Spirulina works in many ways to balance and strengthen our health. Its rich array of nutrients provides a strong foundation so we are less vulnerable to invading bacteria and viruses. It supplies essential minerals that may be missing from conventional foods grown in depleted soils. Spirulina grows in water containing ionic trace minerals that are absorbed and chelated by the organism, creating a colloidal form easily absorbed by our bodies. The prime directive of our bodies is to support our immune system. When our immune system is stressed it draws down metabolic energy. People with immune system imbalances may feel chronic fatigue and low energy. Thus Spirulina overcomes this problem.
Health benefits of spirulina
Although spirulina has shown effectiveness at removing metals such as mercury from the body, its true power appears to lie in its high antioxidant power. Spirulina contains high levels of antioxidant vitamins C and E and beta-carotene and the antioxidant minerals copper, chromium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc. In addition, spirulina possesses several properties that seem to increase the effectiveness of antioxidants in the body.
Research has shown that it protects vitamin C from losing its potency, and a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2008 showed that spirulina actually reduced not just oxidative stress but the rate at which free radicals were generated during inflammatory processes in the body. In line with the cadmium studies, a study published in the journal Food Chemical Toxicology in 2007 found that spirulina protects against oxidative stress induced by mercuric chloride.
Boosts health and energy
In addition to its high antioxidant content, spirulina also contains high levels of B vitamins, vitamin D and several essential minerals and fatty acids. It provides a complete protein and actually contains more protein by weight than soy or red meat. It has especially high levels of the amino acid L-tryptophan, which the body uses to synthesize the mood-regulating neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. In an intriguing finding that may be linked with spirulina ability to remove toxins from the body, a study published in the Journal of Zhejiang University – SCIENCE B in 2005 found that live spirulina cells immersed in wastewater for seven days absorbed up to 74 percent of the lead present within the first 12 minutes. Overall, the maximum biosorption rate was 0.62 mg of lead per 100,000 live spirulina cells.
Spirulina has also been linked to healthier skin and hair, improved academic performance in schoolchildren, lower cholesterol, lower weight and increased energy. It helps improve the symptoms of allergies, anxiety, depression, fatigue, stress, premenstrual syndrome, arthritis and herpes. It helps the body fight infection, anemia and even cancer. Spirulina even seems to help prevent the harmful effects of radiation. All these benefits can come from doses as low as 2-3 grams per day.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should use spirulina only under the supervision of a health care provider, however, and spirulina should be avoided by people with phenylketonuria or autoimmune disorders.