I love GREEN. And you are gonna love this GREEN.
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.
You know the more and more I research and spend time looking into food the more I think I either want to move to Central or South America or must have spent a past life there!
My favourite foods all originated in South and Central America- Chia Seeds, Quinoa and now Spirulina. Who knew!?
Building your Immune System
If you have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus or fibromyalgia, chronic candida yeast can both cause and worsen your symptoms. Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your gut, which can help keep candida overgrowth under control.
Now, let’s take a look at what this immune-system boosting power can mean for you:
“According to a study done by the Department of Aquataculture in Taiwan,4 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.”
Candida & Leaky Gut
I am prone to bouts of Candida and Leaky Gut being a sugar addict who used to feast on white carbs and dairy. If you have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus or fibromyalgia, chronic candida yeast can both cause and worsen your symptoms. Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your gut, which can help keep candida overgrowth under control.
Balances Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious health concern that affects millions of people 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 with meditation and yoga, 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,7 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.
Help to Normalize Cholesterol Naturally
Do you know more women than men die from heart disease? And if you are not on cholesterol medication now your doctor might try and put you on there soon. 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
- Immune depression
- Pancreas or liver dysfunction (including a potential increase in liver enzymes)
- 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,9 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.
Helps Reduce Cancer Risk
Cancer is the leading killer of adults 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,10 selenium-infused spirulina inhibited the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Healthy for Vegetarians and Vegans — 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 or vegan, 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.11
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,12 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 between three to five grams or depends on what you have been instructed by your health practitioner . 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.
I take up to 15g a day in my Green Goddess Smoothie because I have built up to this level which is now optimal for me.
An Important Note on Dosing
In addition to being your powerhouse of essential vitamins and minerals, spirulina is a potent detoxifier and anti inflammatory. 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 Adverse Reactions
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,13 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.14 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!