Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis)Spirulina is a simple one-celled microscopic blue-green algae with thescientific name Arthrospira platensis. Under a microscope, spirulinaappears as long, thin, blue-green spiral threads. The odor and taste ofspirulina is similar to seaweed.Spirulina can be found in many freshwater environments, includingponds, lakes, and rivers. It thrives best under pesticide-free conditionswith plenty of sunlight and moderate temperature levels, but it is alsohighly adaptable, surviving even in extreme conditions. More than25,000 species of algae live everywhere - in water, in soils, on rocks, onplants. They range in size from a single cell to giant kelp over 150 feetlong. Macroalgae are large like seaweeds. Microalgae are microscopic.Ocean microalgae, called phytoplankton, are the base of the oceanfood web. Spirulina is often deemed the most nutritionally complete ofall food supplements, containing a rich supply of many importantnutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, and vitaminsA, K, and B complex. It also has a high supply of carotenoids such asbeta carotene and yellow xanthophylls which have antioxidantproperties. It is also rich in chlorophyll, fatty and nucleic acids, andlipids. Thus, spirulina has countless uses as a supplement formaintaining good health and for preventing diseases.Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food, with a fullspectrum of ten mixed carotenoids. About half are orange carotenes: alpha, beta and gamma and half areyellow xanthophylls. They work synergistically at different sites in ourbody to enhance antioxidant protection. Twenty years of researchproves eating beta carotene rich fruits and vegetables gives us real anti-cancer protection. Synthetic beta carotene has not always shown these
benefits. Research in Israel showed natural beta carotene from algaewas far more effective. Natural is better assimilated and contains thekey 9-cis isomer, lacking in synthetic. As suspected, natural carotenoidsin algae and vegetables have the most antioxidant and anti-cancerpower.Spirulina is an ideal anti-aging food;concentrated nutrient value, easily digested and loaded withantioxidants. Beta carotene is good for healthy eyes and vision.Spirulina beta carotene is ten times more concentrated than carrots.Iron is essential to build a strong system, yet is the most commonmineral deficiency. Spirulina is rich in iron, magnesium and traceminerals, and is easier to absorb than iron supplements.Spirulina is the highest source of B-12, essential for healthy nerves andtissue, especially for vegetarians.Healthy Dieting with SpirulinaAbout 60% of spirulina’s dry weight is protein, which is essential forgrowth and cell regeneration. It is a good replacement for fatty andcholesterol-rich meat and dairy products in one’s diet. Every 10 gramsof spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirementsfor iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirementsfor vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. Byitself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’spotency.
Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, a compound found inbreast milk that helps develop healthier babies. Moreover, with its highdigestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition inimpoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients whenit has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial floralike lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promotehealthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a naturalcleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonlyingested by the body.Spirulina also increases stamina and immunity levels in athletes, and itshigh protein content helps build muscle mass. At the same time, it cancurb hunger that may develop during the most demanding trainingroutines. Thus, it indirectly acts as an effective way to maintain anathlete’s ideal body weight.The Disease FighterAs well as beta carotene, Spirulina contains other nutrients such asiron, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, and chromium. Thesenutrients help fight free radicals, cell-damaging molecules absorbed bythe body through pollution, poor diet, injury, or stress. By removingfree radicals, the nutrients help the immune system fight cancer andcellular degeneration. In some findings, spirulina has helped reduce oralcancer tumors in laboratory rats, and may thus provide a big medicalbreakthrough in cancer treatment.Spirulina’s ability to reduce the bad cholesterol LDL in the body helpsprevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases, such as hardening of thearteries and strokes. It also helps lower blood pressure. While notclinically proven, spirulina may also protect against allergic reactionsand liver infection.
Research confirms Spirulina promotes digestion and bowel function. Itsuppresses bad bacteria like e-coli and Candida yeast and stimulatesbeneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Healthy flora is thefoundation of good health and it increases absorption of nutrients fromthe foods we eat, and helps protect against infection. Spirulina buildshealthy lactobacillus, aiding assimilation and elimination and relievingconstipation.Removing ToxinsIn 1994, a Russian Patent was awarded for spirulina as a medical foodto reduce allergic reactions from radiation sickness. 270 Children ofChernobyl consuming 5 grams a day for 45 days (donated by EarthriseFarms), lowered radionucleides by 50%, and normalized allergicsensitivities. Today we are subject to an onslaught of toxic chemicals inour air, water, food and drugs. Our bodies need to continually eliminatethese accumulated toxins. Spirulina has a completely uniquecombination of phytonutrients - including chlorophyll, phycocyanin andpolysaccharides, that can help cleanse our bodies.How to Take SpirulinaSpirulina is now commercially available in tablet or powder form. Somehealth tonics contain spirulina as part of their ingredients. A simpledaily regimen for spirulina involves taking a 500 mg tablet four to sixtimes daily.Sources for these forms of spirulina are normally laboratory-grown.Harvesting spirulina from more natural settings has posed a challengebecause of possible contamination from toxic substances that cannotbe removed from the product. Hopefully, more eco-friendly and saferways to cultivate the algae can eventually be developed and perfected.