Spirulina is microscopic micro algae which grows in fresh water. They have existed for billions of years and are arguably nature’s most nutritious and complete food. They are believed to contain the whole range of nutrients which are required by people for the maintenance of health. Spirulina contains twelve times the amount of digestible protein as beef, with a much better balance of minerals than beef. There have been reports of people living off nothing but spirulina.
Spirulina contains complete protein, all of the B vitamins, including Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, a range of minerals, including trace minerals, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, and the omega 3 fatty acids, and a range of other nutrients, and is a very digestible food. Blue-green algae are so named because of the blue colour of the pigment, phycocyanin, and the green colour of chlorophyll. The intensity of these pigments hides the fact that other pigments in the form of carotenoids are present. These are red, orange and yellow and are said to be responsible for the fact that flamingos in East Africa are pink in colour, because they feed off naturally growing spirulina in lakes in Kenya. The main pigment of these carotenoids is beta-carotene, the ingestion of which enables people to produce vitamin A as the body requires.
Spirulina has been used by some people as an aid to weight loss. It has been found that many people experience a reduction in appetite if they take a few grams of spirulina thirty to sixty minutes before a meal. This probably stands to reason because of the highly nutritious nature of the food and the fact that the body realises that it does not require such an immediate intake of nutrients after all.
An unusual feature of blue-green algae is the fact that their cell walls are digestible, which enables the nutrients to be spread throughout the organism, as opposed to other plants which usually have their nutrients confined within a membrane making digestion more difficult. Anyone who is sick and living on a restricted diet can benefit from the consumption of spirulina, because they will be consuming a wide range of nutrients which they may otherwise not be receiving. Large quantities are not required to receive such benefits because of the fact that spirulina is so nutrient rich. Spirulina is also a useful aid to detoxification.
Spirulina is an excellent supplement for pregnant and lactating mothers, providing them with extra iron and protein without imposing fat and carbohydrates. Children who are fussy eaters would greatly benefit from it as well, and it is said that hyperactive children benefit from a calming effect. As a plant source of vitamin B12, spirulina is an excellent food for vegetarians, who also benefit from the quality protein available, which they would not be getting in the form of animal products. Blue-green algae, if taken before exercise, give an energy boost because of the concentration of protein and other nutrients.
Japanese experiments have shown that the use of blue-green algae has significant benefits for those suffering from anaemia, possibly because of the conversion of chlorophyll into haemoglobin. Chlorophyll is an excellent purifier of the blood and is absorbed directly through the cell membranes of the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines. Blue-green algae contain thousands of enzymes which in concert with co-enzymes and vitamins and minerals enable the body to perform the functions that are required to survive.
Blue-green algae have the potential to alleviate much of the world’s problem of starvation. When you consider the fact that soybeans produce, acre for acre, ten times the amount of protein that beef cattle do, and that blue-green algae produce twenty times as much protein, acre for acre, as soybeans do, then you are drawn to the inescapable conclusion that blue-green algae offer tremendous opportunities for overcoming food shortages in third world countries.
In conclusion, the opportunities offered by the utilization of blue-green algae both in terms of our individual health, and in terms of the overall health of emerging nations, can no longer be ignored.