Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is one of the most densely nutrient packed superfoods on earth. This amazing environmentally sustainable algae has been a nutritious dietary supplement for thousands of years.
Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory*
Spirulina contains phytonutrients that have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.* These antioxidants support cellular health by protecting cells from the damaging effects of reactive oxygen radicals. Oxidative stress that is a result of normal or abnormal metabolism, is known to damage cell membranes and DNA (the master molecule that programs all cellular structure and function) thereby negatively changing the structure and function of the cell. The other consequence of such damaging radicals is premature aging. The phytonutrients in spirulina have been shown to have similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to those obtained from eating certain fruits and vegetables. (Gemma et al., 2002; Belay, 2002, Gershwin & Belay 2007)
Spirulina contains 12% of your daily recommended intake of calcium. Spirulina also contains Vitamin D & Magnesium which are main components for bone health. This is a great source of calcium for non-dairy drinkers and vegans.
Spirulina may prevent the loss of memory by lessening Aβ protein accumulation, reducing oxidative damage and mainly augmenting the catalase activity. (1) In contrast to simple antioxidants, which can only neutralize single free radicals before becoming inactive, catalase and glutathione peroxidase can continue neutralizing free radicals for as long as they are provided with the proper vitamins and minerals.(2) This makes these enzymes much more powerful than individual antioxidants. (3)
People with Alzheimer’s disease have abnormally high concentrations of amyloid-beta (Aβ) proteins, which accumulate into plaques and lead to severe memory loss and other problems.(4) By reducing amyloid-beta (Aβ) levels in the brain, Spirulina may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.(5)
Scientific evidence shows that Spirulina supports a healthy cardiovascular system, and protects from oxidative stress. As it turns out, spirulina has been shown to have beneficial effects on many factors of Cardiovascular Disease. For example, spirulina may lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.(6) In a study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams per day of spirulina significantly improved these markers (7). Another study in people with high cholesterol found that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and LDL by 10.1% (8). Several other studies have shown favorable effects, but with higher doses of 4.5-8 grams of spirulina per day (9, 10).
A new study looked at “the potential of spirulina supplements in combination with systematic exercise (twice weekly for six weeks) on body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness of 27 overweight and 25 obese sedentary men… Results showed that, compared to the fourth group, all exercise and spirulina groups experienced improvements in body fat percentage (reduction) and maximal oxygen uptake (increases). the effects were more pronounced in obese men.
In addition, both spirulina groups experienced improvements in weight loss, the time to reach fatigue and the onset of blood lactate accumulation…”
Free radicals can cause damage to parts of cells such as proteins, DNA, and cell membranes by stealing their electrons through a process called oxidation. Antioxidants in spirulina such as Phycocyanin can help fight free radicals in the body.
Spirulina contains the highest concentration of protein for any plant, herb or animal on a gram per gram basis. The amino acid content of its protein is very close to the WHO standard. Since Spirulina does not have a thick cell wall this protein is readily available.* Spirulina also contains some essential vitamins like Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), Vitamin B12.* It is also a very rare source of GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), an essential fatty acid. Moreover Spirulina is a good source of bio-available iron.
Spirulina contains 15x more Vitamin A (Beta-carotene) than carrots Vitamin A nourishes the cornea and helps produce moisture for your eyes Spirulina contains nutrients such as Essential Amino Acids, & Zinc which may help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration & cataracts. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide. (11)
Several animal and human studies have shown that spirulina supports immune function. In particular, it has been shown to promotes innate (inborn) immunity, the body’s first line of defense. In this regard it promotes macrophage function, T-cell proliferation and Natural Killer Cell activity. It is also important in the regulation of antibody production (acquired immunity). Spirulina has been shown to inhibit production of IgE and modulate inflammation.Recent studies also show that spirulina promotes IgA production in the saliva thereby inactivating foreign bodies and toxins found in food. (Mao et al., 2005; Hirahashi et al., 2002; Belay, 2002, Gershwin & Belay, 2007)
In addition to the above spirulina also contains phytonutrients like phycocyanin and polysaccharides that have some potential health benefits. Phycocyanin is a powerful antioxidant, unique to spirulina. At Earthrise we also sell the world’s first and only natural blue food coloring Lina Blue – the phycocyanin extracted from our spirulina.
- Belay, A. 1997. Mass culture of Spirulina (Arthrospira) outdoors – The Earthrise Farms Experience. In: Vonshak, A. (ed.) Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira): Physiology, Cell-Biology and Biotechnology. Taylor and Francis. pp. 131-158.
- Belay, A. 2002. The potential application of Spirulina (Arthrospira) as a nutritional and therapeutic supplement in health management. Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association. 5: 27-48.
- Cohen Z. & A. Vonshak. 1991. Fatty acid composition of Spirulina and Spirulina-like cyanobacteria in relation to their chemotaxonomy. Phytochem. 30: 205-206.
- Cohen Z., M.C. Margheri & l. Tomaselli. 1995. Chemotaxonomy of cyanobacteria. Phtochem. 40: 1155-1158.
- Gershwin, M.E. & Belay, A. (eds.) Spirulina in Human Nutrition and Health. CRC Press, 312pp.
- Hirahashi T, M. Matsumoto, K. Hazeki, Y. Saeki, M. Ui, T. Seya. 2002. Activation of the human innate immune system by Spirulina: augmentation of interferon production and NK cytotoxicity by oral administration of hot water extract of Spirulina platensis. Int Immunopharmacol. 2(4):423-34.
- Gemma, C., M.H. Mesches, B. Sepesi, K. Choo, D.B. Holmes & P.C. Bickford. 2002. Diets enriched in foods with high antioxidant activity reverse age-induced decreases in cerebellar beta-adrenergic function and increases in proinflammatory cytokines. J Neurosci.15;22(14):6114-20.
- Mao T.K,, J, Van de Water & M.E.Gershwin 2005. Effects of a Spirulina-based dietary supplement on cytokine production from allergic rhinitis patients. J Med Food. 8(1):27-30.
- Tomaselli, L. 1997. Morphology, ultrastructure and taxonomy of Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima and Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis. In: Vonshak, A. (ed.) Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira): Physiology, Cell-Biology and Biotechnology. Taylor and Francis. Pp. 1-15.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.