Spirulina – Fact or Fiction?
Claims have been made that Spirulina is the number 1 ‘Superfood’ of the 21st century, the answer to the global problem of malnutrition, poor nutrition and even more impressively, there are those who state that Spirulina can prevent or even reverse many of today’s most horrible diseases and debilitating conditions.
The question you are probably asking yourself is how much of this is fact? And how much just so much hype? Is Spirulina really a wonder nutritional supplement?
We are all used to extravagant claims made for this or that health product. So, is Spirulina the real thing? Or how much of all this is simply a cynical marketing ploy to extract money from us with the promise of increased health and vigour into a lively old age? What is true and what isn’t? Can Spirulina deliver?
Can it help you? And if so how?
What is Spirulina ?
Spirulina is classified as blue - green algae. It is one of a diverse group of microscopic plants rarely used for food. Spirulina is the exception. During the last 20 years Spirulina has been rediscovered as a potent food source and nutritional supplement.
It grows wild in warm fresh water ponds and lakes, high in mineral salts. Under the microscope it is made up of tiny spirals, hence the name. It is now being cultivated all over the world, and is being consumed in over 75 countries. It is being celebrated as the most powerful health food supplement bar none.
But we’ve been here before, haven’t we? What about brown rice? Or does that age me?
What’s in it?
Spirulina offers 60 - 70% all-vegetable protein, essential vitamins and phytonutrients such as the antioxidant beta carotene, the rare essential fatty acid Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), sulfolipids, glycolipids and polysaccharides. Spirulina is rich in iron, magnesium and trace minerals, and is easier to absorb than iron supplements. It also contains very high levels of calcium – far more than milk. In addition, Spirulina is one of the few plant sources of vitamin B12.
What is it used for?
Spirulina is used as a nutritional supplement for humans and also for pets, fish, birds, poultry and other livestock. It more recently has been classed as a superfood in some circles. It is, apparently, extremely effective in bird feed, increasing fertility and encouraging the production of the most wonderful glossy feathers. Flamingoes regularly feed off Spirulina at Lake Texcoco, Mexico, in Central Africa around Lake Chad, and in East Africa along the Great Rift Valley. Aquarium fish benefit from it too, by all accounts, and it comes highly recommended by all sorts of fish fanciers. I wonder what it might do for my 16 year old Cat?
How long has it been around?
It belongs to a family or organisms many millions of years old. It was consumed as part of a normal diet for centuries by many different peoples round the world from Africa to South America and still is by some, notably in Chad. It has been rediscovered in recent years.
What are the possible therapeutic benefits?
Claims have been made for the possible therapeutic benefits of Spirulina in cancer treatment and prevention, AIDS, immunodeficiency, hypertension, and weight loss, to name but few.
How do you take it?
Spirulina is available as a powder, capsule and in tablet form for human consumption. If you lived in the right place, I guess you could eat it fresh? Apparently, it can taste pretty evil neat. For the majority of us, we’d have to buy it. On no account eat any old algae on any old pond. Many are very toxic – except to some fish.
It is important that you take care to purchase it from reliable source to ensure its purity.