Spirulina: A spiral of concentrated energy

Spirulina is a small algae with enormous nutritional value. It contains essential active ingredients, some of which are vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and enzymes.

It is a very complete nutritional supplement. Spirulina means “small spiral”.

The composition of Spirulina

High-quality proteins

Amino acids determine the quality of a protein. Spirulina is a high-quality source of vegetable protein, as it is comprised of eight essential amino acids and nine amino acids that are non-essential but still present in adequate proportions.

Amino acids cannot be produced by the human body, so they must be ingested through the diet.

Vitamins and minerals

It’s amazing how many vitamins and minerals can be found in such a small algae. It contains all the B-complex vitamins, otherwise known as the “anti-stress” vitamins.

It is very rich in vitamin B12, which is useful in vegetarian diets.

It contains beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A and is used for the skin, hair, nails and eyes. It is rich in vitamin E, which gives us energy and vitality.

It contains the minerals that are essential for our wellbeing. It contains iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and traces of selenium, chromium and boron. Interestingly, even though spirulina grows in saltwater, it contains very little sodium and no iodine.

Vitamins and minerals need to be together and in the right balance in order to ensure maximum synergy. Spirulina fulfils this requirement.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)

Spirulina is rich source of GLA. GLA or gamma-linolenic acid helps to regulate blood pressure, avoid the formation of atheromas and relieve pre-menstrual syndrome.

Chlorophyl

Chlorophy, iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 are vital in the production of red blood cells. Chlorophyl alone purifies the blood by removing toxins and stimulating hepatic function.

Phycocyanin

This is a blue-coloured pigment that is not found in any other plant. Phycocyanin aids the elimination of toxins in the liver and kidneys, reinforces the body’s defence mechanisms and protects cells from free radicals.

When should Spirulina be taken?

  • It is ideal for physical or mental stress, lack of exercise, tobacco use or an unbalanced diet: the chlorophyll in spirulina helps to expel toxins, to detoxify and provide us with energy.
  • In a weight-loss programme: when there is a lack of nutrients, the level of blood sugar drops and the brain reads this as “hunger”. Spirulina helps us to “trick” the brain. The nutrients that are in spirulina are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream; the brain receives a message that it has sufficient nutrients and increases blood sugar levels that are maintained for a period of time. This causes the feeling of hunger to subside. They should be taken 20 minutes prior to or in between mealtimes.
  • Sport: spirulina provides us with energy, increases physical endurance and delays the feeling of exhaustion. It aids recovery after strenuous exercise. It replenishes minerals that are lost through sweat and removes the toxins that are produced in exercise such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. The synergy of all the active ingredients in spirulina makes it an ideal supplement for sportspeople. It should be taken before exercise.
  • It is very useful in convalescence, tiredness and apathy, in pregnancy, babies, breastfeeding, children and the menopause, to aid concentration during exams and to use as a natural cosmetic product to remove impurities from the skin.

Did you know…

  • The quality and purity of the spirulina are important factors. Its quality depends on the environment where it grows – the light needs to be tropical and intense and the water temperature should remain at around 35C. The purest, highest quality spirulina grows in Hawaii. The spirulina also needs to be processed in a particular way and it must not contain colourants, seasonings, preservatives or artificial scents or flavours.
  • Its packaging is also an important factor. In order to retain the solar energy or bio photons that are naturally present in spirulina, the packaging must be opaque and violet-coloured. Many studies that have concluded that violet-coloured packaging protects the contents from visible rays of light, unlike brown-coloured packaging.
  • It is commercially available in tablet or powder form
  • The daily dosage can range from 6 to 20 tablets a day. Some people who are over-medicated or malnourished, may experience nausea and headaches when they start to take spirulina. If this occurs, we would simply reduce the dosage and then increase it gradually. It can be taken infinitely. It is not recommended for night time use.
  • It can be used in hyper-thiroidism as it doesn’t contain iodine
  • It is indicated in vegetarian diets as it is a rich source in vitamin B12

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

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