Originally from the lakes of Chad, and currently grown in basins, spirulina is particularly recommended for its nutrient richness.
There are four families of algae: green (Chlorophyceae), brown (Phaeophyceae), red (Rhodophyceae) and blue (Cyanophyceae).
Blue algae tend to be terrestrial and very small. Cyanophyceae are first and foremost prokaryotic bacteria. They play an important role in photosynthesis, transform energy and fix CO2 and release O2. Some can fix the nitrogen. It is indeed interesting to know that they contributed to life on Earth through their production of O2 by photosynthesis. They are also responsible for great oxidation about 2 billion years ago. In particular, they have contributed to the first biological carbon well, and are capable of producing limestone.
Spirulina is also the traditional food of the Kanembous of Chad and is a testimony of consumption by the Aztecs, incas and pre-Incas, reported by the conquistadors. It is one of the oldest living microorganisms on our planet. Most often considered a microalgae, spirulina is more precisely a cyanobacteria. It has a system of photosynthesis, that is, it uses, like plants, solar energy to synthesize its organic molecules. It therefore captures light through two pigments: Chlorophyll (green) and Phycocyanine (red blue).
Since the 1970s, spirulina has been considered a health food and a dietary supplement. This new use has led scientists to take an interest in this cyanobacteria with multiple virtues.
To develop spirulina needs fresh water, mineral salts and sun. Phycocyanine is characterized by its unique blue-red colour. It is the main pigment of spirulina and also the most active.
In dry spirulina, Phycocyanin is only 15% present and requires a substantial digestion phase before being assimilated. Thus, the benefits of phycocyanin from a
dry spirulina are less. Glitter, tablets and other forms of dry spirulina do not make it easy to assimilate phycocyanin. A digestion phase is needed in order to access the active molecule which implies a loss of 30 to 40% of the intake.
- Firstname: Spirulina
- Botanical surname: Cyanophyceae
- Nickname: Blue Algae
- Active molecule: Phycocyanine
- Galenic shapes available: Powder, glitter, tablets or capsules
- Usual dosages: 2 to 10 grams per day
Key components of the plant:
- Protein (60-70%) (higher in protein than meat) with plugged-in amino acids
- High molecular weight polysaccharides: immolina
- Nucleic acids (30% DNA and 70% RNA)
- Phycocyanine (combination of a phycobiliprotein family protein and photosynthesis-derived water-soluble pigments)
- Rich in iron, vitamins A and B12, carotenoids, manganese, chromium, sodium and potassium
- Source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, vitamins C and E, phycocyanin (natural blue pigment, food colouring and antioxidant)
Spirulina improves nutrition. Clinical trials have shown that taking a daily dose of 10 grams of spirulina for 4 to 6 weeks would be sufficient to cure a severely malnourished child. It is used in Africa to support antiretroviral treatment in people with HIV. It would lead to weight gain, CD4 cell gain, and decreased opportunistic infections.On the other hand, it can help manage obesity at the 1 gram-per-day dose.
This algae with immuno-stimulating, immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory effects (by increasing the expression of TNF-alpha, IL-1béta and COX-2, increases tone by its vitamin B12 richness. In particular, it improves muscle detoxification and increases anti-oxidant enzymes per action on reactive oxygen species.
They would also stimulate the proliferation of neural stem cells and bone marrow (in synergy with blueberry, green tea or vitamin D3), and have properties
neuroprotective, in relation to the process of ischemia/reperfusion by improvement of Parkinson’s disease (decrease in the activation of microglial cells), by protection of dopamine neurons (polysaccharide), and by interaction with the microglia.
Spirulina also allows the body to fight viruses more effectively by stimulating natural defenses. It produces an analgesic effect by limiting nociception by inhibiting inflammatory phenomena. It also helps regulate oxidative stress thanks to its anti-radical properties.
This multi-benefit blue algae limits aches and speeds up recovery by carrying more oxygen to the muscles, it also helps detoxify the liver and kidneys (heavy metal chelation) and facilitates the reabsorption of lactates in the Krebs cycle.
Indications of the whole plant:
Adjuvant in the fight against cancer, cellular aging, infectious diseases, and immune system declines, spirulina has a major effect in the functioning of the bone marrow (stimulation of erythropoiesis). It is commonly used in undernutrition, asthenias and iron deficiency anemias.
Possible side effects and precautions:
- Digestive disorders, possible nausea
- Rare allergies