What is blue-green in color, a freshwater plant, and like its cousin “chlorella”, can be seen growing on the banks of freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds, and can be consumed in powder, flake, and tablet form?
That’s our blue-green spirulina, an algae that is much touted as superfood now. You might have seen it mostly included in powder form in energy bars, included in beverages, or as a natural supplement. Taken on a daily basis, spirulina’s benefits are so numerous and diverse that about 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific articles have been recorded applauding its health benefits.
Both humans and animals can enjoy the benefits of Spirulina, now available either as a dietary supplement, powder, or tablet form. It is even fed to fish, livestock, and dogs.
Established Spirulina Benefits
Granted that we don’t have the best quality spirulina which comes from Hawaii but standard spirulina can be regularly consumed by everyone – something we recommend for the following health benefits:
Removes Heavy Metals and other Toxins (Specifically Arsenic)
Chronic arsenic toxicity which can come from the water we drink every day is a global problem. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. is one of the countries affected by inorganic arsenic that exists naturally in the environment. In Asia, it is even much worse with countries like India, Taiwan, and Bangladesh exposed to high levels of arsenic through drinking water. C
Up to 3% of Bangladesh’s population is supposed to show signs of arsenic poisoning now. Currently, there is no specific treatment for arsenic poisoning so naturopaths are looking into blue-green algae like spirulina. After giving 24 patients affected by chronic arsenic poisoning at least 250 mg of spirulina extract plus 2 mg of zinc twice daily compared to 17 patients who were given a placebo, the spirulina-zinc patients experienced a 47% decrease of arsenic in their bodies. What an effective detox!
Assists in the Prevention of Cancer
Quite a number of animal and lab studies have already proven that spirulina raises the production of antibodies, generates proteins that fight infections and other cells that provide immunity against chronic illnesses and infections such as cancer.
More than 70 peer-reviewed articles have been published extolling spirulina’s properties in eradicating cancer cells. Another study published last year reported Czech Republic scientists have been able to detect spirulina’s ability to control blood cholesterol levels. Apparently, spirulina is rich in tetrapyrrolic compounds that act as a potent antioxidant and anti-proliferative agent.
Used with human pancreatic cells, spirulina significantly reduced these cancer cell lines using a specific dose – a potential natural cancer treatment.
Decreases Blood Pressure
Spirulina has a pigment called Phycocyanin which scientists discovered exhibit antihypertensive properties, i.e. it lowers blood pressure. Japanese scientists assert that this is so because eating spirulina reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome. This is highly advantageous for Americans because metabolic syndrome is becoming one of the main causes of preventable disease today in the U.S., elevating one’s risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Ever wonder why the citizens of Japan, Korea, and Chad have low HIV/AIDS incidences? One possible explanation is sea algae is a common fixture of their diet.
To explore this possibility, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Phycology took 11 HIV patients who have never taken antiretrovirals and engaged them in this study. They split up the participants into three groups: one that was assigned to eat 5 grams of brown seaweed every day; another one that ate 5 grams of spirulina; and another one that consumed a combination of both. After a 3-month trial period, two key results were gained:
- a) There were absolutely no negative side effects experienced from both seaweed varieties and the combination by respondents.
- b) CD4 cells (T-helper white blood cells that fight infection) and HIV-1 viral load (another HIV biomarker) remained stable.
The results of the study were so promising that one participant volunteered to continue the study for an additional 10 months. That participant benefited from a great improvement in CD4 and decreased HIV viral load. A great indication that spirulina is effective at HIV treatment.
Candida species belonging to the normal bacteria in a person’s gastrointestinal tract, vagina and oral cavity (mouth) should not be a problem if the bacteria did not proliferate. In fact, the leaky gut syndrome is a problem for those with a microbial imbalance.
Because of our predilection for foods rich in sugar and unnatural ingredients, antimicrobial resistance, and ineffective antifungal drugs, we have seen a rise in yeast infections since the 1980s.
And that is where spirulina comes into the picture. Various animal studies have shown that it’s an effective antimicrobial agent against candida.
Decreases Chance of Stroke
Studies also show that spirulina supplements lowered the intimal aorta surface by about 33% to 48%, meaning it can prevent artherosclerosis and potential stroke. The study here was applied in the hope of reversing damage done by eating a poor diet. Just imagine what wonders spirulina can do to those with abnormal hearts.
Aside from preventing atherosclerosis, spirulina can lower high blood cholesterol levels. A recent animal study wherein they fed rabbits with a high cholesterol diet, and then fed them with an HCD of 1% and 5% spirulina for an additional 8 weeks. After the 8 weeks, the LDL levels decreased by 26% in the group eating 1% of 5% spirulina.
Enhances Weight Loss
If you’re eating a diet high in proteins, then spirulina should be the perfect accompaniment to your diet for weight loss. It also curbs hunger, enabling overweight people to benefit the most from eating spirulina.
One teaspoon of spirulina powder with 12 ounces of lime juice and freezing the mixture in ice cube trays can be used as a healthy boost every day. Definitely, spirulina enhances energy performance.
Gives Neuroprotection for Brain Disorders and Boosts Memory
A spirulina-enhanced diet given to rats in a 2012 study provided the rodents neuroprotection against Parkinson’s disease. In a 2015 study, spirulina also prevents memory loss and possibly, also reduces AB protein accumulation, and decreases oxidative damage.
What do you think of spirulina now? Share your opinions in the comments section below.