Plants and algae have been used for centuries in traditional medicine of different civilizations. They contain nutritional elements and active ingredients that have inspired modern medicine and are still used as such today.
Spirulina is one of those natural products to which we lend different virtues. It is a blue-green alga that grows in warm water. It was already used in South America by some pre-Columbian civilizations, but also in Africa. In recent years it has been a great success for food supplements and phytotherapy.
But is spirulina as beneficial as some people suggest? What are the real effects on our body and our health? This article invites you to discover more about spirulina, its origins, its nutritional properties and its effects on health, whether positive or negative. Should Spirulina be considered as a super-algae?
Origins and presentation of spirulina
When the Europeans arrived in South America they observed that some civilizations like the Aztecs were consuming what they called tecuitlatl , a kind of blue-green algae. She would have been part of their diet. It has also been consumed in Africa and especially around Lake Chad.
Today, spirulina is produced largely by China (50%), followed by the United States, France and some African countries (Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali).
It is a micro-alga present in fresh water and preferably warm. It favors waters rich in organic matter and soda. From 30 ° C, spirulina grows very quickly. It belongs to the family of cyanobacteria and the genus Arthrospira . Spirulina found on the market is Arthrospira platensis.
Spirulina is used in particular to fight against malnutrition in different poor countries.
In appearance, spirulina is green with sometimes blue reflections. When viewed under the microscope, it is composed of micro-algae in the form of spirals, hence its name.
Spirulina is considered a super-alga, thanks in large part to its nutritional values.
Indeed, this micro alga is a concentrate of nutrients. It consists mainly of proteins (between 55% and 70%). Spirulina also contains carbohydrates (between 15% and 25%) and lipids (between 4% and 7%). In addition, it is rich in iron, minerals, trace elements including calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and phosphorus. In particular, there is the presence of gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6). It is also rich in vitamin E and vitamin B12, as well as beta-carotene. Spirulina also contains phycocyanin and chlorophyll.
To summarize, in its natural state, Spirulina is truly a concentrate of micronutrients that justifies classifying it as a superfood.
Benefits of spirulina on health
As we have just seen, spirulina has very interesting nutritional properties. It contains many elements essential to the good functioning of our organism and in very appreciable quantities.
This results in a number of positive health effects. Thus, these characteristics allow Spirulina to be immunostimulatory. As a result, it regulates the immune system allowing our body to better protect itself against the various attacks it can undergo. More specifically, spirulina is rich in antioxidants to fight against free radicals. It also has anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antiallergic effects. Some even lend him qualities against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Very rich in protein, it has all the essential amino acids, although some are present in small quantities. The assimilation of spirulina proteins is better when it is consumed with cereals. Of course, it should not be seen as the main source of protein, but as an ideal food as a supplement to provide proteins to fill gaps.
It also seems that spirulina allows to reduce the bad cholesterol and conversely, to increase the good cholesterol.
Similarly, relatively rich in vitamins E, B12 and beta-carotene (is converted into vitamin A according to the needs of the body), it is useful for fighting fatigue, anemia and athletes.
However, these benefits are to be relativized, because for the moment no study has seriously considered the effects of spirulina on the human body. In addition, it is unknown to what extent spirulina retains its nutritional properties when it is converted into powder for use as a dietary supplement, whether in the form of powder, tablet or capsule.
See also dangers or contraindications
Le principal danger est que le produit en question ne contienne pas réellement de la spiruline, mais une autre algue bleu-vert qui peut alors contenir des toxines. Il faut bien vérifier qu’il est écrit « spiruline » et non uniquement « algue bleu-vert ». De même, il faut faire attention à la provenance et choisir un produit issu de cultures contrôlées.
Concernant les contre-indications, outre les femmes enceintes et allaitantes, la spiruline peut être déconseillée pour ceux qui suivent un traitement à base de médicaments, mais aussi pour les personnes souffrant de phényclétonurie.
Enfin, veillez à toujours respecter les doses journalières prescrites dans la notice du produit.
Spirulina buying tips: our selection
We have selected two spirulina products:
Let's start with Spirulina Powder Powder. Sold in 250g sachets, it is composed solely of Spirulina platensis powder without other ingredients, allergens or GMOs. A dose of 100g contains the following amounts: fat (7.7g), carbohydrates (24g), dietary fiber (3.6g), protein (58g) and salt (2.6g). It is recommended to consume a daily dose of 4g mixed with a drink or with food. This product is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women. It must be kept in a dry, cool place and protected from light. It should be noted that Spirulina Powder is designed by a GMP-compliant laboratory (the Good Manufacturing Practices in force in the European Pharmaceutical Industry).
USDA Organic organic spirulina from Anastore contains 180 capsules for a total price of 23 €. Each capsule contains 500mg of Spirulina platensis powder , without allergens or GMOs. The capsule is made of plant material: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose.
This product is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women. It must be kept in a dry, cool place and protected from light. It should be noted that Spirulina Powder is designed by a GMP-compliant laboratory (the Good Manufacturing Practices in force in the European Pharmaceutical Industry).
Nutri & Co also offers a very good spirulina for a price unbeatable. This is for us one of the best quality / price you can find.
How to consume it?
In the trade we find spirulina in different forms: powder, tablets, capsules or in bulk.
Powder is the most practical form, because it can be mixed with food, whether it is sprinkled on our meal or poured into a liquid (water, milk, smoothie ...). You can control the daily amount with a pod or scale.
Capsules and capsules are mainly used when following a cure requiring a very precise dosage.
Finally, there is also spirulina in bulk. However, this form makes it more difficult to dose and it is not always known if it is composed solely of spirulina.
In any case, spirulina should not be considered as a main food, but only to be used to fill certain deficiencies during periods of fatigue, or from time to time to promote our immune system.
Attention to the provenance
We know that some species of algae can be neurotoxic. This is not the case for spirulina. The first reflex is to verify that the product is based on spirulina ( Spirulina platensis ) 100% without containing other algae.
However, even when the product is 100% spirulina, it is strongly recommended not to buy anything and check the source. Opt for spirulina from controlled cultivation areas and benefiting from European certifications. Indeed, if Spirulina has been grown in polluted water, it will contain many toxins.
For whom is spirulina recommended?
Spirulina should not replace a normal diet. In addition, if you take care of a healthy, balanced and varied diet, it must provide all the essential nutrients to your body and in sufficient quantities.
The consumption of food supplements is primarily for people with dietary deficiencies and those who suffer from certain ailments or who seek to reduce their fatigue and stress.
Conversely, spirulina is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding and those who are pregnant, but also for those who are undergoing medical treatment. Take the time to consult your doctor if in doubt.
Where to buy quality Spirulina at the best price?
You can find this super seaweed in shops specializing in organic products and dietary supplements. Still, to enjoy a greater choice, buying online is the best solution. However, on the internet, good and bad products come together, and when it comes to a food supplement, the precaution is in order. Also, we advise you to make your purchase on the Anastore online store. It is the European leader in the online sale of food supplements. The prices are interesting and the products are of quality.