Spirulina offers numerous health benefits, a few of which include decreasing cholesterol levels, boosting resistance, increasing red blood cell count, providing anti-cancerous properties and anti-inflammatory properties, protecting the liver, minimizing the toxicity in the kidneys, managing bronchial asthma, and boosting the supply of antioxidants.
Spirulina is blue-green algae with a perfect spiral shape. This spiral shape is the factor for the name Spirulina It comes from a cyanobacteria species and it is clinically called Arthrospira platensis. Other subspecies include Spirulina optimums and Spirulina geitleri. It is normally discovered in alkaline lakes in Mexico and Africa.
It is abundant in nutrients, such as proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. It has the ability of enduring in the harshest conditions, both environmentally and chemically. It can endure extreme alkaline conditions, extremely saline waters containing 30 grams to 270 grams of salt per liter and still survive.
This fantastic food first emerged in the 1940s in French Equatorial Africa, when French troops stumbled upon a food that the residents were growing. It was growing on the surface area of lakes and it was being collected, sun-dried and offered in the regional markets. Biologists concluded that it was an algae that was being grown and eaten. It is also the food of regional birds, like flamingoes.
Spirulina geiteleri was discovered in the alkaline lakes in Mexico and it was also being taken in by the residents. Historic works revealed that it was taken in as food even during the time of the Spanish conquest during the 15th century.
Nutritional Value Of Spirulina
Inning accordance with the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, the nutrients discovered in spirulina per 100 grams include 290 kcal of energy, 57 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 3 grams of dietary fiber and 3 grams of sugar. Minerals and micronutrient 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.
The vitamins found within spirulina include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, C, A, E, and vitamin K.
It is extensively considered among the highest sources of protein. It contains around 18 from the 22 amino acids that the body requirements. It is also a great source of vital micronutrients, such as beta-carotene in vitamin A, and minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
Health Benefits Of Spirulina
Closer assessment of spirulina revealed that this spiral-shaped blue green algae had thinner cell walls or cellulose compared with its plant cousins. Likewise, the cell wall is composed of mucopolysaccharides, which are complicated sugars. Hence, even the cell wall in spirulina can be digested, unlike the cellulose in plants. It is also helpful for probiotic bacteria, such as lactobacillus, which live inside our digestive system.
Decreases Cholesterol Levels
Spirulina is handy in lowering serum cholesterol levels and elevates HDL (high density lipoprotein), or “great”, cholesterol levels. The existence of gamma-linolenic acid in spirulina accelerates serum cholesterol reduction.
Protection Against Mercury Poisoning
Inorganic mercury concentrations are found primarily in kidneys and they are the worst afflicted organs. Research studies have revealed that spirulina significantly reduces the levels of mercury chloride-associated toxicity and kidney damages caused by toxicity in mice.
Various research studies on spirulina have revealed its immunomodulatory properties. These immunomodulatory properties include bone marrow recreation, thymus, and spleen growth, increased leukocyte production, and an increase in the number of lymphocytes.
Increase in Red Blood Cell Count
Apart from enhancing the immune system, spirulina can also be effective in enhancing the red blood cell count. A research study performed on senior citizens exposed that after 12 weeks of taking spirulina, their red cell count and hemoglobin levels increased considerably.
Spirulina extracts have antimicrobial properties. The extracts from spirulina have been successfully evaluated against viruses that impact both humans and monkeys. Infections such as the herpes simplex infection, influenza infection, measles virus, mumps virus, human cytomegalovirus, and lastly HIV-1 infections were managed to a major degree. Now, spirulina extracts are being thought about as medication for HIV positive patients so that they can live a longer life.
Control of Cancer
Spirulina is the wealthiest plant source for beta-carotene and phycocyanin. These biochemicals possess anti-cancerous properties. Scientists believe that phycocyanin can scavenge the DNA-damaging contaminants like peroxynitrite and can help in controlling cancer cells (by The Grace Of Allah). It likewise has a function to play in significantly controlling liver cancer.
Having spirulina regularly reduces inflammation. Current clinical research studies indicate this reality. When arthritic laboratory rats were offered spirulina, arthritis-associated inflammation was reduced to a considerable level in comparison to other regulated animals.
Protection of Liver
The biliprotein phycocyanin present in spirulina has liver defense properties. Research revealed that the impacts on the liver, when pre-treated with hepatotoxic chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride, were lowered to a considerable extent. This research study revealed that spirulina helps in securing liver cells from contaminant damage.
Reduces Kidney Toxicity in Chemotherapy
While going through treatment for cancer, physicians might recommend chemotherapy. Cisplatin is a chemotherapeutic agent used in chemotherapy that can cause toxic substances to accumulate in kidneys. The consumption of spirulina reduces the side effects caused by cisplatin.
Research shows that spirulina helps in minimizing ischemia, a condition wherein the blood supply to the tissues gets limited.
Controls Bronchial Asthma
Spirulina is also helpful for the control of bronchial asthma. Research studies have revealed that administering spirulina extracts at 1 gram per day can have nearly an equivalent effect on bronchial asthma as medication does. This is true when it comes to mild and moderate asthma.
Supply of Antioxidants
Spirulina is Not a Good Source of Vitamin B12 for Vegans
Vitamin B12, likewise referred to as cobalamin, is needed for the production of red blood cells and plays an important role in keeping a healthy nervous system. A member of the B-complex group of vitamins, this vital nutrient is naturally discovered in animal products consisting of fish, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products.
You may have likewise heard claims that specific seaweeds and algae, such as spirulina, ready sources of vitamin B12; however, on the basis of current proof, these claims appear unverified and spirulina can not be thought about a reliable dietary source of vitamin B12 for vegans and other individuals who may not be getting enough of this important nutrient through their diets.
Spirulina Algae Contains Inactive Pseudovitamin B12
The claim that spirulina is an excellent dietary source of vitamin B12 for vegans seems absolutely nothing however a misconception. While spirulina does consist of a high quantity of pseudovitamin B12, your body will not be able to use it the same way it uses genuine vitamin B12 due to the fact that this B12-like analogue is biologically inactive in people.
An in-vitro study released in the European Journal of Biochemistry demonstrated that the binding affinity of pseudovitamin B12 to intrinsic aspect, a protein required for the absorption of vitamin B12 in mammals, is 500 times lower than for true vitamin B12.
In another research study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1991, macrobiotic vegan and non-vegan toddlers suffering from anemia caused by a vitamin B12 shortage were offered spirulina and nori, along with a few other sources of vitamin B12 analogues. Supplementation with spirulina and nori did not appear to enhance the toddlers’ condition; in reality, after 4 to 6 months, their anemia had actually worsened.
So What Are Good Sources of Vitamin B12 for Vegans?
At present, a lot of specialists concur that only B12 fortified foods and B12 supplements can be thought about reliable sources of B12 for vegans. Despite the fact that there is some proof that specific seaweeds (aside from spirulina) contain the type of vitamin B12 that is bioavailable in human beings, there is no hard proof showing that eating these seaweeds can in fact avoid or cure anemia caused by a vitamin B12 shortage in vegans.
Vegetarians, on the other hand, might have the ability to get enough vitamin B12 without fortified foods and B12 supplements as eggs and dairy products such as milk include decent amounts of this crucial nutrient.
Nutrient supplements like spirulina may interact with medications, so they ought to be taken only after discussing it with your doctor.
It can often be infected with heavy metals that can be toxic. Hence, purchasing it from a certified and reputed manufacturer is recommended.
Phenylketonuria is a metabolic condition where the amino acid phenylalanine can not be metabolized. Such individuals need to prevent taking spirulina, as it is abundant in this amino acid.
Avoid offering it to children without medical recommendations. Consult your doctor to determine whether it is safe to give spirulina to your children, or to have it yourself.
Good luck! Have a nice weekend.