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October 29, 2010

Spirulina and chlorella really pack a punch

Spirulina and chlorella are superfoods you may have heard about but maybe you don’t know why they’re so good for you. Here’s the lowdown on the wonders of the green powders.

Spirulina

A micro algae named Spirulina Platensis. It’s collected or farmed in fresh water and is an easy algae to digest due to its soft cell wall of mucopolysaccharides instead of cellulose. This primative structure denotes that spirulina is a very ancient plant life form and has been around on our planet way before even the dinosaurs graced us with their big, heavy foot steps.

 

Green powder power

Spirulina is rich in:

  • Protein – 60-70% content. And to top that, it’s a highly absorbable form of protein, called biliprotein, meaning it’s pre-digested by the algae making it highly bioavailable for our bodies.
  • Carbohydrate – rhamnose is the main sugar here with a small amount of glycogen therefore spirulina is wonderful at providing a steady supply of energy to our bodies.
  • GLA (gamma linolenic acid) – an essential fatty acid of the omega 6 family. Great for keeping our skin and hormones healthy and for helping our bodies combat any inflammation. GLA is an essential part of dampening down any skin inflammations, such as ezcema.
  • High in B12, phenylalanine and tyrosine – however, the B12 in spirulina is bound chemically so that our bodies cannot absorb it. Spirulina is not a good source for us to get our B12, even though it is present. Tyrosine and phenylalanine are essential amino acids needed for many biological processes, such as thyroid and adrenal hormone production and for our neaurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, without which we would be depressed and demotivated. Phenylalanine has an appetite-suppressing action, so spirulina is useful in the fight against over-eating and cravings and provides the body with concentrated nutrition, so aids in healthy weight loss and maintenance.

Spirulina is supportive of:

  • Liver function
  • Kidney function
  • Heavy metal detoxification and general detoxification
  • Weight loss, appetite control and over-eating
  • Thyroid function – tyrosine being the raw material needed for the production of thyroxine
  • Blood sugar control
  • Healthy skin

Chlorella

Chlorella is a younger algae, so has a cell wall unlike spirulina. Its cell wall is made up of complex polysaccharides, which have been shown to stimulate interferon production (immune enhancing) and exhibit strong anti-tumour activity.  Another unique and remarkable feature of chlorella is a substance called Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), which enhances normal, healthy growth without stimulating unhealthy growth, such as in tumours.

Chlorella has the highest content of chlorophyll of any food. Chlorophyll’s health benefits include :

  • Detoxification, especially of heavy metals
  • Immune enhancement
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial actionEradication of viruses, fungi and bacteria
Chlorella also contains a chemical called chlorellan, which also has been shown to increase immune function by increasing macrophages, T-cells, B-cells and interferon of the immune system, hence its known anti-tumour effects.

And a final word on yet another health benefit of chlorella – nucleic acids. In the body they are found in DNA and RNA and are responsible for the growth, renewal and repair of cells. As we get older the levels of nucleic acids decrease leading to weaker immune function and premature aging. Chlorella is a more evolved organism that other micro-algae and has a true nucleus, therefore offering a superior quality DNA/RNA.

The perfect food?

It seems that chlorella and spirulina really are the perfect whole food. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, they enhance immune function, aid healing of burns and other skin conditions, detoxify, improve digestion, protect against radiation, remove heavy metals and promote overall health and longevity, making both spirulina and chlorella potent superduper superfoods that should be part of everyone’s diet!
Article by Jo Rowkins dipNT MBANT, nutritionist, founder of awakening health & executive health adviser at The Spa Resorts.

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