SPIRULINA: HUGE HEALTH BENEFITS
The Secret of the Ultimate Athletes
I had been told for a number of years that spirulina was THE health food, but did not believe it until something special happened to me.
I was at a kinesiology seminar. I had known at school and university that my mind needed a break after 50 minutes of study. This was backed up later in other seminars where they used super learning. If the brain is given a break every 50 minutes for 5-10 minutes, it takes up where it left off and is greatly refreshed. This enhances learning and retention. Without this break, concentration goes way down. I had told my teacher David Bridgman this, but on the seminar he was obviously ignoring my advice. After two hours straight, I was exhausted. My brain was numb. I could absorb no new information. It was an informal and fun class. There were about twenty of us seated in chairs in a circle facing the whiteboard. Many present, including the teacher, were my friends. So, I did just what my body was telling me to do – I lay down in the foetal position on the carpet in front of my chair and closed my eyes.
I could hear David laughingly tell me to get up, to manifest energy. I ignored him. Then I heard him tell someone to stick some spirulina in my mouth. Two spirulina tablets were stuck in my mouth by someone. The weird thing was, even though I was determined to stay there until David gave us a break, some how the spirulina made my body feel so good that within a minute I was back sitting in my chair!
David explained then that mental exercise exhausts RNA from the brain, and spirulina is an excellent source for RNA. There is an Applied Kinesiology test which uses muscle testing to test for RNA deficiency. The testor touches the bridge of the nose with one hand, and then muscle tests (with their other arm) one arm of the client. If the client’s arm tests weak (when previously it was strong), there is an RNA deficiency. If the person tested then takes some spirulina, the weak test can usually turn into a strong test. (Other points on the body that show different areas for testing for deficiency and excess of different vitamins, minerals etc. are shown in Dr Sheldon Deal’s Basic Applied Kinesiology Workshop Manual).
If you are tired or mentally drained, taking spirulina can make a big difference, quickly. Unlike caffeine, it is helping your body by providing nutrients etc., not just acting like a drug to drain your adrenals.
The Key Features of Earthrise Spirulina are:
One 3 g (6 x 500 mg tablets) serving supplies the nutritional equivalent of TWO servings of fresh vegetables!
Rich in antioxidants
Boosts energy and cellular health
Ecologicaly grown in USA, in the California desert; pesticide and herbicide free
More than 60% easy-to-digest all-vegetable protine.
Rare food source of the essential fatty acid GLA
High in B-12 and easy-to-absorb iron
A serving size of 6 Earthrise 500 mg Tablets (3 g) contains:
Protein 1.7 g (4% DV). Including of Alanine (144 mg), Arginine (141 mg), Aspartic acid (195 mg), Cystine (18 mg), Glutamic Acid (297 mg), Glycine (96 mg), Histidine (30 mg), Isoleucine (102 mg), Leucine (174 mg), Lysine (99 mg), Methionine (39 mg), Phenylalanine (87 mg), Proline (78 mg), Serine (96 mg), Threonine (96 mg),Trytophan (27 mg), Tyrosine (81 mg), Valine (114 mg)
Carbohydrates 0.5 g
Fats 0.2 g
Vitamins including Vitamin A 4000IU (80% DV), Vitamin K (17 mcg), Thiamine B1 (0.03 mg), Riboflavin B2 (0.06 mg), Niacin B3 (0.35 mg), Vitamin B12 2.8 mcg (45% DV)
Minerals in an easy-to-absorb form including Calcium (7 mg), Iron 1.5 mg (8% DV), Magnesium (7 mg), Zinc (45 mcg), Manganese (50 mcg), Copper (12 mcg), Chromium (<15 mcg),Sodium (15 mg), Potassium (40 mg)
- Phytonutrients including Phycocyanin (420 mg), Polysaccharides (200 mg), Sulfolipids (40 mg), SOD (5000 Units), Chlorophyll (30 mg), Gamma Linolenic Acid (30 mg), Linoleic Acid (27 mg), Mixed carotenoids (8 mg), Lutein (1.5 mg)
But what makes Spirulina so special is SYNERGY. Synergy is where 1 + 1 = 3 or 4 or 5 or more. Here’s an example of synergy: If you mix tin, which is a soft metal, with copper, which is a soft metal, you should get a soft metal. But you don’t, you get super strong bronze.
There are two problems that I see it with taking spirulina. One is that it doesn’t always taste so good. Some brands make some people feel nauseous. This may be because of toxins from contaminant algae.
Secondly, most health food stores don’t seem to realise this is a FOOD rather than a supplement. Their prices are way too exorbitant, especially if you want to take it in quantity.
I have solved the taste problem by finally finding the best tasting spirulina I have ever found – Earthrise. Earthrise is the leader in algae safety research. It has developed a new method for detecting toxins from contaminant algae. To me, the tablets are so good, you can eat them rather than just swallowing them. This is good because it is always a good idea to let your stomach know what is on the way, so that it can prepare for it. To people not used to spirulina it may not taste ‘good’ like as in ‘chocolate-good’ – but your body will go YUM. The taste is very fresh, without that ‘fishy’ taste some have. And if you have problem swallowing them, there is a new “Tiny Tabs” brand which has much smaller tablets.
It is suggested that as well as taking Spirulina as part of your regular diet, that you have tablets on hand at all times. If you get tired, can’t think clearly or have sugar cravings, take six to see what happens. To really save money, buy a four pound bag of powder, and take it in a smoothie drink, sprinkle it on salads and in curries, meals etc. (remembering that it’s best to have it uncooked) or make your own capsules.
Super nutrition for the 21St century
By Gary Bushkin, PhD, CNC and Estitta Bushkin, PhD, CNC
Spirulina is believed by anthropologists and biologists to be the oldest living plant on the planet. This “old faithful” has provided complete nutrition, unmatched in value, for over 3.5 million years. Only in the past 75 years have we become familiar with Spirulina, a sleeping powder keg of “green power” that has the potential to become the prime choice for a world super food of the future.
Spirulina is one of approximately 1,500 species of microscopic aquatic plants called blue-green micro algae that have inhabited the earth for several million years. In it’s natural state, Spirulina has been discovered in the lakes and waterways of Africa, Central America and South America. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Aztec Indians of Mexico regularly harvested Spirulina for food from natural green lakes and ponds. Native cooks mixed it with maize (cornmeal) to make green pancakes that were a staple of their simple diet. Currently, there are two common varieties of this spiral shaped blue-green algae currently being cultivated and harvested for human consumption, known as Spirulina maxima and Spirulina platensis.
Today, Spirulina is extensively harvested in tank environments that are set up to provide growing conditions that mimic it’s ideal natural habitat. Although Spirulina is cultivated around the world, the largest and most respected Spirulina “farm” is located in the hot California desert sunshine far away from polluted city air. There, from April to October, controlled cultivation of Spirulina takes place. Spirulina is grown in man-made cultivation ponds which help keep out undesirable weed algae, micro bacteria and parasites. These ponds are fed Colorado River water, minerals and carbon dioxide, needed by Spirulina for photosynthesis. Many hours each day of intense sunlight promotes rapid growth. Immediately after being harvested from these ponds, Spirulina is filtered to a thick consistency, dehydrated, and put in oxygen-protective containers. Every day, each lot is tested to ensure safety and consistent nutrient levels. The entire process — from growing pond to powder – takes about 15 minutes. This powder is then bottled and sold as a supplement as either a powder, tablet of capsule. It is also sold as an ingredient that is used in many other dietary supplements.
Bionutritional Functions Of Spirulina
Spirulina has been blessed by nature with a huge arsenal of valuable nutrients. Of special interest is the phycocyanin, a blue pigment naturally present in large amounts. Results of a 1986 study presented at the International Association for Dental Research General Session concluded that phycocyanin was unique because of its cytostatic (suppressing formation of new cancer cell colonies) and cytotoxic (that destroy existing colonies of cancer cells) abilities.
Spirulina is also naturally “pumped” with vitamins, especially the carotenoids like beta-carotene, essential fatty acids (EFA’s), the important fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), digestive enzymes, minerals and the richest plant source of vitamin B12. Spirulina is the “must have” green food- a complete protein with all eight essential amino acids present. Its 60% protein content is four times greater than beef (18%)! In our society, where the concept of complete protein is meat and dairy, it is very reassuring to know that greens like Spirulina can provide all the high quality protein and other nutrients needed.
Spirulina and Vitamin B12 Controversy
A major argument frequently used to support the consumption of animal foods in the diet and negate the tremendous value of Spirulina incorrectly states that plants do not contain vitamin B12. A single serving of Spirulina contains 45% of your daily value of vitamin B12. That’s good news and reassuring for vegetarians, many of who are incorrectly led to believe that eating animal food is critical to getting this essential blood building vitamin
Spirulina Research and Studies
While Spirulina research conducted over the years has clearly shown its multi-faceted health promoting effects, the two latest studies in the areas of immunomodulation and cancer protection tell the big story.
Spirulina Controls Immunomodulation and Uprequlates Immunity
Spirulina’s most powerful health benefits lie in its ability to stimulate and maintain immune system activity. The results of the Mao, Van De Water and Gershwin study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food (2000), and conducted at the university of California at Davis School of Medicine, provide continued understanding and proof of the awesome power of Spirulina.
The study, performed on Spirulina grown by Earthrise Nutritionals, demonstrated that Spirulina was able to raise the levels of three cytokines (specialized proteins produced by immune system lymphocytes) particularly one form of interferon (IFN)-y, to 13.6 times basal levels, and two forms of interleukins, (IL)-1 beta to 3.3 times basal levels, and IL-4, to 2.0 times basal levels. This evidence is highly convincing in terms of expanding Spirulina research and it’s use in food. Earlier, the results of the Baojiang study, given at the Second Asia-Pacific Conference on Algal Biotechnology, 1994, concluded that polysaccharides of Spirulina platensis, at the dosage of 150-300 mg/kg by injection or taken orally, can increase the percentage of T-lymphocyte in the blood. The results demonstrate that Spirulina polysaccharides can improve cellular and humoral immunity.
Hayashi, in the Journal of Nutritional Science Vitaminology, showed that Spirulina extract significantly enhanced interleukin-1 (IL-1) production from peritoneal macrophages. These results suggest that Spirulina enhances the immune response, particularly the primary response, by stimulating macrophage functions, phagocytosis, and IL-1 production.
Spirulina Prevents Cancer
At the 30th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Immunology in November 2000, breakthrough research was reported by the Osaka Institute of Public Health. Spirulina, in conjunction with BCG-CWS, a cell wall component derived from Tubercle bacillus; was able to enhance the anti-tumor propagation effect of BCG-CWS. This inhibitory effect occurred because Spirulina upregulated the tumor destroying activity of natural killer (NK) cells and the cytokine interferon gamma.
This heightened activity was observed 1-2 weeks after initiating Spirulina use, continuing 12- 24 weeks after treatment ceased.
Researchers believe that the clinical findings support the serious potential for Spirulina as an Immunotherapy agent. Mishima and colleagues reported in Clinical & Experimental Metastasis, 1998, that Ca-SP, calcium spirulan isolated from Spirulina platensis, could reduce the lung metastasis of B16-BL6 melanoma cells by inhibiting the tumor invasion of basement membrane probably through the prevention of the adhesion and migration of tumor cells.
Spirulina Is A Powerful Antioxidant
As a food additive, Spirulina maxima contains beta-carotene, tocopherols and phenolic acids, which are proven to exhibit antioxidant properties. The antioxidant activity of Spirulina can be attributed to phycocyanin, the blue pigment found in blue-green algae that contains phytochemicals with scavenging properties. The Miranda study (1998), published in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, demonstrated a 71 % antioxidant capacity for the group taking the Spirulina extract and 54% for the group that did not, indicating strong antioxidant protection.
The results obtained indicate that Spirulina provides some antioxidant protection for both in vitro and in vivo systems. The Romay study demonstrated that phycocyanin is able to scavenge the very dangerous hydroxy radical and inhibit the oxidation of lipids in the liver.
Spirulina Is Cardioprotective
At the Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science, Deemed University in Coimbatore, India, Ramamoorthy and colleagues tested the effects of Spirulina on patients with a combination of high cholesterol (above 250 mg/dI) and ischemic heart disease. They concluded that Spirulina plays a key role, lowering blood cholesterol levels and improving lipid profiles.
Spirulina’s cell wall is unique too. It is made up of mucopolysaccharides that provide numerous health benefits.
Of special interest is the ability of these mucopolysaccharides to lower blood fats. This was also brought to light in a 1976 study showing that Spirulina controlled the tendency and ability of cholesterol and other lipoproteins to bond with arterial receptors and attach to artery walls.
Spirulina Lowers Blood Pressure
Research studies show that Spirulina was able to cause a significant change in vascular tone by increasing the synthesis and release of nitric oxide and by decreasing the synthesis and release of a vasoconstricting substance from the endothelial cells.
Spirulina Is Anti-Viral
A 1998 study conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School has also given us some positive news. Using an aqueous extract of Spirulina, researchers were able to inhibit the replication of the HIV-1 virus in human T-cells of the immune system, mononuclear blood cells and Langerhans cells of the pancreas. While this was a test-tube study, it tends to confirm what is seen in animals fed Spirulina or Spirulina extracts. A 1993 issue of Phytotherapy Research reported scientists feeding Spirulina extract to hamsters infected with a lethal form of Herpes Simplex Virus. Hamsters had prolonged survival times and increased survival rates when fed Spirulina extract before infection.
While no official guidelines for recommended daily intake have been established at this time, many experts suggest 3,000 mg per day as a preventive, healthy dose, ideally taken with food in servings of powder, capsules or tablets.
For therapeutic use, 10,000 mg and even 20,000 mg per day is indicated. Spirulina is available in forms that are convenient to take, easy to digest, have no saturated fat, and have not been treated with nor contain chemicals or pesticides. Spirulina is a nutritional wonder food.
A Colorful Conclusion
While many dietary supplements and foods regularly “pop” on the market with a big bang, they frequently become short lived, trendy items without strong science behind them.
Although long known to man, green plants, earth’s most ancient foods, have now emerged as the world’s newest nutritional wonders. They hold the power to nourish, protect and heal, the body, extending lifespan at the same time. Because the research on Spirulina is extensive, thorough and very convincing, we believe it will be a world powerfood of the future.
New green food supplements are always in development. Interest and purchases of Spirulina and green food supplements are rising steadily, as people are being given an opportunity to learn a great deal more about them and their exceptional health benefits. The time has come for the power of green foods and green food supplements to be unleashed into the world food chain to improve the health regimens of people everywhere. Whether the choice is tablets, capsules or green food powders to mix into juices and other beverages for a healthy treat, the future of health is green!
About the Authors
Gary Bushkin, PhD, CNC and Estitta Bushkin, PhD, CNC, are natural health authors, journalists and consultants with diverse experience in nutrition and the natural health products industry. Earning their degrees from the Clayton College of Natural Health, this versatile duo has co-authored two books, “FAA’s – All About Green Food Supplements” (Avery Publishing, Spring 1999) and “The Folic Acid Book” (DW Press, Spring, 2001. As contributing editors to popular consumer and trade magazines, the Bushkin’s have penned dozens of articles about natural health, nutrition and alternative medicine for Better Nutrition, Food Distribution Magazine, Great Life, Health Products Business, and are members of the Health Products Business Editorial Board. They were also “Q & A – Ask the Experts” columnists for Nutrition Science News and Health and Nutrition Breakthroughs. As consultants to the natural products industry, they have developed and formulated dietary supplements and functional foods. The Bushkins are Certified Nutritional Consultants and members of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants and the Coalition for Natural Health.
Earthrise Spirulina is Superior because of:
Perfect Desert Climate: Sunny, clean and remote
Ecological Cultivation: Earth-friendly farming uses no pesticides, no herbicides, causes no soil erosion or water contamination
Closed-loop Water Recycling
Pesticide Free: Independent labs test each lot for 66 environmental contaminants. None have been detected!
Quick harvest and drying: Only 15 mintues from growing ponds to fresh harvest to dry product insures freshness.
Superior drying technology: Spray drying takes only a few seconds, preserving nutritional potency.
100% purity: No additives, stabilizers, preservatives or irradition. (Note from Stephanie Relfe: I was horrified to learn from a distributor at a recent health fair that a major MLM distributor of green food irradiates their food thinking it is good for it – but doesn’t say so on the brochures!)
Innovator of Super Spirulina: Farm scientists developed the next generation with high zinc, an essential nutrient fr the immune system.
Cold-press tabletting: Smooth finish and no fillers
Highest Quality Assurance: Over FORTY safety and quality tests on live culter and dry product for every lot produced.
Leader in algae safety research: Developed a new method for detecting toxins from contaminant algae. (Note from Stephanie Relfe: Is it toxins from contaminant algae that make some people feel nauseous from some other brands?)
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