Spirulina (arthrospira plantensis) is a microscopic multi-cellular spiral-shaped microorganism, one of the first and simplest life forms to exist on the earth for over 500 million years. It flourishes in warm climates and alkaline water, particularly those rich in mineral salts, where few other organisms can survive, and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures whilst retaining all its nutrients. It belongs to the family of blue-green algae because it contains both chlorophyll (providing green pigment) and phycocyanin (blue pigment).
The unusual aspect of spirulina, which separates it from true algae, is that is has no nucleus, the hard cellulose membrane characteristic of plant cells, yet spirulina's metabolic system is based on photosynthesis, a process of direct food energy production utilizing sunlight and chlorophyll, which is typical of plant life forms.
It requires no special processing and is fully digestible, and although it has been used as a food for more than 500 years, it became commercially available only at the beginning of the 1970s. Spirulina is one of the most sterile foods on earth extremely high in energy containing all the B vitamins, which are themselves synonymous with high energy. Its minerals and vitamins are naturally bio-chelated, meaning they are wrapped in amino-acids for excellent assimilation by the body. It is one of nature's richest and most complete source of whole natural nutrition containing over 100 synergistic nutrients, amongst which are:
- Protein: 65%-70% of its weight, 3 times as much as that found in beef
- Iron: 58 times richer than spinach
- Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA): 3 times than Evening Primrose Oil
- Vitamin B12: often lacking in vegetarian diets
- Chlorophyll: 2 times richer than barley grass and wheatgrass
- Antioxidants: 25 times richer in beta-carotene than raw carrots
- Photonutrients: 31 times more potent than blueberries, 60 times more potent than spinach and 700 more potent than applesPhycocyanin: reported to be an antioxidant and to have anti-tumour activity
The increasing scientific and clinical evidence for its nutritional and potential health benefits is also attracting its use as a functional food in addition to its already established use as a dietary supplement. Much of the research has been conducted into spirulina's many potential benefits amongst which:
- Stimulating the immune system
- Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure
- Improving resistance to infections and viruses
- Promoting the formation of red blood cells
- Enhancing intestinal health
- Relieving of arthritis
- Balancing body's pH
Spirulina is truly one of the most nutritionally packed whole super green foods in the world and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. There is no fruit, vegetable or meat that can provide such complete protein to meet the nutritional needs of the human body.