Spirulina: Nutritional and Therapeutic

Its composition has a high percentage of protein (65 to 70%), all nine essential amino acids and nonessential minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron and phosphorus, all B vitamins, vitamin E, etc..

It also contains natural complex sugars, carotenoids, enzymes, and only 7% fat in the form of essential fatty acids. Many consider it as an alternative supply in the future, especially for third world countries.
By: Amelia Fernandez Galdo

After the return of Cortes to Spain, Lopez de Gomara, wrote The Conquest of Mexico from the documents of the conqueror, and perhaps under his instructions or dictation. He reports that the Aztec people as food consumed some blue-green substance called tecuitlatl, “a type of land, for with the help of very fine mesh nets, abarren, at certain times of year, the ground thing that grows on water lagoons of Mexico, and concrete, and which is neither grass nor land, but as silt. There dello much, and were, as who makes salt, empty, and there is curdled and dried. Hócenlo cakes as bricks, and not only sold in the market, more llévanlas to other out of town and away. “

Reports indicate that more contemporary kanembous, inhabitants of Kanem, northern Chad (Africa), harvested from the lakes algae, which then prepared as food (70% of their diet): The dihe, reminiscent tecuitlatl. Both are preparations of high protein content, which is an essential component of spirulina.

Spirulina and its composition

Spirulina is a multicellular photosynthetic algae, tiny, bluish green (Cianophyceae), barely half a millimeter in length. It inhabits the planet for three billion years. It grows and multiplies in highly alkaline and saline waters of certain lakes in Africa, subtropical and tropical Asia, and America. After isolation by Turpin in 1827 a stream of fresh water, different species have been found in environments such as soil, sand, sea water and fresh water. The Latin word Spirulina means spiral small, relative to the form of its structure. Should the chlorophyll green, and blue phycocyanin.

In its composition there is a high percentage of protein (65 to 70%), all nine essential amino acids and nonessential, in perfect balance; minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron and phosphorus, vitamins like pyridoxine (B6), biotin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, inositol, niacin or nicotinic acid, riboflavin (B2), thiamine (B1), Tocopherol (E). Cyanocobalamin (B12). It also contains natural complex sugars, carotenoids, enzymes and 7% fat in the form of essential fatty acids.

Nutritional and therapeutic action

The protein content of spirulina is superior to other traditional sources (fish, 10% soy, 30-35% milk, 3% peanut, 25% eggs, 12% grain, 8% meat, 20 -22%). Lacking hard cellulose in the cell wall, provides better protein digestibility (95%), so that favors individuals with intestinal malabsorption.

Essential fatty acids are found in a majority proportion in the lipid constituents. In particular, the acid?-Linolenic acid is a precursor of prostaglandins (PGE), and some research has found a decrease of this fatty acid and PGE in degenerative diseases. It has been shown a beneficial effect of the acid?-Linolenic arthritis, obesity, alcoholism, neuropsychiatric diseases and inflammatory conditions.

Like other algae, absorbs and natural organic complexes with important trace elements, which are easily assimilated by the body. Inorganic minerals are necessary for the structural reconstruction of body tissues, and participate in processes such as the action of enzyme systems, muscle contraction, nerve reactions and blood clotting.

Selenium, zinc and copper, for example, form part of important biochemical functions in preserving the structure and function of tissues in the central nervous system, besides having a strong antioxidant action. Iron-element essential for normal production of hemoglobin, has twenty times more content than common foods rich. Studies on the bioavailability of iron present in the algae pose that is absorbed by 60% from the present in the tablets of ferrous sulfate. An advantage over other algae spirulina is its low content of iodine and sodium, which causes more people to consume.

It is one of the foods richest in beta carotene (Provit.A) constituent, along with vitamin E protects cells against damage caused by free radicals (antioxidant). Vitamin A is essential for epithelial cells and normal growth.

In general, vitamin E is absorbed limited, so its deficit in the organism is common. It is known that this vitamin is essential to protect the integrity and stability of the axonal membrane. The B complex vitamins have important functions closely related, so that the deficit in any of them affects the metabolism of the other. Except niacin, synthesized from tryptophan in the human body, these vitamins must be obtained from exogenous sources (vegetables, meat) or from the microorganisms in the intestinal flora, such as the B12. B1-most important factor in the metabolism of the central nervous system, not only is provided directly by spirulina, but its absorption is made more efficient by increasing the producing lactobacilli.

Folic acid and vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) are vitamins to form cooperative functions in the synthesis of purine and pyrimidine nucleotides, and in obtaining methionine. The deficit of folic acid and B12 has its most common cause of poor diet, can appear and neuropsychiatric disorders polineuropáticos. The daily requirement for vitamin B12 are achieved with only 3 grams of Spirulina intake, without adding any other natural product.
contains all eight essential amino acids, ie those that must be taken in food, because the human body does not can synthesize.

The synthesis of the required human proteins as a whole, and are necessary to promote growth and maintain health. The abundant amount of methionine present allows the formation of choline, a precursor of myelin, and next to the cysteine sulfur are the source for the conversion of cyanide to thiocyanate, so it plays a detoxification function in relation to cyanide.

Phenylalanine content justifies its use in diets. This amino acid acts as a natural appetite suppressant, it produces a substance known as cholecystokinin, which acts quickly on the hypothalamus, a center that controls appetite.
Phycocyanin-present in high concentrations in the algae-exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects demonstrated .
Spirulina is marketed internationally as nutrition or dietetic supplement of exceptional quality, and not as a medicine, although numerous studies indicate its therapeutic value.

Research and Studies: the best results

Research conducted since the early 1980 indicate that produces good results when used as a dietary supplement in patients with intestinal or kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, acne, cardiovascular disease, cancer or AIDS. The consumption of vitamins and minerals in the natural source is advantageous with respect to their synthetic analogues, because they are bound to protein complexes, carbohydrates, lipids and chelates, which together are readily assimilable by the organism.

Scientific reports indicate beneficial effects of spirulina in the treatment of some diseases with associated neuropathic disorders such as diabetes, some types of tumors and anemia, either by controlling blood sugar levels, by its antioxidant effect or the provision of large amounts of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, respectively. It also has antiviral activity against several pathogenic viruses, attributed in part to its content sulfoglicolípidos, which may be related to its ability to enhance immune response and stimulate the function of macrophages.

Recent studies have reported the possibility of strengthening the immune system. The presence of high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids are hypocholesterolemic action and certainly additional advantages in the preservation of health. Finally, promotes kidney function to remove toxic substances from the body and reduces the side effects of some drugs. Apparently, the beneficial effects of spirulina lie in the synergistic action of its components, which have no side effects or addictive.

Nutritional Supplement

Recommended as a nutritional supplement take 2-3 tablets or capsules (400 mg) with meals. As a powder, a tablespoon, you can add one ounce of fruit juice to make more pleasant taste. As an adjunct to weight loss diets are recommended for 6-9 tablets per day (0,5-1 hour before meals).

Thanks to the nutritional quality of tecuitlatl, is now recognized that this played an important role to ensure adequate food, correct and balanced Aztec people, settled with little primitive agriculture and food diversity.

Knowing the wealth of spirulina currently promoting experimental and intensive cultivation in different latitudes. In culture, the average yields per hectare are about 15 to 20 dry tons / year, ie from 9 to 12 t / ha / year in proteins, although often manifested higher values (1 ha of corn produces approximately alone, 400 kg). This plant organism has become a target of dietetics. Research results are quite interesting and optimistic have shown that it is possible to try and improve the state of protein-energy malnutrition in children using spirulina. Many consider it as an alternative supply in the future, especially for third world countries.

Did you know …?

The Aztec messengers, whose great strength enabled them to run for days and days, as food had spirulina cakes.

Also our high jump world record holder Javier Sotomayor, and Olympic champion Lee Evans, twice gold medal holder of four world records in track and field, have recognized the use of spirulina as a nutritional supplement.

In general, the algae are valuable supplements to nutrition. Japan is the country where most algae are consumed per capita, and the one that produces and exports.

Perhaps that is why the most traded species have Japanese names:

Nori. red or purple algae, typical for the preparation of sushi. Blackish green when dry and after cooking. Usually sold in sheets thin and dry, similar to paper.

Kombu. are used to prepare a broth called dashi. Your contribution of calcium, iron, potassium and iodine is remarkable.

Hijiki. algae popular in the kitchen Nippon. His tiny twigs, when soaked, resemble black noodles.

Arame. Similar to the above, but sweeter and less crisp. Yellowish brown in color if they are raw, and blackish to be cooked.

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