The world’s leading scientists are always searching for new foodstuffs of high nutritional value, and at the bottom of the ocean they found spirulina, a single-celled cyanobacteria. Research has shown that spirulina is rich in nutrients and that as such it can be called a superfood of the 21st century.
What is spirulina?
Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is a single-celled blue-green algae that resides in saline, alkaline and brackish waters. We can find it in the lakes of sub-Saharan Africa, Mexico and Central America. Spirulina has been used for centuries as a source of food in African countries and served as one of the only sources of food during times of famine, enabling the native population to survive through famine. Nowadays, it is sold across the globe as both a dietary supplement and a regular part of a balanced diet.
Spirulina is often called a superfood because of its high nutritional value which has significant impact on the health of the human body. Some of the many nutrients within it are highly digestible proteins, all the essential amino acids and large amounts of beta-carotene. It is also a source of gama-Linolenic acid and is rich in B-complex vitamins, contains minerals, trace elements, chlorophyl, enzymes and other nutrient groups like carotenoids, glycolipids and phycocyanin. Other than the basic nutrients it also has many phytonutrients which are rarely included in a modern human’s diet.
Because of its composition, spirulina has a wide array of uses in everyday life. It’s especially found major use in medicine, for example the protection of the liver and kidneys, improvement of blood health and anemia prevention, aiding in removal of heavy metals from the body, control of allergic rhinitis and many others. It’s most widely applied in maintaining the health of the largest human organ – skin. Coming in the form on a concentrated blue extract rich in phycocyanin, this microalga is found in many cosmetic products because of its antioxidative, revitalizing, remineralizing and hydrating effects on the skin and body. The extracts are used in hydrating creams, and preparations against aging and acne, sunscreen and even pigmentation disorders and wound healing.
The variety of this microalga’s use shows that it’s a friend of humanity and that the potential benefits of spirulina as a superfood will lead to a wider consumption of it in the future.
Translated by Helena Lušić
2. Ragusa I, Nardone GN, Zanatta S, Bertin W, Amadio E. Spirulina for Skin Care: A Bright Blue Future. Cosmetics. 2021. 8. 16