The Supplements Section
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Spirulina is a simple, one-celled form of blue-green algae that gets its name from its spiral shape. This simple organism has been around for millions of years, but is currently being hailed as the superfood of the future because of its exceptional nutritional content. Spirulina is a better source of protein than either beef or soybeans. It is also one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin B12, and contains twice the amount of B12 found in beef liver, which makes it an excellent addition to the vegetarian diet.
Spirulina also contains vitamin A and vitamin E, as well as health-enhancing amino acids; significant amounts of the gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that promotes cardiovascular health; chelated forms of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, and iron; complex sugars, trace elements, and enzymes—all of which are easily absorbed from spirulina by the body. It also contains chlorophyll (green) and phycocyanin (blue) pigments in its cellular structure, which give it a blue-green color, and have been proven to help detoxify the liver.
Spirulina is about 100 times the size of most other algae, and single cells are sometimes visible to the naked eye. It is easy to grow and environmentally friendly—spirulina can be cultivated on land that is unsuited for any other crop or purpose, since it thrives in standing, brackish (salty) waster. Spirulina is not a kelp or sea plant, but it only grows in freshwater ponds and lakes that contain higher than average amounts of salt. It grows best in warm temperatures, and has been known to survive temperatures as high as 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). However, spirulina is definitely not “pond scum”. Since it grows in environments in which other bacteria and organisms cannot survive, spriulina is in fact one of the most naturally sterile foods found in nature.
Spirulina is best known for its ability to boost the immune system, and research indicates it may even help both treat and prevent cancer. Spirulina stimulates the natural killer (NK) cells that fight illness and attack and kill cancerous cells. In one study performed in India, participants taking spirulina saw a complete remission of mouth cancer.
Spirulina supplements are available in health food stores and from online distributorships in bulk powder, capsule, and tablet forms. You can also find it as an additive to the many new “green drinks” available on the market. People who are vegetarians or who have a poor diet or one loaded with processed food should definitely consider taking this supplement—it is a safe, nontoxic, and very efficient way to meet your total nutritional needs. In addition, many people reported that adding spirulina to their diet gave them extra energy and in some cases eliminated feelings of fatigue. There have been no toxic effects associated with the consumption of spirulina.
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