After living on a Japanese island for 5 years as an English teacher and witnessing the incredible effects on the locals from a healthy diet and lifestyle, I noticed how seaweed seemed to play a dominant role in their dietary regimens and cultural wellness routines. While my own algae intake was honestly a bit limited to mainly nori seaweed wrappers on my sushi or after too many glasses of sake, I witnessed how many locals would eat kelp salads and other types of seaweeds on a daily basis. As a result, this article examines what spirulina is, why I’ve nicknamed it “The SpongeBob Effect,” how it’s used, and why it’s popping up at local juice bars, in smoothie supplements, health food stores, and even in granola and protein bars.
“Say What?: What is Spirulina and How the Heck Does It Relate to SpongeBob?”
First, let’s briefly summarize what spirulina is. While I presumed that it grew in Japan because of my former scuba doobie do days, I failed that trivia round big time. In reality, experts assert how spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that people in Central Africa have been consuming for centuries (https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p8.shtml). In particular, it grows in warm alkaline waters, which enables it to absorb a ton of nutrients. This absorbing trait prompted me to call it “The SpongeBob Effect.” No, I wasn’t drinking sake while blogging!
Because of its awesome absorption aptitude, spirulina is often praised for its ability to improve heart health, strengthen the immune system, deliver antiviral and anticancer properties, and so on. Studies specifically commend it as an “excellent source of copper (21% DV) and a good source of thiamin (11% DV), riboflavin (15% DV), and iron (11% D V ). It also contains omega-3 fatty acids (57.6 mg) and omega-6 fatty acids (87.8 mg), with part of the omega-6 coming from gamma-linolenic acid” (https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p8.shtml). Wow, how about that for one-stop shopping, right?
“The Secret Is In The Sprinkle: How Do You Use Spirulina?”
Spirulina is highly versatile as it comes in various forms: tablets, powders, liquid extracts, etc. Herbalists suggest that when purchasing the tablets, closely look for binders, which some manufacturers add to hold the spirulina powder together. Spirulina powder can be sprinkled on popcorn, dips, salsas, yogurt, smoothies, juices, and baked goods” (https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p8.shtml). I actually channel my inner child and play “dress up” with it in dressings, smoothies, and soups, since it’s quite easy to disguise spirulina. Need a detox after a wild Wine Down Wednesday? Well, some studies found that spirulina helps to eliminate metals and other toxins from the body.
Is it safe? Will it turn you green or blue like a creature from Avatar? When using it, remember that “For children, adjust for body weight as a fraction of 150 pounds (considered the average adult weight)” (https://www.betternutrition.com/checkout/super-spirulina). While spirulina is typically considered safe for human consumption, its sponge factor, can warrant some caution to ensure that it’s not packed with heavy metals in contaminated waters. Experts advise purchasing a trusted spirulina brand from a reputable company that tests its products for contaminants (https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p8.shtml).
“Spirulina Stalking: Why It’s Everywhere and Its Alleged Benefits!”
No need to call the police, but spirulina is closely reaching stalker status as it’s presently popping up everywhere. For example, Amidor (2017) cites a 2014 study that examined the effects of spirulina on in vitro human pancreatic cancer cells. Using therapeutic doses of spirulina, it actually inhibited cancer cell growth in the story. A 2002 study using spirulina extract proclaimed some impressive antiviral activity, especially against herpes simplex virus type 2 (https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p8.shtml). Studies in Japan further suggested that certain antioxidants in spirulina have a blood-thinning effect that could assist with breaking down blood clots. Speaking of antioxidants, sick of those wormy wrinkles and fine lines creeping across your forehead? Well, try spirulina for skincare and check out some powerful products from Graydon Skincare! Use ‘terrilynn10’ for an epic discount!
If your food pyramid has faltered lately, spirulina can pack a powerful punch as Tweed’s article cites: a mere “3 grams of spirulina powder, or about 1 teaspoon, can match the benefits of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, according to Gerald Cysewski, PhD, co-author of The Hawaiian Spirulina Equation” (https://www.betternutrition.com/checkout/super-spirulina). It also brags about delivering increased energy and some antioxidant properties. Some critics believe it’s the combination of ingredients that makes spirulina spiral into your grocery stores! Twirl around with us and try spirulina today! We love and trust this already prepared version to boost immunity and weight loss: https://yoursuper.com/?rfsn=2293034.49a71ef
Amidor, T. (2017). Ask the Expert. Spirulina’s Popularity. Today’s Dietitian, 19(1), 8. Retrieved from https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p8.shtml
Tweed, V. (2014). super spirulina. Better Nutrition, 76(9), 20–22. Retrieved from https://www.betternutrition.com/checkout/super-spirulina