There are several common super foods that most of you are probably familiar with such as almonds, salmon, broccoli, and spinach. But I bet not too many of you have heard of the super food called Spirulina.
Spirulina is actually a form of blue green algae, or cyanobacteria. These algae are found in the warm, alkaline waters of the world, especially in Mexico and Central Africa. Spirulina is distinguished from other cyanobacteria by its spiral shape.
Spirulina is a rich source of nutrients (hence it’s Super Food status), containing up to 70% protein, B vitamins, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, vitamin E and many other minerals. In fact, spirulina contains more beta-carotene than carrots! Spirulina has even been proposed as a high protein, sustainable food supplement to help treat world hunger.
Reported benefits from consuming spirulina include improved digestion, immune system strengthening, allergy relief, cholesterol lowering, blood pressure regulation, and reduction in cancer risk.
Here are some of the safety concerns to be aware of. Since spirulina that is grown in an uncontrolled environment has the potential to be contaminated with heavy metals and other potential toxins, it is very important – whether you’re purchasing spirulina in it’s raw form or as a nutritional supplement in capsule form – to choose only organic spirulina from a reputable source.
Spirulina appears to be well tolerated in humans. Reported side effects have been headache, muscle pain, and flushing. Certainly anyone who is allergic or hypersensitive to spirulina,other blue-green algae species, or iodine should avoid it’s use.
Also remember that in addition to being filled with incredible nutrients, spirulina is also a powerful detoxifier, so it’s always a good idea to start with a small dose to begin with and gradually work your way up.
So if your looking for an amazing super food, packed with tons of protein and rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, put spirulina on your list!
Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga. He has over 10 years experience in custom compounding. Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue. He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness. Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.
source: natural standard database, functionalmedicine.org