What is spirulina? Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria. It gets its blue color from Phycocyanin and its green color from Chlorophyll. It is of note that spirulina was one of the earliest life forms and It remains at the very bottom of the food chain. Interestingly, they do not eat anything in order to obtain their energy, but rather they get all their energy from photosynthesis by converting the sunlight they receive into food sources. Spirulina has numerous health benefits. It contains: polysaccharides, antioxidants, protein, chlorophyll, vitamins/minerals, nucleic acids, and essential fatty acids. Now lets go into specific detail about the awesome benefits of this awesome food.
1. Protein Content
Spiruina has an astounding 65-71% protein composition. Contrast that with protein from animal products, which is composed of 18-30% protein. Fun fact: In Mexico City, millions of people consumed spirulina as their primary source of protein for 5,000 years and they flourished. Read more about spirulina's history with Mexico here. Another huge bonus of eating spirulina as a protein source is you will avoid eating animals that are fed with pesticides, hormones, herbicides, genetic modification, and antibiotics. This leads to meat that is infected with pathogens like salmonella and E.coli. In order to kill these harmful pathogens, you have to cook the meat, which wipes out 50% of the protein according to the Max Planck Institute. So you are ultimately reduced to about 9-15% bio-available protein content. Spirulina also has 4X more absorbance than protein from beef.
2. Spirulina is a Pure Source of Food
A lot of food these days has issues with heavy metals, mercury, radiation, artifical chemicals, radiographic materials, and pesticides. Spirulina avoids these because it is at the bottom of the food chain, therefore it is not consuming higher species, which could contaminate it with toxins.
3. Helps Your Body Make New Blood
Spirulina has chlorophyll which is an excellent blood builder, as well as iron. It also has the blue pigment Phycocyanin. Phycocyanin has the ability to grow stem cells in the bone marrow which produce new red and white blood cells. This process is called hematopoiesis.
4. Benefits Your Immune System
The causal effect of producing more bloods cells is an improved immune system. Spirulina increases the manufacturing of T-fighter cells, cancer killing cells, cytokines and antibodies, macrophages, interleukins and interferons, bone marrow stem cells. These are immune system cells that are built up, circulated, and stored in the body. They are stored in bodily organs like adenoids, tonsils, thymus gland, appendix, and liver. This naturally leads to an increased army of immune cells ready to fight off or kill any invading pathogens. Interestingly, studies have shown that people who have had appendectomies have more allergies and a more difficult time combating infections and it might be because they have lost immune system cells that were being stored in their appendix.
5. Increases Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Spirulina is the second highest source of GLA behind only breast milk. GLA is vital for the maturation of your nervous system because it gives it proper nutrition and development as you age. Spirulina is an ideal food for babies and young children as it helps the functioning and proper maturation of their nervous systems. GLA is also a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory. It can block the creation of inflammatory prostate glands and this can help reduce arthritis because they decrease your body's inflammatory reaction. It also is good for hair and skin health. Lastly, It decreases allergies by reducing a substance know as IGE or in other words it lowers the histamine response to stress that leads to allergies.
What to Look For When Buying Spirulina
- You can buy it in powder or tablet form. Tablets can sometimes be formulated by binding up a glue-like substance known as tableting agents, which you want to avoid.
- Do not eat any spirulina that smells rancid or sour. Refrigerate after opening to prevent spoilage.
- The powder goes well in salads, smoothies, and juices.
- To obtain most of spirulina's health benefits, eat 11-20 grams per day.
-Information from Dr. Michael VanDerschelden
- Be careful when buying Spirulina. It is important to eat Spirulina that is from a pure source. Poor quality Spirulina can be contaminated which causes all sorts of health problems. You want to be sure to avoid Spirulina from places like China and India.