Spirulina, literally the most nutritious food known, is an edible blue-green algae used all over the world for its nutritional and medicinal qualities. It’s quite common for people consuming spirulina to experience a jump in energy and vitality. The reason is simple: spirulina is a powerhouse of nutrition. This conclusion is supported by well over 400 studies conducted in various scientific institutions around the world.
Spirulina is about 60 percent complete protein, quite a large amount when compared to beef or chicken (approximately 25 percent protein each). “Complete” protein means that it contains all eight of the essential amino acids that our bodies require to thrive. It has 10 other non-essential amino acids that also play important supporting roles in good health.
We all know that fish is a good source of the important nutrients called omega fatty acids (omega 3, 6 & 9). What we don’t often consider is where the fish get the majority of their omega fatty acids: from algae such as spirulina. This superfood is rich in the omega fatty acids, and especially omega 3, which play key roles in preventing heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol, reducing the severity of arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, diabetes and much more.
Spirulina is by far the highest known source of vitamin B12 with approximately 3 mcg for every gram. Vitamin B12 is essential for the metabolism of every cell of the body, the production of red blood cells and the development of healthy nerve tissue.
It’s also the highest known source of beta-carotene, an extremely important nutrient. Beta-carotene is part of the carotenoid family, a group of pigments that give plants their various colours. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant and is sometimes referred to as pro-vitamin A because our bodies convert it to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucous membranes, skin and eyes. Although high doses of vitamin A are toxic, there is no known toxicity associated with beta-carotene. It has been shown to help prevent certain cancers (lung, cervical, skin, oral) and to improve immune system function.
Spirulina provides a variety of other essential nutrients such as vitamins E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, K1 and K2 and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, chromium and potassium. It’s enriched with important phytonutrients such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), chlorophyll, c-phycocyanin and other carotenoids including the powerful antioxidant zeaxanthin.
This amazing algae is a microscopic form of life that does not have the usual tough cell walls normally found in plant life. This means that it’s extremely easy to digest making all of the mentioned nutritional compounds highly absorbable into your body. All of this amounts to simply an unbelievable amount of concentrated nutrition in every gram.
Spirulina has been shown to be effective against certain cancers and viruses, to reduce inflammation, increase immune function, detoxify the liver and kidneys, help with diabetes and liver disease and offer protection for the brain.
image 1: Prakash Singh (Creative Commons BY-NC-ND)
image 2: WILLPOWER STUDIOS (Creative Commons BY-ND)