It May Look Like Pond Life – But You Really, Really Need It!

August 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health, Vitamins & Supplements

What if having just a tablespoon or two per day of a simple food could drastically lower your chances of developing cancer, heart disease or stroke, or of contracting a life-threatening virus such as HIV, would you do it?

Spirulina is a superfood is a unique freshwater plant that is one of the most nutrient-packed foods around and is receving a lot of press in the USA at the moment for its protection against radiation, but its health benefits are far reaching beyond that.

Along with chlorella it is blue – green algae, but actually is classified as bacteria because their genetic material is not organized in a membrane-bound nucleus and, unlike other bacteria, they have chlorophyll and use the sun as an energy source, in the way plants and algae do. Spirulina has a very rich protein content—60 percent on average, which is even better than red meat which is about 27 percent protein. Also that protein is biologically complete, containing all of the essential amino acids needed for human health and a potent array of other beneficial nutrients. The proteins in spirulina are of a highly digestible type (83 to 90 percent digestible), due to the fact that it does not have cellulose walls, like yeast and chlorella do.

That’s why it is turning up in more and more foods, particularly health foods such as protein bars, and is a vital ingredient in health-giving green smoothies. Oh and if you think this is a New Age food fad then records of the Spanish conquistadors suggest that the Aztecs consumed spirulina as a food source. So what does it give you?

• Vitamins: B (including exceptionally high B-12) and vitamin K along with other vitamins. Contains vitamin E level comparable to wheat germ, and four times as much vitamin B12 as raw liver
• Minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium, and zinc Spirulina has about the same mineral content as milk
• Naturally rich in iodine and contains eighteen different amino acids
• One of best known sources of gamma-linolenic acid and other essential fatty acids Phytopigments phycocyanin, chlorophyll, and carotenoids
• Compounds of proteins combined with metals that bind heavy radioactive isotopes
• Low in carbohydrates – 15-20 percent
There are scientific studies supporting spirulina’s potential usefulness in preventing and/or treating the following health conditions: age-related macular degeneration, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, liver health and decreased damage from heavy metal exposure, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke) and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

It has also been linked to protection from both cancer and radiation protection, bone marrow and blood health (especially during use of anticancer drugs), strengthening immune defenses and modulating inflammatory response, reducing arthritis symptoms and pain sensitivity by inhibiting prostaglandins, which contribute to pain and inflammation

Good for you – and your pets:
There is sufficient scientific evidence for spirulina’s health benefits and its remarkable clinical results with a high safety record. It also seems to be good for our pets as spirulina’s ability to promote a strong immune system, a healthy coat, heart and joint health, and even fresher breath is making it popular with pet owners who add a small amount to their food. You can now buy a specific version now just for them, but I have only seen it on US websites not anything in the UK.

I wish I could tell you it tastes wonderful, but it doesn’t – at least not to me – but when mixed in with a fruit or green smoothie it is fine. Just be aware that the vibrant colour of your normal smoothie will look like mud – I persuade myself it is the colour of milk chocolate which helps, and certainly doesn’t detract from the taste!

As seaweed has just been ‘outed’ as the latest way to fight off heart attacks you could try doubling your health benefit with a supplement that combines seaweed in a blend of 12 chlorophyll rich green foods including spirulina, chlorella, kale sprouts, wheat grass juice, nettles and arctic fresh seaweed. It comes from Pukka Herb and is Clean Greens powder which you should be able to find in your health store.

Reflux drugs can increase hip fracture risk

If you suffer from stomach upsets and are taking reflux drugs on a regular basis, you might want to rethink your options. A very large Canadian study has confirmed that taking such drugs for several years will enormously increase your chances of having a hip fracture – by nearly five times – and can lead directly to osteoporosis.

Why are these drugs having such an effect? The problem is that you need acid to absorb calcium and if you reduce the amount of available stomach acid after you’ve eaten by taking reflux drugs then the calcium you can’t absorb, but need, has to be taken directly out of your bones. The study shows that over just a few years this can more than double your risk of fracture, and the odds keep climbing steeply the longer you take them. Some patients have been taking them for many, many years and ironically one of the results of a lack of calcium is acid reflux – for which the drugs were prescribed in the first place.

Calcium is essential for many functions in the body, one of which is to increase gut mobility, and that’s important because medical researchers say that reflux is primarily a motor disorder. This means that if you aren’t absorbing much calcium due to the reflux drugs you’re taking, and don’t have calcium to spare, you’re back to reflux and that means you take more of the drug, or a stronger dose. That may be fine for the drug company, but it isn’t doing much for your bones. Even after you stop the drugs, it may be years before your body can restore a proper calcium balance so that your reflux vanishes on its own.

There are natural alternative treatments for reflux such as Apple Cider Vinegar, having a diet with plenty of greens and vegetables, and supplements such as spirulina and calcium and for me, a cup of peppermint tea after a meal can settle the stomach, rather than the more usual coffee, which is in itself acid.

What is probably even more important is to get your ‘body clock’ working properly. One of the most common symptoms of jet lag is reflux, because flying half-way around the world upsets your biological clock, just as staying up until the early hours and ‘fooling’ your body with artificial electric light does.


** Have a fixed time for going to bed as often as you can and is possible for you.

** Make sure your bedroom is totally dark, with no lights left on or even natural moonlight through the curtains.

** If you get up during the night to go to the bathroom, have a low watt red light bulb to show you the way.

** Try to increase your period of total darkness to an ideal nine or ten hours a night.

** A nightcap is often favoured before bed, but it won’t help you sleep, or your acid reflux, so drink earlier in the day, and if you smoke that will also increase your reflux symptoms so reduce or stop that habit if you can.