HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPIRULINA
As current there are more than 294 references given in the ASFA abstracts, over 162 references shown in Biological Abstracts; 91 recorded in MEDLINE, numerous references on the Internet, at least 15 university theses and 12 books devoted entirely to Spirulina. Everyone who has reviewed these many sources knows that scientific community takes this organism seriously; that many of its qualities have been studied in depth; that it has high nutritive and therapeutic values; and that it has been consumed by man for hundreds of years.
Aside from its high quantity of excellent quality proteins, the large quantity of beta carotene (both the 9-cis and the all-trans isomers of the molecule, which is not the case for artificial or synthesized beta carotene) is of importance in avoiding xerophtalmia or night blindness, which leads to permanently impaired sight in about half a million children each year.
The usual prophylaxis against xerophtalmia is the administration of vitamin A pills (200,000 International Units).
However, it is possible to overdose vitamin A with subsequent damage to the kidneys. The advantage of giving beta carotene against xerophtalmia is that the human body absorbs only the amount it needs and excretes the rest if one has taken too much.
Beta carotene also is an antioxidant which is useful in reducing the progress of certain cancerous tumours and in neutralizing and eliminating free radicals produced by nuclear irradiation. The vitamin E and the superoxide dismutase found in Spirulina also are strong antioxidants which combat ageing and infection. The non-saturated fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid strengthens cell membranes, thus reducing infection. The polysaccharides produced by Spirulina keep the HIV-1 virus from replicating [Seyoum Ayehunie, Ahma Belay, Yuwen Hu, Timothy W. Baba, Ruth M. Ruprecht; Inhibition of HIV-1 replication by an aqueous extract of Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira platensis) in 7th International Conference, Society for Applied Algology, Knysna, South Africa, 1996].
In addition to that, Spirulina rids the intestines of Candida albicans infections, which commonly lead to malnutrition in AIDS patients. One can mention the high level of readily assimilable iron in Spirulina and its great amount of vitamin B12 (excluding B12 analogs it is still 3 times richer in B12 than beef liver).