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Is Spirulina the superfood of the new millennium? According to nutritionist, western research, medial universities, and researchers from around the world, if it isn’t, it comes really close.
Research on Spirulina started in the 1950’s as part of a search to provide a low cost protein. Yet, the high cost of production has precluded it from becoming an everyday food source.
WHAT IS SPIRULINA
Spirulina was originally classified as a blue-green algae which grows in warm, alkaline, fresh water bodies. Later, Spirulina was moved to cyanobacteria due to its cell structure. Cyanobacteria are related to bacteria, but are capable of photosynthesis. Spirulina is believed to be easily digested because it lacks a cellulose cell wall. Instead, the cell wall is composed of glcoproteins or sugars and proteins.
Spirulina contains about 60% protein by weight versus beef which is 27% by weight. Besides protein, Spirulina contains all eight essential amnio acids making it a complete protein and is rich in Vitamins and Minerals.
IS SPIRULINA SAFE AND NON-TOXIC
Spirulina has been proven to be safe and non-toxic for human consumption. According to Dr. E.W. Becker, “Before a new food item is declared safe for human consumption, it has to undergo a series of detailed toxicological tests to prove the harmlessness of the product. This applies especially to unconventional protein sources, which is where micro-algae are grouped. By considering the available information on possible toxic properties or any other adverse effects of the different algae tested so far, it can be stated that none of these algae showed any negative effect. No serious anomalies were found neither in short-term or long-term feeding experiments nor in studies on acute or chronic toxicity. All tests, including human studies, failed to reveal any evidence that would restrict the utilization of properly processed algal material.”
Even though consumption has been proven safe, side-effects have been reported. The side effects include: nausea, vomiting, headaches, and flu like symptoms. Daily quantities as small as 4 grams of dried Spirulina have reported side effects. Many of these are independent testimonials that can be found on the web. They report the symptoms abated in a day or so.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY
As well as being a superfood, claims have been made that Spirulina can detox the body, improve the immune system, rebuild the body, strongly support the liver, improve mental function, fight against cancer, reduce inflammation and pain, and much more.
The research seems to support these claims.
- UC Davis completed studies indicating that Spirulina supplementation did improve immune system response in seniors.
- In Russia, in response to the 1986 Chernobly disaster, scientist administered 5 grams of spirulina daily for 45 days to affect low-level radiation poisoning. They documented significant improvements including a 50% reduction in radiation in the urine along with regeneration of the liver, bone marrow, blood, spinal fluid and white blood cell counts. The research was released in the early 1990’s by L.P. Loseva.
- US studies have shown that Spirulina and Vitamin C supplementation could effectively reduce the negative effects on the liver of chemotherapy treatments.
- Mahatma Gandhi University, India studies indicate supplementation increased antioxidant enzymes in the body and repaired liver toxicity.
- Taiwan reported studies confirming the ability to of Spirulina to reduce memory disfunction and reduce oxidative stress.
- Taiwan has reported studies where Spirulina reduced inflammatory markers in the body and, therefore, could aid in reducing chronic pain in the body.
These are just a few of the many studies out there that support the health benefits of Spirulina. Check it out and see what you think.
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