Alga Spirulina is part of the Cyanobacteria family, whose members are commonly referred to as green-blue algae. They are prokaryotes (single-celled organisms) and they live in fresh water. The name of this alga comes from its shape that reminds to the shape of a microscopic spiral.
The typical green-blue color is given by the pigments contained in the alga, especially by chlorophyll and the phycocyanin. Carotenoids are also contained, and they are the precursors of Vitamin A. All of these pigments work as antioxidants which means they are able to neutralize the free radicals that formed during some natural biochemical processes in the cells of our organism. They can also form because of some external agents such ad smoke, pollution etc.
The Chlorophyll contained in alga Spirulina is an important source of magnesium and it is also a protein molecule that can detoxify the organism. Moreover, phycocyanin stimulates the bone marrow which produces red and white blood cells such as lymphocytes. These have a role key to protect our body from infectious, allergic, and neoplastic diseases.
Spirulina is a very ancient alga, and it has been used as food or as a food ingredient by Aztecs until the 17th century. Spirulina is indeed a good source of proteins, which are for their 65% formed by all the 8 essential amino acids, making this alga a good supplement for those who practice lot of sports but also for those who feel weak after an illness and for older people that tend to lose muscles because of a more static life. One of the 8 amino acids is called phenylalanine ad it can control the sense of hunger. This characteristic can be exploit in diets together with the Vitamins, potassium, magnesium, phosphor and iron also contained in Spirulina. It is important to say that Spirulina does not contain iodine.
The Alga contains also Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as Omega3, Omega6 and Omega9 that might help keep the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride low.
Spirulina is to be considered as a superfood because of all the elements that it contains and that are perfect after a workout or an illness.
Dr. Fabrizio Ferretti (Pharmacist)