Spirulina is blue-green algae with a perfect spiral shape. This spiral shape is the reason for the name Spirulina. It belongs to a cyanobacteria species and it is scientifically known as Arthrospira platensis. Other subspecies include Spirulina maxima and Spirulina geitleri. It is generally found in in Mexico and Africa. It is rich in , such as proteins, , vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. It has the capability of surviving in the harshest conditions, both environmentally and . It can extreme alkaline conditions, highly containing 30 grams to 270 grams of salt per and still survive.
Spirulina is believed to be a photosynthetic species that is about 3.5 billion years old. It is also speculated that such species were responsible for releasing into the atmosphere on the early .
This amazing food first came to light in the 1940s in Equatorial Africa, when French troops stumbled upon a that the locals were growing. It was growing on the surface of lakes and it was being collected, -dried and sold in the local markets. Biologists concluded that it was an that was being grown and eaten. It is also the food of local , like flamingoes.
Spirulina geiteleri was discovered in the alkaline lakes in Mexico and it was also being consumed by the locals. Historical revealed that it was consumed as food even during the time of the conquest during the 15th century. Even Columbus’ personal revealed something about an ooze-like substance being collected from lakes, sun-dried and like .
Nutritional Value of Spirulina
According to the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, the nutrients found in spirulina per 100 grams include 290 of , 57 grams of , 7 grams of , 24 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of sugar. and trace elements found in it include 120 mg of calcium, 28 mg of iron, 195 mg of magnesium, 118 mg of phosphorus, 1363 mg of potassium, 1048 mg of sodium, and 2 mg of zinc.
It is widely regarded as one of the highest sources of protein. It contains around 18 out of the 22 vitamin A, and minerals such as , , , , and .acids that the needs. It is also a good source of vital , such as beta- in
Health Benefits of Spirulina
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Spirulina is helpful in reducing serum levels and HDL (high-density ), or “good”, cholesterol levels. The presence of - acid in it accelerates serum cholesterol reduction.
Prevents Mercury Poisoning
concentrations are found mostly in kidneys and they are the worst affected . Studies have shown that spirulina significantly reduces the levels of mercury chloride-associated toxicity and caused by toxicity in .poisoning is a concern for most , including man. mercury
Various studies on spirulina have revealed its immunomodulatory properties. These immunomodulatory properties include marrow , , and , increased white blood cell production, and an increase in the number of .
Increases Red Blood Cell Count
Apart from improving the study conducted on senior citizens revealed that after 12 weeks of taking it, their red blood cell count and levels increased significantly.system, spirulina can also be effective in improving the red blood cell count. A
Spirulina measles virus, mumps virus, human cytomegalovirus, and finally HIV-1 viruses were controlled to a major extent. Now, its extracts are being considered as for HIV positive so that they can live a longer life.have properties. These extracts have been successfully tested against that affect both humans and monkeys. Viruses such as the simplex virus, virus,
Spirulina is the richest plant source of beta-carotene and phycocyanin. These biochemicals possess anti-cancerous properties. Researchers believe that phycocyanin can the -damaging like peroxynitrite and can help in controlling cancer . It also has a role to play in significantly controlling liver .
Having spirulina on a regular basis reduces inflammation. Recent scientific studies indicate this fact. When lab were given spirulina, arthritis-associated inflammation was reduced to a significant level in comparison to other controlled animals.
The biliprotein phycocyanin present in spirulina possesses liver protection properties. Research showed that the effects on the liver, when pre-treated with hepatotoxic chemicals such as tetrachloride, were reduced to a significant extent. This study showed that it helps in protecting liver cells from toxin damage.
Reduces Toxicity in Chemotherapy
Research shows that spirulina helps in reducing ischemia, a condition wherein the blood supply to the gets restricted.
Controls Bronchial Asthma
Spirulina is also beneficial for the control of bronchial Studies have shown that administering its extracts at 1 gram per day can have almost an equal effect on bronchial asthma as medication does. This is true in the case of mild and moderate asthma..
Spirulina is a good source of antioxidants such as phycocyanin, which helps in the of COX2, hydroxyl, peroxyl, and free radicals.
Word of Caution
- Nutrient like spirulina may interact with medications, so they should be taken only after it with your .
- It can sometimes be with heavy that can be toxic. Hence, buying it from a licensed and reputed is advised.
- Phenylketonuria is a condition where the amino acid phenylalanine cannot be . Such must avoid taking spirulina, as it is rich in this amino acid.
- Avoid giving it to without advice. Consult your doctor to determine whether or not it is safe to give to your children, or to have it yourself.