One of the oldest superfoods on Earth (roughly 3.5 billion years old) spirulina is a blue-green cyanobacteria.
Spirulina is an ancient and natural superfood and was consumed by ancient civilisations such as the Aztecs and the Mayans.
Spirulina is a recognised superfood because of its uniquely high nutrient densities in such small dosages.
International organisations and global bodies have conducted various studies and trials and came to the following conclusions:
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) – ''best food for tomorrow.''
FDA (Food and Drug Administration) – ''excellent nutrition supplement.''
WHO (World Health Organisation) – ''greatest food on earth.''
NASA study – ''1kg of spirulina is nutritionally equal to 1000kgs of assorted vegetables.''
UN (United Nations) – ''best food for the future, most ideal food for mankind.''
U.N. Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) - ''recommended it as a potential solution to the world food crisis and global protein shortage.''
Spirulina is often referred to as an algae (for example 'chlorella' is an algae), however bacteria are single-celled organisms that do not contain a nucleus or the organelles that are found in more complex organisms. Their DNA is contained in a small loop found in the cytoplasm, and may also be found in other genetic structures known as plasmids.
Spirulina is therefore classed as cyanobacteria.
This means that algaes like chlorella are closer related to human beings than algaes are to spirulina.
Next to water protein is the most abundant compound in our bodies. Protein is made up of ‘amino acids’, there are 20 amino acids in total.
Spirulina is a complete protein meaning it contains all of the amino acids.
The cell walls of most vegetables are composed of cellulose. Cellulose is not readily digestible by humans. Spirulinas cell walls are mucopolysaccharides (complex sugars) that are easily digestible.
Digestibility tests have shown spirulina to be 90 to 95% digestible.
Spirulina is 60-75% complete natural protein that is 95% digestible, the highest of any protein other than casein (the standard on which all protein assimilation is scientifically evaluated).
A major compound that spirulina contains is a blue pigment combined with a protein called phycocyanin. This rare blue pigment has very few natural sources and all those sources are algae. Spirulina has a phycocyanin content of 5 to 20% of its dry extract mass, depending on the quality and purity of the spirulina.
Scientific studies have shown phycocyanins capacity to promote stem cell growth. Stem cells are currently at the cutting edge of anti-age research.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that are able to grow into specialised cells: when required by the body, they can replace any damaged specialised cell.
Phycocyanin is a major asset that helps us fight the affects of ageing.
Other benefits of phycocyanin include:
Minerals and Vitamins
The nutrients and proteins in spirulina are highly bio-available and digestible.
Spirulina is a great source of vitamins including: vitamins B-1(thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), vitamin B-12, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin D, Vitamin C and vitamin A.
Spirulina is a great source of minerals including: potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc.
Spirulina has a very high concentration of bio-available iron and is excellent for those with anaemia .
Spirulina is known for its high content of beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy immunity, it aids mineral absorption, teeth, bones, mucous membranes, skin and eyes; it helps with glaucoma, cataracts and poor vision. It improves age spots, eczema, acne and rashes.
Benefits Of Spirulina
General Health Benefits
- Spirulina is a source of vitality and life energy. Users of spirulina usually notice an increase in energy, motivation and overall wellness.
- Boosts your immune system.
- Calms overactive or inflamed immune systems. Overactive immune systems are the general cause of autoimmune diseases.
- Probiotic and good for digestive health.
- Protects the brain and detoxifies the liver and kidneys.
- It balances your body’s pH to reduce inflammation.
- It increases antioxidant protection, fights free radicals, fights the ageing process, promotes weight loss and supports healthy cardiovascular function.
- Helps the body produce more red and white blood cells which kill germs and viruses.
- Improves allergies and respiratory function.
- Heart disease is currently the world’s biggest killer. It is known that many measurable factors, termed risk factors, are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Spirulina has been shown to have beneficial effects on many of them. For example, it can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. A study in people with high cholesterol found that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and LDL by 10.1%.
- Spirulina has MORE antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and vitamin A than carrots. 3,100% more beta-carotene (Vit. A) than carrots. 5,500% more iron than spinach. 600% more protein than tofu. 280% more antioxidant potency than blueberries.
- Complete source of protein, vitamins and minerals in a natural, easily digestible form.
- Can help increase the effectiveness and absorption of pharmaceutical medication and supplements, studies have shown successes with ARVs (anti-retroviral).
- Taking spirulina as a food supplement helps your body to absorb the nutrients more efficiently from the other foods you eat.
Beauty Specific Benefits
- Spirulina has a high content of vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin E, calcium, iron and phosphorus, all of which are vital for your skin’s health.
- Spirulina is effective in treating dark circles and dry eye symptoms.
- Its detoxifying effects give your eyes new energy and power, removing dark shadows and dryness.
- Spirulina contains tyrosine, vitamin E or tocopherol, and selenium, all of which are known for their anti-ageing effects. Tyrosine slows down the ageing of skin cells. The antioxidants present in it eliminate free radicals which are responsible for skin ageing.
- Spirulina facilitates faster cell turnover that helps skin heal faster. It wards off free radicals and eliminates toxins from the skin to increase skin metabolism. It also prevents candida overgrowth that can cause acne breakouts.
- External use of Spirulina can speed up hair growth.
- Users of spirulina often notice increased nail and hair strength and reduced breakage.
- Chlorophyll is great with burns, nicks, and inflammation, chlorophyll helps prevent scarring and infections by killing germs. Because of its amazing germ killing action (technically it’s creating an environment that is inhospitable to the growth of bacteria) it’s also great for helping fight breakouts. Pimples are little sacks of oil, dead skin, and bacteria. By making acne bacteria know that it’s unwelcome and by cutting down on inflammation, chlorophyll can help stop breakouts or make them clear up faster.
- Chlorophyll has a molecular structure that’s almost identical to haemoglobin (you know, those red blood cells that transport oxygen to your blood) except for the center atom. In haemoglobin, the center atom is iron but in chlorophyll, it’s magnesium. This is great news for your skin (and overall body) since magnesium is something our bodies absolutely need – more than 300 enzymes in our body requires magnesium to work – but many of us are deficient in it. Magnesium helps to get oxygen to all your cells and tissues and it is necessary for the metabolism of vitamin C, a crucial skin vitamin. By giving your body what it needs, you’re setting the stage for it to give you what you want: healthy, glowing skin.
- Sun damage and oxidization are the main causes of wrinkles. Chlorophyll is chock-a-block with skin-protecting antioxidants, and natural sunscreen.
- Vitamin A, C, E and K are great for wrinkle reduction, brown spots and smoothing the rough patches. And guess what? Whether you drink or apply directly, spirulina is filled with all four. If you want to keep your bright-eyes then vitamin K is a must.