Spirulina, also known as blue-green algae, grows naturally in salt-water lakes in Africa and Mexico, as well as in some fresh water lakes. It grows quickly in a spiral shape, is easy to harvest and was used as a food source by the Aztecs.
Nutrition: B-complex vitamins, minerals, proteins, gamma-linolenic acid and anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, trace elements and a number of unexplored bioactive compounds. Rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc. Methylcobalamin (B12) whilst some studies show it improved the vitamin B12 status in rats, others suggest that it is not bioavailable for humans, phycocyanin a biliprotein.
Benefits: Apparent ability to stimulate whole human physiology; anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-depressant, anti-hyperglycaemic, anti-hyperlipidaemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, hepatoprotective and a plethora of beneficial functions. Bio-modulatory and immuno-modulatory functions; promotes growth of intestinal micro flora, benefit to cardiac muscle.
Anti-Allergy /(Inflammation): Inhibition of allergic inflammatory response by phycocyanin partly by inhibition of histamine release from mast cells. Effective on allergic rhinitis, improving symptoms including nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching.
Anti-Cancer / Chemoprotective: Phycocyanin a potential clinical interest in cancer treatment or prevention of relapse. Tetrapyrrolic components decreased the proliferation of experimental pancreatic cancer.
Anti-Depressant: Stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid in spirulina showed anti-depressant activity in mice.
Anti-Diabetic: A functional food for diabetes management due to phycocyanin and considering the relationship between diabetes and inflammation. Phycocyanin and phycocyanobilin for preventing diabetic nephropathy. Effective in reducing total circulating levels of LDL-cholesterol and hepatic lipids, alone or in conjunction with physical exercise in diabetic rats.
Anti-Oxidant / Anti-Inflammatory: properties help reduce oxidative stress and/or the generation of oxygen radicals in the course of inflammatory processes; therapeutic effects on skin irritation, oedema and collagen disturbance in dermatitis. Neuroprotective against cerebral ischemia injury (stroke). In mother’s diet alleviates lead-induced damages in brain and cerebellum of newborn rats. May prevent memory loss.
Exercise: Increased exercise performance, fat oxidation, and reduced glutathione concentration; attenuated the exercise-induced increase in lipid peroxidation. Preventive effects of skeletal muscle damage and delayed exhaustion during the all-out exercise.
Immune: may ameliorate anaemia and immunological dysfunction in older subjects
Cautions: If taking anticoagulants (vitamin K); with iodine or seafood allergy, hyperthyroidism, pregnancy and nursing.
Spirulina is considered safe for human consumption supported by its long history of use as food source and its favourable safety profile in animal studies. However, rare cases of side-effects in human have been reported. Quality control in the growth and process to avoid contamination is mandatory to guarantee the safety of products.
Adding Spirulina to your Diet: It is best to start with small doses in smoothies or juice, though most people prefer capsules as they cannot tolerate the taste of the powder.
We are happy to advise you on your health matters.
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