What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a micro salt water plant hailing from Africa and South America, where it has been enjoyed as a dietary supplement for eons. It was introduced to the west in the 1970s and since then has been heralded as an ultra-nutritious supplement. In fact, it’s so good for us that NASA sent it to space for their astronauts to tuck into!
Interestingly, spirulina absorbs nutrients from the water in which it grows. This can pose a hazard if the water contains heavy metals, as the spirulina will suck it in. This is why it’s important to check the source of any spirulina you buy.
What are the Health Benefits of Spirulina?
According to Australian Spirulina, the algae contains more than 100 nutrients. So it’s no wonder spirulina is named as the world’s most complete food source.
- Amino acids
- Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E
- Gamma Linolenin Acid (GLA): an omega-6 fatty acid
- High beta carotene levels
- Protein: it has more protein than meat!
What the Science Says
Numerous research studies have delved into the numerous benefits of spirulina. Many studies have concluded that spirulina can:
- Boost the immune system
- Improve overall health and wellbeing
- Help wounds heal
- Reduce the risk of cancer and kidney toxicity
- Fight ageing
- Protect the body against illness and viruses
Another study published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food found that spirulina may strengthen membranes in the intestinal wall lining. This, in turn, helps protect the body against infections.
How to Take Spirulina
The great news is that you don’t need to take a whole lot of spirulina to reap its nutritional benefits. You can buy supplements in powder, pill or flake form from your local health food store. Your naturopath may also stock spirulina supplements.
The daily recommended dose of spirulina is around 500 mg and it’s wise to check the source before taking any supplement.
Since spirulina may interact with some medications, you should also consult your health professional before taking it.