Nutritional Supplements Library
Spirulina (also known as blue green algae)
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae found in most lakes and ponds. It has been consumed for thousands of years by Mexican (Aztecs, Mayans), African, and Asian peoples. It is also earth's oldest plant and first photosynthetic life form that created our oxygen atmosphere so all life could evolve.Spirulina is believed to have been a food source for the Aztecs in 16th century Mexico, as its harvesting from Lake Texcoco and sale as cakes is described by one of Cort?s' soldiers. The Aztecs called it Tecuitlatl, meaning stone's excrement.it is the most nutritious,concentrated food known to man containing antioxidants,phytonutrients,probiotics and nutraceuticals.
Spirulina is considered a complete protein because well over half of it consists of amino acids -- the building blocks of protein. It is also a rich source of other nutrients including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, carotenoids, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). In fact, at least one laboratory study has demonstrated that the iron level in spirulina is equivalent to that contained in beef.US department of agriculture in October 1988 published "Spirulina food for the future". Spirulina is a microscopic algae that flourishes in warm climates and warm alkaline water.
What is the effective dosage for Spirulina?
Consult an appropriate health care provider for the correct dosage of Spirulina. A standard dosage of spirulina is 3 to 5 grams per day.
What are the benefits of Spirulina?
• Spirulina increases production of antibodies, cytokines (infection fighting proteins), and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses such as cancer.
• Amino acids make up 62% of spirulina. Because it is a rich source of protein and other nutrients, spirulina has been used traditionally as a nutritional supplement by people who cannot obtain sufficient calories or protein through diet alone and by those whose nutritional requirements are higher than normal, such as athletes.
• Spirulina promotes hematopoiesis (formation and development of red blood cells). This is thought to be due to the high levels of iron present in this food supplement.
• Spirulina protects against allergic reactions by preventing the release of histamines (substances that contribute to allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and soft-tissue swelling). Whether these preliminary studies will translate into benefit for people with allergies is not known.
• Although antibiotics destroy unwanted organisms in the body, they may also kill "good" bacteria called probiotics (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus) which sometimes results in diarrhea. After ingested, Spirulina has promoted the growth of L. acidophilus and other probiotics.
• It helps to reduce the inflammation characteristic of arthritis.
• It builds immune system with its anti-tumor, antiviral and interferon inducing effects.
• In one study, 87 people who chewed tobacco and had a precancerous lesion known as leukoplakia were randomly assigned to receive Spirulina fusiformis or placebo. Lesions were significantly more likely to disappear in the spirulina group than in the placebo group. More research in this area will be very helpful.
• Spirulina is also contained in some skin care products due to its moisturizing and tightening properties.
What are the side effects of Spirulina?
Nutritional tests have found no side effects from spirulina, but you should call your health care practitioner if you experience unusual symptoms while using it.
• Although it is rare, spirulina may contain toxic substance like mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead depending on where it's grown.
• The possibility of contamination because it has a considerable amount of vitamin B12, Spirulina is usually recommended to strict vegetarians who can not get this vitamin from plant source.But Dr.Varo Tyler,a world reknowned authority on herbs at purudue university said Spirulina Vitamin B12 content is due to mainly to contamination with inspect or animal fecal matter.this is not surprising since spirulina grows in open lakes & pounds and it is not washed thoroughly.
• It is claimed that spirulina is a rich source of protein .although the plant contains 62-68% proteins but it is less expensive to white fish,which has 97% protein ,chicken (80%) or lean beef(79%).
• Consult doctor if you are pregnant or breast feeding.