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Spirulina
Overview
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids, antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).
Spirulina -- like any blue-green algae -- can be contaminated with toxic substances called microcystins. It can also absorb heavy metals from the water where it is grown. For these reasons, it is important to buy spirulina from a trusted brand.


The Health Benefits of Spirulina
arw Boost the Immune System
arw Improve Digestion
arw Reduce fatigue
arw Build Endurance
arw Nature’s Detoxifier – Cleanse the body
arw Boost Energy Levels
arw Control Appetite
arw Maintain Healthy Cardiovascular function
arw Support the Liver and Kidneys
arw Reduce Inflammation
arw Benefit People Who Suffer from Allergies
 
What is Spirulina ?
Spirulina is 100% natural and a highly nutritious micro salt water plant. This spiral shaped algae is a rich food source. For a long time (centuries) this algae has constituted a significant part of the diet of many communities. Since the 1970′s, Spirulina has been well known and widely used as a dietary supplement.
Spirulina contains rich vegetable protein (60' 63 %, 3'4 times higher than fish or beef ), multi Vitamins (Vitamin B 12 is 3'4 times higher than animal liver), which is particularly lacking in a vegetarian diet. It contains a wide range of minerals (including Iron, Potassium, Magnesium Sodium, Phosphorus, Calcium etc.), a high volume of Beta- carotene which protects cells (5 time more than carrots, 40 time more than spinach), high volumes of gamma-Linolein acid (which can reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease).


Where it is found
Spirulina is a microscopic algae that flourishes in warm climates and warm alkaline water. It is available dried and freeze-dried.

Benefits / uses
Immune Support
A number of animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses such as cancer.

Protein Supplement
Amino acids make up 62% of spirulina. Because it is a rich source of protein and other nutrients, spirulina has been used as a nutritional supplement. However, although spirulina contains a certain level of protein, you would need to take very large quantities to see any effect. Other sources of protein, such as nuts, legumes, whole grains, and meat, provide protein in smaller servings.

Allergic Reactions
Animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina may protect against allergic reactions by stopping the release of histamines, substances that contribute to allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and soft-tissue swelling.

Antibiotic-related Illnesses
Although antibiotics destroy unwanted organisms in the body, they may also kill "good" bacteria called probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. This can cause diarrhea. In test tubes, spirulina has boosted the growth of L. acidophilus and other probiotics.

Infection
Test tube studies suggest that spirulina has activity against herpes, influenza, and HIV.

Oral Cancer
In one placebo-controlled study, taking spirulina seemed to reduce a precancerous lesion known as leukoplasia in people who chewed tobacco. Lesions were more likely to go away in the spirulina group than in the placebo group.

Liver Disorders
Preliminary evidence suggests that spirulina may help protect against liver damage and cirrhosis (liver failure) in people with chronic hepatitis.

Best Form For Human Consumption
Spirulina is available in pill or powder form, or as flakes.

Doses
A standard dose is 4 - 6 tablets (500 mg each) per day.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Spirulina appears safe, even at high doses. However, it can be contaminated with other substances that can be toxic. It is important to buy a reputable brand of spirulina.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking spirulina.
People with a metabolic condition called phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid taking spirulina. People with this rare condition cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine. Spirulina is rich in all amino acids, including phenylalanine.

If you have an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, you should avoid spirulina. Theoretically, it could stimulate your immune system and make your condition worse.


Possible Interactions:
There are no reports in the scientific literature to suggest that spirulina interacts with any conventional medications. However, it is possible that spirulina might interfere with drugs given to suppress the immune system, including:
Adalimumab (Humira)
Azathioprine (Imuran)
Cyclosporine (Neoral)
Etanercept (Enbrel)
Infliximab (Remicade)
Leflunomide (Arava)
Methotrexate
Mycophenolate (CellCept)


Research studies / References
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Blinkova LP, Gorobets OB, Baturo AP. [Biological activity of Spirulina.] Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2001;(2): 114-118.
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Chamorro-Cevallos G, Garduno-Siciliano L, Barron BL, Madrigal-Bujaidar E, Cruz-Vega DE, Pages N. Chemoprotective effect of Spirulina (Arthrospira) against cyclophosphamide-induced mutagenicity in mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(2):567-74.
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Deng R, Chow TJ. Hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and antiinflammatory activities of microalgae Spirulina. Cardiovasc Ther. 2010 Aug;28(4):e33-45. Review.
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Khan Z, Bhadouria P, Bisen PS. Nutritional and therapeutic potential of Spirulina. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2005 Oct;6(5):373-9. Review.
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Khan M, Shobha JC, Mohan IK, Rao Naidu MU, Prayag A, Kutala VK. Spirulina attenuates cyclosporine-induced nephrotoxicity in rats. J Appl Toxicol. 2006;26(5):444-51.
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Lu HK, Hsieh CC, Hsu JJ, Yang YK, Chou HN. Preventive effects of Spirulina platensis on skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative stress. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006 Sep;98(2):220-6.
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Mao TK, Van De Water J, Gershwin ME. Effect of spirulina on the secretion of cytokines from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. J Medicinal Food. 2000;3(3):135-139.
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Mazo VK, Gmoshinski IV, Zilova IS. Microalgae Spirulina in human nutrition. Vopr Pitan. 2004;73(1):45-53.
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Puyfoulhoux G, Rouanet JM, Besancon P, Baroux B, Baccou JC, Caporiccio B. Iron availability from iron-fortified spirulina by an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell culture model. J Agric Food Chem. 2001;49(3):1625-1629.
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Reddy CM, Bhat VB, Kiranmai G, Reddy MN, Reddanna P, Madyastha KM. Selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 by C-phocyanin, a biliprotein from Spirulina platensis. Biochem Ciophys Res Commun. 2000;277(3):599-603.
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Wang Y, Chang CF, Chou J, Chen HL, Deng X, Harvey BK, Cadet JL, Bickford PC. Dietary supplementation with blueberries, spinach or spirulina reduces ischemic brain damage. Exp Neurol. 2005;193(1):75-84.