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What is spirulina and what is it for?

More and more people want to know what spirulina is, what it is used for and where spirulina is taken from. It is a cyanobacterium that lives in saline and alkaline lakes and is also grown artificially. Its scientific name is Arthrospira platensis (Arthro=joint, spira= spiral). It is commonly known as a micro-algae or blue-green algae.


What is spirulina?

If we ask ourselves what spirulina is like, the scientific answer is that it is a prokaryotic organism whose cell is composed of a central region, where the nucleic acid (a single DNA molecule) is located, a peripheral region where the thylakoid membranes containing chlorophyll are located and where photosynthesis is carried out, and several cytoplasmic inclusions or structures, such as granules of polyphosphate, glycogen and cyanophycin, the carboxysomes or polyhedral bodies, where the RBP-carboxylase-oxygenase (RuBisCO, the main enzyme responsible for the photosynthetic fixation of carbon dioxide) and ribosomes are located.


Regarding the function of spirulina, its feeding and reproduction, we must know that spirulina is an aquatic being capable of photosynthesis. It reproduces by cell division: a filament divides into 2 filaments when it reaches a suitable length, every 24-72 hours. Its growth is therefore rapid.


Spirulina filaments (called trichomes) are multicellular (i.e., made up of several cells) have a length of 0.3 mm on average and a width of 0.008 mm; so it is necessary to use a microscope to see them.


The scientific name of spirulina (spiral =spiral, lina =small) is given by the spiral shape that characterizes its different species. The best-known spirulina varieties are Lonar (very spiral) and Paracas (very wavy).


The cell walls of spirulina are not made of cellulose like those of most vegetables, but of murein (a mucopolymer) and polysaccharides (complex sugars), compounds more fragile than cellulose and easily digested by the body. This favours its applicability in the food and nutritional field.


The origin of spirulina is found approximately 3.5 billion years ago with the appearance of these microorganisms called cyanobacteria, which were the first living beings capable of fixing the carbon of CO2 and releasing oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Thanks to this process continued for thousands and thousands of years, the ozone layer was created, which today allows life on Earth of beings like us who need oxygen to live.


If you’re wondering what spirulina tastes like, the truth is that it has a salty taste reminiscent of seafood with a slight bitter undertone. Another of the most common questions that are usually asked when talking about this food is what spirulina smells like. The answer is that it has a somewhat intense sea vegetable smell.


If you are looking to learn what foods spirulina is found in, you should know that it is already used as an active ingredient in foods and beverages such as protein shakes and personalised shakes such as green latte or superfood latte. In addition, it has begun to be used in diets as specific as those of astronaut missions. The great nutritional value, the ease of preservation without the need for cold make spirulina useful also in these areas. Regarding the calories of spirulina, the result is very low: it is estimated that it has 290 kilocalories per 100 grams.


What properties and benefits does spirulina have?

What is spirulina good for? Spirulina provides vitality and energy as well as numerous micronutrients for humans. Many properties are attributed to it, for example: anti-cancer, strengthens the immune system, acts as an antioxidant, controls diabetes, cholesterol, and anaemia, promotes the elimination of heavy metals and radioactivity, helps in recovery from physical exertion, combats fatigue, stress, etc. It is clear that it is good to take spirulina in the recommended amounts. In addition, spirulina has been declared by UNESCO as “the food of the millennium”. If you are wondering what organic spirulina is for, you have to keep reading, although the properties are the same, but with greater purity.


Read on if you want to know more about the properties and benefits of spirulina.


Contradictions and side effects

The consumption of spirulina is not recommended for people who have hyperuricemia, phenylketonuria, hyperthyroidism or autoimmune diseases, because it could interfere with any treatment prescribed to suppress the immune system. In pregnancy and lactation, it should be consulted with the doctor and the quantities should be well measured.


How to take spirulina

It is best to take a small amount daily. It could be between 2 and 4 grams in the morning or throughout the day. It can be taken as a powder mixed with water or with fruit juice rich in vitamin C. It is not advisable to mix it with tea or coffee because it will not promote the absorption of iron. It is best to start with low amounts such as 1 gram.

Read on for more details on how to take spirulina.

Spirulina reviews