What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is estimated to have appeared on our planet some 3.6 billion years ago. It is tiny blue-green algae in the shape of a perfect spiral coil, hence its name Arthrospira Plantensis, better known as spirulina. Although it is one of the oldest known biological inhabitants of our planet, it was only re-discovered in the 1960s in the natural alkaline lakes of South America and Africa.

Spirulina has been consumed as a food for centuries, with ancient cultures in South America and Africa using spirulina for its amazing nutritional and therapeutic properties.

With over 100 bio-available nutrients and over 60% protein content, it has the highest concentration and a greater variety of nutrients than any other food in the world. Spirulina also contains the highest, most digestible source of “complete” protein, with all 8 essential amino acids human beings require.

How much nutrients exactly does it take to make up “highest concentration and greater variety”?

The USDA Nutrient Laboratory lists the ingredients of Spirulina as follows:

Nutrient Unit Value per 100g

Percentage

Proximates
Water

g

4.68

4.7%

Energy

kcal

290

Protein

g

57.47

57.5%

Total lipid (fat)

g

7.72

7.7%

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

23.90

23.9%

Fiber, total dietary

g

3.6

3.6%

Sugars, total

g

3.10

3.1%

Minerals
Calcium, Ca

mg

120

Iron, Fe

mg

28.50

Magnesium, Mg

mg

195

Phosphorus, P

mg

118

Potassium, K

mg

1363

Sodium, Na

mg

1048

Zinc, Zn

mg

2.00

Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

10.1

Thiamin

mg

2.380

Riboflavin

mg

3.670

Niacin

mg

12.820

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.364

Folate, DFE

mcg_DFE

94

Vitamin B-12*

µg

0.00

Vitamin A, RAE

mcg_RAE

29

Vitamin A, IU

IU

570

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

mg

5.00

Vitamin D (D2 + D3)

µg

0.0

Vitamin D

IU

0

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

µg

25.5

Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturated

g

2.650

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

0.675

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

2.080

Cholesterol

mg

0

As is clearly seen, Spirulina naturally contains a superb balance of bio-available fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and even fibre.

(*) Note: There is some debate on whether Spirulina contains bio-available Vitamin B12 – The standard B12 assay, using Lactobacillus leichmannii, shows spirulina to be a minimal source of bioavailable vitamin B12, but there are many who claim that spirulina is one of the highest natural sources of vitamin B12, and is best suited for vegetarians (vegans), who cannot derive this vitamin that normally occurs in meat and dairy products.

1 Comment

  • gotobizarre Posted September 29, 2016 5:39 am

    test comment: I love this post

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