Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae, found growing in freshwater lakes and ponds, specifically alkaline ponds. The color might have something to do with its phytochemicals, which are unique and active water-soluble pigments that give it a deep shade of dark blue or green.
It grows rapidly in hot climates with lots of sunlight, making it a very sustainable food source.
There was evidence that Spirulina was used as a food source for the Aztecs in Mexico, with it now being considered one of the most effective superfoods for overall health.
What Nutrients Does Spirulina Contain?
Spirulina is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids necessary for the body to function. Vitamins include B1 and B6, but not B12.
It is abundant in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, Vitamin E (tocopherol), Vitamin K, lecithin, beta-carotene (a carotenoid pigment), essential fatty acids, and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
It is also high in antioxidants including zeaxanthin (carotenoid), phycocyanin (polyphenol), and superoxide dismutase (SOD)- a potent antioxidant enzyme that controls free radical damage.
What Can Organic Spirulina Do For You?
Improve Blood Lipids: Spirulina has been shown to decrease total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Of particular interest is the fact that is can help with treating fatty liver disease- a growing health concern with far reaching implications.
Blood Sugar Management: Regular consumption of spirulina or spirulina-containing supplements is associated with enhanced blood glucose control, in some cases, superior to being treated with prescription anti-diabetic medication. Plus, there is a notable uptick of insulin sensitivity, which is a promising sign for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Boost Production Of Blood Cells: Compounds found in Spirulina, such as the aforementioned phycocyanin, can help increase the synthesis of the hormone erythropoietin, necessary to trigger the production of red blood cells. In addition to this, white blood cells and the number of immune-boosting modulators are increased.
Supports Healthy Blood Pressure: Due to its high potassium content, people taking spirulina supplements have been noted to have better blood pressure management than people who don't. In addition, it helps vasodilate blood vessels to lower vascular resistance to blood flow.
Great Source of Protein: At nearly 60% protein by weight, Spirulina is a great source of complete protein- especially critical if you are a vegetarian or vegan with limited sources for protein.