Spirulina is a vital food supplement obtained from filamentous micro-algae in form of tangled masses in warm alkaline lakes in Africa.
What is Spirulina?
It is referred as free-floating filamentous microalgae (plant-like organisms) with spiral filaments. It is also known as blue-green algae and formally named as Arthrospira. Formerly it was placed in plant kingdom due to its photosynthesis ability however; later researches on its genetics and biochemical properties classified it as bacteria.
Where is it Found?
Most of the Spirulina species are found in tropical or sub tropical high-salt water lakes however some of its types are also obtained in large fresh water reservoirs. It is grown under natural polluted environment that is contaminated with microcystins (liver poison) produced by certain micro organisms and heavy metals. It is mostly found in America, Mexico and Asian and Central African waters.
Mutually known as blue-green algae or Arthrospira, it is globally used as a nutraceutical food supplement. Extensive researches and studies are carried out recently to evaluate therapeutic benefits and impacts of Spirulina on major diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory and viral infections. They are also found effective in weight loss, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder i.e. ADHD, depression, fatigue, hay fever, diabetes and women issues including premenstrual syndrome. Some other uses include treating pre-cancerous growth in mouth, immune system boost, improving metabolism and memory, lowering cholesterol, improving bowel health and healing critical wounds.
Spirulina is edible with high-nutritional value. Research and studies suggested that it is a good source of dietary protein, Pantothenic acid, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, iron, Niacin and Vitamin B-Complex, vitamin K, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Copper and Manganese.
Spirulina’s Essential Minerals and Trace Elements Benefits
The fundamental property of dual nature organism and trace elements absorbed from its growth medium makes blue-green algae a potent source of multi vitamins, essential minerals and trace elements.
The turning ability over vital enzymatic reactions of Zinc profoundly effects mental health, prostrate function, skin and hair vitalization and healing capacity. Potassium is crucial to regulate body electrolytic balance. Calcium boosts neural transmission along with bones and teeth strengthening. Manganese stabilizes blood sugar and promotes neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Selenium found in Spirulina is a toxic heavy metal, but it is crucial for anti-oxidation while it slower ageing, free radical formation improves cardiac efficiency and reduces toxic effects of carcinogens. Iron and phosphorous present in blue-green algae are essential for blood and body functions.
Spirulina provides abundance of vitamins in form of:
- Biotin which acts as a co-enzyme for biochemical reactions
- Pyridoxine (B6) stimulates breakdown and assimilation of protein. Presence with zinc can cure some forms of schizophrenia.
- B12 or Cobalamin is a rare vitamin. Spirulina is enriched with B12 which is difficult to obtain from any plant source on earth.
- Pantothenic acid and Niacin is essential for mental vigor along with balancing cholesterol in body.
Inositol found in blue-green algae is a lipotropic nutrient which is crucial for liver health and sustenance.
- Folic acid is necessary for hemoglobin growth and body organs normal functionality.
- Vitamin E and Riboflavin is essential for cardiovascular health eyesight, oxygenation and slowing down ageing.
Blue-Green algae has impressive value with enriched pigments that are biochemically important for health. They are aptly involved in synthesizing enzymes to maintain metabolism. Spirulina contains Chlorophyll, Phycocyanin, Phycoerythrin, tetra-pyrrole and phytonadione along with carotenoids.
Since it is a form of algae, appropriate dosage depends on various factors including user’s age, health and conditions for which it is taken. Following relevant directions and take only by your physician consultation.