Why has spirulina been called a superfood?
Because it contains the most remarkable concentration of nutrients known in any food, plant, grain or herb. It's the highest protein food- over 60% all digestible vegetable protein. It has the highest concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron and trace minerals and the rare essential fatty acid GLA. These make spirulina a great whole food alternative to isolated vitamin and minerals.
Does all spirulina have the same quality, purity and potency?
Spirulina is grown in from many countries. Customers should check the label - does it say exactly where it's grown? Is the cultivation controlled for a pure culture? With the growing concern about contaminated algae harvested from lakes, the source is important. Many people now prefer certified organic foods, and the good news is Earthrise Farms grows certified organic spirulina. Second, there's a wide variety in potency. Maintaining the highest levels of the carotenoids, phycocyanin and polysaccharides is very important. Now Earthrise Farms has developed the next generation of super spirulina.
The scientific research with spirulina identifies some unusual health giving phytonutrients. What are they?
Spirulina's dark color comes from a rainbow of natural pigments. They harvest sunlight at different wavelengths and protect from too much sun. These pigments offer unusual health benefits and help synthesize many enzymes necessary for regulating body metabolism. They are chlorophyll (green), carotenoids (yellow and orange) and phycocyanin (blue), the dominant color.
Not all spirulina is grown, processed and packaged the same way. Levels of these sensitive pigments vary widely. Spirulina needs high levels of all three to provide optimum health benefits. At Earthrise Nutritionals' farm, all three are tested on every day's production to assure potency.
I know Beta Carotene is an anti-cancer antioxidant nutrient. Is natural different than synthetic beta carotene?
Spirulina is the richest Beta Carotene food, with a full spectrum of ten mixed carotenoids. About half are orange carotenes: alpha, beta and gamma and half are yellow xanthophylls. They work synergistically at different sites in our body to enhance antioxidant protection.
What is so unique about spirulina as a source of GLA?
A food source of GLA is important, especially for women. Known GLA foods are mothers milk and oil extracts of evening primrose, black currant and borage seeds. Spirulina is a potent source, an astonishing 1% by weight! Eight spirulina tablets contain equivalent GLA to a capsule of primrose oil. I've heard from many women who have appreciated spirulina's benefits for PMS and for healthy, beautiful skin.
How much should people take and when should they take it?
Long time consumers and scientific evidence both suggest 2-5 grams a day bring significant health benefits. This is a teaspoon of powder or 6 to 20 tablets. Take it every day for best results. Because spirulina is a whole food, you can take it alone or with meals. Take convenient tablets anytime. Or, mix spirulina powder in a fruit juice smoothie as an instant breakfast, or in a vegetable juice smoothie in the afternoon.
Is spirulina recommended for pregnant mothers, infants and children?
Yes, its a perfect supplement. Iron deficiency anemia in mothers and children is the most prevalent nutritional disorder. Pregnant women can use spirulina's vegetable protein and bioavailable iron. In India and Vietnam, doctors prescribe spirulina for pregnant and nursing mothers and their infants. Parents are often surprised how much their children enjoy this green food. Kids like to suck on tablets and munch spirulina covered popcorn.
What are the benefits for an aging population?
Spirulina is an ideal anti-aging food: concentrated nutrient value, easily digested and loaded with antioxidants. Beta Carotene is good for healthy eyes and vision. This all vegetable, low fat protein means we can lighten up on a meat centered diet that can aggravate arthritis and raise cholesterol. When we choose to eat less meat, vegetables like spirulina are good sources of more iron and essential minerals.
As people age, many who don't eat enough, have restricted diets or poor digestion may experience low energy from being undernourished. Spirulina builds healthy lactobacillus, aiding assimilation and elimination and relieving constipation. Older people really notice an energy boost. In Japan, 73% of those taking spirulina are over 50 years old!
Is spirulina good for pets and other animals?
Yes. Walk into any pet store and you'll find it's a popular supplement for fish, birds and pets. In fact, much of the global spirulina production is consumed by aquaculture raised fish and prawns, tropical fish, ornamental birds, horses and even cats and dogs. In the 1970s, the first use was enhancing the beautiful colors in fancy koi carp. Then fish and prawn farmers discovered it increased growth rates, survival, color, and reduced medications. Today, spirulina is in most premium aquarium feeds.
Zoos feed their flamingos a spirulina diet, like the millions of pink flamingos living on it in East African lakes. Ornamental bird breeders use it to enhance color, health and fertility. Tiny amounts in diets of young turkeys and chickens builds disease resistance, reducing the need for antibiotics. In reptiles, it improves skin gloss and disease resistance. For thoroughbred racehorses, it improves speed and recovery.
If you give spirulina to your dog or cat, you'll notice healthier skin, lustrous coat and fresher breath. Older animals may regain their flexibility. It's not unusual for a pet owner to ask: "Is spirulina good for me, too?"