Scientist are confirming some of the positive attributes of spirulina. It is an tiny algae that has been claimed to reverse aging, increase energy, and help combat drastic changes in insulin. The super food also provides all essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein and in fact when compared to meat sources of protein it has a higher percentage of this important nutrient. It has most vitamins, and minerals some of which are iron, calcium, iodine. It is important to note that the popular algae does contain what appears to be B12 vitamin which is needed for the upkeep of red blood cells and to keep the nervous system healthy. Researchers are not convinced that the human body can absorb plant based B12 and they do not recommend that people rely solely on supplements such as the algae for their B12 vitamins. This is of particular concern for people who avoid animal products. This food has greater amounts of beta carotene than traditionally thought of foods and is also a great internal cleanser.
Like other algae, spirulina grows in the water and must be harvested and processed before it arrives on the shelves ready for consumption. Most of the harvesting is done in private factories in order to avoid contamination from hazardous substances as might occur if the algae was harvested in nature. It is usually added as a supplement to foods and can be used as a liquid, powder, or tablet. It seems that consumption of the algae has been around for hundreds of years but re-gained popularity in the 1960′s and 1970′s when there was a surfacing interest in all green products.
Spirulina Sounds Too Good To Be True
Is spirulina another over-rated super food with minimal factual nutritional value? Scientist have found it a fact that the algae is packed with anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and other helpful nutrients. It does contain protein and it may help combat free radical production. Essentially, these properties put it up there with most fruits and vegetables. It has many good nutritionally beneficial properties and it has been shown to have many positive effects.
Researchers have been experimenting with rats and examining the effects that anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agents have on the rats. It was found that rats were able to improve their learning and memory, and were able to reverse some other signs of aging. They reversed some of the inflammatory substances in their brain which was negatively affecting their function. It was found that those who consumed our algae in question “reversed the impairment in adrenergic neural function normally associated with aging.” 1
The algae may be able to intervene when age and disease start to affect brain function. It has promise at combating Alzheimer’s and similar conditions. Anecdotally and in the animal research, the super food has promise. Care must be taken to never depend on only one source of nutrient for all that is needed. Combining the algae with well rounded meals full of fruits and vegetables is a smart step in staying physically and mentally young. Avoiding disease causing exposure (ie pollution) and exercising on a regular basis will also help. While science is searching our body’s ability to use and absorb the algae, it seems to be a promising avenue to pursue.