Ignored Since the 1950s – Now a ‘Miracle’ High-Protein Super Food?
Posted By Dr. Mercola | July 01 2011 | 95,719 views
Imagine a plant that can
- nourish your body by providing most of the protein you need to live,
- help prevent the annoying sniffling and sneezing of allergies,
- reinforce your immune system,
- help you control high blood pressure and cholesterol and,
- help protect you from cancer. Does such a “super food” exist?
Yes. It’s called spirulina.
Unlike plants you may grow in your garden, this “miracle” plant is a form of blue-green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies.
Spirulina vs Chlorella — Similarities and Differences
Chlorella is another form of algae that is sometimes confused with spirulina. The fundamental difference between spirulina and chlorella is that spirulina is many thousands of years older and does not possess the hard cell wall that makes chlorella closer to being a plant than algae.
Chlorella is an excellent way to detoxify your body from mercury, which most of you are contaminated with if you’ve ever had dental fillings, received a vaccine, used certain types of cookware or eaten fish. Spirulina simply is unable to remove heavy metals like chlorella as it lacks a cell membrane.
Chlorella has also been proven to be of benefit to those who suffer from degenerative disease. This report, however, will focus on the specific benefits that can be attributed to spirulina in particular.
How Spirulina Helped Save Millions from Arsenic Poisoning
Most of us take clean, healthy drinking water for granted. Unfortunately, in some countries like Bangladesh, it is a luxury. As I stated in this previous article, much of the Bangladesh water supply is loaded with arsenic and up until the mid-1990s, little could be done to treat dying arsenic poisoning patients.
Bangladeshi researchers conducted a three-month-hospital-based study where spirulina was given to 33 patients while 17 received placebo doses. 82 percent of those taking spirulina showed tremendous improvement.
An Immune-System Power-Boost — Spirulina’s Impact on Candida and AIDS
According to a study done by the Department of Aquataculture in Taiwan, spirulina shows significant immune-boosting properties. Researchers exposed white shrimp to seawater containing a hot-water extract of spirulina before transferring them to seawater with a pH level of 6.8. The control group was not exposed to spirulina.
The shrimp exposed to the spirulina seawater showed a faster and more promising recovery rate to the high levels of pH than those not given the dose of spirulina first.
Now, let’s take a look at what this immune-system boosting power can mean for you:
If you have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus or fibromyalgia, chronic candida yeast can both cause and worsen your symptoms. Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your gut, which can help keep candida overgrowth under control.
HIV and AIDS
Drugs such as AZT used to treat HIV and AIDS patients can actually cause the symptoms they are supposed to cure. However, spirulina has been shown to help inactivate the human immunodeficiency virus associated with HIV and AIDS.
Nothing to Sneeze At
If you suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies, you’re not alone. Millions of people are allergic to pollen, ragweed, dust, mold, pet dander and a myriad other environmental contaminants, ensuring the makers of Kleenex will always stay in business.
Unfortunately, many people who have allergic rhinitis treat it with prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that often do more harm than good. Antihistamines are designed to suppress your immune system, which leads to decreased resistance to disease and dependence on the drug. Certain asthma drugs have been linked to serious side effects as well.
This is where natural methods such as the use of spirulina come in. According to one study, patients treated with spirulina reported relief of symptoms commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, such as nasal discharge and congestion, sneezing and itching when given spirulina.
Balances Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious health concern that affects millions of Americans today. If you have high blood pressure, you are at increased risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.
The good news is, following a healthy nutritional plan, getting adequate exercise and applying stress modification techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can help normalize blood pressure and get you back on track to optimal health. According to a study done by the Department of Biochemistry in Mexico, 4.5 grams of spirulina given each day, was shown to regulate blood pressure among both women and men between the ages of 18-65 years with no other dietary changes made during the 6 weeks the experiment was run.
For more information about high blood pressure and how to normalize it without resorting to potentially dangerous drugs, please see this link.
Help to Normalize Cholesterol Naturally
Are you on a cholesterol medication? Tens of millions of people take cholesterol-lowering medications every day and, according to “experts”, millions more should be taking them, including children! If you are skeptical about this recommendation please see this page, which contains a list of articles addressing the dangers of statin drugs.
Statin drugs are responsible for a host of unwanted and dangerous side effects including:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Immune depression
- Pancreas or liver dysfunction (including a potential increase in liver enzymes)
- Increased cancer risk
Cholesterol-lowering medications have also been linked to severe muscle problems such as polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet) and rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition). There is even evidence to suggest that taking statins can increase your risk of developing Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Thankfully, there are natural ways to lower your cholesterol. Avoiding fructose and grains, and getting appropriate exercise top the list (for more information, please see this previous article), but spirulina may also help. According to a study done on elderly male and female patients ages 60-87, those given 8 grams of spirulina per day for 16 consecutive weeks showed lower cholesterol levels than those who were given a placebo.
Lowers Stroke Risk
Those with sickle-cell anemia or congenital heart defects are at greater risk for a condition called brain ischemia or cerebral ischemia. Brain ischemia refers to a lack of blood flow to your brain, which causes oxygen deprivation and can lead to a stroke. Just ten seconds of interrupted blood flow to your brain can cause unconsciousness and lead to serious health consequences.
In a study done by Dr. Andhra Pradesh of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology in India, it was found that a dosage of 180mg of spirulina had a protective effect on the brain and nervous system of rats exposed to high amounts of free radicals, compared to rats not given the spirulina before the experiment. This lab test shows the promising effect of spirulina on stroke prevention.
Helps Reduce Cancer Risk
Cancer is the leading killer of adult Americans under 70 and in the case of this frightening disease, prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure. It could literally save your life.
My first recommendation in cutting your cancer risk is to eliminate sugar/fructose, grains, and processed foods from your diet. Additives such as fructose feed cancer cells and help them to thrive. I also recommend healthy sun exposure, which will boost your levels of natural vitamin D and help cut your cancer risk by half!
But spirulina may have potential benefits here as well. According to a study done in China, selenium-infused spirulina inhibited the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Healthy for Vegetarians — More Protein than Red Meat
When you think of protein, you probably imagine sitting down to a meal of organic eggs or grass-fed beef or maybe even drinking a whey protein shake.
If you’re a vegetarian, you may turn to plant-protein sources such as nuts, beans, lentils and soy products. Unfortunately, soy is not the health food it claims to be. None of the above-mentioned sources of protein compare to the protein punch delivered by spirulina. Spirulina is 65-71 percent complete protein compared to beef, which is only 22 percent, and lentils, which is only 26 percent.
In addition to being protein-rich, spirulina is an excellent source of vital amino acids and minerals easily assimilated by your body. You would need to consume only two tablespoons of spirulina as a protein substitute for a meal.