Puffer Fish

Spirulina, a microscopic blue – green algae is one such functional food and dietary supplement which is 100% natural product with all the good qualities that nature has to offer. It is a single celled algae that lives in warm fresh water bodies. Spirulina is almost a complete functional food and dietary supplement; it contains almost all the vital nutrients that are required by our body for its health and fitness. Modern food dramatically fails to provide these micro nutritions and whatever is provided by modern tasty food is tasteless for our body system and our health. Most of the common health problems in modern world are a consequence of poor diet and junk food. Even there are some so called functional food and dietary supplements which are prepared artificially and therefore aren’t a natural choice for our body system. They too put a load on our body, so benefits that one should have noticed after taking such food supplements aren’t visible. Functional food and dietary supplement provided by Spirulina is totally a natural phenomenon. Nothing is added (or should be added) to spoil its natural equation and benefits for health and fitness of a human body.

The microorganism called “Spirulina” was so named this because of its spiral filament-like appearance under the microscope (and is classified as cyanobacterium). Microalgae are an enormous biological resource, representing one of the most promising sources for new products and applications. Spirulina is beneficial to health due to its chemical composition including compounds like essential amino acids, vitamins, natural pigments, essential fatty acids, particularly γ-linolenic acid, a precursor of the body’s prostaglandins and all essential minerals. It alleviates hyperlipidemis and cholesterol, reduces hypertension, reduces risk of cancer, protects against renal failure, anti-viral activity, promotes the growth of intestinal Lactobacillus, and reduces elevated serum glucose levels and also for undernourished people in the developing world, Spirulina brings quick recovery from malnutrition. These algae can be extensively grown to obtain a protein-rich material or industrial use (blue pigments, emulsifiers, thickening and gelling agent).

Spirulina is a potent mixture of antioxidants and most of Spirulina’s health benefits are associated with its antioxidant pigments. These are carotenoids (mixture of carotenes and xanthophylls), chlorophyll and the unique blue pigment phycocyanin. Among these pigments, the xanthophyll zeaxanthin is rare in nature, and Spirulina can provide adequate quantities of this very valuable xanthophyll. Phycocyanin is even rarer in our diet and Spirulina consumption can provide adequate quantities of this highly beneficial pigment. Phycocyanin can provide excellent health benefits, and supplementing the diet with Spirulina is the easiest way to obtain it. Spirulina supplementation may help in managing age related health conditions such as ARMD, Type 2 Diabetes, NAFLD, Neurodegenerative Disorders and Cerebrovascular Disease.

Spirulina is one of the most concentrated natural sources of nutrition known. It contains all the essential amino acids, is rich in chlorophyll, beta-carotene and its co-factors, and other natural phytochemicals. Spirulina is the only green food rich in GLA essential fatty acid. GLA stimulates growth in some animals and makes skin and hair shiny and soft yet more durable. GLA also acts as an anti-inflammatory, sometimes alleviating symptoms of arthritic conditions. Spirulina acts as a functional food, feeding beneficial intestinal flora, especially Lactobacillus and Bifidus. Maintaining a healthy population of these bacteria in the intestine reduces potential problems from opportunistic pathogens like E. coli and Candida albicans. Studies show when Spirulina is added to the diet, beneficial intestinal flora increase.
The US FDA has registered Spirulina as “GRAS” (Generally Recognized as Safe) that liberates its use as food. Scientific literature lists the effects of Spirulina on human health as:

  • Immuno-stimulant
  • Anti-allergic
  • Anti-anemic (highly available iron)
  • anti-carcinogenic
  • Anti-coagulant
  • Anti-genotoxic
  • Anti-hepatotoxic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-parasitical
  • Anti-toxic
  • Anti-viral
  • Cholesterol reduction
  • Hypo-glycemic
  • Hypo-lipidemic

Spirulina powder is an extremely flexible food item to work with. It can be used as an extra healthy ingredient for soups, broths, salads, pastas, and even yogurt. It can even be added directly onto meals, or mixed and blended into a wide array of drinks.Thus it provides suitability to be incorporated into the meals and thus we can get all the health benefits of spirulina.

By:- Madhuri Rawat
Department of Forestry.
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital