Spirulina is a plant of a genus of cyanobacteria. It grows and is cultivated in areas with water, in lakes or even in closed containers (for commercial reasons), which are rich in carbonates and bicarbonates of alkaline pH (up to 11).
Spirulina produces nutrients with the help of sunlight and the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere. Its blue color comes from phycocyanin and its green color from chlorophyll.
It has been considered, in the past decade, one of the most nutritious foods due to its components. It contains proteins (50-70%), lipids (5-7%), sugar (15-25%), vitamins (B1, B5 and B6), micro-nutrients and minerals. It also contains iron, vitamin E, beta-carotene, chlorophyll and fatty acids.
It is a source of antioxidants such as vitamins B1 and B6, minerals like zinc, manganese, and copper, the amino acid methionine and the micronutrient selenium.
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helpful in cases of anemia and low hematocrit due to its high content of iron.
- Lowers LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
- There is evidence that it has some anticancer properties
- Clinical studies in diabetics showed a significant decrease in blood sugar after 21 days of consuming 2g every day.
- It contains bioactive compounds some of which have antiviral properties.
- Assists during physical exercise by protecting the muscle tissue of athletes from oxidative damage while it delays the athletes’ exhaustion time and promotes recovery from sports fatigue.
- Assists in treating of obesity.
- It is an important food in a vegetarian diet.
- Stimulates the digestive system.
- Helpful in arthritis, cardiovascular problems and atherosclerosis.
HOW TO USE
As a dietary supplement, the recommended consumption is 3-10 grams per day. It is advised to start with 1gr per day and gradually increase consumption by 1gr every week.
Spirulina can be added in plain water, teas, juices, cereals, soups, salads, yogurt etc. Avoid cooking spirulina – just add it at the end- in order not to destroy its components with high temperatures.
When consumed in the recommended dosage spirulina does not cause any side effects.
Due to its ability to strengthen and stimulate the immune system, it is not recommended for people suffering from autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, Crohn's disease, etc.
It should not be consumed by people suffering from phenylketonuria since Spirulina contains phenylalanine.
Very rare cases of Spirulina intolerance have been reported, with symptoms of light dizziness, light muscle pain or itching. Discontinue consumption if such symptoms are persistent.