Spirulina fusiformis, Spirulina maxima, Spirulina platensis
Spirulina is a primitive single-celled algae that grows in the ocean and includes many species. Commonly used species include Spirulina maxima and Spirulina platensis. Spirulina is cultivated as feedstock in Africa and Mexico.
Known ingredients of spirulina include:
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
Medically valid uses
There are no clearly demonstrated medical uses for spirulina in humans. Spirulina is a source of protein,
Spirulina has been used as a feed extender for livestock. It can provide a percentage of the total protein intake (usually up to 25 percent) but must be supplemented with amino acids that are lacking in spirulina protein (generally
Spirulina can also be used as a source of protein and some vitamins for humans if a tested source is consumed. Spirulina can be contaminated with microbes, heavy metals (including mercury, cadmium, lead, or arsenic), and radioactive divalent and trivalent metal ions. As Spirulina is an incomplete protein, it should not be used as a main source of protein.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.
Most studies of spirulina have been conducted on animals, principally mice, but not on humans. The claims made are thus only supported by animal studies. These claims state that spirulina may act as a hepatoprotectant (protect the liver from damage from certain toxins), may reduce allergic reactions by stabilizing mast cells (activated mast cells are a source of histamine, the agent that causes allergic symptoms), and may strengthen the immune system.
One study using human subjects suggests spirulina may help treat oral cancerous lesions.
Follow packaging instructions for correct dose. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should consult a physician before taking any dietary supplements.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Spirulina is a controversial source of
People taking warfarin (Coumadin) should talk to their doctor before taking spirulina supplements since they could interfere with the effectiveness of this blood thinner.
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