Spirulina is a type of fresh water algae that drew the attention of nutritionists, due to the numerous health benefits it brings. It contains many vitamins and plenty of nutrients, which makes spirulina adequate in the treatment of various diseases.
Protein Content of Spirulina
It is estimated that spirulina contains between 65 and 71 percent complete protein. By comparison, red meat includes only 27 percent protein, while soy has 34 percent. In other words, spirulina holds nearly twice the protein found in these foods. It is recommended for anyone who needs to follow a diet rich in proteins.
Vitamins and Minerals Found in Spirulina
Spirulina also proves to be an important source of vitamins, containing a wide variety of them, namely:
- Vitamin A
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
- Folic acid (Vitamin B9)
- Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
More than that, spirulina includes numerous minerals, such as:
At a first glance, one may conclude that spirulina is good for treating the deficiencies of any vitamin or mineral listed above. Besides that, this type of alga is successfully used in the treatment of numerous others medical conditions.
Health Problems Treatable with Spirulina
At some point in time, due to the high content of protein, spirulina was regarded as a solution to starvation in the Third World countries. However, from the 1970s on, the research is focused on preventing and treating health problems.
Most of the studies that involve spirulina were conducted on animals, with only a few of them performed on humans. The main hope of the researchers is that more pharmaceutical companies will be influenced by the results of the studies and will start producing more supplements based on spirulina.
Diabetics can use spirulina for keeping their food cravings under control. Besides that, the insulin intake can be reduced when taking supplements that contain this alga. Other studies suggest that spirulina is able to reduce the brain lesions by 75 percent in individuals that suffered strokes. In this particular situation, mobility is recovered faster than usual.
Gastro enteric distress is considerably reduced when taking spirulina because of its high content of iron. This characteristic helps the intestinal bacteria to grow properly. As a consequence, gastro enteric infections are prevented and cholesterol levels are decreased.
Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Disease are neurodegenerative diseases that appear as a consequence of free radical damage. Spirulina is able to stop this type of damage, thus helping in the prevention of such health conditions.
Downsides of Spirulina Consumption
Spirulina is able to bring many benefits to your health, but it also has a couple of downsides. First of all, both spirulina powder and supplements based on this alga are rather expensive. Sometimes, the final price of these products is several times the growing and harvesting costs.
Secondly, spirulina contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals and protein, a fact that may pose a threat to the kidneys and liver. Because of this, you are highly recommended to talk either to a health care provider or to a nutritionist, in order to find the adequate dosage for your needs.