Spirulina – the true superfood

In Health and Nutrition by Elizabeth Jewell StephensLeave a Comment

Last issue we covered chlorella – the totally amazing little green algae. While the experts recommend you take both chlorella and spirulina, if you want only one, then spirulina would have to be it.


Spirulina is often bracketed with chlorella as algae, but in fact it’s a cyanobacterium. You possibly wonder why I’d bother telling you that when I could simply tell you why it’s a superfood. Actually, the ‘cyan’ part of the name is what’s so important. Cyan is a technical name for the colour blue, and these little critters contain the largest amount of blue pigment of any food known to us.

Why should we like blue food?

In general, foods containing lots of blue pigment – think blueberries, purple potatoes, dark grapes – have been found to improve life in many respects and certainly to aid longevity because of their unique antioxidant properties. Phycocyanin, the phytochemical in spirulina, is one of a kind, and has been found to improve brain function, build bone marrow cells and strengthen the heart, because, in our bodies, it’s converted into a power-packed antioxidant.

Dr Mercola [reference: products.mercola.com/spirublue/] says of phycocyanin that it “may play a major role in stem cell regeneration, especially in bone marrow and blood cells. Phycocyanin supports the creation of the red blood cells that oxygenate your body and the white blood cells that make up your cellular immune system. What’s more, scientists have discovered that the phycocyanin in spirulina supports white blood cell production.”

Blue for brains

Mike Adams [reference: www.consumerwellness.org] cites a study published in 1995 (Sevulla) of children who took a mere 1g every day for six months. This is a tiny amount, and yet they showed an 81% improvement in their academic scores. Mike goes on to say, “The mechanism of such dramatic improvements in brain function are very likely due to the presence of both GLA [an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid] and phycocyanin (a blue pigment) in spirulina. Phycocyanin is known to enhance the functioning of the brain and nervous system.”

Paul Pitchford, author of Healing With Whole Foods, says, “Predominant blue pigmentation in food is rare. The chemical reality of spirulina’s blue color is demonstrated by its effect in the brain. Here phycocyanin helps draw together amino acids for neurotransmitter formation, which increases mental capacity.” [As cited in www.consumerwellness.org]

Lots more than brains

There are so many health pundits who recommend spirulina for a huge quantity of disease prevention and sometimes turnarounds. The medical issues that are helped include:

  • Blood sugar levels
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Diabetes
  • Digestion and bowel problems
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Immune system
  • Curbing hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Energy levels
  • Depression
  • Nerve damage
  • Cancer
  • Stem cell regeneration
  • Increase muscle mass
  • Creation of both red and white blood cells

Mike Adams’ recommended daily dosage of spirulina

  • Disease-fighting: 20 grams
  • Maintenance: 10 grams
  • Athlete: as much as 60 grams
  • Upper limit: There is no upper limit. You can eat spirulina like food. If you eat ‘too much’, you will simply get full.

The world’s starvation problems could be solved

Spirulina has the ability to solve the world’s starvation and health problems in one fell swoop. Although it is a bacterium, it is an odd little fellow because it also photosynthesises. Therefore it is good to grow it in water in warm and sunny climates. Lots of the world’s hungry people live in such climates.

The hungry people are not the only ones with malnutrition

Countries with too much access to fast food are easy to pick because of the number of vastly overweight people in their populations. However, and as you may know, many (or maybe most) of them are overweight because they keep eating junk food in the continual search to find nutrients for their starving cells. They are crying out for micronutrients but almost none are to be found in the food choices they make.

If they would start taking spirulina, they would find that their food cravings would dissipate. As a result their fat would also start to go away – it’s so simple.

Be sure to choose a good brand

Apparently some spirulina is sourced from contaminated waters. Read the labels carefully.

Convinced by the research

I am going to add spirulina to my own diet, which is already pretty good – no junk food and rich in green leafy things and other colourful veggies. I am so convinced by all the research I’ve done that I see it as a no-brainer. How about you?

I must say that this para, by Mike Adams again, is what really decided me: “I’ve had days where I accidentally ran out of spirulina, and it nearly ruined my day! Without this source of quality protein, I had to turn to other sources like animal meat. The difference was striking: when consuming the animal meat, I had less energy, I felt hungrier, and I was sluggish for the entire day. These days, I make sure I never run out of spirulina!”

Why don’t we all take spirulina every day?

Well it’s not that complex really – two likely reasons.

Because this is a naturally occurring foodstuff that has been grown for eons, it is not at all of interest to the pharmaceutical industry. They cannot monetise it.

The other problem is that it apparently does not have a brilliant taste – and certainly not suited to a palate that’s been accustomed to chocolate ice-cream – or even a healthier yet yummy antipasto plate. I presume the companies that include spirulina in a blend with other greens have managed the taste so that it is quite palatable.

Anyhow, I’m still going to incorporate it in my diet. I will experiment with various recipes to disguise it. Will you do so too? And if you come up with a good one, email it in to editor@livingnow.com.au – if we, together, invent a few goodies, we’ll publish them in LivingNow (would you like a dedicated section on our website?) so that everyone can benefit.

Spirulina is the richest whole food source in nature

  • Contains over 100 nutrients, more than any other plant, grain or herb
  • Protein – 60-70% of its weight is protein, and that is 300% more protein than fish, meat or poultry, with no cholesterol
  • Iron – 58 times richer than spinach in bio-available iron
  • Vitamin B12 – Nature’s richest source
  • Chlorophyll – twice as rich in chlorophyll as barley grass or wheatgrass
  • Antioxidants – 25 times richer in beta-carotene than carrot and three times richer in Vitamin E than wheatgerm

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