You might not have heard of this nutrient-packed power house before, but gram for gram spirulina may be the single most nutritious food on the planet.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both fresh and saltwater.
A single tablespoon of dried spirulina powder contains:
• Protein: 4 grams
• Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 11% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance
• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA
• Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 4% of the RDA
• Copper: 21% of the RDA
• Iron: 11% of the RDA
It also contains a good amount of magnesium, potassium and manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that our bodies need.
Even better, you receive all this nutrition in just 20 calories and 1.7 grams of carbs.
Spirulina is packed full of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.
The main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance is what gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.
Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signaling molecules, which help protect you from various diseases.
Spirulina Is Cancer Fighting
Current research points to spirulina containing potent anti-cancer properties.
For example, some research in test animals shows that it can reduce cancer occurrence and tumor size.
One study looked at the effects of spirulina on 87 people from India with pre-cancerous lesions in their mouths.
After using 1 gram per day for one year, 45% of the spirulina group had a complete regression of lesions in the mouth, compared to only 7% in the control group.
When they stopped taking the spirulina, almost half of the responders developed these lesions again the following year.
In another study of 40 subjects with precancerous lesions, 1 gram of spirulina per day led to greater improvement in symptoms than the drug Pentoxifylline.
Spirulina Lowers Blood Pressure
Recently, the National Institute of Health released a study showing participants with lower-than-recommended blood pressure levels lived longer and had fewer incidences of cardiovascular disease.
A dose of 4.5 grams per day of spirulina has been shown to reduce blood pressure in individuals with normal blood pressure levels.
This is thought to be driven by an increased production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps the blood vessels relax and dilate.
This is an important aspect of spirulina, as high blood pressure is a key biomarker in many killer diseases like heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.
Spirulina Helps Control Blood Sugar
Controlling your blood sugar is important to your health. Too high or too low can lead to serious health problems and leave you feeling less-than-optimal on a daily basis.
Studies show spirulina can significantly lower blood sugar levels.
In some cases, it has outperformed popular diabetes drugs, including the popular metformin
In another study of 25 patients with Type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina led to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels.
HbA1c, a marker for long-term blood sugar levels, decreased from 9% to 8%, which is substantial. Studies estimate that a 1% reduction in this marker can lower the risk of diabetes-related death by 21%,
Here are a few more reasons why spirulina is considered a nutritional powerhouse …
- It’s one of best known sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, an important fatty acid for heart and joints).
- It contains other essential fatty acids, including sulfolipids, which may be protective against HIV infection of T-helper cells.
- It has metallothionein compounds (proteins combined with metals that bind heavy radioactive isotopes).
- Incredible protein content — it’s 50% to 70% protein by weight. (That’s even better than red meat, which is about 27% protein).
- It also contains all of the essential amino acids and 10 of the 12 non-essential amino acids, along with a potent array of other beneficial nutrients.
- Spirulina has about the same calcium, phosphorus and magnesium content as milk, a vitamin E (tocopherol) level comparable to wheat germ, and four times as much vitamin B12 as raw liver.
- Spirulina has also been shown to benefit a wide range of conditions from arsenic poisoning to allergies. According to one study, patients treated with spirulina reported relief of symptoms commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, such as nasal discharge and congestion, sneezing and itching.
But like any natural remedy, a high quality source is essential.
There are many types of spirulina available, so it is important to make sure you’re getting the best and purest form.
Since spirulina grown in an uncontrolled environment has the potential to become contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins, choose organic spirulina from a reputable source.
Our favorite spirulina comes from the company HealthForce.
HealthForce’s spirulina is grown in the U.S. without the use of pesticides. It’s processed at low temperatures to retain enzymes and other heat-sensitive elements.
Their spirulina is also 100% TruGanic™.
TruGanic™ is a sourcing and production standard that goes beyond organic.
In addition to no pesticides being used anywhere in the growing process, TruGanic™ includes authentic standards for production, non-toxic cleaning agents and pest control, electromagnetic radiation, processing agents additives, air quality, and actual verification of purity.