Spirulina is one of the most nutritious superfoods in the world. Improve your overall health and get a bit of help to manage your diabetes with this supplement. Spirulina is one of the best antioxidants and anti-inflammatories out there and can be added to smoothies and yogurts for extra color and nutrients. It can also be taken as a supplemental capsule for convenience. Embrace the essence of the oceans and lakes with our spirulina capsules and keep this all-purpose magic bullet in your supplemental gun.
Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating microalgae.
Exactly what is this Spirulina?
There is a question about exactly what Spirulina is. Is it seaweed? The answer is yes and no. It is microalgae and has been reclassified from a plant to bacteria. Seaweed is the blanket term used for nearly every water plant that floats in the water. Seaweed is, according to Britannica.com, any of the different algae that grow on the sea floor and is anchored to the ocean floor. Spirulina, which is a bacterium called cyanobacterium and is also called blue-green algae, falls under this category, but it can also grow in freshwater bodies such as ponds, rivers, and lakes.
There are three different types of spirulina, most commonly researched and used. These are Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira platensis), Spirulina maxima (Arthrospira maxima), and Spirulina fusiformis (Arthrospira fusiformis). Because of the bitter taste of spirulina, many people mix it with other foods to improve the flavor experience. They add it to yogurts or juices, and even to smoothies. It looks a bit like thin strands of seaweed while it’s in the water, but looks rather pulpy when harvested. Once it is dried and ground, it has a gorgeous dark blue or green.
How is spirulina cultivated and prepared for supplemental use?
There are two major ways that spirulina is cultivated. There is the clinical method where the spirulina is cultivated in carefully monitored tanks, and then there is the more natural way where spirulina is cultivated in man-made ponds. These ponds can either be made from concrete or PVC plastic. A culture of spirulina is added to the pond once it has the right depth, PH, and temperature. The live culture is sometimes farmed for the season of the next batch of spirulina. In 3 to 5 days, the biomass doubles in size by consuming the nutrients from the culture medium.
Spirulina farming is a high-maintenance process, since keeping the spirulina alive and of good quality takes a decent amount of farmers. Farmers need to ensure that the environmental condition of the pond remains at peak conditions to ensure that the spirulina isn’t contaminated. Farmers also have to make sure that the spirulina in the pond has enough nutrients to grow big and healthy. They do this by adding fresh water to the pond at regular intervals.
The spirulina is matured when the color of the algae goes from light green to dark green. Farmers decide to harvest the algae when the color is dark green and the concentration of algae is to the farmer’s liking.
A big step in harvesting spirulina is the filtration process. Each farmer has their preferred method for filtering the culture medium back into the pond while the spirulina itself is removed. By filtering the culture medium back into the pond, the pond is seeded for the next generation of spirulina.
After the spirulina has been filtered, it is then cleaned with distilled water to remove any salt, culture residue, or contaminants. After the spirulina has been cleaned, it is time for the drying process. Fresh spirulina only stays good for about two days, so drying needs to start as soon as possible to preserve the nutrients of the spirulina.
The drying process ensures the spirulina lasts for months. Spirulina is pressed into thin strands on a clean cloth and then left in the sun to dry quickly. This is done by using a kitchen press grater with the size grater that the farmer is comfortable with. Another way is to put large batches of spirulina through machines that can sometimes be used for noodles. Regardless of what method the farmers use, the name of the game is drying the spirulina as quickly as possible. The fastest drying method takes about 16 hours.
Once the drying stage is complete, the spirulina is ready for grinding. The grinding process is usually done using the same machine that is used to mill flour. Once done, it is ready to package and be shipped to its intended destinations. If the powder has been vacuum sealed, the powder can last for up to four years. To make supplements, the powder is packaged into capsules or pressed into tablets.
Did you know these fascinating facts about these microalgae?
- Did you know spirulina has been used by Aztecs way back when to treat many ailments and was used by the messengers during their marathon runs?
- Spirulina and collagen can be taken together, and the antioxidant abilities of spirulina can help to protect the collagen already present in your body. As well as help your body to create more collagen.
- There are two different colors of spirulina, blue and green. Blue is said to be the very basic spirulina that you can get, but it is still considered a superfood. Green spirulina is said to be everything blue spirulina is and more, including containing Beta carotene.
Nutritional information about Spirulina
- 20.3 calories
- 4.02 g of protein
- 1.67 g of carbohydrate
- 0.54 g of fat
- 8.4 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 2 mg of iron
- 13.6 mg of magnesium
- 8.26 mg of phosphorous
- 95.2 mg of potassium
- 73.5 mg of sodium
- 0.7 mg of vitamin C
- Spirulina also contains trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamins A, B6, and K.
What can spirulina do for you?
- Spirulina contains plenty of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
As we already know, oxidative stress can cause chronic illnesses and inflammation and can cause chaos in your body. The main compound in spirulina, and what makes it such a great anti-oxidant is called Phycocyanin. It is also the component that gives spirulina its color. This compound also inhibits the formation of inflammation, making it a good anti-inflammatory
- Spirulina may help you manage your cholesterol levels
Studies have shown that spirulina can help to lower cholesterol. Spirulina may also help to keep your arteries healthy and keep them from hardening or narrowing. This supplement may also help to raise your good cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing heart conditions. Another study suggested that taking only one 1 gram of spirulina reduces the bad cholesterol by at least 10%
- Spirulina may help to reduce the risk of developing cancer
This superfood may help to boost your immune system’s antibody production. Studies have shown that ingesting spirulina has had positive effects on oral cancer, helping to reduce the size of the legions that often form in the mouth of individuals with this kind of cancer. It only took one gram a day to reduce the size of these legions. However, a study showed that over half of the participants that stopped taking spirulina saw a return of their legions within the following year. A different study showed that 1 gram of spirulina proved more effective than certain commercially available medications, such as pentoxifylline.
- Spirulina may help to lower blood pressure
The same compound that causes the color of spirulina and gives it its antioxidant abilities may help to lower your blood pressure. Taking spirulina regularly could lower your risk of developing blood pressure-related conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. Spirulina may also help to benefit the hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
- Spirulina could help to ease your seasonal allergies
Spring is here, and that means that seasonal allergies are here to remind you not to smell the roses. Allergies are caused by inflammation of the nasal passageways and are triggered by allergens such as pollen, pet hair, and dust. Symptoms of allergies include an itchy nose, itchy throat, sneezing, a runny nose, and congestion. Your eyes might even get itchy, red, and swollen. Spirulina has been shown to reduce the symptoms of allergies thanks to spirulina’s anti-inflammatory properties. Spirulina also helps with allergies by blocking the production of histamines, which is the major culprit that causes seasonal allergies. This makes spirulina a natural antihistamine.
- Spirulina may help to improve your energy levels and endurance
Spirulina may help to boost your energy levels, your concentration, and even your athletic stamina. Spirulina contains plenty of proteins and nutrients that give you plenty of energy and help you feel fuller for longer. A study showed that spirulina can improve an athlete’s stamina, helping them to train longer before fatigue sets in. Spirulina contains calcium and magnesium, which helps to prevent cramps and helps to decrease recovery time.
- Spirulina may help to reduce the risk and symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia
Spirulina contains a decent amount of iron and folic acid. It can also help to improve the hemoglobin levels in your blood. Hemoglobin helps to carry oxygen to every part of your body. A study of 20 anemic girls was given spirulina for a month and their hemoglobin levels were checked after the month ended. At the end of the month, the study showed to have effectively improved the condition and may reduce the risk of Iron deficiency Anemia.
Spirulina may have some side effects
Spirulina may have a few side effects, even though there is no known risk of overdosing. These side effects include:
- An upset stomach
- Spirulina contains a lot of nutrients, so consuming a lot of spirulina may put you at risk for certain vitamin and mineral toxicity.
- Spirulina may worsen the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency and may even cause the deficiency.
- Avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is not enough information to be sure how safe it is. Especially because of the toxicity risk of consuming too much spirulina.
- Avoid use if you have blood clotting conditions, as spirulina may affect your blood’s ability to clot. This increases your risk of bruising and bleeding if your blood already has clotting problems.
- Consult with your healthcare provider if you have diabetes, as spirulina affects your blood sugar levels. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking this supplement.
- Avoid use if you suffer from any Auto-Immune conditions. Spirulina can help to improve the functioning of your immune system, which can exasperate any condition that causes your immune system to attack your body. These conditions include Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis.
Spirulina may cause some interactions with certain medications
Spirulina may interact with medications such as diabetic medications, immune-suppressing medications, and blood-thinning medications.
According to Mount Sinai
, specific medications that could cause an interaction with spirulina include:
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- Azathioprine (Imuran)
- Cyclosporine (Neoral)
- Etanercept (Enbrel)
- Infliximab (Remicade)
- Leflunomide (Arava)
- Mycophenolate (CellCept)
Final thoughts about this fascinating product
This supplement isn’t only a great superfood, it has also been used to color food and candy. Making it an incredibly healthy food-safe food colorant. As a supplement, spirulina offers allergy relief and protection from oxidants. It also helps to improve your athletic stamina. This versatile superfood can even help to improve your collagen production! Our Spirulina supplement may help to improve your overall health and to reduce the risk of developing heart complications, making spirulina an incredible product to help you stay healthy and in tip-top shape. Get your spirulina supplements as soon as possible to find out what this super supplement can do for you.
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