What is spirulina and what is it for?

With high biological value proteins and an amazing variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, Spirulina is considered the “food of the future” and one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin B12.

Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green cyanobacterium that grows in warm, alkaline waters and has a helix or spiral shape, hence its name. Although Spirulina is a distant relative of kelp, it is not a sea plant.

It provides a high concentration of high-quality complete protein that is more digestible than any animal protein, vitamins, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, Omega-3 fatty acids including GLA, trace elements, nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), chlorophyll and enzymes. Most importantly, they are found in a form that is easily assimilated by our bodies.

Spirulina was declared at the 1974 United Nations World Food Conference as the best food for the future.

Today Spirulina helps solve global malnutrition and food shortages because it can be grown in warm, sunny climates, which is exactly where much of today’s malnutrition exists, producing twenty times more protein than soybeans grown in areas of equal size.

Millions of people around the world use Spirulina as a dietary supplement following the recommendations of the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization. Through the Intergovernmental Institute for the Use of Micro-algae Spirulina against Malnutrition the UN recommends the use of micro-algae such as Spirulina against acute malnutrition in humanitarian emergencies, chronic malnutrition, and for sustainable development.

Spirulina is a safe source of protein, nutrients, vitamins and minerals that has been used for centuries.

Its adaptation to heat ensures its nutritional value when subjected to high temperatures during processing and storage, which is not the case for many plant foods that deteriorate rapidly with heat.

But Spirulina is not only effective in the fight against global malnutrition in developing countries, it is also effective in developed countries where the majority of citizens are malnourished, with obesity rates never before known in human history. We suffer from alarming nutritional deficiencies, such as lack of minerals like magnesium, zinc and calcium, or B-complex vitamins, or omega-3 essential fatty acids.

What is Spirulina microalgae indicated for?

Spirulina, being a superfood, favours the recovery of the organism in states of deficiency caused by various diseases. It is indicated in the treatment of:

  • Nutritional anemia,
  • to lose the weight,
  • in cleaning the bowel and restoring normal microflora,
  • for chronic bowel disease, cholecystitis, and cancer of the large intestine,
  • in chronic inflammatory diseases,
  • AIDS,
  • Hepatitis,
  • Tuberculosis,
  • Bronchitis,
  • For joint diseases,
  • osteoporosis,
  • myozitis.

Olympic athletes from China and Cuba have been consuming spirulina to improve their sports performance. At China’s largest sports training center, coaches have reported that it improves recovery and stimulates the immune system.

Spirulina has also been chosen by NASA to enrich the diet of astronauts on space missions. It is clear that algae are the food of the future, so you should get to know them better, don’t you think?

Properties of the spirulina algae

Spirulina is one of nature’s perfect foods. These tiny algae, which were designed by nature 3.6 billion years ago and were the generators of the oxygen in our atmosphere, have countless positive effects on our health.

Spirulina algae is 65% highly digestible complete vegetable protein that provides the eight essential amino acids in the proper proportions and in a form that is five times easier to digest than meat or soy protein. It is rich in tryptophan, one of the 10 essential amino acids that the body uses to synthesize the proteins it needs and which helps, among many other things, the nervous system, relaxation, rest, sleep and against depressive states.

It is also an excellent source of minerals (potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron and phosphorus) as well as vitamins (the entire vitamin B complex, and vitamin E).

Spirulina is rich in B vitamins (B3, B6, B9 and B12), vitamins that play an important role in energy production and in the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B3 or niacin participates in the formation of the hydrochloric acid that is required in the digestive processes. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine helps in the assimilation of carbohydrates to convert them into energy and maintain healthy brain function. Vitamin B9 or folic acid helps in cell regeneration and growth and is very useful in cases of anemia, fetal malformations, alzheimer’s, and many types of cancer. Vitamin B12 helps keep blood cells and nerves in good shape.

Spirulina has essential fatty acids important for health and also for hair, nails and skin.

Spirulina is a storehouse of chlorophyll, which promotes peristaltic action by relieving constipation, and normalising the secretion of digestive acids by soothing the digestive tract. Chlorophyll appears to promote the regeneration of liver cells and dilates blood vessels to increase the circulation of all organs. Phycocyanin, the blue pigment, is important for healthy liver function and digestion of amino acids. Chlorophyll also has detoxification properties, binds to toxins such as heavy metals and expels them from the body.

High tryptophan content of Spirulina

Thanks to Spirulina’s rich natural content in tryptophan, an amino acid that supports the production of serotonin, it plays an important role in mental health and the treatment of mood disorders. People with mental problems, such as depression or anxiety, may have reduced levels of serotonin.

Supplementing the diet with tryptophan-rich foods such as spirulina helps reverse many of the symptoms of aging, including irritability, mood disorders, anxiety and stress.

Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid and omega-3

Spirulina contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and Omega 3 naturally, fats that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Spirulina is one of the few foods with a natural GLA content.

The benefits of omega-3 acids are widely known: they help fight depression and anxiety, improve eye health, help reduce the risk of heart disease, dementia and arthritis.

How long does it take for them to take effect after regular use? Omega-3 levels build up rapidly in the body but it can take 6 weeks to half a year to see a significant change in mood, pain or other symptoms.

The many benefits of taking spirulina

Spirulina may not be a staple on restaurant menus, but many people supplement their diet with it because they know of its many benefits due to the wide range of essential vitamins and minerals it contains.

Spirulina is an ideal anti-ageing dietary supplement due to its concentrated nutritional value, easy digestibility and the fact that it contains antioxidants such as beta carotene, which is good for eye and vision health.

This microscopic algae is a quality food supplement rich in assimilable iron that contains more beta-carotene, iron, vitamin B12 and gamma linoleic acid than any other food. It also contains vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

It is low in saturated fat, unlike other foods with high nutritional value, such as dairy and meat, and provides essential fatty acids, which cannot be found in meat, eggs and dairy. It is also low in calories.

Spirulina is particularly effective in cases of anaemia, demineralisation and exhaustion. It helps to regain fitness, energy and vitality and to detoxify the body.

Spirulina is a source of vitamin B-12, which is essential for nerve and tissue health, especially for vegetarians.

Spirulina is rich in iron and is easier to absorb than other dietary supplements. Iron is essential for building a strong immune system, and is the most common mineral deficiency.

Spirulina is also a powerful regenerator of the intestinal flora and is a powerful activator of the cellular detoxification mechanisms. It nourishes and protects the liver and kidneys.

Spirulina improves muscle strength, endurance and physical activity

Spirulina’s antioxidant properties help athletes and people who are physically active to improve muscle strength and endurance.

Spirulina being rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamin C and vitamin E has antioxidant properties and has been shown to protect against oxidative damage from exercise and increase exercise performance and fat oxidation.

Spiruline for Weight Loss

Spirulina can help you as a food supplement within a balanced diet and with physical exercise, but by itself it does not lose weight. we subject our bodies to states lacking in protein, vitamins and minerals so it is also highly recommended to consume Spirulina to supplement these deficiencies and strengthen our body and immune system.

Among all the elements that Spirulina contains, it provides us with a type of fiber, mucilage, which stimulates the proper functioning of the colon and allows the proper daily evacuation of waste and toxins.
On the other hand, another reason why it is beneficial for weight loss is its high iodine content, which helps regulate the functioning of the thyroid gland, responsible for metabolizing the carbohydrates we consume and prevent them from becoming “the dreaded love handles”.

To lose weight they recommend it half an hour before each meal for its satiating power. It is always advisable to consult a specialist, it is dangerous to have strict diets without supervision.

Finally, it should be noted as a curiosity that, when it comes into contact with water, this algae increases up to 7 times its size , which produces a high satiating power. This added to its content in phenylananine, an amino acid that inhibits appetite stimulation in the brain, makes it one of the most recommended foods for weight loss.

Spirulina helps to eliminate toxins and heavy metals

One of the main sources of heavy metals in our bodies is dental amalgam, which is made up of 55% mercury. Other sources of toxins and heavy metals are some foods we eat, exhaust fumes, particles in the air, and chemical and drug residues that may be in the water supply, cleaning products, etc.

Spirulina is able to bind in our body to toxins and heavy metals such as lead or mercury and help eliminate them. Being rich in chlorophyll helps eliminate toxins from the blood and stimulates the immune system.

Spirulina also promotes the reduction of intestinal swelling and gas caused by an accumulation of toxins, helping to treat related ailments such as constipation, diarrhea and halitosis.

Spirulina can be taken in different ways. The most common is in tablet form, but you can also mix it with guacamole or hummus, or add it in powder form to different sauces. You can also add it to a shake, for a delicious breakfast, lunch or snack.

One of the best ways to consume Spirulina is to add it to your favourite smoothie

Precautions frequent consumption of Spirulina alga

Spirulina is a food and not a drug and has no known serious contraindications taken in the proper dosage. However in some people it can have some of the following side effects:

Thirst and constipation. After taking a large volume of Spirulina it is advisable to take half a litre more water a day to help our body absorb it.

Some fever, due to the body’s need to burn the extra protein in the algae

Slight dizziness. If this happens, take less product. If the symptom does not improve, stop taking Spirulina and consult a doctor or qualified naturopath.

Stomach pain.

Slight itching or rash on the skin.

You should aim to buy quality Spirulina that has been grown in pure ecosystems, as algae have a significant capacity to absorb everything in the environments in which they grow, especially heavy metals.

Both in case of hypothyroidism and especially with hyperthyroidism if you want to consume Spirulina at the beginning you should consult a doctor. Although the spirulina algae contains a small portion of iodine, it can influence the thyroid gland. With hypothyroidism it is recommended to always consume minimum doses, and to go up week by week. For hyperthyroidism Spirulina is generally contraindicated.

Pregnant women and young children should consult a qualified health professional if they decide to take it

Patients with kidney failure or problems with the rińones need to limit protein intake to relieve elevated toxin states and protect kidney function. They should therefore consult their doctor or dietician before consuming Spirulina and establish the suitability of consuming Spirulina algae and the appropriate dose.

Limiting protein intake for these patients does not mean not taking any protein, as protein is essential for the maintenance of normal body activities. You should only control and reduce their intake to reduce the additional burdens to the rińones, always trying to be of the highest quality.

In this sense Spirulina is a good option, since it is a complete protein that contains all the essential amino acids we need, although it contains less amount of methionine, cysteine and lysine compared to meat, eggs and milk proteins.

What is the right dosage of Spirulina?

The dose of Spirulina depends on several factors. When you start taking it, it is best to take it in small doses.

4 grams a day of Spirulina spread over the main meals will be enough to enjoy its benefits for most people.

Start with a 500 mg capsule at 1 gram before meals, increasing to 2 grams per meal as you feel.

The dose will also vary for a sporty or active person, than a more sedentary one. It is advisable to drink more water and liquids while consuming Spirulina as you may initially experience symptoms of detoxification.

As long as it is taken in reasonable doses Spirulina can give us a multitude of health benefits and has no serious contraindications, but taken in excess it can produce some unwanted side effects.

If we overdose on spirulina for example the large amount of beta carotenes can produce an overdose of vitamin A which is toxic to the liver. Also due to the high nucleic acid content of Spirulina there can be an increase in uric acid levels, which can consequently cause kidney problems. Removing Spirulina temporarily from your diet or reducing the dose would solve the health problem.

It is also a good idea to alternate with other superfoods and rest for days or weeks.

How to choose the best Spirulina with maximum properties

To ensure that the Spirulina you consume is as clean, pure and as good as it gets, try to buy the supplement from companies that are organic, non-GMO and gluten-free, which will greatly limit cross-contamination.

Spirulina hawaina is the most popular and usually offers the best guarantees. This does not mean that Spirulina from other countries or locations is not of equal or better quality.

Check where it comes from and if tests have been done to verify that Spirulina is clean of impurities. Usually the company advertises this information on the bottle or packaging.

Spirulina can be bought in tablet or powder form. The recommended dose of Spirulina is 3-4 grams spread over the main meals.

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