How to choose the right Spirulina for you
The history of Spirulina goes back to the 1500’s by Aztecs who were using it as a food for endurance, and shortly after in Central Africa. However, it is speculated that this microalgae probably existed well before man populated the earth.
Spirulina is a powerhouse of goodness that came to fame in the 60’s when it was used as a space food for NASA astronauts during space travel. Earlier than this however, during WW1 the Japanese began researching it as a food for the starving population due to food shortages. Fast forward to 2000 (and beyond), algae is grabbing worldwide attention again for its potential benefits as a nutrient rich food source and is especially relevant as we look more to sustainable plant-based eating for human and environmental health.
Although at first glance it’s a dark green colour Spirulina is known as a blue-green algae. This colour is derived from two special constituents, chlorophyll and phycocyanin. Chlorophyll gives all green plants their colour and is used to capture sunlight for energy production and growth. Phycocyanin is deep blue in colour, and is a protein and antioxidant unique to Spirulina.
Spirulina has become well known as a type of “superfood” because of its dense nutrient content of vitamins minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Spirulina cell walls contain less cellulose than other plants, making for swift absorption and assimilation in the digestive tract. You don’t need to take much to feel the effects, and a little goes a long way. For rapid energy and vitality this microalgae packs a good punch.
Here’s why.... Spirulina contains a lot of protein compared to other plants and while the actual amount varies according to cultivation processes, the number lies between 50% - 70% protein per serve with many coming in around 60%.
Protein is made up of amino acids and Spirulina contains at least 18 amino acids including all of the 9 essential amino acids, and because it contains all 8 this makes it a complete protein source. The great thing about Spirulina is that it comes in 2nd place to eggs for the highest amount of usable protein at approximately 40% compared to chicken, beef and fish.
Protein is important because it’s our primary source of energy and is also involved in virtually every process in the body including tissue building and repair, healthy skin, hair and nails, organs, muscles, blood and more.
For a high concentration of vitamins and minerals in one place Spirulina is “up there” with this too. With stress being a big factor in our daily lives, it’s a great go-to because it naturally contains nutrients like the B vitamin family, magnesium, calcium we know support a stressed body and nervous system. Essential fatty acids like GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and LA (Linoleic acid) help with health cholesterol levels and heart function, and minerals like iron, zinc, selenium, copper and boron support healthy bone, muscle, heart and brain function, and also play an important role in your natural detoxification processes.
Despite the presence of essential fatty acids Spirulina is low in fat making it a great addition for anyone on a keto, fasting or a restricted diet plan.
Antioxidants are also found in this special algae, some of which we’ve already mentioned (like zinc and selenium), and include carotenoids (beta-carotene), Vitamin E, superoxide dismutase (SOD), phycocyanin, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Antioxidants help to protect cells from damage and death influenced by things like illness, impact trauma, stress, toxins, high-fat-high-calorie diets, insufficient fruit and vegetable intake, fatigue, inflammation and more. The protective effect of antioxidants helps to reduce premature aging for everyone and the older we get the more support we need. Who doesn’t want that benefit?
At Lifestream we’ve been selling Spirulina for over 40 years, and we’ve never looked back. Spirulina was 1 of 2 products, (the other is our Aloe Vera Tonic) that we started with and they’re still our top 2 selling products today. 40 years later we have a few Spirulina options to choose from so let's break it down...
Spirulina Certified Organic is grown in an isolated area in India, (in mineral rich filtered fresh water) to avoid environmental and agricultural toxin exposure, in sunlight to ensure high nutrient concentration. Like all our products it goes through testing at various stages to achieve a very high standard of purity and potency. It also meets US, EU and NZ certified organic specifications.
Spirulina Bioactive is grown using the same methods of cultivation and harvesting as our Certified Organic Spirulina in an isolated area in the Californian desert. While it isn’t formerly certified Organic, we still consider its purity to be of a premium standard and contaminant and our strict heavy metals testing verifies this. Nutrient values between Spirulina Bioactive and Spirulina Certified Organic only varies slightly which we expect to see since they’re grown in different locations to each other.
Spirulina Blue Extra was made for people that loved taking Spirulina but wanted an extra boost of energy without having to take a bigger dose. It contains certified organic Spirulina and we’ve added an extra 23% phycocyanin for added energy production. That means it has all the benefits of Spirulina per serve but with up to 50% more phycocyanin than other Spirulinas. When you’re taking more phycocyanin you’re also getting more antioxidant power with the same degree of bioavailability for a quick effect. Spirulina Blue Extra is the perfect addition for busy people with hectic lives, stressed and tired people, those feeling immune challenged and for anyone wanting to support exercise performance and recovery.
Whether you want to use Spirulina Bioactive, Spirulina Certified Organic or Spirulina Blue Extra the benefits can’t be denied. Here’s some ways people are using them to support their health and wellbeing.
- Keto diet - low in carbohydrates & high in easily absorbed protein
- Elderly – seniors wanting extra energy, antioxidant support and healthy bones
- Post illness recovery – to help support fatigue, immune health, and support depleted vitamin, mineral and antioxidant stores
- Children – for picky eaters, lowered immunity and recurrent illness
- Vegans and vegetarians – an added source of easily absorbable protein and iron
- Busy working parents - supporting energy and the effects of sleep deprivation and long days
- Stressed people - helps to boost nutrients used up quickly in stressed states
- People trying to give up coffee, sugar and stimulants
- People who eat less than 7-10 servings fruit and vege a day
- Active exercisers – for a protein and energy boost pre and post workouts
- People with poor digestion or reduced stomach capacity (e.g gastric surgery)
- People experiencing ongoing fatigue