivation of Spirulina has increased steadily. In the process, more and more research has been done to help explain what Spirulina brings to the table as a vital food source.
What is Spirulina? Spirulina is a type of Blue-Green marine algae that’s found in lake waters throughout Asia, Africa, and in South and Central America. It is also cultivated in carefully controlled organic algae farms. The name Spirulina comes from the spiral shape of its cells.
Did you know ….Amazing Fact: Spirulina was declared by the United Nations World Food Conference as the best food for the future and hailed as “a sustainable approach to combat malnutrition” worldwide. “For WHO, Spirulina represents an interesting food for multiple reasons, rich in Iron and Protein, and is able to be administered to children without any risk. We at WHO consider it a very suitable food” - United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland June 8, 1993.
What is in Spirulina?
Proteins: One of the main benefits of Spirulina is that it is an excellent source of complete, plant-based, easily digestible Proteins, making up 50% - 70% of its dry weight. The Protein utilization is very high as 80% to 90% is digested when consumed. Therefore, it is ideal for someone who is on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Bodybuilders can use it for muscle gains, too
Healthy Lipids: The fatty acid components of Spirulina are: Palmitic 25.8%, Palmitoleic 3.8%, Oleic 16.6 % and Gamma-linolenic 40.1%. The importance of these Fatty Acids lie in their action to serve as chemical mediators of inflammatory and immune reactions..
Phytochemicals: It also contains a variety of phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are the foundation of the therapeutic value of Spirulina. The phytochemical Phycocyanin, has the ability to trigger the production of Stem Cells, the basic cells that can literally convert into any specific type of cells in the body to speed-up healing and the regeneration process. It is also packed with high concentrations of Chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants. Chlorophyll is known to be an efficient blood purifier. Spirulina also has a soft cell wall that is easy to digest, making all the nutrients readily absorbable and available to flood your body with nutrition.
Vitamins, Minerals & Trace Elements Spirulina contains, Iodine, B Complex Vitamins, Vitamin A (Beta-carotene), Vitamin E, Carotenoids, B1, B2, B6, B12, Niacin, Folic Acid, Pantothenate, Biotin and Vitamin C. It has exceptionally high Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) content and is a must-have for vegans. In addition, it contains the key minerals: Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium. It has 26 times the Calcium of milk, which makes it a good dietary supplement for the elderly and those with bone problems or those who are allergic to dairy products.
Fast fact: The ORAC Value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of Spirulina is over 24,000, which is four times the ORAC value of blueberries.
9 Amazing Health Benefits of Spirulina. Scientific studies suggest it may be especially good for the brain, heart, immune system, eyes, digestion and more. Spirulina possess a variety of medical uses, including antioxidant, antiviral, antineoplastic, weight loss aid and lipid-lowering, appetite control agent.
1. Spirulina Supports Immune System During Cold and Flu. It powerfully protects from oxidative stress and strongly supports the immune system and a healthy inflammatory response. In one study, it was shown that Spirulina extract inhibits plaque formation in a broad range of influenza strains and therefore, the cold-water extract of Spirulina can serve as a safe and effective therapeutic agent to manage influenza outbreaks. Spirulina exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the release of histamine from mast cells, and therefore, you can use it in allergic rhinitis (hay fever) as well.
2. Spirulina Has Been Shown to Reduce Blood Cholesterol in the Body. During an eight-week trial period of patients taking Spirulina, the LDL (bad cholesterol) decreased by about 21 % as compared with the control group. It can also lower the total cholesterol and the serum triglycerides, which as a result can prevent stroke and heart disease.
3. Spirulina Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Properties, Cellular Regeneration and Anti-Aging Effects. Antioxidants in Spirulina protect against DNA damage and the premature aging of your cells. They also reduce inflammation. It is a clinically proven antioxidant in women. In a 2014 study, the authors observed, “The antioxidant capacity increase of 56 (1–98) µM for spirulina was significantly different from the decrease observed in the placebo group”.
4. Spirulina in Cancer Prevention. It has been argued that the combined antioxidant and immune modulation characteristics of Spirulina may have a possible mechanism of tumor destruction and hence play a role in cancer prevention. In a study published in “Nutrition and Cancer”, the authors stated that “45% of their study cohort showed complete regression of leukoplakia after taking Spirulina supplements for 1 year. The authors also reported that there was no rise in the serum concentration of retinal ß-carotene despite supplementation and concluded that other constituents within Spirulina may have been responsible for the anticancer effects”.
5. Spirulina “Speeds Up” Fat Loss. Owing to the national epidemic of obesity, and the popularity of diets rich in sugar and saturated fat, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasingly common. Spirulina appears to have considerable potential for controlling the oxidative stress associated with fatty liver disease because it is exceptionally rich in phycocyanobilin, a potent antioxidant.
6. Cognitive and Mental Function (Improves Memory, Academic Performance, Protects the Brain from Degenerative Diseases Like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s). Spirulina reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's Disease due to its containing effects on dopamine related toxins. In Alzheimer’s, it nullifies the inflammatory and neurotoxic effects of two key toxins; beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein. It has shown promise in memory enhancement in animal models. The reduction of neurodegeneration may also apply to healthy cognitive aging and therefore, elderly people can benefit from Spirulina supplementation.
7. Detoxify Heavy Metals. Heavy metals are affecting people all around the world, with the USA being a place where there is a high concentration due to inorganic arsenic and other toxins. Spirulina has been used successfully to help cleanse the body of heavy metals and other toxins.
8. Liver Disorder. According to University of Maryland Medical Center documentations, an initial evidential support obtained from a research showed that Spirulina has protective effect against liver damage and cirrhosis in chronic hepatitis patients.
9. Eye Health Improvement. Zeaxantuin, one of the phytochemicals present in Spirulina is considered as a vital nutrient for eye health improvement. The presence of Zeaxantuin in Spirulina is able to reduce the risk of cataract formation and also control age-related macular degenerative conditions.
These benefits, among many others make Spirulina one of the most powerful and most nutritious Superfoods.