29 Apr 2014

Health : Spirulina – Power Plant

Category: Health

spirulina

Imagine a plant that can nourish your body by providing most of the protein you need to live, help prevent the annoying sniffling and sneezing of allergies, reinforce your immune system, help you control high blood pressure and cholesterol, and help protect you from cancer. Does such a “super food” exist?

Yes. It’s called spirulina.

Unlike plants you may grow in your garden, this “miracle” plant is a form of blue-green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies. Spirulina is a simple, one-celled organism that got its name from the Latin word for ‘helix’ or ‘spiral’ because of its spring-like physical characteristic. Its scientific name is Arthrospira platensis, and it belongs to the cyanobacteria family.

Historical records report the harvesting and selling of cakes made from spirulina harvested from Lake Texcoco. It was rediscovered in the 1950’s in the same place where it has said to have its origins by a European scientific mission. The spirulina was being harvested and sold in dried flat cakes called “dihé” at the local markets, where natives would use it as a staple for many of their meals.

Spirulina didn’t come into commercial production until the 1970s when a French company began the first large-scale spirulina production plant. Within a few years, America and Japan began producing their own spirulina.

Today, these nutrient-rich algae are being used around the world to help treat illness and are being seriously discussed as a sustainable source of food with the potential to end world hunger. Unlike most plants, which need to be cultivated and nurtured, spirulina is a survivor, able to withstand extreme temperature variations and neglect and still thrive. According to studies, spirulina is being successfully used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including those who’ve been poisoned by arsenic-contaminated water.

According to a study done by the Department of Aquataculture in Taiwan, spirulina shows significant immune-boosting properties. Researchers exposed white shrimp to seawater containing a hot-water extract of spirulina before transferring them to seawater with a pH level of 6.8. The control group was not exposed to spirulina.

The shrimp exposed to the spirulina seawater showed a faster and more promising recovery rate to the high levels of pH than those not given the dose of spirulina first.

Now, let’s take a look at what this immune-system boosting power can mean for you.

HIV and AIDS

Drugs such as AZT used to treat HIV and AIDS patients can actually cause the symptoms they are supposed to cure. However, spirulina has been shown to help inactivate the human immunodeficiency virus associated with HIV and AIDS.

Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies, you’re not alone. Millions of people are allergic to pollen, ragweed, dust, mold, pet dander, and a myriad other environmental contaminants, ensuring the makers of Kleenex will always stay in business.
Unfortunately, many people who have allergic rhinitis treat it with prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that often do more harm than good. Antihistamines are designed to suppress your immune system, which leads to decreased resistance to disease and dependence on the drug. Certain asthma drugs have been linked to serious side effects as well.

This is where natural methods such as the use of spirulina come in. 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, when given spirulina.

Balances blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious health concern that affects millions of Americans today. If you have high blood pressure, you are at increased risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

The good news is, following a healthy nutritional plan, getting adequate exercise and applying stress modification techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can help normalize blood pressure and get you back on track to optimal health. According to a study done by the Department of Biochemistry in Mexico, 4.5 grams of spirulina given each day was shown to regulate blood pressure among both women and men ages 18-65 years with no other dietary changes made during the six weeks the experiment was run.

Get more information about high blood pressure and how to normalize it without resorting to potentially dangerous drugs.

Cholesterol

Are you on a cholesterol medication? Tens of millions of people take cholesterol-lowering medications every day and, according to “experts,” millions more should be taking them, including children! If you are skeptical about this recommendation please see this page, which contains a list of articles addressing the dangers of statin drugs.

Statin drugs are responsible for a host of unwanted and dangerous side effects including:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Anemia
  • Immune depression
  • Acidosis
  • Pancreas or liver dysfunction (including a potential increase in liver enzymes)
  • Cataracts
  • Increased cancer risk

Cholesterol-lowering medications have also been linked to severe muscle problems such as polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet) and rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition). There is even evidence to suggest that taking statins can increase your risk of developing Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Thankfully, there are natural ways to lower your cholesterol. Avoiding fructose and grains, and getting appropriate exercise top the list, but spirulina may also help. According to a study done on elderly male and female patients ages 60-87, those given eight grams of spirulina per day for 16 consecutive weeks showed lower cholesterol levels than those who were given a placebo.

Lowers stroke risk

Those with sickle-cell anemia or congenital heart defects are at greater risk for a condition called brain ischemia or cerebral ischemia. Brain ischemia refers to a lack of blood flow to your brain, which causes oxygen deprivation and can lead to a stroke. Just 10 seconds of interrupted blood flow to your brain can cause unconsciousness and lead to serious health consequences.

In a study done at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology in India, it was found that a dosage of 180mg/kg of spirulina had a protective effect on the brain and nervous system of rats exposed to high amounts of free radicals, compared to rats not given the spirulina before the experiment. This lab test shows the promising effect of spirulina on stroke prevention.

Help reduce cancer risk

Cancer is the leading killer of adult Americans under age 70 and in the case of this frightening disease, prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure. It could literally save your life.

My first recommendation in cutting your cancer risk is to eliminate sugar/fructose, grains, and processed foods from your diet. Additives such as fructose feed cancer cells and help them to thrive. I also recommend healthy sun exposure, which will boost your levels of natural vitamin D and help cut your cancer risk by half!

But spirulina may have potential benefits here as well. According to a study done in China, selenium-infused spirulina inhibited the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Healthy for vegetarians – More protein than red meat

When you think of protein, you probably imagine sitting down to a meal of organic eggs or grass-fed beef or maybe even drinking a whey protein shake.

If you’re a vegetarian, you may turn to plant-protein sources such as nuts, beans, lentils, and soy products. Unfortunately, soy is not the health food it claims to be. None of the above-mentioned sources of protein compare to the protein punch delivered by spirulina. Spirulina is 65-71 percent complete protein compared to beef, which is only 22 percent, and lentils, which is only 26 percent.

In addition to being protein-rich, spirulina is an excellent source of vital amino acids and minerals easily assimilated by your body. You would need to consume only two tablespoons of spirulina as a protein substitute for a meal.

Optimal Spirulina – Types and dosing

There are many types of spirulina out there so it is important to do your homework before making a purchase. Since spirulina grown in an uncontrolled environment has the potential to become contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins, it is important to choose organic spirulina from a reputable source.

Spirulina comes in capsules, tablets, powders and flakes. The recommended daily dose is typically betweeen three to five grams. You can spread the dose out to twice or three times a day if you like. It is safe to take higher doses, but this is a good place to start.  Remember to increase your intake of spring or filtered water when taking spirulina to help it absorb into your system.

Note on dosing

In addition to being your powerhouse of essential vitamins and minerals, spirulina is a potent detoxifier. For that reason, it is best to start with a small dose and work your way up. Once you see how your body responds, you can then gradually increase your intake.

Potential side effects

Spirulina is a safe source of protein, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that has been used for centuries. Though there are no known side effects associated with spirulina, your body may react to it based on your current state of health. Let’s take a look at some of those reactions, what they mean, and what you can do to alleviate them.

The most prominent reactions you may experience are:

  • Slight Fever — The high protein content in spirulina increases metabolism, which may elevate body temperature.
  • Dark Green Waste Matter — Spirulina can remove accumulated waste product in your colon, which may cause darker stool. Also, spirulina is high in chlorophyll. This will also turn waste matter green.
  • Excessive Passing of Gas — This may indicate that your digestive system is not functioning properly or you have an extreme build-up of gas.
  • Feelings of Excitement — Your body is converting protein into heat energy, which may cause temporary feelings of restlessness.
  • Breakouts and Itchy Skin — This is caused by colon cleansing process and is only temporary.
  • Sleepiness — This is caused by the detoxification process and may indicate your body is exhausted and needs better rest.

Remember, your body may go through an adjustment period with spirulina, and your best bet to reduce reaction is to dose gradually to see how your body will react. Increase your water intake, reduce your stress levels, eat according to your nutritional type, and get plenty of rest.

Important contraindications for Spirulina

Even though spirulina is entirely natural and generally considered a healthful food, there are some contraindications you need to be aware of.  You should not take spirulina if you have a severe seafood or iodine allergy. And, if you are pregnant or nursing or have hyperthyroidism, consult your healthcare provider before taking spirulina.

As you can see, spirulina can serve as a potent “super food.” Just remember to do your research and arm yourself with knowledge. It is the best way to take control of your health!

Dave

22 comments for Health : Spirulina – Power Plant

  • Spirulina is a great addition to your health like Kelp. Love the article, but you forgot to mention the most important way to digest. like with most vitamins and minerals, you should take it as a food integration, not a supplement. For example, a couple of capsules in your morning or afternoon smoothie is ideal.

    Also the buildup of gas is not a negative….all phyto- nutrient rich foods causes gas like broccoli , whole grain, and sprouts. Therefore, your suggestion of slowly integrating super-foods into you diet and lifestyle is best.

    I have issue with any claims of a HIV cure. all nutrient foods contribute to a strong immune system. Spirulina is just another chink in the armor. no more….no less…

  • So where is spirulina available? Health stores? Grown at home?

  • wowowow! finally a great blog!
    if you do not have health or cannot promote health with the one you love, life is a bit pointless.

    i take spirulina daily with lemon or just sprinkle it on food. spring and summer will be interesting because i love my greens organic! i am hiv positive and very vibrant with it. i do not take any pharmaceutical or recreational drugs. i had no cold this winter too! great using spirulina the last 7 months!

    thank you for finally enlightening us with brilliance!

  • As an untectable young man i can attest. I reached undetectable weeks into treatment in addition to alopathic remedies. My doctors where floored and all of my doctors are professors and researchers, immunologist and virologist-even my gp. They asked me what id been doing and i told them my supliments and exorsive routine and they recomend it. Im healthier than i was before, lol. Now if only i can find a single DR. That knows the tiny chance i pose to their health as apposed to the next random hook up…

  • Where can we get or purchase. .

  • Wow!!!!!! For once Dave said something of value!

  • Thanks for the informative article. I just received a catalog in the mail touting spirulina. I may have to give it a try.

    Also, it’s good to see someone acknowledging that AZT can actually cause AIDS. After reading that AZT actually interferes with the production of T-cells, there is no way I would ever take AZT for any reason. It’s a deadly drug that should’ve never been approved. It has killed many more people than HIV ever has. Unfortuntely, I didn’t learn about this in time to warn my best friend who has AIDS.

  • Bolthouse Green Goodness is packed with this.

  • Although an excellent supplement remember it is just that, a supplement. It should never be used in place of medications. In many cases an addition of the supplement has lowered the need for medications it is not a “miracle drug”. All bodies react differently to its presence, so do not assume it with have the same great effects on you.

    Personally it has helped my stomach condition. Was a rough cleansing period but I stuck with it and am no longer lactose intolerant.

  • Where can you purchase it or find it is it sold in pharmacies or health food stores of GNC or Complete Nutrition

  • Have you taken this Dave? If yes, how has it affected your sex life?

  • More snake oil.

  • Mark B : It affects my energy. I take many natural/alternative medication to have good energy and because I workout a lot at the gym and that is one of them. Probiotics, spirulina, micro algua, vitamine B, Multi Vitamins, fish oil, magnesium, zinc are my favorite.

  • Roy: yes it is very known

  • eric : and sugar as well…. I lowered my sugar intake because sugar=fat

  • maxxx : why so mean?

  • health store, GNC, etc

  • I find the recent Health articles very interesting keep it up man …..think im going to try spirulina on a serious note thanks !

  • Spirulina can be found in health food storees and whole food stores.

  • Anytime I read something like “However, spirulina has been shown to help inactivate the human immunodeficiency virus associated with HIV and AIDS,” red flags go up. This is dangerously close to saying that a the blue-green algae can cure AIDS/HIV infection, and this is 100% not proven. The fact that the link provided goes directly to mercola.com with convenient purchasing information is another red flag. This is not any scientific article or study…it is the website of a guy who sells supplements. Note also that Joseph Mercola has been cited by the FDA for making false health claims several times in the past

    Are we really still peddling false hope to AIDS/HIV patients like this?

  • If you smoke, avoid eating spirulina or any other blue-green algae (at least until you quit) because it will cause a buildup of potassium cyanide in the bloodstream.

  • actually after reading the statement about spirulina and hiv as I myself am hiv poz there is many articles about it’s anti-viral effect too the point that I’m going too try it

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