Two foods which contain high concentrations of whole food nutrients are the single-celled microalgae Chlorella and Spirulina. They are accepted as functional foods, which are defined as products derived from natural sources, whose consumption is likely to benefit human health and enhance performance. These foods are used as a supplement/ingredient or as a complete food to enhance the performance and state of the human body, or improve a specific bodily function. Functional foods are used mainly as products to nourish the human body after physical exertion or as a preventive measure against ailments. Spirulina contains unusually high levels of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid. There are several dietary supplements that have health promoting activities, including bee pollen.
Spirulina product 500 mg
For over 40 years Spirulina platensis has been the premier choice for supplementing a vegetarian diet. This special blue-green algae is a good source of numerous vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and essential fatty acids that are hard to maintain at adequate levels with a vegetarian diet. Most notable is the high quality protein, which contains all nine essential amino acids. Spirulina cell walls do not contain cellulose to slow down digestion. Spirulina is naturally grown and harvested without herbicides or pesticides.
Role in health and disease
Spirulina platensis, a blue-green alga (photosynthesizing cyanobacterium) has diverse biological activity. Due to high content of highly valuable proteins, indispensable amino acids, vitamins, beta-carotene and other pigments, mineral substances, indispensable fatty acids and polysaccharides, PS has been found suitable for use as bioactive additive. SP produces an immunostimulating effect by enhancing the resistance of humans, mammals, chickens and fish to infections, the capacity of influencing hemopoiesis, stimulating the production of antibodies and cytokines. Under the influence of SP macrophages, T and B cells are activated. SP sulfolipids have proved to be effective against HIV. Preparations obtained from SP biomass have also been found active against herpes virus, cytomegalovirus, influenza virus, etc. SP extracts are capable in inhibiting cancerogenesis. SP preparations are regarded as functional products contributing to the preservation of the resident intestinal microflora, especially lactic acid bacilli and bifidobacteria, and to a decrease in the level of Candida albicans. The biological activity of SP with respect to microorganisms holds good promise for using these microalgae as components of culture media.
Green tea extract, hoodia diet weight extract, and spirulina can be found together in herbal weight loss formulas, some also have 5-HTP.
Spirulina (Arthospira) is called a blue-green algae
because it contains both chlorophyll (providing green pigment) and phycocyanin
(blue pigment). It forms spiraling, microscopic strands - hence the name "Spirulina,"
which is derived from the Latin word for "spiral."
Spirulina is believed to have been a food source for the Mesoamericans, and today is cultivated around the world. It was first commercially harvested in the 1970s. Projected worldwide production is expected to reach 200,000 tons by the year 2020.
Spirulina and the Immune System
Apparently spirulina has the ability to stimulate the immune system which could be beneficial in some individuals, and potentially harmful in those who already have an overactive immune system or an autoimmune condition. Therefore, spirulina is not advised for those who have lupus, autoimmune thyroiditis, pemphigus vulgaris, and other such conditions.
Spirulina and autoimmune conditions
Activation of autoimmunity following use of immunostimulatory herbal supplements.
Lee AN, Werth VP. Arch Dermatol. 2004. Section of Dermatology, University of Chicago, IL, USA.
Evidence for the scientific basis of purported therapeutic effects and adverse effects of herbal supplements continues to grow. Many herbal supplements are touted for their immunostimulatory properties, and both in vitro and in vivo experiments have supported this claim. Although this explains their beneficial effects in preventing or curtailing disease, to our knowledge, no immunostimulatory herbal supplements have been reported to exacerbate disorders of immune system overactivity. We describe 3 patients whose autoimmune disease onset and/or flares correlated with ingestion of herbal supplements with proven immunostimulatory effects. Echinacea and the alga Spirulina platensis are implicated in 2 patients' flares of pemphigus vulgaris, and a supplement containing the algae Spirulina platensis and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae was ingested by a third patient days before both onset and a severe flare of dermatomyositis. The third patient showed heterozygosity for a tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) promoter polymorphism (-308A), leading to increased production of TNF-alpha, which may have predisposed her to developing dermatomyositis. Immunostimulatory herbal supplements may exacerbate preexisting autoimmune disease or precipitate autoimmune disease in persons genetically predisposed to such disorders. Increased production of TNF-alpha may play a role, although more research is needed to clarify the mechanisms of such phenomena.
Does spirulina lead to weight loss?
It is quite unlikely that spirulina, by itself, would lead to significant weight loss. There are other more potent herbs for this including Green Tea Extract or another herb called hoodia extract.
Q. i am taking both spriulina and n-acetyl-cysteine. is
there any reason i should not take these together since spirulina has all
essential amino acids.
A. Acetylcysteine has effects very different than spirulina. There is no appreciable amounts of acetycystein in a spirulina supplement product. Much depends on the reasons one is taking these supplements. The combination may help one person but may not be appropriate for another.
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