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14 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Spirulina: nature’s super food

Spirulina: nature’s super food

Dr. Hakim Md Yousuf Harun Bhuiyan & Dr. Hakim Rafiqul Islam

 

Spirulina is a blue green algae that exists as a single-celled organism turning sunlight into life energy. The characteristic blue-green color of Spirulina is attributed to the natural colorants that it contains and more specifically to chlorophyll (green color) and phycocyanin (blue color). The blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are the first group of bacteria that evolved and could fix atmospheric carbon-dioxide into organic carbon compound using water as an electron donor and thereby evolving oxygen. We owe the present oxygen-rich environment partially to the millions of years of photosynthetic activity by cyanobacteria that made it possible for other oxygen dependent life forms to evolve. Originally discovered in natural alkaline lakes in South America and East Africa. For many centuries communities have used the algae as a rich food sources, constituting a significant part of their diet. In its commercial use, the common name Spirulina refers to the dried biomass of the Cyanobacterium, Arthrospira platensis, Arthrospira maxima and is a product of biological origin. Spirulina is food of high nutritional value. It contains a variety of bioactive nutrients such as high biological value proteins, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, phytopigments etc.
Health benefits of Spirulina  
Spirulina is a great source of nutrients.
Spirulina combats malnutrition.
Spirulina increases energy and metabolism.
Spirulina is a natural cleanser and detoxifier.
Spirulina boosts up immune system.
Spirulina is a powerful antioxidant and anti-aging.
Spirulina supports cardiovascular health.
Spirulina improves digestion and bowel health.
Spirulina reduces fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Spirulina helps to build muscle.
Spirulina promotes hematopoiesis.
Spirulina improves eye health.
Spirulina reduces bad cholesterol.
Spirulina controls high blood pressure.
Spirulina regulates blood sugar level.
Spirulina protects against allergic reactions.
Spirulina helps to maintain healthy skin.
Spirulina fortifies nail and hair.
Spirulina promotes healing.
Spirulina regulates menstruation. Reduces the symptoms of menopausal syndrome.
Spirulina helps to cope with pregnancy.
Medicinal uses of Spirulina
1. Spirulina prevents malnutrition
Malnutrition or malnourishment is a condition that results from eating a diet in which nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems. Two billion people in the world suffer from various forms of malnutrition. Spirulina richest source of nutrients more than any other plant, grain and herbs. It contains carbohydrate, proteins, vitamins and mineral.
2. Spirulina combats gastrointestinal diseases
Spirulina combats gastrointestinal diseases like stomach ulcers and gastritis. The gastric juices increase due to stress and injure the stomach lining. To prevent this from occurring, it is necessary to eat alkali foods that digest well to suppress the amount of gastric juices, to neutralize the acidic gastric juices by eating alkali foods and to have a balanced intake of nutrients including proteins, minerals and vitamins.
Spirulina is an alkali food that fulfills all of the above conditions. It not only contains large amounts of good quality nutrients but their rate of digestion and absorption by the body is extremely high, so adequate supplementation of these nutrients is possible. In addition, the chlorophyll in Spirulina protects the stomach and intestine linings that have suffered injury, promotes good digestion, normal bowel function, eliminates bad breath and body odor, relieves habitual constipation, contributes to a healthy intestinal flora, normalizes production of digestive fluids, stimulates peristaltic action in the colon. The very positive effects of Spirulina on stomach ulcers, chronic gastritis and duodenal ulcers have already been confirmed.
3. Spirulina prevents iron deficiency anemia
It is a common anemia that occurs when iron loss occurs or dietary intake or absorption of iron is insufficient. In such a state, hemoglobin, which contains iron, cannot be formed. It mostly affects infants, children, adolescents and women of childbearing age.
A clinical study has shown that administration of Spirulina to anaemic adolescent girls resulted in significant increase in blood haemoglobin levels after 1 month of Spirulina supplementation. These findings can be attributed solely to iron content of Spirulina, which is in a highly available form. Also, the supplementation of 1g Spirulina per day to anaemic preschool children for a period of 50 days, led to an increase in the intake of a few nutrients, such as protein and iron and in haemoglobin levels.
4. Spirulina nourishes the skin
Taking Spirulina on a regular on a regular basis is a natural and non-invasive way to keep skin young and elastic. Spirulina is loaded with vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene), the anti-oxidant widely recognized to maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps slow the aging of the skin which is caused by UV-radiation. It also helps to protect the skin from sunburn. The European Food Safety Authority States that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of vitamin A and a normal skin. Spirulina is also a powerful source of antioxidant, super oxide dismutase (SOD) that helps oxygenate the skin and helps protect the skin UV-induced damage. Furthermore, Spirulina contains unusually high levels of the polyunsaturated fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) that contributes to optimal skin elasticity.
5. Spirulina prevents diabetes
Clinical studies have been shown a steady and substantial improvement in the glycemic status of patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) that have been administrated with Spirulina at 2g/day level for a period of 4 months. More specifically, significant reductions in blood glucose levels were noticed in case of a 75 g glucose dosage. Concomitant to the decrease in fasting and postprandial hyperglycemia, Spirulina supplementation resulted in a significant decrease in the HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) levels, which is an integrated index of blood sugar levels over past 2-3 months. These findings are in accordance with those of previous studies.
6. Spirulina is a total body detoxifier
Spirulina owes its proven anti-aging properties to the fact that it cleanses and detoxifies the body and protects body cells against environmental and other toxins. In several animal studies, it is shown that Spirulina helps to protect against the harmful effects of toxins at the levels of the liver, the heart, the kidneys and the genes. Substances in spirulina that help detoxify the body are chlorophyll, the antioxidant phycocyanin and N-acetylcysteine, a precursor of the strong detoxifier glutathione.
7. Spirulina is strong for hair and nail
Spirulina is a natural way to keep your hair strong and glossy. It is not only a source of complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids but also a good source of bioavailable iron that can help prevent dry, brittle hair. Finally, the presence of vitamin B-complex, vitamin E and zinc, also boosts healthy hair. In the same way, Spirulina promotes strong nails. Especially through its high content of carotenoids, iron, essential amino acids, GLA and B-complex vitamins.
8. Spirulina supports asthmatic condition
Clinical studies have shown that the administration of Spirulina (1g/day) to patients suffering from bronchial asthma for a period of four months, exclusively or additionally to medication, resulted in the improvement of pulmonary function and in the decrease of immunoglobin E (IgE) levels.
9. Spirulina supports liver health
Spirulina contains phytonutrients, which helps to clean our body. It significantly reduces kidney toxicity caused by some heavy metals. It protects against liver damage, cirrhosis (liver failure) and chronic hepatitis. The most important nutrients for the liver are proteins and vitamins. Spirulina is an abundance of
proteins of superior quality and vitamins.
10. Spirulina is useful for Kidney patients
Clinical studies have shown that the administration of Spirulina (1g/day) for a period of four months to patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome. Spirulina increases of total blood protein levels. It has a protective activity against urolithiasis, a condition of forming stones in kidney, bladder or urinary tract.
11. Spirulina reduces over weight  
Spirulina is to take it 30 minutes to one hour prior to meal time. In that period before eating, the Spirulina absorbs water and expands, suppressing the appetite and helping to prevent overeating. Spirulina contains generous amounts of various kinds of nutrients, so there is no concern that the body’s balance of nutrients will be upset by dieting. Taking Spirulina regularly and within several weeks reported to have begun to experience a definite loss of weight.
12. Spirulina prevents cancer
Beta carotene is gaining attention as an effective nutrient in the prevention of cancer. Spirulina contains large amount of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, which prevents cancer. Some of the beta carotene in our bodies is converted to vitamin A. When lacking, makes the body more prone to cancer. Phycocyanin has antitumoral effect. It decreases 49% proliferation of leukemia cell lines, 50 % decrease in the proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cell lines. It also against human melanoma cells and human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells and oral cancer.
13. Spirulina acts as cardiotonic and reduces cholesterol
Spirulina is clinically proven as a powerful hypolipidemic especially on the triglycerides (TG) concentration.
Spirulina contains rich amount of linoleic acid and linolenic acid which are attracting attention particularly for their role in controlling serum cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol by dissolving and flushing excess cholesterol from the blood stream and preventing high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.
14. Spirulina improves eye health
Spirulina contains zeaxanthin, xanthophyll, which is like carotene. It has nutritional importance to human eyes in that sufficient intake may reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
15. Spirulina enhances immunity
Spirulina is a powerful tonic for the immune system. Research and experience indicate that Spirulina is an immune regulating food. It boosts up the body's immune system by making it produce more monocytes, natural killer cells, macrophages and also enhances interferon production. It destroys invading pathogens in the body and fights infection and chronic illnesses.
Phycocyanin has been shown in animal studies to increase lymphocyte activity, stimulates the production of blood, increases antibody production and infection fighting T-cells, increases bone marrow reproduction, normalizes the function of thymus and spleen.
16. Spirulina protects against allergic reactions
Spirulina stops the release of histamines, which are the main substance that cause allergic reaction. Spirulina is useful in the treatment of soft-tissue swelling, sneezing, runny nose, hives, watery eyes, itching and much more. Phycocyanin enhances the biological defense activity by reducing allergic inflammation by the suppression of antigen specific 1gE antibody and fight against infectious disease.
17. Spirulina in pregnancy
Spirulina contains iron, so it is an excellent during pregnancy and for those with anemia and will not cause constipation.
 Spirulina also contains an important compound called Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) found in human breast milk to help promote a healthy development process in babies. n
Dr. Hakim Md Yousuf Harun Bhuiyan
Chief Mutwalli & Managing Director, Hamdard
Dr. Hakim Rafiqul Islam
Mutwalli & Senior Director Marketing, Hamdard

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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