It's difficult to think of greenish pond algae (do we dare use the word scum?) as something good to eat, but in the case of spirulina, that's exactly what it is. This nutrient-rich herb is often hailed as a wonder food.
Spirulina is an organism which simply loves fresh water ponds and lakes, especially the ones which are very alkaline. The full correct name of this algae is spirulina platenis. It is one of the most common types of algae in the world, and it's an unusually rich source of nutrition. In fact, spirulina has been used as a source of protein and nutrients (particularly beta-carotene) by the World Health Organization to feed malnourished children.
Spirulina is both photosynthetic and multicellular. It derives its green color from a pigment in chlorophyll, and its blue color from a protein called phy-cocyanin. The name spirulina is derived from the Latin word for spiral, which well describes the algae's structure of spiraling filaments.
Several species which are most commonly used as supplements occur naturally in warm, brackish lakes but are also frequently grown by aquaculture and harvested for commercial use.
- Spirulina is an important natural source of plant enzymes and pigments.
- Spirulina is a well-known type of blue-green algae.
- Spirulina naturally contains trace amounts of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, plus important fatty acids and plant enzymes. Enzymes are protein molecules that serve as integral parts of many important systems within the body.
- Blue-green algae grows in salt-rich lakes in Central and South America, and Africa.
- Spirulina is a low-fat, low-calorie, cholesterol-free source of protein. In fact, spirulina is about 65 percent protein.
- It contains other important trace nutrients including B vitamins, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, gamma-linolenic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc, bioflavonoids, protein, and others.
- Importantly, spirulina's proteins are complete meaning they contain all essential amino acids plus some nonessential ones. In that regard, protein from spirulina is similar to animal protein except it does not contain saturated fats or residues of hormones or antibiotics which can sometimes be found in meats.
- With its high digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients, spirulina is also an important source of plant enzymes which are protein molecules important to many important body systems.
The structure function claims made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These dietary supplement products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.