Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). In 1974, the World Health Organization described spirulina as “an interesting food for multiple reasons, rich in iron and protein, and is able to be administered to children without any risk,” considering it “a very suitable food.” The United Nations established the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina against Malnutrition in 2003. In the late 1980s and early 90s, both NASA (CELSS) and the European Space Agency (MELISSA) proposed spirulina as one of the primary foods to be cultivated during long-term space missions.
Spirulina helps boost the immune system, help protect against allergic reactions, and have antiviral properties.
Spirulina has key nutrients
According to the FDA, Spirulina contains significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. It also has essential amino acids (compounds that are the building blocks of proteins). In fact, protein makes up about 60 to 70 percent of Spirulina’s dry weight.
Spirulina as an antioxidant
Antioxidants may help athletes recover from exercise-induced oxidative stress that contributes to muscle fatigue – and Spirulina happens to contain several compounds shown to have antioxidant properties, including phenolic compounds, phycocyanins, tocopherols and beta-carotene, according to a 2010 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Allergies and Asthma
Consuming spirulina supplements might help suppress nasal allergies and asthma, according to both laboratory and clinical research. In a clinical trial published in 2008 in the “European Archives of Oto-rhino-laryngology,” 85 subjects with nasal allergies consumed spirulina supplements, along with 44 who took a placebo. In the treated group, subjects had less sneezing, congestion and itching compared with the placebo group, and researchers concluded that spirulina is clinically effective for this condition. A small study published in 2001 in the “Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods” found that subjects with asthma who consumed spirulina supplements had improved lung function equal to that in a group who took medication, but this small study needs confirmation in larger clinical trials.
Spirulina is a high quality and easy processing protein that improves cellular nutrition. At ProgenCell, we recommend consuming spirulina supplements prior and after stem cell treatments for the antioxidant properties and to improve cellular nutrition. Spirulina promotes a healthier body environment for cell engraftment and cell genesis, enhancing stem cells proliferation. All these properties and more makes Spirulina one of the one of the few “superfoods” that are actually worthy of that term.
Hoseini, S. M., Kianoush Khosravi-Darani, and M. R. Mozafari. “Nutritional and medical applications of spirulina microalgae.” Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry 13.8 (2013): 1231-1237.
Chu, Wan-Loy, et al. “Protective effect of aqueous extract from Spirulina platensis against cell death induced by free radicals.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 10.1 (2010): 53.