Arthrospira platensis, more commonly known as spirulina, is a microscopic one-celled form of blue-green algae. When examined under a microscope, spirulina looks like a long, thin spiral shape that is bluish-green in color. Spirulina smells and tastes much like seaweed does. It can be found in freshwater environments such as rivers, ponds, and lakes and thrives in moderate temperatures with ample sun exposure where water is free from pesticidal residue. This tiny one-celled algae has been hailed as the most nutritionally complete food supplement around, due to the fact that it contains important nutrients, carotenoids, chlorophyll, lipids, and fatty and nucleic acids. It is widely used as a health supplement to aid in the prevention of disease and to maintain overall good health.
One of the spirulina benefits offered is that it is the richest food in beta carotene, as well as containing ten mixed carotenoids. The orange carotenes found in spirulina include alpha, beta and gamma, responsible for making up about fifty percent of the carotenes. The remaining fifty percent of carotenes are called yellow xanthophylls. All of these carotenes work in a cooperative manner throughout the body to promote antioxidant protection that has been found to offer protection from developing cancer. The natural carotenes found in vegetables and algae such as spirulina have been found to provide the most anti-cancer and antioxidant power as opposed to synthetic versions of beta carotene.
Spirulina benefits the body by promoting anti-aging. It contains a concentration of beta carotene ten times higher than that found in carrots, and is excellent in promoting healthy eyesight and good vision. Spirulina packs the benefits of being packed with antioxidants with a high concentration of nutrient value, and is also easy to digest. It is a great alternative to taking iron supplements, which can be difficult to absorb, as spirulina is rich in iron, magnesium, and trace minerals to help combat common mineral deficiencies. Spirulina is also the best natural source for vitamin B-12 which promotes healthy tissue and nerves in the body. It is an excellent supplement for people who eat a vegetarian diet and may need extra nutritional support. Spirulina also helps to combat free radicals, which are molecules that cause damage to cells in the body. This aids in the fight against cell degeneration.
Protein in Spirulina
The protein in spirulina benefits growth and the rejuvenation of cells. Protein makes up over half of the dry weight of spirulina, making it an excellent dietary supplement to replace meats high in cholesterol and high fat dairy products. By supplementing with 10 grams of spirulina each day, 70% of the minimum daily iron requirement can be met, and it also contains more than the minimum required amount of Vitamins A, B complex, D, and K. It also helps to reduce high levels of bad cholesterol in the body, which may help to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, or hardening of the arteries. It can also help to lower blood pressure.
Spirulina also contains an important compound called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in human breast milk that helps to promote healthy development in babies. Spirulina benefits those suffering from poor nutrition because of its easy digestibility and how it helps the body absorb many nutrients. Along with being easy to digest, it works to stimulate flora in the digestive tract that are beneficial in promoting good digestion and normal bowel function. Healthy flora is essential for good health, help to prevent infections, and help our bodies absorb the nutrients from the foods we consume. It also acts to naturally cleanse the system and helps to rid the body of heavy metals and toxins which can accumulate in the body over time.
Spirulina benefits athletes by increasing levels of stamina and promoting immunity, as well as helping to build muscle mass. It also works to ward off hunger and can assist in maintenance of a healthy body weight.
Dosage and Types of Spirulina
This powerful little algae can provide a wide array of health benefits, and is available in either tablet of powder form, or found as an ingredient in some health products. A recommended dosage is to take 500mg four to six times each day. Consult a doctor or pharmacist to determine the correct dosing before taking any supplement.