Spirulina is a cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) that can be consumed by humans and other animals. There are two species, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima which are non toxic.
Arthrospira is cultivated worldwide; used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food; and is also available in tablet, flake and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium and poultry industries.
Spirulina is often used as a vegan source of protein and vitamin B12. It is between 55-70% protein, but studies suggest it is a subpar source of B12, as the vitamin is not absorbed well after ingestion. (Contrary to many claims, Spirulina is not a good source of Vitamin B12 for humans. While it does contain a form of B12, it is pseudovitamin B12 which is not absorbable or effective in humans according to studies.)
Human evidence suggests that spirulina can improve lipid and glucose metabolism, while also reducing liver fat and protecting the heart. Animal studies are very promising as well, as spirulina has been shown to be of similar potency as commonly used reference drugs, when it comes to neurological disorders. These effects also extend to arthritis and immunology.
Spirulina has a few active components. The main ingredient is called phycocyanobilin, which makes up about 1% of spirulina. This compound mimics the body’s bilirubin compound, in order to inhibit an enzyme complex called Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate (NADPH) oxidase. By inhibiting NADPH oxidase, spirulina provides potent anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.
The neurological effects of spirulina need more human evidence. Based on animal evidence, spirulina appears to be a promising anti-oxidant and supplement for metabolic issues.
Most Nutrient Dense Food On the Planet
The concentration of protein and vitamins in Spirulina has led many to classify it as the “most nutrient dense food on the planet.” Compared to other foods gram for gram, it lives up to this reputation and is a great source of:
Protein: It is considered a complete source of high-quality protein and is often compared to eggs for the amount of protein per gram. The protein in Spirulina is highly usable and has a net protein utilization rate of between 50-61%
Vitamin B1: Also called Thiamin, this vitamin is necessary for the digestion of fats and proteins. It is often taken for increased energy, eye health, brain function and for improving nerve functioning.
Iron: Spirulina is a favorite food for vegetarians and vegans because it is one of the best plant sources of iron. Even for those who consume meat, it has a highly absorbable form of iron that is gentle on the digestive system.
Calcium: Spirulina is also incredibly high in calcium with over 26 times the calcium in milk.
Spirulina is a great source of other nutrients including vitamins B-1(thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable”.
Contains Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) & Omega-3s
Spirulina contains Gamma Linolenic Acid andOmega-3sSpirulina is 65% protein and amino acids including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which has gotten a lot of attention for its anti-inflammatory properties, especially when taken with other quality Omega-3 supplements.
GLA is difficult to find in a food source and normally has to be created by the body. Spirulina is one of the few foods with a natural GLA content.
May Help Balance Blood Sugar
Studies show that spirulina may be especially helpful in balancing blood sugar, and may even be as effective as diabetes medication in some instances. Other studies show that it not only lowers blood sugar but may also lower HbA1c, which is a long term marker of blood sugar levels.
Antioxidants are powerful substances that protect our cells from damage. Thanks to decades of research, many of us understand the importance of consuming enough antioxidants from natural sources, and spirulina is a great choice.
The antioxidant that makes spirulina unique is called phycocyanin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory.
May Help Those with Allergies
This is likely because it reduces inflammation that leads to nasal congestion and other issues. In studies, those who took spirulina noticed a reduction in nasal congestion, itching, and sneezing.
Helps Remove Heavy Metals
Spirulina can bind with heavy metals in the body and help remove them.
It is also extremely high in Chlorophyll, which helps remove toxins from the blood and boost the immune system. In fact, one study found that 5 grams of spirulina daily combined with zinc supplementation was enough to reduce arsenic toxicity by almost half!
Emerging evidence also suggests that it binds with radioactive isotopes and may be useful for radioactivity exposure or radiation therapy.
Muscle and Endurance Benefits
Spirulina is known to increase fat burning during exercise. Its high antioxidant content makes it beneficial in reducing exercise induced oxidation which leads to muscle fatigue and inability to gain muscle.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
|Energy||1,213 kJ (290 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||3.6 g|
|Aspartic acid||5.793 g|
|Glutamic acid||8.386 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.beta-carotene
29 μg (4%)
342 μg (3%)
(207%) 2.38 mg
(306%) 3.67 mg
(85%) 12.82 mg
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||
(70%) 3.48 mg
(28%) 0.364 mg
(24%) 94 μg
(0%) 0 μg
(13%) 66 mg
(12%) 10.1 mg
(0%) 0 IU
(33%) 5 mg
(24%) 25.5 μg
(12%) 120 mg
(219%) 28.5 mg
(55%) 195 mg
(90%) 1.9 mg
(17%) 118 mg
(29%) 1363 mg
(70%) 1048 mg
(21%) 2 mg
How to Take Spirulina
Now you see just how beneficial spirulina is to your health.
You understand that this amazing protein source is helping to provide nutrients and other important elements to many diets.
Though it may be expensive and fit outside the mold of what is traditional in terms of food, the reality is that it’s difficult to ignore just how beneficial spirulina could be in your life.
You may not necessarily replace other protein sources altogether, but you should want to integrate these algae into your diet as an essential supplement.
Knowing all of this, you want to be certain that you take spirulina in the best way possible.
Understanding the dosage and the way that you should utilize it each day will help you get the most out of it. Don’t try to guess, for this is an area where doing your homework will really pay off tremendously in the end.
The best way to start taking spirulina is to mix it into things.
This is due to a couple of reasons and it all begins with taste.
Spirulina may be an amazing superfood, but you are not, necessarily, going to grow to love the taste of it.
Therefore, mixing it into smoothies, adding it to soups or dips, like hummus, can be a wonderful way to get used to it.
You will ensure you get the right amount each day, but won’t have to suffer through the pungent taste of it.
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This article is not intended to take the place of a competent nutritionist or doctor. It is solely intended to educate people on the vital and perhaps underestimated importance of this nutritional element.
The information in this site is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.
In the event the reader uses the information for his own health, he is in fact prescribing for himself, which is his own constitutional right, and for which the author assumes no responsibility.
If you suffer from a medical condition, consult your doctor. If you have questions as to the application of this information to your own health, you are advised to consult a qualified health professional.
Source: WelnessMaMa, Wikipedia, Wellbeing secrets,