Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae. It is a one celled micro organism that thrives in the heat and in alkaline water, or ponds. Most people would associate something like this with diseases, or germs, or just plain old not good for you. But in fact, spirulina is one of the most sterile foods found in nature.
People are now beginning to call spirulina one of the superfoods. It is the only plant source loaded with vitamin B12. Normally, you can only get this vitamin from animal sources. But spirulina has 2.5 times the RDA in 1 teaspoon. It also has a complete protein structure, meaning it has all of the amino acids required to make a protein.
The fact this superfood can survive in the warm environments is the reason it is very sterile. At these sorts of temperatures, there is no way for other things to live in the ponds that can infect this algae. Also, the fact it can survive in temperatures up to 160F makes it exceptional in terms of producing. It can with stand most of the high heats needed to process this supplement. As we now from a raw food diet, temperature can begin to destroy some of the vital elements of foods. But, this is not the case with spirulina.
The following is the long list of everything spirulina has in it:
8 Essential Amino Acids:
  1. Isoleucine
  2. Leucine
  3. Lysine
  4. Methionine
  5. Phenylalanine
  6. Threonine
  7. Tryptophane
  8. Valine
Non-Essential Amino Acids:
  1. Alanine
  2. Arginine
  3. Aspartic Acid
  4. Cystine
  5. Glutamic Acid
  6. Glycine
  7. Histidine
  8. Proline
  9. Serine
  10. Tyrosine
  1. Potassium
  2. Calcium
  3. Zinc
  4. Magnesium
  5. Manganese
  6. Selenium
  7. Iron
  8. Phosphorous
  1. B6
  2. Biotin
  3. B12
  4. Pantothenic Acid
  5. Folic Acid
  6. Inositol
  7. Niacin
  8. B2
  9. B 1
  10. Vitamin E
So, as you can see, spirulina has all sorts of good stuff in it. There are even more items I did not list, but with a little more research on it, you will find it.How do you take it?
This can be done a couple of ways. You can buy a good whole food vitamin that has spirulina in it. This is a good start. It will not give you a very large amount, but a smaller amount is definitely better than no amount.
Another way is to buy it in capsule form. This is a very easy way to take this. Many people not familiar with the taste of spirulina will find taking the supplements by capsule or pill form to be much easier. Just ensure there are no other additives in the spirulina tablets.
The last way is in powder form. This, I believe, is for the more hard core smoothie and health nuts out there (like me). We add a teaspoon or more to each of the smoothies we make. But, here is the thing. The more bland your smoothie ingredients are, the stronger the spirulina will be. Plus, the spirulina turns the entire drink green.
The last way I have found, which makes it very easy for the kids, is to add it to a smoothie. You will need to buy the spirulina powder in order to do it this way. I posted a good recipe for a pineapple hemp seed smoothie which is a good way to get some spirulina into the diet.
Hopefully that give you a pretty good idea about how important spirulina is in a diet, especially a raw food diet.
You can find more tips on healthy supplements, raw foods, and natural living at

Spirulina Health Benefits

Spirulina health benefits are many, it is an incredibly rich balance of nutrients and is considered a whole food, meaning, it can provide life without other foods. It could probably put an end to world hunger!

It is a blue-green algae (like a micro plant) and looks a little like a spiral of long thin threads. Spirulina is found in fresh water, tropical springs and salt water.

You can buy spirulina in powder form, capsule or tablet.

Spirulina Facts
Spirulina contains over 100 easily absorbed, life-enhancing nutrients: vitamins, minerals over 58 times more iron than spinach, antioxidants, beta-carotene, amino acids, phytonutrients and essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6).

This little blue-green algae is one of the most researched food supplements on the face of the planet. You have probably read/heard that before, regarding other things. But truly, spirulina has over 30 years worth of testing.

Since spirulina is a food and is great for those who are trying to lose weight.

Usually by the time you reach 40, the hydrocholoric acid levels (stomach acid) secreted into the stomach gradually decrease, this acid is needed to help break down food.

If there is not enough of this acid it can cause a person to eat too much, this is a common problem for why people put on weight.

When taking spirulina, your appetite will most certainly decrease as the nutrients are easily absorbed by the body.

It is perfect for people who feel tired or mentally drained, it helps your body by providing the nutrients needed to pick you up and give you more energy, this is a much better choice than having a cup of coffee!

There are many wonderful spirulina recipes and it can be used in sweet or savory foods. It is great to add to your favourite smoothie or juice.

If you are considering taking spirulina, it is important to start off with the right recommended amount. Usually this is around 4 grams daily for the first week and then working your way up to whatever feels right for you.

Apparently, some people feel they need 3 to 4 grams daily and others up to 12 grams daily.

If you are taking capsules, one capsule is around 500mg, so 8 a day would be 4 grams. The best way to take spirulina is 30 min before meals.

The benefit of spirulina for anti aging makes it definitely worth including into your diet.

Pauline Downie's passion is anti aging, visit her site Forever Looking Younger and discover simple and effective ways to lose body fat, make positive changes to your health and beat the aging process.

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Spirulina: Super Food

Spirulina, also known as phyto-plankton, is a blue-green, simple, one-celled algae that thrives in warm, alkaline fresh-water. Named for its spiral shape, spirulina is probably one of the earliest life forms on earth, dating back 3.6 billion years. Spirulina is known as "Super Food" because its nutrients are more concentrated than any other food or plant.

Of the three main types of algae (blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella), spirulina is the easiest to digest and absorb, because its cell walls are composed of mucopolysaccharides rather than indigestible cellulose. Chlorella needs special processing to improve digestibility of a tough outer cell wall but is valued for its ability to bind with heavy metals and carry them out of the body. Wild blue-green algae has remarkable healing properties but can transform into an exceptionally toxic plant under certain conditions. Freeze drying is said to denature these toxins.
Spirulina is stunningly rich in vital nutrients. It contains 23,000 IUs of vitamin A per 10 grams; ten times that of carrots on a per gram basis. It is a very rich source of chlorophyll, a phytonutrient helpful in breaking down mutagens, natural and man-made toxins, which can cause mutations in body cells.

Of special interest to vegetarians is the fact that with over 60% protein content, spirulina is the most potent and most digestible protein source known, containing all eight essential amino acids, plus 10 of the 12 non-essential amino acids. Many vegetarians also maintain that spirulina is the only plant source of vitamin B12, although this view has been challenged by Stephen Byrnes, ND, PhD, RNCP, author of the in-depth article "The Myths of Vegetarianism" originally published in the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, July 2000. Claims Dr. Byrnes, "the B12 analogues present in algae and tempeh are not bioavailable. We know this because studies done on people's blood levels of B12 remained the same after they ate spirulina and tempeh; there was no change, clearly indicating no absorption by the body."

Calgary-based naturopath, Dr. Bruce Lofting, echoes this opinion. Says Dr. Lofting, "At the time of my academic training to become a naturopathic doctor, we were taught that a significant amount of vitamin B12 from food could only be got from animal sources; that while there may have been some B12 in plant sources it was an insignificant amount. I have not come across any reliable report since then that says otherwise. I still recommend that a vegan supplement B12, perhaps in a quality multivitamin or as a separate pill. I would not feel comfortable trying to get it from spirulina or any other plant."

Nevertheless, spirulina is a powerhouse of nutrients, rich in the vitamins A, E and B-complex. Spirulina also contains chelated versions of potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, and iron. In fact, at least one laboratory study has demonstrated that the iron level in spirulina is equivalent to that of beef. "Chelated" means firmly attached or bound, usually to an amino acid or other organic component so that the two do not disassociate in the digestive system. Nutrient absorption is thus enhanced.

Spirulina is also one of the best sources of GLA, or gamma-linolenic acid, the "good" omega-6 essential fatty acid. With all the recent hype about omega-3 fatty acids and the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between omega-3 and omega-6, the latter has been getting short shrift.

Says Dr. Andrew Weil, clinical professor of internal medicine and the founder and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine (PIM) at the University of Arizona in Tucson, "[GLA] has specific nourishing effects on skin, hair and nails that are not duplicated by omega-3 fatty acids ... It is true that a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet promotes inflammation by favouring synthesis of pro-inflammatory hormones (prostaglandins). But the amount of GLA needed to treat eczema and other skin conditions (500 milligrams twice a day) is too small to affect that ratio significantly."

There are approximately 130 milligrams of GLA per 10 grams of spirulina.
Spirulina is rich in antioxidants, those dietary good guys that gobble up free radicals (atoms with unpaired electrons) like voracious piranha fish. They deactivate them by binding to their footloose, vandalizing electrons, which have been identified as major villains in the aging process. Not only that, but antioxidants also improve the whole process of food metabolism, ensuring that fewer free radicals are generated in the first place. This boosts oxygen utilization and reduces oxidative damage.

Spirulina truly is a "Super Food."

Bruce Burnett is a chartered herbalist who has also won four Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold awards for travel journalism. Read more of Bruce Burnett's writing on his websites:br> 1. []



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