Spirulina is an incredible natural source of nutrition which has been used since ancient times. It is often described to be the most complete food source ever and I’m personally going to coin it the “perfect natural multivitamin” although it really is much more than this.
What is it?
Spirulina is a simple, plant-like organism found in both salt water and large fresh water lakes. Commonly known as blue-green algae and similar in makeup to sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp, nori, kombu, arame, wakame, and chlorella. It is most potent in powder form, however can be considered offensive to your taste buds, so most people prefer to take it in tablet form.
- Spirulina is a great vegetarian and vegan source of protein
- Spirulina contains up to 70% protein by weight and is therefore higher in protein than any other natural food including any animal sources.
- Spirulina contains all the essential amino acids plus at least 10 other nonessential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and are essential for continual cell building, and regeneration, as well as energy production, immune function and detoxification.
- Spirulina has been found to contain more beta-carotene than carrots.
- Spirulina contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Folic acid, and minerals Sodium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Chromium and Selenium, nutrients are utilized for energy production, beneficial in alkalising, cognitive function and may play a role in quenching harmful free radicals.
- Spirulina is packed with over 100 nutrients, more than any other plant.
- Spirulina is a natural dietary source of GLA an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid.
- Spirulina has a high ratio of plants pigments and phytonutrients, including phycocyanin, carotenoids, xanthophylls and chlorophyll (‘green blood’ due to its oxygen carrying potential).
- Spirulina has since ancient times been used as a source of nutrients, an antioxidant, antiviral agent, antineoplastic aid, a weight loss aid, and a lipid-lowering agent.
What’s it good for?
Spirulina is perfect daily to increase protein and nutrient intake.
Amino Acid Profile Per 100g
Spirulina is used to boost energy levels, and support heart, eye, brain, immune and cellular health.
Possible health benefits include improved digestion, better immune function, and relief from the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and fatigue (Natural Standards 2013) however the majority of research on spirulina indicates further investigations are needed to provide conclusive evidence of Spirulina’s uses.
Spirulina is also a potent detoxifier, which also means, if you don’t want symptoms of detoxification, start with a lower dose and work your way up.
The bottom line
Whilst more research on spirulina and its possible health benefits are needed, it’s hard to argue with the numbers. The nutritional information for its protein, vitamins and mineral content alone are showing it is a food well worth adding to your diet.
Chakdar H, Jadhav D, Dhar, D & Pabbi, S 2012, ‘Potential applications of blue green algae’, Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, vol. 71, pp. 13-20, viewed 11 February 2014, http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/13322/1/JSIR%2071%281%29%2013-20.pdf
Natural Standards 2013, Spirulina, viewed 11 February 2014, < www.naturalstandard.com >
Padalia S, Drabu S, Raheja, I, Gupta, A, & Dhamija, M 2010, ‘Multitude potential of wheatgrass juice (Green Blood): An Overview’, Chronicles of Young Scientists, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 23-28, viewed 11 February 2014, http://www.cysonline.org/temp/ChronYoungSci1223-6022748_164347.pdf