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Is Spirulina a Super-Food or Overly Hyped Myth?

Spirulina tablets.

Grown in many countries throughout the world, Spirulina is both a human dietary supplement and whole food. Dating back to the 15th century, Aztecs and Mesoamericans both harvested Spirulina. NASA and the European Space Agency both have an interest in growing Spirulina on long missions in space. In 1974, The United Nations World Food Conference thought Spirulina to be the ‘best food of the future’. With such a pedigree, it is a super food to be sure.

The United States, Myanmar, China, Thailand, and India are the primary producers of Spirulina. The first large-scale production facility of Spirulina was built-in early 1970, by the French. Spirulina harvesting techniques employ long open channels or waterways, as it is microscopic blue – green algae, which can exist in fresh and salt water.

The health benefits are many, although like many dietary foods or supplements, its finding varies depending on the source, and the type of study cited. As stated previously, NASA, The European Space Agency, and the United Nations are just some of spirulina advocates. The Food and Drug Administration does not require food supplements to certify claims, therefore, potential users will need to make a determination on their own research. The known side effects of spirulina are low in almost all users.

Those taking spirulina can expect an effective hay fever, inflammation from arthritis, and positive impacts on high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For the vegetarian, spirulina provides a very high source of protein. It is a great source of nutritional quality.

In addition, spirulina is a great daily source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and photosynthetic pigments. According to The American Dietetic Association, a person cannot rely on spirulina as a primary source of active vitamin B-12. However, Spirulina does contain vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and vitamin C, vitamin D, and Vitamin E.

Spirulina can benefit the athlete, as shown in a 2006 study, which established a decrease in creatine kinase among the participants. This reduces muscular breakdown after exercise speeding up recovery time, causing athletes to take notice of Spirulina. In addition, endurance athletes may find that time to total exhaustion increases, due to its antioxidant potential.

Spirulina is a wonder food long on possible health benefits and short on potential risks. Available in tablets, powder, and flakes, it fits easily into your daily routine. Several spirulina brands carry the USDA Organic label.

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