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All about Spirulina - The wonder algae

Updated on March 4, 2013

Spirulina is a all natural food source/supplement. Spirulina is a cynobacteria and has two distinct varieties Arthrospira platensis, and Arthrospira maxima. Arthrospira platensis is the variety found in Africa, Asia and South America and Arthrospira maxima is found in Central America.

Info: Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae is a bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis.Cyanobacteria are know to have existed billions of years ago and all plants have evolved to produce sugars from sunlight (photosynthesis) learning from Cyanobacterias.

Spirulina has been widely accepted as a health food even as early as the 9th century in Chad, Africa and used extensively by the Aztecs, in South America. The Aztecs used to farm Spirulina and harvest them and make squarish cakes, later eaten as nourishing condiment.

The Aztecs harvested Spirulina off lakes by skimming the surface with ropes and then drying the algae into square cakes that would be eaten later.
The Aztecs harvested Spirulina off lakes by skimming the surface with ropes and then drying the algae into square cakes that would be eaten later.

Spirulina - Benefits

Fact: It grows naturally in tropical and subtropical lakes with high pH (meaning high acidity) and high concentrations of carbonate and bicarbonate. It consumes a carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxide (NO) and/or sulfur oxide (SO) and releases Oxygen (O2).
Benefit: These properties (said above) have made it useful in naturally purifying polluted water bodies like lakes and rivers in tropical regions and also systems are being developed that purify air using Spirulina. The algae used for this process have high level of toxins in them and are not suitable for human consumption.

Fact: Spirulina Alga is one of the most adaptable organisms that can grow in harshest of climates from (32 to 45 degrees C) and has even survived in temperatures of 60 degrees C.
Benefit: This algae can be heated or processed but still retains its nutritional value unlike plants and vegetables that lose most of its nutritional value when heated.

Fact: It is said to have extreme high concentrations of several nutirents needs for human body. It is said to have close to 100 nutrients. Below is a list of common nutrients found and their benefits:

Proteins: 55-77% of the weight.
Benefit: It is a complete protein with all amino acids. It is one of the richest sources of protein - 300-400% more than beef or fish. Also the proteins from the algae are absorbed 400% more easily than from beef.

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, C, D, E.
Benefit: Almost all required vitamins are found in this algae and not only that they are very rich in them. For example it has 900% more beta-carotene/Vitamin A than in carrots. All vitamins constitute to a very healthy well being.

Minerals: Potassium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium, Sodium, and Zinc.
Benefit: They also have essential minerals whose deficiency might lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders and osteoporosis.

Essential Fatty Acids: Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Linoleic acid (LA), Stearidonic acid (SDA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Arachidonic acid (AA).
Benefit: It helps in several aspects of body like for good skin, treatment of Alzheimer, cancer, helps pregnant moms during and after child birth, essential for central nervous system and functioning of heart and general metabolism, high volumes of linolenic acids reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

Photosynthetic Pigments: chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, beta-carotene, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3'-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin, oscillaxanthin, phycobiliproteins c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin.
Benefit: The high levels of these elements explain Spirulina algaes ability to thwart cancer colonies. It has the gift to improve your bodies natural immune system, that can help to battle cancer cells and other diseases like the common cold or HIV. Japanese have long been using Spirulina to cure/reduce effects of cancer. Russia is said to have used Spirulina to improve the immunity of children affected by radiation from Chernobyl accident.


1 to 3 500 mg tablets or 1/2-2/3 teaspoon (one teaspoon=2300 mg approx) of Spirulina powder a day is sufficient as a supplement to regular meal.

Warning: The author does not recommend taking Spirulina as source of food with out medical advice. The extreme high levels of minerals and nutrients might lead to extreme side effects. recommends taking only this as a source of food. This might lead to adverse effects. Some crazy Spirulina weight loss diet.

Spirulina - Side Effects

  1. Due to the high concentrations of proteins the body has to work extra hard to burn them and hence produces more heat. Always drink at least 1 litre of extra water.
  2. The new nutrient rich supplement might shock the digestive system and lead to temperary stomach aches. Always drink at least 1 litre of extra water.
  3. Taking high doses of Spirulina might cause dizzyness.
  4. Might cause itching or burning sensation to skin.
  5. Might cause allergies.
  6. Spirulina only diet (as a food source) might lead to liver failure or even worse side effects. Always consult a doctor before going on such diets.

Spirulina is THE complete food. NASA upon testing it found 1 kg of Spirulina nutritionally equal to 1000 kgs of assorted vegetables. They have chosen to use it for astronauts as food in space, and even plans to grow and harvest it in space stations in the near future.

The United Nations Organisation (UNO) in its World Food Conference of 1974 declared Spirulina as 'the best food for tomorrow.' World Health Organisation (WHO) has hailed Spirulina 'the greatest super food on earth.' These organizations consider Spirulina as an integral part of their plans to alleviate poverty.


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    • profile image

      Nando 4 years ago


      I've been researching this topic for some time both for personal and professional development, I am also researching processing; I have not found anywhere that Spirulina (Arthrospira maxima/Arthrospira platensis) grows in high PH conditions, actually, the opposite, it only grows in alkaline conditions.

    • profile image

      Riikka 4 years ago

      I get a massive reaction from even a trace amount of Spirulina. I'm very sick and vomite for hours with a cold sweat. Last time I accidentaly ate some candy that had it as natural colouring.

    • Valeria Saavedra profile image

      Valeria Saavedra 6 years ago

      I tried for the first time this morning, spirulina in my breakfast smoothie with banana, soy milk and chocolate, it didn´t taste at all! but it looked so ugly that I couldn´t finish it hehe! I guess is just to get used to it..

    • BundleBoy profile image

      BundleBoy 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      fastfreta - Thanks for your comments. Follow the dosage instruction on the bottle of spirulina you buy and you should be fine. I take it everyday (almost :)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Okay I'm going out to buy Spirulina, but I'm going to reread this hub, because I did see that I can overdo it. I am so into natural healing that these hubs are totally interesting to me. I'll be back for more.

    • BundleBoy profile image

      BundleBoy 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thank you melody for the kind words. Will try to post more like this hub.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      Very well-researched and informative, thanks for posting this hub.