In my quest to be a healthy vegetarian I found this blue-green algae called Spirulina. I have been taking it on and off for a while now. First thought was algae? Really? Isn’t that the stuff you clean out of the fish tank and swimming pool? But I did my research and found that it is so much more.
It is a super food and has been consumed by many different cultures all over the world for centuries.
Spirulina is 60-70% protein and is high in vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid), and antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage. It has more than 10 times the beta-carotene than a carrot. It is low in sodium and low in calories.
This is why it is used for athletes in training to regulate their weight and provide protein for muscle growth.
Some studies have shown that it cleans heavy metals from the body and can reduce your chances of developing cancer.
I was concerned that there are essential vitamins or minerals I am not getting as a vegetarian. Vitamin B12 is often lacking in vegetarian/ vegan diets and Spirulina provides all that I need.
You can easily get this product online or from GNC. Ideally you should look for organic and an algae that has a broken cell wall. Your digestive system cant quite break it down.
These are two brands I have liked.
Natural Ways shared each benefit of Spirulina! ( http://www.naturalways.com/spirulina-analysis.htm)
These eight essential amino acids are found in Spirulina:
- ISOLEUCINE: Required for optimal growth, intelligence development and nitrogen equilibrium in the body. Used to synthesize other non-essential amino acids.
- LEUCINE: Stimulator of brain function, increases muscular energy levels.
- LYSINE: Building block of blood antibodies, strengthens circulatory system and maintains normal growth of cells.
- METHIONINE: Vital lipotropic (fat and lipid metabolizing) amino acid that maintains liver health. An anti-stress factor, it calms the nerves.
- PHENYLALANINE : Required by the thyroid gland for production of thyroxine which stimulates metabolic rate.
- THREONINE: Improves intestinal competence and digestive assimilation.
- TRYPTOPHANE: Increases utilization of B vitamins,improves nerve health and stability of the emotions. Promotes sense of calm.
- VALINE): Stimulates mental capacity and muscle coordination.
These are the non-essential amino acids supplied by Spirulina:
Spirulina supplies ten of the twelve non-essential amino acids. "Non-essential" does not mean that these amino acids are not needed by the body, but merely indicates that the body can synthesize them itself if it needs to do so, provided the appropriate nutritional building blocks are available. Nevertheless, the body is better served if these excellent protein components are readily and totally available in dietary sources, since all the amino acids must be on hand as the cells manufacture enzymes, proteins, hormones, brain chemicals and the other products of metabolism. Of the thousands of biochemical substances acting and interacting in the human body, not one is derived in a vacuum; the body is ultimately dependent upon nutrient intake for all of its functions.
- ALANINE: Strengthens cellular walls.
- ARGININE: Important to male sexual health as seminal fluid is 80 percent arginine. Also helps detoxify the blood.
- ASPARTIC ACID: Aids transformation of carbohydrates into cellular energy.
- CYSTINE: Aids pancreatic health, which stabilizes blood sugar and carbohydrate metabolism. Has been used to alleviate some symptoms of food allergy and intolerance. >
- GLUTAMIC ACID: With glucose, one of the principal fuels for the brain cells. Has been used to reduce the craving for alcohol and stabilize mental health.
- GLYCINE): Promotes energy and oxygen use in the cells.
- HISTIDINE: Strengthens nerve relays, especially in the auditory organs. Has been used to reverse some cases of deafness.
- PROLINE): A precursor of glutamic acid.
- SERINE: Helps form the protective fatty sheaths surrounding nerve fibers.
- TYROSINE: Slows aging of cells and suppresses hunger centers in the hypothalamus. Can be synthesized from phenylalanine. Involved in proper coloration of hair and skin, including protection from sunburn.
- PYRIDOXINE or B6 : Involved in breakdown and assimilation of protein. Protects cardiac health, reduces edema and stabilizes female hormone levels. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer has demonstrated that B6, together with the mineral zinc, can cure some forms of schizophrenia.
- BIOTIN : An enzyme that carries CO, during certain biochemical reactions involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Also acts as a co-enzyme in the assimilation of other B-complex vitamins. Biotin is destroyed by eating raw egg whites and some kinds of raw fish.
- COBALAMIN or B12 : The most difficult of all vitamins to obtain from vegetable sources. Spirulina is extremely rich in this rare vitamin, containing 250 percent more than beef liver, previously thought to be nature's richest source. A single serving of Spirulina easily exceeds the Recommended Daily Allowance of 1.5 to 3 mcg daily. A B12 deficiency results in pernicious anemia, nerve degeneration, premature senility, pronounced fatigue and mental illnesses resembling schizophrenia.
- PANTOTHENIC ACID : The "stress" vitamin, used by the adrenal glands, along with cholesterol and vitamin C, to manufacture cortisone and other steroids in response to physical and mental stress. Deficiency encourages sensitivity to allergy, infection and degenerative diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism. Ulcers and hypoglycemia have also been associated with shortage of this vitamin.
- FOLIC ACID : Essential to proper hemoglobin formation in red blood cells. Deficiency results in anemia, poor growth, skin pigmentation disorders and premature graying of the hair.
- INOSITOL: Vital lipotropic nutrient that sustains liver health and helps detoxify carcinogens, particularly excess female hormones. Helps normalize blood cholesterol levels. With choline, inositol is used by the liver to manufacture lecithin. Inositol is the second most abundant vitamin in the body, after niacin. Recent studies indicate that inositol, with biotin, reduces loss of scalp hair.
- NIACIN : Also known as nicotinic acid and niacinamide, which is an alternative form, niacin is essential to mental health. Dr. Abram Hoffer, a renowned pioneer in orthomolecular psychiatry, has completely relieved schizophrenic symptoms using niacin. The Physicians' Desk Reference, a pharmaceutical text used by doctors when prescribing medication, recognizes niacin as an effective cholesterol lowering agent.
- RIBOFLAVIN or B2 : The most common vitamin deficiency is that of riboflavin and results in cataracts, failing vision, watery eyes and uncontrollable eczema.
- THIAMINE or B 1 : A co-enzyme in the breakdown of dietary carbohydrate. Maintains levels of glucose in the blood. Deficiency results in weakness, cardiac damage, abdominal distention and poor oxygenation. Severe shortage results in death; critical toxemia develops from unmetabolized carbohydrate fragments.
- TOCOPHEROL or vitamin E : Spirulina contains more vitamin E per gram than pure wheat germ. This nutrient protects heart and vascular health, promotes oxygenation of cells, and retards aging.