WHAT IS SPIRULINA?
Spirulina is 100% natural and a highly nutritious micro salt water plant. This spiral shaped algae is a rich food source. For a long time (centuries) this algae has constituted a significant part of the diet of many communities. Since the 1970’s, Spirulina has been well known and widely used as a dietary supplement.
Spirulina contains rich vegetable protein (60~ 63 %, 3~4 times higher than fish or beef ), multi Vitamins (Vitamin B 12 is 3~4 times higher than animal liver), which is particularly lacking in a vegetarian diet. It contains a wide range of minerals (including Iron, Potassium, Magnesium Sodium, Phosphorus, Calcium etc.), a high volume of Beta- carotene which protects cells (5 time more than carrots, 40 time more than spinach), high volumes of gamma-Linolein acid (which can reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease).
Spirulina is one of the oldest life forms on Earth. In fact, this blue-green microalgae is partly responsible for producing the oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere that billions of years ago allowed the planet’s originating life forms to develop. Spirulina is the world’s first superfood, and one of the most nutrient-rich foods on Earth.
Spirulina has between 55 and 70% protein (more than beef, chicken, and soybeans), 8 essential and 10 non-essential amino acids, as well as high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), beta-carotene, linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, phosphorus, nucleic acids RNA & DNA, chlorophyll, and phycocyanin, a pigment-protein complex that is found only in blue-green algae.
PROTEIN IN SPIRULINA
As a protein supplement Spirulina has a distinct advantage over other forms of supplement. Because of the important role proteins play in our overall health and well being, they are often referred to as the building blocks of life.
Proteins are complex molecules consisting of chains of amino acids and are best known for their role in the formation and repair of structures such as muscle and bone. However, proteins and their aminos’ have numerous other vital functions, such as insulin management, immune system regeneration, mineral transport and anti-hypertensive properties.
Proteins are made up of 22 identified amino acids. Nine of these are essential yet the body cannot produce them, so they must be provided by the diet. Non-essential amino acids are needed also, but the body can produce this itself. Essential amino acids, plus sufficient nitrogen in foods, are needed to synthesize the non-essential amino acids.
The quality of the protein depends on the amounts of amino acids contained in a protein. The more closely the protein matches the body’s requirements the higher the quality. Spirulina is known as a ‘complete protein’ due to the fact that it contains all the essential amino acids. This means we can get our necessary intake of protein without subjecting our digestive system to the hard work of processing animal products.
Digestable Protein Unlike other forms of protein, the protein in Spirulina is 85-95% digestible, one of the highest available. In fact, Spirulina is second only to a dried egg supplment with regards to usable protein, and higher than any of the common foods in the form in which they are usually purchased.
Being composed of soft mucopolysaccharides, Spirulina has no cellulose in its cell walls making it easy for the body to digest and assimilate.
Its amino acids are delivered to the body for almost instant absorption.
Protein digestibility is important for many people and especially important for people suffering from intestinal malabsorption or digestive disorders. Typically, many older people have difficulty digesting complex proteins and are on restricted diets. They find Spirulina’s protein an ideal way of ensuring they receive the nourishment needed. Spirulina is an effective supplment for sufferers of malnutrition diseases where the ability of intestinal absorption has been damaged. Given to malnourished children, it is more effective than milk powders because milk’s lactic acid can be difficult to absorb.
BENEFITS OF SPIRULINA
Spirulina often gets misclassified as an herb because of its amazing health promoting properties, but it’s actually a bacteria, or a blue-green algae that’s found in pristine freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. It is most commonly recognized as one of the world’s most nutritionally complete superfoods, as it offers health benefits to practically every organ and bodily function.
SPIRULINA MODULATES THE IMMUNE RESPONSE
Spirulina has long been revered for its ability to strengthen the immune system. Because it actively promotes cell regeneration, it helps wounds heal quicker, and makes recovery from illnesses occur faster. Spirulina fortifies one’s immune system, leaving the person less likely to experience colds, flus, and other contractible illnesses.
SPIRULINA ASSISTS IN KEEPING EYES HEALTHY
Spirulina is an excellent supplement for those looking to improve their eye health. This blue-green algae is very rich in vitamin A, and this vitamin is exceptionally important for healthy eyes. For this same reason, eating more carrots has long been recommended to those looking to improve their eye health, but spirulina actually has ten times the vitamin A concentration gram per gram of carrots.
SPIRULINA REDUCES INFLAMMATION AND EASES PMS SYMPTOMS
Spirulina is one of the leading sources of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents in nature. GLA is also particularly beneficial to women, as it can ease the symptoms of PMS. Gram per gram, it also has 26-times the calcium of milk, making it an excellent nutritional supplement for pregnant women.
SPIRULINA HELPS IMPROVE THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Spirulina eases the passage of waste through the digestive system, thereby reducing stress on the entire system. It also promotes healthy bacteria in the digestive system, and helps to improve the absorption of dietary nutrients.
SPIRULINA HELPS THE BODY DETOX NATURALLY
Spirulina has a very high concentration of chlorophyll, one of nature’s most powerful detoxifying agents. It has been shown to be effective at helping remove toxins from the blood, and it binds to heavy metals and radioactive isotopes, making it very beneficial for those undergoing radioactive therapy.
ADDITIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPIRULINA
• Spirulina is very high in bio-available iron, making it beneficial to those with anemia or pregnancy, with reduced risk of constipation
• Spirulina is a good source of vitamins B-1(thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), B-12 (cobalamin), vitamin E, and vitamin K1 and K2
• It is also a source of potassium, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc
• It has four times the antioxidant ability of blueberries
• Spirulina is an goodsource of protein: gram per gram more so than beef, poultry, fish, and soybeans
- Allergies. Early research shows that taking 2 grams of blue-green algae by mouth once daily for 6 months relieves allergy symptoms in adults.
- Arsenic poisoning. Early research shows that taking a combination of blue-green algae and zinc by mouth twice daily for 12 weeks reduces arsenic levels and its effects on the skin in people living in areas with high arsenic levels in the drinking water.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early research shows that taking a combination of blue-green algae, peony, ashwagandha, gotu kola, brahmi, and lemon balm improves ADHD.
- Tics or twitching of the eyelids (blepharospasm or Meige syndrome). Beginning research shows that taking a specific blue-green algae product (Super Blue-Green Algae (SBGA), Cell Tech) by mouth for 6 months does not reduce eyelid spasms in people with blepharospasm.
- Fatigue. Early research shows that taking 1 gram of blue-green algae by mouth 3 times daily does not improve fatigue in adults with chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Diabetes. An early study shows that people with diabetes who take 1 gram of a blue-green algae product by mouth twice daily for 2 mouths have lower blood sugar levels.
- Exercise performance. An early study shows that men are able to sprint for longer periods of time before becoming tired when they take 6 grams of blue-green algae by mouth daily for 4 weeks.
- Hepatitis C. Research on the effects of blue-green algae in people with chronic hepatitis C has been inconsistent. In adults who were not yet treated or unresponsive to other treatments, taking 500 mg of spirulina blue-green algae by mouth 3 times daily for 6 months resulted in greater improvements in liver function compared to milk thistle. However, another study found that liver function worsened after one month of blue-green algae use.
- High cholesterol. Early research shows that blue-green algae lowers cholesterol in people with normal or slightly elevated cholesterol levels; however, the research findings have been somewhat inconsistent. In one study, blue-green algae only lowered low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol. In another study, glue-green algae lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol.
- Malnutrition. Early research on the use of blue-green algae in combination with other dietary treatments for malnutrition in infants and children has been mixed. Weight gain was seen in undernourished children who were given spirulina blue-green algae with a combination of millet, soy and peanut for 8 weeks. However, in another study, children up to 3 years-old who were given 5 grams of blue-green algae daily for 3 months did not gain weight more than those given general treatments to improve nutrition alone.
- Menopausal symptoms. An early study shows that taking 1.6 grams of a blue-green algae product by mouth daily for 8 weeks lowers anxiety and depression in women with menopause.
- Precancerous mouth sores (oral leukoplakia). Early research findings show that taking 1 gram of spirulina blue-green algae (Spirulina fusiformis) daily by mouth for 12 months reduces oral leukoplakia in people who chew tobacco.
- Weight loss. Research shows that taking spirulina blue-green algae does not seem to help reduce weight.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Immune system.
- Heart disease.
- Wound healing.
- As a source of dietary protein, vitamin B12, and iron.
- Other conditions.
- More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of blue-green algae for these uses.
IS SPIRULINA SAFE?
Spirulina is an all-natural blue-green microalgae that gets its name from the spiraling shape it takes as it grows. It also happens to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, and one of the most complete sources of protein on the planet. Because of its incredible health-maximizing benefits, it is a popular supplement for those looking to achieve optimum health.
But, many who have never tried this remarkable nutrient source may wonder whether or not there are any spirulina side effects to worry about. Is spirulina safe for consumption? Is there anybody who should not be taking this supplement?
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF SPIRULINA
Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica® is an all-natural and highly absorbable source of protein, carotenoids, phytonutrients, B-Vitamins, GLA, and essential amino acids. Because it is derived from a naturally occurring algae that is cultivated in a completely BioSecure Zone free of pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs, it does not produce any potentially dangerous side effects.
It is important to note that Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica® from Nutrex Hawaii is an extremely pure form of spirulina, and that not all manufacturers of spirulina supplements follow our stringent protocols. Poor quality spirulina often has ingredients and chemical fillers included that may reduce the quality of the product, and exacerbate certain side effects.
IS SPIRULINA SAFE FOR EVERYONE?
While high quality spirulina is free of adverse side effects, it does contain iodine, so people who are allergic or sensitive to iodine should avoid taking the supplement. For this same reason, people with hyperparathyroidism should also avoid the supplement.
Those who are highly allergic or extremely sensitive to seafood or seaweed may also want to avoid taking spirulina, and people who are currently running a high fever should wait for the fever to subside before taking spirulina.
Insulin-dependent diabetics or those with type 2 diabetes should consult their physicians prior to taking spirulina. This is also recommended for anyone who may currently have, or who may be predisposed to gout.
HISTORY OF SPIRULINA
Three thousand five hundred million years ago Cyanobacteria (formerlyknown as bleu-green algae; now known as Cyanoprokaryotes) already wereflourishing on Earth. It wasn’t until two thousand million years laterthat green plants, Eucaryotes, made their appearance. The Dinosaurs arrived about one hundred ninety million years ago; and we’ve only been here for a handful of years by comparison.
Spirulina has been around for a very long time, just waiting to help us with our nutrition problems. We don’t know if earlier man recognized the food value of Spirulina, but we do know that two groups of people in historical times discovered it; and profited from it. These are the Aztecs of Mexico and the Kanembous of Chad. It still flourishes in Mexico and the custom of collecting, sun-drying, and preparing it never completely died out in Mexico.
In Chad, Spirulina still is a staple of the diet of the people living near the small lakes in the dunes that border Lake Chad. Curious, two tribes living an ocean apart discovering this unlikely looking food and hitting upon the same techniques for separating its microscopic filaments from the water, sun-drying it, and adding it to calorie-rich foods to give themselves a complete nutrition.
Spirulina is thought to have been a food source for the Aztecs in 16th century Mexico, as it’s harvesting from Lake Texcoco and sale as cakes is described by one of Cortés’ soldiers. The Aztecs called it Tecuitlatl, which means the stone’s excrement. Spirulina was found in abundance at the lake by French researchers trait within the 1960s, but there is no reference to its use there as a daily food source after the 16th century. The first large-scale Spirulina production plant was established in the early 1970s and drew attention worldwide.
Spirulina is also understood to have an even longer history in Chad, as far back as the 9th century Kanem Empire. It is still in daily use today, dried into cakes called “Dihe” or “Die” which are new to make broths for meals, and in addition sold in markets. The Spirulina is harvested from small lakes and ponds around Lake Chad. Today Spirulina is consumed by millions of people all over the world and they are discovering lots of health benefits apart from its nutritive value.