• Dr. Wilde

SPIRULINA


Spirulina gained popularity after NASA reported its astronauts successfully used the superfood as a dietary supplement in outer space. Spirulina or Arthrospira is a blue-green algae that is recognized as one of the world's most beneficial foods for humans and animals alike. Ample scientific research into aqua-culture and algae supports that Spirulina's anaerobic process of converting sunlight into energy (also known as photosynthesis) releases oxygen as a byproduct, supporting life on Earth. As a source of sustainable fuel, humans have cultivated and consumed Spirulina for at least 700 years in the Aztec Empire and Kanem Empire in Chad


Source: Grows in many freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds. It grows best in environments that have moderate temperatures and very high levels of sunlight, such as Hawaii



Benefits:

Nutrient Dense Properties: Spirulina has more protein than meat, fish, poultry, and soybeans. It has the most beta-carotene of any food, including carrots, and has a full spectrum of ten mixed carotenoids. Containing all eight essential amino acids, and no fewer than ten non-essential amino acids, it is also rich in iron, vitamins A, E, and B, potassium, enzymes, minerals, phytonutrients, and beneficial fatty acids like DHA and GLA. It is most often used as a natural source of B12 for vegans and vegetarians

Physical Performance : Reduces muscle fatigue and alleviates post-exertional malaise after endurance exercises


Improves Memory: Prevents oxidative damage in the brain. One study found that spirulina reduced the levels of a harmful proteins in the brain, suggesting that this algae can help prevent memory loss. Another study found that spirulina reduced neurotoxicity and inflammation in the brain decreasing the severity of several major neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease

Weight Loss: Multiple double-blind studies shows improved health markers in obese patients. These studies range from supplementing 2 grams to 8.4 grams of spirulina for anywhere from 4 to 18 weeks.

Common among them was that the researchers found statistically significant reductions body mass, body mass index (BMI) waist circumference. They proved lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher antioxidant levels. Taking a 6-gram dose of spirulina prior to moderate cardio decreased oxidative damage, decreased glucose oxidation, and increased the amount of fat being burned for fuel


Improves Insulin Sensitivity: Spirulina has been used as a treatment for hypoglycemia. Research shows that it can reduce blood glucose and lipid profiles while preventing metabolic issues associated with excessive fructose

Cardiovascular Disease: A potent remedy for cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis (plaque build up in arteries) and endothelial dysfunction (poor circulation)


Heavy Metal Chelation: Spirulina has been shown to reduce arsenic levels, a heavy metal and carcinogen. 250mg of spirulina along with 2mg of zinc taken twice a day for 16 weeks was proven an effective treatment for chronic arsenic poisoning



Risks: Minor side effects including gas, nausea, insomnia and headaches are common side effects in sensitive individuals or in high doses. To reduce these effects, start at a low dose and slowly titrate up



Sustainability: Spirulina grows wild all over the world, however it is commonly farmed to maintain and preserve quality

Processing: Unlike its sister algae Chlorella, Spirulina does not have a cell wall that needs to be cracked open to consume. Spirulina is dried after harvesting and is often flash-processed to preserve its medicinal effects. It is sold direct as a powder or pressed into tablet form


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Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20010119 - Ergogenic and antioxidant effects

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21697639 - Improvements in memory dysfunction

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23028885 - Neuroprotective effects

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28182098 - Global benefits of Spirulina

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20354344 - Obesity and atherosclerosis treatment

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22561632 - Lipid, liver and metabolic improvements

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16615668 - Uses in cases of arsenic poisoning



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