Spirulina is a blue green algae that grows in the alkaline waters of volcanic lakes. Today though, large commercial algae farms cultivate spirulina for export throughout the world.
Spirulina is anywhere from 62-71 percent essential amino acids. It also contains beta carotene (ten times more concentrated than that of carrots), along with other carotenoids.
It also contains chlorophyll, GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), and vitamin B12. It is actually the richest source of vitamin B12. B12 is important for healthy tissues, energy, and nerves…especially for strict vegetarians.
The phytonutrient in spirulina that gives it the striking blue green color is phycocyanin. In animal studies, it is showing great promise in the stimulation of the production of stem cells in bone marrow. These stem cells will mature into red blood cells and white blood cells.
Spirulina is valuable in helping to stabilize blood sugar. It is also showing promise in reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A study reported in Nutrition and Cancer that was conducted among tobacco chewers in India reported a complete regression of pre-cancerous mouth lesions in 45 per cent of subjects who were given extracts of spirulina for 12 months. This was the first human study using spirulina as a cancer therapy.
The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva has confirmed: “Spirulina represents an interesting food for multiple reasons, and it is able to be administered to children without any risk. We at WHO consider it a very suitable food.”
According to a scientific review from Latin America, spirulina has a vast array of beneficial properties. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of allergies, anemia, cancer, high cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, viral infections, inflammatory conditions, liver damage, immuno -deficiency, cardiovascular diseases, and other conditions.
Mark Stengler in his book, “A Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies”, wrote: “More than 100 published scientific references help support the case for the health benefits of spirulina. Some studies demonstrate that spirulina seems to possess anticancer effects and antiviral properties. Also, animal studies show that it is a powerful tonic for the immune system.”
Donald R. Yance Jr. in his book, “Herbal Medicine Healing Cancer” wrote: “Spirulina’s pure protein, which arrives within the context of massive amounts of beta-carotene, chlorophyll, fatty-acid -gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and other nutrients, is especially helpful to those who are overweight, diabetic, hypoglycemic, or suffering from cancer, arthritis, or other degenerative diseases. ”
An advocate of natural medicine and a Consultant Homeopath at the Global Foundation for Integrative Medicine in Santa Fe New Mexico, United States, Prof. Osmond Ifeanyi Onyeka, told The Guardian that spirulina contains the most remarkable concentration of nutrients known in any food, plant, grain or herb.
“Spirulina has the highest protein food which is over 60 per cent of all the digestible vegetable protein. Most notably, spirulina is 65 to 71 per cent complete protein, with all essential amino acids in perfect balance. In comparison, beef is only 22 per cent protein. It also has the highest concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron and trace minerals and the rare essential fatty acid GLA. These surely make Spirulina an incredible whole food alternative to the isolated vitamin and minerals,” Onyeka said.
“Spirulina is rich in natural carotenoid antioxidants that promote cellular health and lessen the risk of cancer. It also has cleansing chlorophyll which helps detoxify bodies that are always prone to present pollution,” Onyeka said.
He further explained: “Scientifically explained the most important dictate of our body’s metabolism is to support our immune system. When our immune system is stressed or is suffering, it draws on our body’s metabolic energy. People with immune system imbalance often feel chronic fatigue and low energy.
“Both scientific research and the experience of thousands of consumers indicate that Spirulina is an immune regulating food. Small amounts can help balance and stabilise the immune system, freeing up more of our metabolic energy for vitality, healing and assimilation of nutrients. It enhances the body’s cellular communication process and also has the ability to read and repair DNA, like a kind of cellular tune up. This is why individuals taking Spirulina often report they have more energy levels.”
A senior lecturer at the Department of Parasitology and Entomology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) Awka, Anambra State, Dr. Abiodun Nwora Ozumba, told The Guardian: “It is unfortunate that the country is sitting on a goldmine and is not doing anything about it. The best spirulina in the whole world grows at our backyard on Lake Chad. It is sold for almost nothing on the streets of Maiduguri. Westerners come here, buy it for little or nothing, go back, develop it into supplements, and ship it back to us to buy.
“Spirulina is 20 times more productive as a protein source than any other food. It could be grown with unused land and water. It was possible to cultivate a pure culture on a large scale in many places around the world. Scientists discovered spirulina was a safe food, had been consumed for hundreds of years by traditional peoples, and showed promising nutritional, and even therapeutic, health benefits.
“If this blue-green algae were cultivated and consumed by millions of people, it would have tremendous benefits, especially for the world’s children and our planet’s future. Spirulina seemed to be the solution we needed. However, it was all theory, it had not been done yet.”
Most cultivated spirulina is produced in open-channel raceway ponds, with paddle-wheels used to agitate the water. The largest commercial producers of spirulina are located in the United States, Thailand, India, Taiwan, China, Pakistan and Myanmar (the Burma).
Phytochemical analysis indicates that spirulina contains an unusually high amount of protein, between 55 per cent and 77 per cent by dry weight, depending upon the source. It is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine, and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs, and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.
Spirulina is rich in GLA, and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA).
Spirulina contains vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
Previous studies indicate that spirulina is a rich source of potassium, and also contains calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc.
Spirulina extract has been shown to inhibit HIV replication in human T-cells, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and Langerhans cells.
Other studies indicate that spirulina helps prevent heart damage caused by chemotherapy using Doxorubicin, without interfering with its anti-tumor activity. Spirulina reduces the severity of strokes and improves recovery of movement after a stroke; reverses age-related declines in memory and learning; and prevents and treats hay fever.
Spirulina is effective for the clinical improvement of melanosis and keratosis due to chronic arsenic poisoning; improves weight-gain and corrects anemia in both HIV-infected and HIV-negative undernourished children; and protects against hay fever.
The United Nations World Food Conference in 1974 lauded Spirulina as the ‘best food for the future’. Recognising the inherent potential of Spirulina in the sustainable development agenda, several Member States of the United Nations came together to form an intergovernmental organisation by the name of the Intergovernmental Institution for the Use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IMSAM). IIMSAM aspires to build a consensus to make Spirulina a key driver to eradicate malnutrition, achieve food security and bridge the health divide throughout the world.
Found at http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/natural_health/article01/indexn2_html?pdate=260309&ptitle=Researchers%20boost%20immune%20system%20against%20cancers,%20HIV/AIDS%20with%20spirulina