Spirulina is a single-celled, spiral-shaped blue green microalgae grown in tropical salt lakes. This microalgae is discovered by Dr. Clement of France in 1962. Dr. Clement found that the Ganimou people living around Lake Chades in Africa had stronger bodies than other civilized people at that time, despite poor living conditions and few resources. Upon further studies, he observed that the Ganimou eats a particular blue green algae found floating on the lake's surface. This algae is spirulina.
Such simple one-celled organism already exist when life first appeared on earth. They are the earliest forms of life and is the source of all life in the oceans.
After many years of research, Dr. Clement got the attention of the worldwide medical field on his discovery. Medical researchers in Japan and Mexico were interested with the many benefits that spirulina can bring to the human body. It is being used as part of other treatments due to its nutritional benefits. However, researchers have observed that spirulina also appears to exhibit properties which promote self-healing.
So how nutritious is spirulina to the human body? The algae is a highly digestible food, containing 60 to 70% of protein, and provides all the essential amino acids, which is a rarity among plant foods. It is so nutritionally balanced that it is 5 times easier to digest than meat.
Besides protein, spirulina is a rich natural source of Vitamin E and B12, iron, calcium, anti-oxidants, minerals, carbohydrates and enzymes. Its rich phytochemical composition are carotenoids, chlorophyll (known as a blood purifier), and phycocyanin. Phycocyanin is a blue pigment found only in blue green algae. Experiments have shown that this particular protein can increase the survival rate of mice with liver cancer. That means it can inhbits cancerous cells growth. It can also inhibit viral replication, and strengthen the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system.
Anemia, a deficiency in red blood cells and/or hemoglobin, responds well to vitamin B12, folic acid and chlorophyll found in spirulina. In fact, spirulina is the richest natural source of vitamin B12, once thought to be available only in animal products. Not only that, a test have shown that stomach ulcers can be cured with 2 grams of spirulina intake per day, by coating chlorophyll onto the stomach lining. Other diseases known to improve with the help of spirulina include liver disorders, such as chronic hepatitis, and diabetes.
Another important compound in this superfood is the Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). This essential fatty acid cannot be produced by our body, yet is important for healthy bones, normal brain function, growth and development, stimulation of skin and hair growth and regulation of metabolism such as lipid.
Furthermore, GLA in vivo changes easily to arachidonic acid, and then to prostaglandin E2. The end product can be developed as a blood pressure regulating agent in our body.
An article written by Christopher Hills, Ph.D, D.Sc., titled "Spirulina as nutrition for the brain" says that "the interesting part... is the remarkable effects of this vegetable plankton on our state of consciousness particularly while fasting on nothing else... most people feel increased energy and clarity of mind after taking the Spirulina as a vitamin supplement."
According to Professor Keiun Kodo on the this topic, "Spirulina's rich and balanced nutrients are perfect for the development of brain cells. It is a well-known source of nutrient for children and adults for the development and maintenance of brain cells."
Other effects and uses of spirulina includes rejuvenation, increase of energy level, reduction of cholesterol, reducing body acidity, cardiovascular support and detoxification. The soft cell walls of spirulina allows it to be digested easily and assimilated, making it ideal for detoxifying.