Spirulina is a blue-green microalga (Cyanobacteria) that grows in warm freshwater environment. It is a very small photosynthetic organism measuring approximately .0196 inches in length. Its color is due to chlorophyll – the green pigment found in the cell that captures the light energy during photosynthesis.
Spirulina is regarded as a “superfood” because it provides a lot of health benefits to human. It contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals that boost human health. It is a certified food supplement marketed worldwide in the form of powder and capsules. Because spirulina grows so fast and contains healthy substances, it is eyed as one of the answers for the world’s hunger and malnutrition problems.
Spirulina is now commercially produced for human and animal consumption. BioNat.net predicts that by 2010, worldwide annual production of spirulina will be 220,000 tons.
Spirulina Health Benefits – Proteins
Spirulina is a great source of vegetable protein. In fact, 60% of its total dry weight is protein. It contains all essential amino acids the body needs. Proteins have many functions in the human body. They are needed in muscle-building, growth, immunity, and other vital body functions. Protein deficiency causes several health problems especially during early development. Millions of people worldwide have protein deficiency because they don’t have money to buy meat products. Spirulina is a cheap alternative for meat which will help solve the problem on protein deficiency.
Spirulina Health Benefits – Vitamins
Spirulina is one of nature’s best sources of vitamins. It contains the following vitamins:
Vitamin A – Important to the health of the skin, eyes, and organs
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – Important in carbohydrate metabolism
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – Important in many biochemical processes
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – Important in many biochemical processes
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) – Important in blood formation and prevention of anemia
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) – Important antioxidant to fight cancer and boost immune system
Vitamin D – Essential in bone and teeth development
Vitamin E – Essential for reproduction
Vitamin K – Essential for blood clotting and wound healing
Biotin – Used in fat metabolism
Inositol – Important in the synthesis of messenger molecules
Spirulina Health Benefits –Minerals
Minerals are inorganic nutritive substances needed by the body to perform certain vital functions. Deficiency to certain minerals is associated to various human diseases. Minerals are found in trace amount in almost any food including spirulina. Although spirulina is a very small organism, it contains high amount of minerals such as calcium, manganese, iron, chromium, phosphorus, molybdenum, iodine, chloride, magnesium, potassium, zinc, sodium, boron, copper, germanium, and selenium.
Spirulina Health Benefits – Essential Fatty Acid
Spirulina contains high amount of GLA or gamma linolenic acid. GLA is an essential fatty acid needed in brain development and enhancement of the immune system. A strong immune system helps fight inflammation, infection, and autoimmune diseases.
Spirulina Health Benefits – Antioxidants
Spirulina contains phytochemicals that act as antioxidants – substances that get rid of free radicals that can damage cells. Chlorophyll and carotenoids are nature’s best antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight cancer and inflammatory diseases. They also help slow down the aging process.[ad#afterpost]