Spirulina is a type of green algae that grows in fresh water bodies. It is a survivor plant which, unlike most flora, is able to withstand considerable temperature variations and still thrive.
It is cultivated worldwide and has been harvested as a food source for thousands of years.
According to David Wolfe, author of the book, Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future, spirulina is one of the most nutritious foods in the world.
#1 Rich in nutrients
Spirulina’s biggest attraction is its incomparable levels of nutrients. According to spectral analysis provided by Self’s “NutritionData,” a 28 gram (1 ounce) serving of dried spirulina contains 44 percent of our RDI of iron, 32 percent of our RDI of protein, 60 percent of our RDI of riboflavin, 44 percent of our RDI of thiamin and a whopping 85 percent of our RDI of copper.
The same serving size also contains smaller amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, numerous other B-vitamins and trace minerals, and essential fatty acids. This astonishing nutritional profile makes spirulina a near-perfect food, lacking only in vitamin D.
#2 Cancer prevention
According to a 2004 study published in Biochemical Pharmacology, spirulina contains a protein, C-phycocyanin, that can significantly reduce the proliferation of cultured leukemia cells by causing the cells to undergo apoptosis (“cell death”).
A later 2009 study published in the Cancer Science journal found that mice that were fed a spirulina extract had increased activity of natural killer cells (immune cells that kill cancer cells) than those fed the placebo.
The researchers concluded that “NK activation by spirulina has some advantage in combinational use with BCG-cell wall skeleton for developing adjuvant-based antitumor immunotherapy.”