What is spirulina
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that people can take as a dietary supplement. Because of its nutritional value and health benefits, Spirulina is often referred to as a superfood. Spirulina is rich in protein and vitamins, making it a suitable dietary supplement for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Naturally, in nature, the blue-green algae Spirulina platensis can grow wherever there are at least minimal conditions for growth. However, the amount of phycobiliprotein, the blue pigment phycocyanin (Spirulina quality marker and the only substance known to science that can stop the reproduction of cancer cells) in the biomass is very low, only 1-5 percent.
Such spirulina (in the form of tablets, capsules or powder) can be purchased at stores or pharmacies. It is not surprising that such products contain various substances that regulate stickiness, thickeners, emulsifiers, but not indicators of the composition of the Spirulina itself. This is due to the fact that most often it is a cheap, low-quality and dubious purity products with a low, only 1-5% phycocyanin content, grown outdoors, usually in China, South America or India. It is not worth talking about the positive effect of such Spirulina on the human body, it is rather theoretical, since scientific studies have established that the activity of the spirulina biomass itself is manifested only when it contains at least 12 percent phycocyanin.
Few people know, others do not believe that the highest quality Spirulina in Europe, and maybe in the world, is grown in Lithuania. The unique growing technology developed by CJSC Florovitas scientists, which provides timely supply of nutrients to the growing medium and the photosynthesis process, increases the amount of phycocyanin in biomass to an unprecedented 17-20%.
Learn more about how Lithuanian Spirulina is grown ->
What are the benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina is rich in protein – up to three times more than meat. At the same time, the body absorbs them more easily than from animal products. Contains 18 amino acids necessary for the body, many micro and macro elements (Fe, Ca, Cu, Mg, Zn, F, Se) and vitamins, beta-carotene, nucleic acid, enzymes, etc. Especially high concentration of B vitamins. Beta-carotene in spirulina is 10 times more than in carrots, and the iron included in the composition is especially well absorbed by the body. Chlorophyll in the composition has strong detoxifying properties for the body, and the blue pigment phycocyanin stimulates the nervous, immune and enzyme systems and has an anti-cancer effect. All the elements that make up spirulina are balanced and extremely easily absorbed by the body.
Spirulina is not only a rich source of vitamins and microelements, but also increases the absorption of the latter, acts as a catalyst for the absorption of certain substances. The biomass of Spirulina platensis contains absolutely all the nutrients necessary to maintain vital processes. Some special substances (bioprotectors, biocorrectors, biostimulants) contained in Spirulina are not found in any other natural product.
Vitamins are essential substances that are needed in small amounts for the normal functioning and development of the body. Vitamins are essential for the growth and good health of children. Vitamins are usually classified into thirteen names using letters of the alphabet and rated according to their ability to be absorbed (dissolved) in fat or water. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K and are usually taken with fatty foods and the body can store them in its own fat. For this reason, they are stored for a certain period of time, so there is no need to eat or drink them every day. Water soluble vitamins are the B vitamins and vitamin C. They cannot be stored in the body, so we must consume food containing them daily.
B6 or pyridoxine helps break down and absorb proteins. It protects the heart and reduces edema.
Biotin is an enzyme that transports carbon dioxide and acts as a catalyst for the absorption of certain B vitamins.
B12 or cobalamin is very difficult to extract from vegetables, but Spirulina is rich in this rare vitamin. B12 deficiency is manifested by pernicious anemia, nerve degeneration, etc.
Pantothenic acid, along with vitamin C and cholesterol, is used by the adrenal glands to produce steroids such as cortisone in response to physical and mental stress.
Folic acid is essential for the production of new red blood cells.
Inositol supports liver health and balances blood cholesterol levels. It is probably the most abundant vitamin in the body after niacin.
Niacin is considered a cholesterol-lowering agent and is also very important for mental health.
B2 or riboflavin prevents eye problems and severe eczema.
B1 or thiamine maintains blood glucose levels. Severe deficiency of this vitamin can lead to death.
E or tocopherol. Protects the cardiovascular system and prevents aging.
Carotenoids. Some substances in plants are not always true vitamins, but they allow the body to produce its own vitamins. The Spirulina carotenoid compound is just such a substance. Carotenoids act as free radical scavengers, so they protect the body’s own cells.
Normally, vitamin A can only be obtained from the liver of some animals. Since vitamin A of animal origin is fat-soluble, the human body stores it in its fat reserves and its excess does not disappear naturally. Thus, vitamin A poisoning is possible.
Beta-carotene is a very important antioxidant. It can be found in some plant foods and it is they that are much faster absorbed by the body (unlike artificial ones). Several studies have shown that people with a high beta-carotene diet have a lower risk of developing cancer. Other benefits include the fact that natural beta-carotene is free from preservatives and colors.
Many common foods are rich in beta-carotene, so they can be consumed not only for their taste, but also for their health benefits. Kale, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, zucchini, papayas, and melons are sources of this important nutrient.
Green and yellow vegetables in general should be considered as important foods for health. Spirulina is of course very rich in beta-carotene, so regular consumption ensures that the body is not deficient in this important nutrient.
Depending on the growing conditions, Spirulina contains from 65% to 71% protein. This amount of protein is considered biologically complete. This means that all eight essential amino acids (which must be obtained from food because they are not synthesized in the body or are not synthesized in sufficient quantities) are present in the correct proportions. Many plants contain different proteins, but with different amounts of amino acids, so there is a certain degree of incompleteness.
What sets Spirulina apart is that it contains a total of 18 amino acids in the exact same ratio as breast milk. It contains eight essential amino acids that are considered ideal for the human body.
Unfortunately, the human body is not able to store amino acids, so when eating junk food, the nutritional balance is often disturbed. Spirulina, which has a full spectrum of complete amino acids, can help.
Essential amino acids:
Isoleucine (5.6%) is essential for growth, intellectual development and nitrogen balance in the body. It also helps synthesize other non-essential amino acids.
Leucine (8.7%) helps increase muscle energy levels and stimulate brain activity.
Lysine (5.1%) is used to form blood antibodies, improves the circulatory system and promotes cell growth.
Methionine (2.6%) is important for fat and lipid metabolism, which supports liver health. It also helps calm the nerves.
Phenylalanine (4.5%) is used to produce thyroxine, which in turn regulates the metabolic rate.
Threonine (5.4%) improves bowel activity and thus aids in digestion.
Tryptophan (1.5%) enhances the intake of B vitamins, improves the condition of nerve fibers. This, in turn, promotes emotional stability and peace.
Valine (7.5%) helps coordinate the activity of the muscular system and increases mental performance.
Another group of amino acids is called non-essential – if they are not in the usual food, they can be synthesized by the body, but this does not mean that the body does not need them:
Alanine (7.3%) strengthens cell walls.
Arginine (6.5%) is important for the production of male seminal fluid, which contains about 80% arginine. Helps maintain blood purity.
Aspartic acid (9.1%) helps convert carbohydrates into energy.
Cystine (1.0%) helps maintain a healthy pancreas and thus stabilizes blood sugar etc. May help reduce food allergies.
Glutamic acid (12.6%). Together with glucose, it nourishes brain cells. May reduce cravings for alcohol and stabilize mental state.
Glycine (4.8%) energy booster.
Histidine (1.5%) improves nerve transmission, especially of the hearing organs. It has even been used as a remedy for deafness.
Proline (4.3%) is a precursor of glutamic acid.
Serine (5.2%) helps form the fatty sheath surrounding the nerve fibers.
Tyrosine (4.6%) can slow down cell aging and suppress hunger. Improves hair and skin color, protects against sunburn.
Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex that interacts biologically with chlorophyll during photosynthesis. In particular, phycocyanin increases the efficiency of oxygen production by chlorophyll under low light conditions. Phycocyanin is blue because it absorbs red-orange wavelengths of light.
Phycocyanin has antioxidant function, anti-inflammatory activity, immunostimulatory function, pharmacological effect of liver and kidney protection. A growing body of research shows that phycocyanin has anti-cancer effects, can block cancer cell proliferation and kill cancer cells.
Phycocyanin blocks the cycle of tumor cells, causing their apoptosis (specific enzymes are activated in the cell and substances that make up the cell are degraded) and autophagy (the process of cell self-digestion).
The content of phycocyanin in Spirulina biomass is an indicator of the quality of spirulina. Scientific studies have determined that the activity of Spirulina biomass becomes apparent only when it contains at least 12 percent phycocyanin.
Chlorophyll – green gold.
Spirulina is very rich in chlorophyll. It contains on average three times more “green gold” than other more developed green plants. The dark green color of Spirulina is due to the large amount of “plant blood”, or, in other words, chlorophyll, which is only one molecule different from hemoglobin in human blood. Chlorophyll in plants collects sunlight. This “light energy”, as Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp (Germany) called it, is an important factor in human metabolism and cellular communication.
Back in 1915 prof. Richard Willstätter (Germany) was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research on chlorophyll. He demonstrated that chlorophyll could produce living matter from non-living matter using concentrated converted sunlight.
As with vitamins, we are always reminded of the importance of minerals. Minerals are actually chemical elements that we know are essential for good health. However, they are consumed in very small quantities.
Spirulina is grown in bioreactors with a very high concentration of minerals. The environment is extremely alkaline, so almost no other plants would be able to survive in such an environment. Spirulina is able to convert many minerals into amino acids. So when we consume Spirulina, we get the minerals in a form that our body can absorb very easily.
Calcium (1 180 mg/kg) is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Essential for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also contributes to the ability to transmit nerve impulses and absorb acids in the body.
Potassium (14 353 mg/kg) is used to regulate electrolytes. Deficiency can lead to heart attack and muscle wasting.
Zinc (3 mg/kg) improves mental state, skin tone, prostate function, promotes rapid wound healing.
Magnesium (1 663 mg/kg) promotes the absorption of vitamins B and C, as well as some proteins. Due to its deficiency, muscle and heart diseases can occur.
Manganese (25 mg/kg) together with zinc activates enzymes. Helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Selenium (12 mg / kg) improves heart function, is important for the immune system, the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, the proper condition of hair and nails, and protection against the harmful effects of free radicals. Slows down the aging process.
Iron (528 mg/kg) is used to make hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier in the blood.
Phosphorus (8 280 mg/kg) is found in almost every cell in the human body, along with calcium, it strengthens bones and helps digest carbohydrates.
Sodium (344 mg/kg) is the most important electrolyte found between cells, which regulates water metabolism in the body. It is also important for maintaining acid-base balance.
Chlorine (4 200 mg/kg) is important for maintaining the distribution of water in the body.
Copper (5 mg/kg) contributes to the production of red blood cells and the formation of the circulatory system, nerves, immune system and bones.
Iodine (3 mg/kg) supports the normal functioning of the thyroid gland and the normal functioning of the nervous system.