Spirulina – The Ultimate Superfood (Part 2)

Spirulina is 20 times more productive as a protein source than any other food. It could be grown with unused land and water. It was possible to cultivate a pure culture on a large scale in many places around the world. Scientists discovered spirulina was a safe food, had been consumed for hundreds of years by traditional peoples, and showed promising nutritional, and even therapeutic, health benefits.

“If this blue-green algae were cultivated and consumed by millions of people, it would have tremendous benefits, especially for the world’s children and our planet’s future. Spirulina seemed to be the solution we needed. However, it was all theory, it had not been done yet.”

Most cultivated spirulina is produced in open-channel raceway ponds, with paddle-wheels used to agitate the water. The largest commercial producers of spirulina are located in the United States, Thailand, India, Taiwan, China, Pakistan and Myanmar (the Burma).

Phytochemical analysis indicates that spirulina contains an unusually high amount of protein, between 55 per cent and 77 per cent by dry weight, depending upon the source. It is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine, and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs, and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.

Spirulina is rich in GLA, and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA).

Spirulina contains vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E.

Previous studies indicate that spirulina is a rich source of potassium, and also contains calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

Spirulina extract has been shown to inhibit HIV replication in human T-cells, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and Langerhans cells.

Other studies indicate that spirulina helps prevent heart damage caused by chemotherapy using Doxorubicin, without interfering with its anti-tumor activity. Spirulina reduces the severity of strokes and improves recovery of movement after a stroke; reverses age-related declines in memory and learning; and prevents and treats hay fever.

Spirulina is effective for the clinical improvement of melanosis and keratosis due to chronic arsenic poisoning; improves weight-gain and corrects anemia in both HIV-infected and HIV-negative undernourished children; and protects against hay fever. 

The United Nations World Food Conference in 1974 lauded Spirulina as the ‘best food for the future’. Recognising the inherent potential of Spirulina in the sustainable development agenda, several Member States of the United Nations came together to form an intergovernmental organisation by the name of the Intergovernmental Institution for the Use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IMSAM). IIMSAM aspires to build a consensus to make Spirulina a key driver to eradicate malnutrition, achieve food security and bridge the health divide throughout the world.

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