Spirulina is an extremely nutrient rich micro-algae that falls nothing short of being a super food. It is about 60% complete and highly digestible protein. It consists of all the essential amino acids and has more beta carotene and GLA than any other whole food. It is full of B-vitamins, minerals, trace elements, chlorophyll, enzymes, carotenoids, sulfolipids, glycolipids, phycocyanin, superoxide dismutase, RNA,and DNA. Just to give an idea of how good spirulina is for you, it can be compared to other known healthy foods. It has 180% more calcium than whole milk, 670% more protein than tofu, 3100% more beta carotene than carrots, and 5100% more iron than spinach. There is also more antioxidant activity in spirulina than in 5 servings of fruits and veggies.
Spirulina’s health benefits have been researched and found on a variety of different levels.
Spirulina builds up the immunity and protects against viral infections. It supports the immune system by enhancing the body’s resistance to infections, promotes hematopoesis (the production of RBC), stimulating the production of antibodies and cytokines, and activating macrophages, T cells, and B cells. Spirulina also contains phycocyanin, which is a potent antioxidant that has immune enhancing and anti-viral properties.
Studies done with spirulina show promise that it has the potential to treat tumors and prevent cancer. It has been shown to prevent carcinogenesis and to shrink tumors in animals. In 1987, researchers at Harvard University’s School of Dental Medicine published evidence that a combination of spirulina and Dunaliella microalgae extracts induced the regression of tumors in the mouths of rodents. Total tumor regression was found in 30% of the animals while partial tumor regression was found in all of the remaining 70% of the animals. In the control group, no tumor regression was found.
A human clinical trial was conducted on pre-cancerous lesions in 1995 using pure spirulina. Subjects in the treatment group consumed a relatively low dose of spirulina of 1 g per day for 12 months. Complete regression of precancerous oral lesions were seen in 45% of the 44 subjects consuming spirulina, while only 7% of the 43 members of the placebo group experienced complete regression.
Another study on pure spirulina biomass measured the inhibition of tumors in skin and stomach. Rodents were given 250 mg and 500 mg/kg body weight. Inhibition of tumors were found in both the skin and stomach regions. The skin tumors in the spirulina group reduced from 4.86 to 1.20% at the lower dose and from 4.86 to 1.15% in the higher dose group. In stomach tumors, the low dose group reduced from 3.73 to 2.05% and the high dose group reduced from 3.73 to 1.73%.
Spirulina has been found to decrease blood pressure and plasma lipid concentrations, especially triacylglycerols
and LDL. It has been found that fatty acids like GLA can prevent cholesterol from building up in the body, and spirulina contains a considerable amount of GLA. There are findings that:
- A water extract from Spirulina may inhibit the intestinal absorption of dietary fat by inhibiting pancreatic lipase activity
- The sulfated polysaccharide sodium spirulan(a novel polysaccharide isolated from spirulina) significantly inhibits vascular endothelial cell proliferation.
- Sodium spirulan is a potent inhibitor of arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation.
- Selenium-rich phycocyanin extracted from spirulina prevents the development of atherosclerosis.
Spirulina has also been found to have neuroprotective effects. This is probably due to it’s ability to combat free radicals and reduce inflammation. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and a diet high in antioxidants lowers your risk for stroke.
Spirulina also has protective effects against allergic rhinitis. The results of a study indicated that spirulina can modulate the Th profile in patients with allergic rhinitis by suppressing the differentiation of Th2 cells mediated, in part, by inhibiting the production of IL-4. Source
I have just began taking spirulina after researching how beneficial it is. I really did feel a good energy from taking it and would highly recommend everyone to add it into their diet. You can take it in pill or powder form, but I prefer pill form to avoid the taste, which I have read is similar to seaweed. The spirulina that I take is Nutrex Hawaii Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica.
I am a graduate of Oakland University in Michigan with a BS in Health Sciences. My studies included Nutrition courses, Community Health courses, Alternative Medicine courses, and Human Anatomy Courses. My studies jump-started my interest in natural and alternative medicine, but my real interest came through my own research and personal use of supplements and natural alternatives. When I am not learning about the world of natural alternatives, I spend my time with my boyfriend of nearly 5 years who I have also put supplements to the test on. I am so excited to be writing this blog to share my research and findings with you and I hope we can all learn something new!