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.
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.
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.
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. Such an 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 may prevent the loss of memory by lessening Aβ protein accumulation, reducing oxidative damage and mainly augmenting the catalase activity.* 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. This makes these enzymes much more powerful than individual antioxidants.*
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. By reducing amyloid-beta (Aβ) levels in the brain, Spirulina may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientific evidence shows that Spirulina supports a healthy cardiovascular system, and protects from oxidative stress.
Detoxify Heavy Metals*
Several scientific researches have shown spirulina to be an effective chelating agent to remove arsenic, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals from the body.* These researches have also show spirulina to have removed radioactive substances from the body.*
There is evidence that suggests spirulina may help protect against liver damage, cirrhosis and liver failure in those with chronic liver disease.* A study published in a May 2011 found that in animals, spirulina prevented liver damage induced by liver toxin carob tetrachloride.* Mexican researches concluded in 2010 that spirulina could be considered an alternative treatment for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.*
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.*
Iron is an essential element of blood production, and a deficiency can be a serious problem for endurance. With 1000% more iron than raw spinach, spirulina can be an incredible way to help boost endurance.
- 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.