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Is Spirulina really good for our health ?

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Re:

Postby jyaron » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:17 am

Poison wrote:Or maybe something like Vitamin C. It is an antioxidant, but if you get too much it has just the opposite effect.


This is actually not correct. Of the "simple" vitamins, only A, D, E, and K can pose a problem when you have too much. The reason for this is that they are fat-soluble and will be retained in your body for longer periods of time. If you consume too much then the amounts of these vitamins can reach toxic levels.

Other vitamins, such as vitamin C are water soluble and will simply be expelled from the body as waste; you cannot overdose on vitamin C (though it is often acidic and may cause some sort of urinary tract infection... but not because it is a vitamin.)
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Re: Is Spirulina really good for our health ?

Postby jasfr » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:05 pm

My question is, once spirulina is processed into powder, flakes, or tablets, does it still retain its health benefits? Is there a certain form and brand that is better?
Thanks.
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Re: Is Spirulina really good for our health ?

Postby Sarahjane23 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:55 am

adain24 wrote:Where i can buy Spirulina i have no idea? i live u.k


Hi there.

Yes you can get spirulina online. I've tried a few places and different health stores around London but I've found it easier to shop online, You can get spirulina powder, tablets and capsules - be careful with the tablets though as it's better to find a brand that don't use fillers or agents that tend to be used to give the tablet it shape.

I prefer taking the capsules over the powder and can recommend [link removed as it broke the rules of the forum] who are a good brand in the UK - I think their stuff is all natural and have used their online store a few times now.

Hope that helps! It's great stuff by the way - I've been taking it for a few years now and it really gives an energy boost all day and I use it to help with my running so I hope it works for you as it certainly works for me!

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Postby billyboy » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:43 am

Hi all,

I have read that 3g spirulina powder contains 100% of the RDA of vitamin A.

As I take around 8g a day, is this safe for me to take this much vitamin A on a long-term basis?

Also is Beta-Carotene the same as vitamin A? Or are they different?

I take the Spirulina primarily as a source of tryptophan, to counteract insomnia caused by low night-time serotonin (which causes a problem known as Night-Eating-Syndrome).

It has been working great and also seems to make me more energetic and happy.

I have read that spirulina works in the same way on the brain as SSRI's (selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors). If that's true, are there any possible negative long-term effects to consider? eg possible permanent changes to brain-chemistry, or a big 'crash' if I stop taking it?

In all truth I have felt great since taking spirulina and am just wondering if it's safe to feel this good!

Many thanks for any help...

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Postby JackBean » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:28 am

no, it's definitely not safe to take like 300% of vitamin A's RDA, because it's soluble in fats and thus is not excreted from your body, but rather stored in your adipose tissues.
And beta-caroten is provitamin A. By it's cleavage is the vit A produced.
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Re: Re:

Postby adihutama » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:47 am

jyaron wrote:
Poison wrote:Or maybe something like Vitamin C. It is an antioxidant, but if you get too much it has just the opposite effect.


This is actually not correct. Of the "simple" vitamins, only A, D, E, and K can pose a problem when you have too much. The reason for this is that they are fat-soluble and will be retained in your body for longer periods of time. If you consume too much then the amounts of these vitamins can reach toxic levels.

Other vitamins, such as vitamin C are water soluble and will simply be expelled from the body as waste; you cannot overdose on vitamin C (though it is often acidic and may cause some sort of urinary tract infection... but not because it is a vitamin.)


But, you have to be careful on wasting something excessively through your kidney. Vitamin C is water soluble, so it is excreted in your urine. Furthermore, the acidic property of vitamin C can affect your kidney function. Some people with high uric acid are asked not to consume vitamin C because its acidic property will hinder uric acid excretion through kidney.

So make sure that you dont overdose vitamin C. Take high dose of Vitamin C only if you are in the need of it, like in a terrible weather condition, or after-sick condition where your immune system are weak.

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Re:

Postby billyboy » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:28 pm

JackBean wrote:no, it's definitely not safe to take like 300% of vitamin A's RDA, because it's soluble in fats and thus is not excreted from your body, but rather stored in your adipose tissues.
And beta-caroten is provitamin A. By it's cleavage is the vit A produced.


Thanks for the info Jackbean!

That makes sense...

I'm just wondering though, how do the manufacturers get away with recommending 8 grams at day on the side of the packet?

Also a lot of spirulina promoting websites say 10-15g a day is fine and any amount under 40g a day is safe to take.

Have they all got it horribly wrong or is there something else I'm not considering - for instance whether the full amount of beta-carotene is absorbable by the body or not?

I ask because I'm loath to cut down on the spirulina as it has helped in a lot of areas of my life. I'm not exactly in love with the idea of turning yellow though!
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Postby biohazard » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:04 pm

B-carotene is absorbed about ten to twenty percent in the body, so that is one reason people can eat it more than the active form of the vitamin A. Also, it seems that less B-carotene is converted into vitamin A if the body already has a lot of the vitamin stored.

However, excessive intake of B-carotene can have similar harmful effects as overdose of vitamin A. Also, B-carotene is stored in the liver, where it may reserve so much "storage space" that some other fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, cannot be stored anymore.

So, the same goes with beta-carotene as with other fat-soluble vitamins: too much is too much.

I'm not sure what is the maximum safe daily intake, though, but considering the absorption rates given it is likely to be many times the amount of vitamin A, probably at least 5 to 10x, or more.
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Re: Is Spirulina really good for our health ?

Postby vapaatyyli » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:08 pm

I know that spiriluna have many health benefits but in some forums/sites people are saying that spiriluna may have some nasty "side-effects"

Like this : http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Acute+rhabdomyolysis+caused+by+Spirulina+(Arthrospira+platensis).-a0184613207
and : http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a792014772~frm=abslink

And these:
The possible potential health risks from chronic exposure to microcystins from contaminated cyanobacteria Spirulina health food should not be ignored, even if the toxin concentrations were low. The method presented herein is proposed to detect microcystins present in commercial cyanobacteria Spirulina samples.



Under certain conditions, blue-green algae, as Spirulina, seems to be able to produce a neurotoxin called BMAA ([beta]-N-methylamino-L-alanine), which can cause a neurodegenerative disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-parkinsonism-dementia complex) (Papapetro-poulos 2007).



Few side effects have been reported from spirulina including headache, muscle pain, flushing of the face, sweating, and difficulty concentrating. These have been described in people taking 1 g of Spirulina per os daily. Skin reactions and liver damage have also been reported (Iwasa et al. 2002).
Hey

Whilst it is indeed nutrient rich, the question is - Is it food?

Natural hygiene makes a distinction from all other systems of healthcare in that it is interested not in what has a nutrient content that appears high, but in how likely is it to be a food for humans. Think about Spirulina. It is pond scum essentially. I mean that in the most reverent way possible of course, for it serves an important function. It is the liver and the kidneys of fresh water. It is vital for the wellbeing of many aquatic systems. But in the tropical jungles of Africa, how likely do you think it is that we would come across Spirulina. And if we did come across a source of Spirulina in the form of a pond, how likely is it that we would dive down, pick some off a rock and eat it in its fresh whole state? Have you ever looked at a dirty fish tank and though when staring at that algae that prevents you from seeing if any fish are still alive in there "mmm I could just lick that tank clean"?

This might sound like I'm being silly, but this is an important concept. In our natural environment, we would have evaluated food choices based on the use of our senses. Does the food look appealing? Does it smell appealing? Does it feel pleasant to touch in the hands? Is it easily accessible with the hands? Does it taste delicious or bitter or bland? Does it feel pleasant to chew? Does it feel nice when its in the stomach and digesting? Does it feel good when eliminating and still smell good? When we were living in tune with our bodies, we would have used all of this as feedback, to determine as all other animals do, whether something is truly an optimal food for us.

What is an optimal food then?

In order to be an optimal food, it must meet as many of the following criteria as possible, without coming at the expense of other criteria:

1) Contain a sufficient source of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) to meet our requirements at the given time
2) It must be easily digestible
3) It must be easily eliminated
4) It must be pleasing to all of the senses
5) It must be accessible without the use of tools or processing agents
6) It must contain minimum harmful toxins and agents.

When we look at Spirulina, we see that it doesnt appeal to most peoples senses in its natural state (ie. before it was freeze dried, powdered and put in an attractive storage container). Before its powdered and turned into a liquid, it wouldnt be that easily digested and absorbed. And it likely wouldnt have got that far, as it would be rejected by functional senses. Its only once the senses have been dulled can we deceive them with unnatural substances. It wouldnt be easily accessible. This final criteria is important. For there are two things that could be considered disadvantageous when consuming spirulina.

1) It contains toxins - Remember, not only is it a living organism and therefore it has defense mechanisms . It is the liver and kidneys of the water. It doesnt just get all the nutrients. It gets all the toxins too. Some endogenous, some exogenous. Indeed some people have reactions to these.

2) Its not a plant, its in its own category, since it has more characteristics of bacteria than plant. Infact, check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK0PHQLp ... =4&playn... at 8.40min. you can see that there are actually cases of it infection peoples brain. Gross.

3) It contains B12 analogues. Analogues are inactive forms of nutrients. This might sounds relatively innocuous, but think of it this way. Analogues are like locks that fit into a key. They turn perfectly, but dont actually open any doors. Not only that, but they snap inside so that the real key can't get in. B12 analogues can actually create B12 deficiencies as a result, partly because they create false readings in blood tests, which invariably only test for B12 in the blood without making a distinction between analogue and digital forms, and also without making a distinction between whether it is being used or not. And partly, because they prevent the active b12 being used


Just wondering is that bullshit or is it true that in some cases spiriluna may be even dangerous?
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Re: Is Spirulina really good for our health ?

Postby skeptic » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:22 am

When you want to know if a claimed health aid is actually backed by science, the best web site to visit is http://www.quackwatch.org

On spirulina, go to : http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRel ... algae.html

While spirulina appears to be a pretty safe material, quckwatch also reports that many of the health claims made for it have been tested and prove to be pure bunkum. Read the reference.

While spirulina contains a number of useful nutrients, they are also available in quantities fully sufficient to meet our daily requirements in a wide variety of other foods, at a price way, way lower than buying spirulina. It is called eating a balanced diet!

General conclusion : spirulina is a scam to make money.
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Postby adihutama » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:11 am

@skeptic: apparently some people choose to spend a lot of money on spirulina than to chew and swallow vegetables. Oh yes, the latter could be the hardest moment for human carnivores.

My friend doesnt eat vegetables, she avoids any vegetables exist. She take some of pills like this...algae pills, but i dont think that her pill cost much since she never complain about algae runs her pocket dry :D lol
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Postby lucyy » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:18 am

Yes spirulina is good for health it is full of vitamins and nutrients, great if you are low on energy. I take it every day. Only drawback it smells like fish food, (but it is fed to fish). Also wheatgrass is as good, maybe even better but is more expensive.

Facts on Spirulina

The richest source of proteins, it provides 18 out of 22 amino acids the body needs.
Its range of B-Vitamins strengthens the immune system and builds resistance. Its natural beta carotene (pro Vitamin A) helps maintain normal and healthy eyesight.
It provides iron in a form that is easily absorbed. It helps maintain an optimum level of hemoglobin in the blood.
It is the best natural source for antioxidants like carotenoids, vitamin E, zinc and selenium that help fight against free radicals and also slow down the ageing process.
Being the richest vegetarian source of vitamin B-12, it helps reduce physical and mental stress.
GLA in Sunova Spirulina prevents the formation of cholesterol, keeps the heart healthy and checks the onset of degenerative diseases like arthritis and diabetes. It also balances the various hormonal functions to improve energy utilisation and all-round health.
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