There are a huge number of spirulina health benefits that can help you live longer and healthier. The history of spirulina dates back to the ancient Aztecs, who used it as a primary food source. Today, it can be added to smoothies, salad dressings, soups, or simply taken as a supplement.
Spirulina is one of many types of blue-green algae. It is unique in that its species is millions of years old and became the nutritional basis for all life after it.
Spirulina grows in freshwater and was one of Earth's earliest forms of life. Spirulina is a blue-green single celled spiral algae, meaning that it has both green and blue pigments. The green comes from chlorophyll and the blue from a pigment called phycocyanin.
Ancient algae and planktons provided nutrition for all forms of life beginning millions of years ago. Spirulina is extremely durable and can dry out or bake under the hot sun without breaking down. This allows it to keep its nutritional value when being processed or transported.
The use of spirulina dates back to the people of Mexico and parts of Africa. The Aztecs in particular were known for revering this sacred food, and ate spirulina regularly. It was the primary protein source for those living around Mexico City for thousands of years. Naturally, Lake Texcoco in Mexico produces some of the best spirulina.
Spirulina is nutritionally complete due to its abundance of proteins, enzymes, and phytonutrients. It is comprised of 65 to 70% protein, higher than any other single food on our planet. It contains all of the eight essential amino acids and produces eighteen amino acids in its cells. Spirulina health benefits are extraordinarily high, especially for those who are malnourished (either because of poverty or because of poor food choices.)
It is also a very rich source of vitamins A, E, K, and the B vitamins. Only second to chlorella, spirulina contains large quantities of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green substance that converts sunlight into energy in a plant.It is very beneficial to the human body as it helps to detox and build healthy blood. Chlorella and spirulina are incredibly nutritious when taken together. I take these 50/50 mixed tablets daily to round out my vitamin and chlorophyll intake. Taiwan and Korea are the two safest countries to purchase from, as they are grown in controlled environments and tested for heavy metals. Unfortunately, many sources of spirulina and chlorella that come from China are contaminated, so it is best to avoid them.
Ounce for ounce, spirulina protein is much more easily absorbed than animal protein. It is great for balancing brain chemistry and because of this it makes for a wonderful mood booster.
Another benefit spirulina can bring to your health are the extremely high number of antioxidants and pigments that can help your body. These powerful antioxidants help protect ourselves from UV radiation from the inside out.
Free radicals occur in the body due to regular cell functions and also due to toxins and chemicals in our environment. These free radicals damage our DNA and our cells, which ultimately cause illness and aging over time. The antioxidants found in plants counter free radicals and thus keep us healthy. They also strengthen the immune system of people and animals.
Spirulina is also rich in GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid.) GLA is an essential fatty acid. It produces shiny hair and healthy skin, and it also reduces inflammation and allergies. This is one reason why plenty of people take spirulina to fight off allergies or to reduce inflammatory diseases like as arthritis.
One of the best spirulina health benefits is its ability to eliminate heavy metals from the body. According to the Journal of Medicinal Food, research has shown that spirulina will protect unborn babies from cadmium exposure if the mother routinely ingests it during pregnancy.
Cadmium is commonly found in rice- even the organic varieties. Unfortunately, the global food supply has become very contaminated with heavy metals in the last few decades. This is partly due to the fact that much of our food comes from China, a place where pollution is rampant and food safety laws are nonexistent in many areas. Preventing cadmium toxicity prevents birth defects and future illnesses later in life. Cadmium is also linked to breast cancer.
Studies show that spirulina can help prevent liver damage, cancer, infections, and will also boost the growth of probiotics in the intestines. Spirulina can do a lot of things to help your body, however it is important to find a source that is tested for heavy metal content.
Due to the fact that spirulina often absorbs heavy metals out of the environment, including our bodies, it is important to make sure that the spirulina we consume has not been in an environment where it was able to absorb any toxins. Because of this, some of the best spirulina you can buy is actually cultivated in sterile man-made water tanks.
To get the most spirulina health benefits, add the supplement into your diet every day. A typical starting dose of spirulina is 3 to 5 g per day. A standard therapeutic dose of spirulina is 5 to 20 g per day. For people suffering from life threatening toxicity, a dose of over 30 grams per day may be prescribed by a naturopathic doctor.