Spirulina is a blue-green algae superfood that’s found primarily in salt water environments. It’s also harvested from fresh bodies of water in select tropical and sub-tropical environments around the world.
Cyanobacteria: the Foundation of Modern Life on Earth
Spirulina’s a cyanobacteria; one of the oldest living organisms on the planet. It’s thought that cyanobacteria were the lynchpin that started the conversion life on our planet from being comprised of largely oxygen-intolerant organisms into the oxygen-consuming environment that now exists today.
The green chloroplasts that exist in all plants to convert UV rays into energy evolved from cyanobacteria.
It’s often been said that pound-for-pound, Spirulina is the healthiest superfood on the planet.
10 Spirulina Health Benefits:
As you’ve already learned, cyanobacteria are the foundation of every oxygen-consuming life form on this planet. The chlorophyll in all plant life is chocked full of antioxidants which work to reduce oxidative stress in every cell found in our bodies. Compounds like Nostoc, found in cyanobacteria, has shown promise in the treatment of degenerative nerve disorders like Parkinson’s disease (source).
2. Great Source of Essential Amino Acids
Very few edible green plants contain very much protein. Spirulina is over 65 percent protein. Like all plant protein sources it doesn’t offer nearly the protein content you’ll find in animal products, but it is king of all plant sources.
3. Prevention of Macular Degeneration
Spirulina contains loads of essential xanthophylls which are needed to protect our eyes from preventable age related diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. The internal parts of our eyes are protected by an important membrane barrier that’s made of carotenoids.
These carotenoids are made of the xanthophylls: zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, and lutein. Lack of zeaxanthin is the most common factor causing macular degeneration; a serving of spirulina offers over 4,000mg (4x the RDA). Without these xanthophylls, eye health quickly degrades and the consequences are usually permanent.
4. Loads of EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids)
Spirulina doesn’t have any harmful saturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids, only healthy EFA’s. One such essential fatty acid found in abundance within spirulina is omega-3’s. Omega-3’s offer protection against a host of health problems; namely heart disease, Alzheimer’s, memory loss (source), dementia, inflammation throughout the body, and skin problems like eczema and rash outbreaks.
A single cup serving of spirulina contains nearly 1000mg of omega-3’s which equals over 100 percent of our daily requirements.
5. Protection From Radiation Poisoning
The phytopigments found in spirulina flush radiation straight out of our body before it can do irreversible harm. Radiation doesn’t just affect people who’re exposed to calamities like the accident that took place at Chernobyl, Russia back in 1986 – or the Fukushima, Japan blast of 2011.
We live in the digital era of computers, smartphones and tablets – all of which emit low level radiation, the long term effects of which are still yet unknown. X-ray machines used to diagnose broken bones and other ailments also emit high levels of radiation.
Studies from Fukushima proved that consumption of phytopigments reduced their victim’s radiation levels by over half (source). Consider how effective regular consumption would be to negate the effects of the low-level sources we’re exposed to on a daily basis!
6. Over 100% RDA of Iron
One cup of spirulina offers nearly 200% of our daily requirements for the mineral iron. Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of dizziness worldwide, since iron is the foundation of our red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body.
7. Endocrine System Health
Our thyroid gland is the starting point of metabolic (endocrine system) activity in our bodies. Thyroid issues and diseases are an increasingly worrisome trend that’s been on the rise since the early part of last century. This is mainly due to industrialization and technology: chemical exposure, manufactured food, iodine depletion in our soil from over-farming, and radiation from electronic devices.
Lack of iodine in the diet due to over-farmed and iodine deficient soil, along with constant radiation exposure from computers and mobile devices are the two main causes of both temporary and permanent thyroid problems like hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis:
• A cup of spirula contains 30x the recommended daily dose of iodine.
• The photopigments in spirulina help defeat the negative effects of radiation exposure.
8. Probiotics and Fiber
Spirulina is a great alternative to dairy when it comes to healthy probiotic content. It contains much less than dairy, however most of their natural probiotics are destroyed if you consume pasteurized products. Spirulina is dried naturally and not pasteurized.
112g of spirulina offers up 5g of fiber which binds to unhealthy fats and sugars in our diet and prevents them from being absorbed into the body. Fiber also acts to “scrub” our colon of harmful waste which prevents constipation and colon cancer.
9. Perfect Amino Profile
Spirulina is the only plant source where you get all 9 essential amino acids: valine, histidine, isoleucine, threonine, leucine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine. If you consume plenty of animal protein, this may not be as important a benefit. Vegetarians can definitely benefit from the amino’s in spirulina.
Spirulina contains a bioidentical and highly bioavailable antioxidant in our bodies called phycocyanobilin, which mirrors the effects of bilirubin; an NADPH oxidase-inhibitor. Both help to prevent the oxidative damage in the body that leads to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and several others.
Contraindications/Side Effects of Spirulina
While spirulina is healthy for most individuals, it’s recommended that you consult your doctor if you’re being treated for any serious health condition that requires medication, as spirulina can block the effects of certain drugs.
It’s also recommended that you avoid it if you’re suffering from a severe autoimmune disorder, as spirulina strengthens immune function and may make your symptoms worse.