What if you were asked to explain what Spirulina is all about?
Could you have comfortably talked about Spirulina?
What do you know about Spirulina?
Do you know the source of Spirulina?
Do you the health benefits of Spirulina?
Do you know the nutritional benefits of Spirulina?
Do you know if Spirulina is safe for human consumption?
These are some few questions you could be pondering upon on hearing the term Spirulina.
Over the past years, Spirulina has been a dietary source of both macro and micronutrients that are undeniably required by our body systems. Several scientific evaluations of Spirulina extracts have shown the presence of essential phytochemicals that are nutritionally beneficial to our health. Unfortunately, many folks are still oblivious of the distinctive amazing health beneficial properties of this nature's gift. Spirulina is a blue-green alga that belongs to the family of Arthrospira platensis. It grows mostly in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world especially in alkaline waters of lakes. It is prevalent in places like Asia, America, Central Africa and Mexico.
It is a spirally-shaped, filamentous and multicellular cyanobacteria, which is photosynthetic in nature. Spirulina platensis, Spirulina fusiformis and Spirulina maxima are the most vital species of Spirulina. Due to its high level of nucleic acids and also being easily digestible, Spirulina is categorised amongst the best ingredients for producing high-quality food supplements. Spirulina is cosmopolitan and it is commonly used either as a whole food or as a dietary supplement that is either in powder, flake or tablet form.
Spirulina has gained tremendous popularity in the food and health industry as a supplementary vitamin for good health. This is attributed to its ability to treat several health conditions. Interestingly, Spirulina exhibits no toxicities hence considered safe for human consumption. Spirulina is an excellent source of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, and E), beta-carotene, potassium, iron, proteins, magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, copper, calcium, sodium, chromium, minerals, chlorophyll, phosphorus, gamma-linolenic acid, carotenoids and essential amino acids. It also contains pigments such as lutein, phycocyanin, xanthophylls and zeaxanthin.

Watch this Short Clip on the Remarkable Benefits of Spirulina!


Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina has a wide range of health, medicinal and therapeutic benefits that we shouldn't neglect. This distinctive alga is beneficial in the following ways:
- It is useful for wound healing.
- It alleviates inflammatory pain.
- It helps to maintain a healthy heart.
- Spirulina acts as a natural detoxifier.
- It can be used to prevent and treat hay fever.
- It regulates the cholesterol level and the blood pressure.
- It alleviates allergies and fights against several viruses.
- It helps to keep the body in an optimal and alkaline state.
- It serves as an antidote for tackling anxiety and depression.
- Due to its high anti-oxidant properties, it helps to prevent ageing.
- It regulates the blood sugar level thus useful for diabetes treatment.
- Due to its high iron content, it is highly recommended for pregnant women.
- It is useful for maintaining a healthy weight thus recommended for weight loss plan.
- It increases the friendly flora in the intestine thus promotes easy food digestion.
- Its high level of chlorophyll is useful for flushing out harmful toxins from the blood.
- The high amount of protein in Spirulina makes it an essential nutritional diet for infants.
- The zeaxanthin and lutein found in it help to prevent the risk of stroke and heart disease.
- It contains the essential minerals and vitamins required for the healthy functioning of the body.
- The GLA, essential amino acids and essential fatty acid found in it regulates the hormonal system.
- It is useful for preventing and reversing anaemia. This is because it supports red cell functioning and production.
- The phycocyanin in Spirulina is a powerful free radical scavenger thus can inhibit microsomal lipid peroxidation.
- Due to its antioxidant properties, it keeps life-threatening health conditions such as Alzheimer's, cancer, stroke and heart diseases at bay.
- Due to its high constituents of xanthophylls, Spirulina may be helpful for minimizing the risk of certain types of cancer especially those of the lung and breast.
- It helps to prevent heart damage caused as a result of chemotherapy using doxorubicin without interfering with its anti-tumour activity.
- It significantly boosts the activity of the antioxidant-related enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase and catalase.
- Due to the high level of calcium in Spirulina, it is highly recommended for growing children to develop strong teeth and bones. The calcium in Spirulina is 26 times more than that in milk.
Spirulina Tablets

Edible Purposes
Spirulina is edible in nature thus can be part of our daily cooking ingredients. The green alga can serve as a vegetable for cooking assorted dishes and can also act as a substitute for animal meat. Spirulina powder can be used for making fortified noodles that contain significantly higher nutrients than noodles made with whole wheat flour.
Anticancer Effects
The phycocyanin in Spirulina exhibits powerful anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies reveal that a combination of these three key properties may contribute to tumour destruction thus useful for tackling cancer. An experiment was conducted to ascertain the impacts of Spirulina on oral carcinogenesis especially leukoplakia. Tumour regression was observed after enteral intake or topical application of Spirulina extract. Another study on the impact of Spirulina supplementation on chemoprevention of cancer in tobacco chewers showed a total regression. Therefore, if Spirulina possesses this striking benefit, its inclusion in our daily intake is highly recommended.
Retards HIV Progression
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections are marked by early micronutrient deficiencies, which pose adverse effects on the nutritional level of a sufferer. Studies reveal that a diet supplementation with natural nutraceuticals that are fortified with micronutrients and proteins such as Spirulina platensis, could be potent for retarding HIV disease progression. This is achieved by the ability of Spirulina to boost the immune system and improve the immune response. An experiment has shown that a daily intake of S. platensis combined with a balanced diet can significantly increase the CD4 cells with a reduction in the viral load after six months.
Improves Malnutrition
Researchers have proven that a local diet supplementation with Spirulina is recommended for improving the nutritional level of malnourished children. Spirulina significantly increases the haematocrit and haemoglobin levels thereby decreasing the prevalence of severe anaemic conditions. This is as a result of the high level of iron, essential amino acids, micronutrients, essential lipids, and several vitamins and minerals found in this alga.
Treatment of Eye Diseases
Being a rich source of beta-carotene, B-vitamin complex and protein, Spirulina is highly beneficial for tackling eye problems caused as a result of vitamin A deficiency. It is useful for preventing blindness and eye diseases.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Studies reveal that an oral intake of Spirulina or phycocyanin (Spirulina holoprotein) exhibits anti-inflammatory effects.
Radiation Protective Effects
Due to the presence of phytopigments (phycocyanin, chlorophyll and carotenoids) and polysaccharides in Spirulina, it offers radiation protection. The anaemic condition caused by radiation can be reduced using Spirulina. The polysaccharide and c-phycocyanin extracts of Spirulina stimulate the recovery of bone marrow cell counts and white blood cells.
Boosts Immunity
Spirulina is useful for boosting immunity and promoting resistance to viral infections. It can boost the mucosal and systemic immune system since it activates the cells of an innate immune system, for example, it activates the T and B cells as well as the macrophages. Studies also reveal that the sulfolipids obtained from spirulina offer protection against HIV. The extracts from Spirulina biomass are effective against influenza virus, cytomegalovirus and herpes virus. Spirulina extracts can lead to virus inactivation and can inhibit carcinogenesis
Antioxidant Properties
Spirulina is a rich source of ßcarotene, tocopherols and phenolic acids that exhibit antioxidant properties. Consuming Spirulina can drastically prevent or relieve the inflammation or oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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- Google Images (2018), Free images with usage rights.
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