General Information and Benefits on Spirulina

Topics: Nutrition, Atherosclerosis, Essential amino acid Pages: 6 (1933 words) Published: September 9, 2012

Arthrospira platensis, commonly known as spirulina, is a simple free-floating filamentous cyanobacteria whose cells are able to capture the energy of the sun and photosynthetically produce over 100 nutrients. The name Spirulina is derived from the Greek word “spira” denoting its open left-hand helical shape, a symbol of inifinity as it swirls in microscopic strands varying in length from 0.3 to 1 mm. Spirulina, as one of the many microalgae that are responsible for producing 95% of the world’s oxygen, has the highest concentration of functional nutrients ever known in any food, whether plant, grain, or herb. It is an amazing total food with antioxidant, antiviral, and immunostimulation effects, declared by the United Nations to be “The most ideal food for mankind.”

Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) said, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food.” Spirulina is best known for its anti-aging, energy-boosting, and health-maintaining properties. It is energy-boosting because it contains all of the vitamins and minerals that we need for our daily requirements. Spirulina is the richest source of protein on our planet, comprising 60-70% of its dry mass. These proteins are biologically complete, providing all eight essential amino acids in the proper ratios, as well as ten non-essential amino acids. They help with the growth of muscles, produce enzymes and hormones, and also aid the immune system.

Spirulina contains ten times more protein than beef, and is digestible up to 95%, one of the highest available digestion rates. It is known as a “complete protein” because it has the highest amount and most excellent quality of protein compared to any other natural food. In fact, all of the vital nutrients in Spirulina are very easily digested because Spirulina does not have hard cellulose walls. Spirulina’s protein is beneficial especially to vegetarians who often have difficulty getting enough protein, iron, and vitamin B12. Because this protein is water soluble, excess amounts are naturally discharged, whereas excess amounts of animal protein are stored as fat, which, over time, may have an impact upon the body’s blood vessels and coronary system.

The bluish color in Spirulina is due to the protein phycocyanine, a very powerful anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Phycocyanine reduces the concentration of free radicals by half, and inhibits lipid peroxidation, protecting cell membranes from destruction and damage. It is a potent anti-cancer phytochemical that improves weakened immune functions and increases the expression of essential enzymes and biochemicals related to the balanced function of the liver and kidneys. Phycocyanine has shown enhancement of the proliferation and differentiation of bone marrow hematopoietic cells, and supplies the spirulina with extra dietary nucleic acid bases for the nutritional supplement specifically for the DNA and RNA.

Chlorophyll, often called “green blood,” is the other phytonutrient in spirulina, and common to plants. This green enzyme is the most visible pigment in the spirulina, known to stop the development of harmful bacteria in the body and help soothe and heal body tissues. The concentration of chlorophyll in Spirulina is 5-30x higher than the seed of alfalfa, wheat grass, and barley grass. Together with the phycocyanine, these phytonutrients make spirulina one of the best anti-aging foods, supporting the rapid absorption of nutrients by boosting levels of healthy bacteria like lactobacillus in the gut, and stabilizing the intestinal flora. They also work to help people recover from fatigue, fight allergies, and purify our bodies of toxins.

Spirulina has a long history of use as a food, from the Mexicans during the Aztec civilization for over 1000 years to the natives in the Lake Chad area of Africa. Its safety as a human food has been well-established through various toxicological studies, and today...
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