Spirulina's Nutritional Analysis
The blue-green algae, and Spirulina in particular, have a primitive structure with few starch storage cells and cell membrane proliferation, but rich amounts of ribosomes, the cellular bodies that manufacture protein. This particular arrangement of cellular components allows for rapid photosynthesis and formation of proteins. The lack of hard cellular walls assures that Spirulina protein is rapidly and easily assimilated by consuming organisms.
Spirulina is approximately 65 to 71 percent protein, depending on growing conditions. These proteins are biologically complete, which means they provide all eight essential amino acids in the proper ratios. Most plant foods are not complete proteins because they usually lack one or more amino acids.
Unfortunately, the body cannot store amino acids in anticipation of deficient ones eventually arriving in subsequent meals. To synthesize protein for the body's repair and maintenance, all dietary protein factors must be present simultaneously or the amino acids are wasted.
Furthermore, even if complete protein is consumed, digestive difficulties can prevent assimilation of all needed elements. Spirulina provides all the required amino acids, and in a form that is five times easier to digest than meat or soy protein.
These eight essential amino acids are found in Spirulina:
ISOLEUCINE (4.130/o): Required for optimal growth, intelligence development and nitrogen equilibrium in the body Used to synthesize other non-essential amino acids.
LEUCINE (5.8001o): Stimulator of brain function, increases muscular energy levels.
LYSINE (4.000/o): Building block of blood antibodies, strengthens circulatory system and maintains normal growth of cells.
METHIONINE (2.170/o): Vital lipotropic (fat and lipid metabolizing) amino acid that maintains liver health. An anti-stress factor, it calms the nerves.
PHENYLALANINE (3.950/o): Required by the thyroid gland for production of thyroxine which stimulates metabolic rate.
THREONINE (4.170/o): Improves intestinal competence and digestive assimilation.
TRYPTOPHANE (1.1301o): Increases utilization of B vitamins,improves nerve health and stability of the emotions. Promotes sense of calm.
VALINE (6.0001o): Stimulates mental capacity and muscle coordination.
These are the non-essential amino acids supplied by Spirulina:
Spirulina supplies ten of the twelve non-essential amino acids. "Non-essential" does not mean that these amino acids are not needed by the body, but merely indicates that the body can synthesize them itself if it needs to do so, provided the appropriate nutritional building blocks are available. Nevertheless, the body is better served if these excellent protein components are readily and totally available in dietary sources, since all the amino acids must be on hand as the cells manufacture enzymes, proteins, hormones, brain chemicals and the other products of metabolism. Of the thousands of biochemical substances acting and interacting in the human body, not one is derived from a vacuum; the body is ultimately dependent upon nutrient intake for all of its functions.
ALANINE (5.820/o): Strengthens cellular walls.
ARGININE (5.98%): Important to male sexual health as seminal fluid is 80 percent arginine. Also helps detoxify the blood.
ASPARTIC ACID (6.340/o): Aids transformation of carbohydrates into cellular energy.
CYSTINE (0.670/o): Aids pancreatic health, which stabilizes blood sugar and carbohydrate metabolism. Has been used to alleviate some symptoms of food allergy and intolerance. >
GLUTAMIC ACID (8.940/o): With glucose, one of the principal fuels for the brain cells. Has been used to reduce the craving for alcohol and stabilize mental health.
GLYCINE (3.5%): Promotes energy and oxygen use in the cells.
HISTIDINE (1.08%): Strengthens nerve relays, especially in the auditory organs. Has been used to reverse some cases of deafness.
PROLINE (2.970/o): A precursor of glutamic acid.
SERINE (4.00%): Helps form the protective fatty sheaths surrounding nerve fibers.
TYROSINE (4.60%): Slows aging of cells and suppresses hunger centers in the hypothalamus. Can be synthesized from phenylalanine. Involved in proper coloration of hair and skin, including protection from sunburn.
Although proteins are the building blocks of life, many trace minerals can profoundly effect health and metabolism.
The waters Spirulina favors are so saturated with minerals deposited from ancient soils and mountains that no other plants can live there. Because Spirulina thrives in such alkaline waters, it incorporates and synthesizes many minerals and derivative compounds into its cell structure.
Transformed into natural organic forms by Spirulina, minerals become chelated with amino acids and are therefore more easily assimilated by the body. Many times people have ingested large amounts of inorganic minerals without benefit to health because the body does not know what to do with these incompatible forms. In fact, evidence is accumulating that the inorganic minerals can block absorption of the organic forms, leading ultimately to mineral deficiency diseases.
Spirulina contains essential minerals and trace elements absorbed from its growth medium into chelated, easily absorbed forms:
POTASSIUM (15,400 mg/kg): A crucial mineral that regulates body electrolyte balance. Deficiency can cause heart arrest, hypertension, adrenal exhaustion and muscular collapse.
CALCIUM (1,315 mg/kg): The most abundant mineral in the body, it is especially important to bone and dental health, but is also involved in neural transmissions to the muscles. Spirulina supplies about as much calcium, gram for gram, as milk.
ZINC (39 mg/kg): The pivot point of over thirty vital enzymatic reactions, with profound effects on mental health, skin tone, prostate function and healing capacity.
MAGNESIUM (1,915 mg/kg): Deficiency can lead to spasmodic muscle disorders, including cardiac irregularities. Helps assimilation of vitamin C, B vitamins and protein.
MANGANESE (25 mg/kg): Activates enzyme systems, along with zinc. Promotes activity of neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and helps stabilize blood sugar.
SELENIUM (0.40 ppm): Originally believed to be a toxic heavy metal, but now known to be necessary for health. It retards aging, harmful oxidation and free radical formation, reduces the toxic effect of carcinogens, and improves cardiac efficiency.
IRON (580 mg/kg): Promotes formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying blood pigment found in healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is most common among women in their reproductive years.
PHOSPHORUS (8,942 mg/kg): The second most abundant mineral in the human body, it is found in practically every cell. Functions with calcium to maintain bone density. Helps to digest carbohydrates and the B vitamins niacin and riboflavin.
Spirulina supplies several of the vitamins that all living beings need to carry on metabolic processes:
PYRIDOXINE or B6 (3 mg/kg): Involved in breakdown and assimilation of protein. Protects cardiac health, reduces edema and stabilizes female hormone levels. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer has demonstrated that B6, together with the mineral zinc, can cure some forms of schizophrenia.
BIOTIN (0.4 mg/kg): An enzyme that carries CO, during certain biochemical reactions involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Also acts as a co-enzyme in the assimilation of other B-complex vitamins. Biotin is destroyed by eating raw egg whites and some kinds of raw fish.
COBALAMIN or B12 (2 mg/kg): The most difficult of all vitamins to obtain from vegetable sources. A B12 deficiency results in pernicious anemia, nerve degeneration, premature senility, pronounced fatigue and mental illnesses resembling schizophrenia. Low doses of B=12
PANTOTHENIC ACID (11 mg/kg): The "stress" vitamin, used by the adrenal glands, along with cholesterol and vitamin C, to manufacture cortisone and other steroids in response to physical and mental stress. Deficiency encourages sensitivity to allergy, infection and degenerative diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism. Ulcers and hypoglycemia have also been associated with shortage of this vitamin.
FOLIC ACID (0.5 mg/kg): Essential to proper hemoglobin formation in red blood cells. Deficiency results in anemia, poor growth, skin pigmentation disorders and premature graying of the hair.
INOSITOL (350 mg/kg): Vital lipotropic nutrient that sustains liver health and helps detoxify carcinogens, particularly excess female hormones. Helps normalize blood cholesterol levels. With choline, inositol is used by the liver to manufacture lecithin. Inositol is the second most abundant vitamin in the body, after niacin. Recent studies indicate that inositol, with biotin, reduces loss of scalp hair.
NIACIN (118 mg/kg): Also known as nicotinic acid and niacinamide, which is an alternative form, niacin is essential to mental health. Dr. Abram Hoffer, a renowned pioneer in orthomolecular psychiatry, has completely relieved schizophrenic symptoms using niacin. The Physicians' Desk Reference, a pharmaceutical text used by doctors when prescribing medication, recognizes niacin as an effective cholesterol lowering agent.
RIBOFLAVIN or B2 (40 mg/kg): The most common vitamin deficiency is that of riboflavin and results in cataracts, failing vision, watery eyes and uncontrollable eczema.
THIAMINE or B 1 (55 mg/kg): A co-enzyme in the breakdown of dietary carbohydrate. Maintains levels of glucose in the blood. Deficiency results in weakness, cardiac damage, abdominal distention and poor oxygenation. Severe shortage results in death; critical toxemia develops from unmetabolized carbohydrate fragments.
TOCOPHEROL or vitamin E (190 mg/kg): Spirulina contains more vitamin E per gram than pure wheat germ. This nutrient protects heart and vascular health, promotes oxygenation of cells, and retards aging.
Some substances in plant foods are not true vitamins, but provide the precursors from which the body can then synthesize the appropriate vitamins. The carotenoid compounds of Spirulina are of this nature, since they are used to produce vitamin A.
True vitamin A is found in the pre-formed state only in animal sources, such as liver. This is the form of vitamin A sometimes associated with toxicity and overdose, since it is fat-soluble and is not readily excreted from the body.
In contrast, the carotenoid complexes found in vegetable foods are converted to vitamin A only as it is needed, thus minimizing the dangers of toxicity. Spirulina and other algae are a primary source of vitamin A precursors - it is from algae carotenoids that fish livers derive and concentrate vitamin A.
Spirulina contains the yellow/orange pigments cryptoxanthine and beta-carotene from which vitamin A can be made. Two units of carotene will normally yield one unit of complete vitamin A, if required by the body. Spirulina contains 4,000 mg/kg carotenoids in these forms:
Alpha-carotene -- traces
Beta-carotene -- 1,700 mg/kg
Xanthophylis -- 1,000 mg/kg
Cryptoxanthin -- 556 mg/kg
Echinenone -- 439 mg/kg
Zeaxanthin -- 316 mg/kg
Lutein -- 289 mg/kg
While the protein, mineral and vitamin value of Spirulina is impressive, this minute organism is also rich in pigments that are bio-chemically important to life. Without pigments, organisms could not synthesize many of the enzymes necessary for balancing metabolism.
The most visible pigment in Spirulina is chlorophyll, a green molecule common to plants. It releases ions when struck by the energy of sunlight. These free ions proceed to stimulate the biochemical reactions that form proteins, vitamins and sugars.
Chlorophyll is sometimes called `green blood" because of its similarity to the hemoglobin molecule found in human blood cells. In fact, both are constructed of almost identical molecular structure called pyrrole rings, and both substances are chemically known as "porphyrin pigments" by scientists.
The difference is that chlorophyll contains a magnesium ion at its core, while hemoglobin contains an iron molecule. Magnesium imparts a green color to the chlorophyll molecule and is involved in synthesis of other materials, while iron gives hemoglobin a red coloration and changes the function of the porphyrin molecule to respiration and breakdown of materials.
It is believed that if chlorophyll is ingested with sufficient iron, the magnesium can be displaced to yield a hemoglobin molecule. Experiments in Japan have demonstrated that Spirulina has a marked positive effect on anemia, possibly due to the conversion of chlorophyll into hemoglobin. Of course, the high nutrient density of Spirulina, especially the blood-building vitamins B12 and folic acid and the amino acids, are also useful in treating cases of anemia.
Chlorophyll has other positive benefits to the body. It increases peristaltic action and thus relieves constipation, and also normalizes the secretion of digestive acids. It soothes the inflammation and reduces the excess pepsin secretion associated with gastric ulcers.
During World War 11, the drying action of chlorophyll and its antiseptic qualities made it a common first-aid measure to prevent festering of wounds. In addition, chlorophyll soothes swelling and promotes granulation, the process that regenerates new tissue over injuries.
Chlorophyll appears to promote regeneration of damaged liver cells, and also increases circulation to all the organs by dilating blood vessels. In the heart, chlorophyll aids in transmission of nerve impulses that control contraction. The heart rate is slowed, yet each contraction is increased in power, thus improving the overall efficiency of cardiac work.
The pigment which gives Spirulina its blue cast is phycocyanin, found in concentrations of about 7 percent, compared to the I percent chlorophyll content most commonly found. Phycocyanin is related to the human pigment bilirubin, which is important to healthy liver function and digestion of amino acids.
Another important pigment is porphyrin, a red compound that forms the active nucleus of hemoglobin. Related to this structure is the polypyrrole molecule of B12, which is essential to the formation of healthy red blood cells.
These and several lesser pigments such as phycoerythrin, tetrapyrrole, phytonadione and the carotenoids are not just the "color" of living organisms, but are used to carry on metabolic processes throughout the body. Without them, enzymatic reactions would be reduced until cellular disintegration occurred.
Fats, sugars, salts and calories:
It is probably hard to imagine that a concentrated source of nutrients such as Spirulina is not also loaded with fats, starches and calories. Amazingly, Spirulina is only 7 percent lipid, and most of that is in the form of essential fatty acids that promote cholesterol normalization. The essential fatty acids sometimes called vitamin F, include linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acid. They are used by the body to manufacture Prostaglandins, the hormonal regulators of blood pressure and capillary resilience.
The essential fatty acids are involved in respiration in all the cells, and are especially important to oxygen transport. They affect the health of the hair, skin and nails, and help break up cholesterol in the blood stream. They are not dangerous fat but are absolutely vital to health.
Spirulina contains very little starch or sugar. What carbohydrate it supplies, roughly 10 to 15 percent, is primarily in the form of rhamnose and glycogen. These two polysaccharides are easily absorbed by human cells with minimal intervention by insulin. Hence, Spirulina sugars provide speedy energy, without taxing the pancreas or precipitating hypoglycemia.
From a caloric standpoint, Spirulina nutrition is economical. There are only approximately 3.9 calories per gram of protein obtained from Spirulina. You would have to consume about 65 calories of beef to obtain a gram of protein. The average 500 mg tablet of Spirulina contains only one to two calories!
Some people are concerned about sodium in their diets, and have therefore avoided seaweed foods such as nori, wakami and kombu. These kelp foods are very nutritious, but they do contain significant sodium amounts. Spirulina avoids the sodium problems of algae that grow in the sea, yielding only .206 mg of sodium per tablet. Most hypertension patients are restricted to 2,000 mg or less of sodium pe
Lecithin is an important component of VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) that helps to
transport fats around the body from the liver. Lecithin can be found native in a number of
different foods such as eggs, dairy products, and meats, but the primary source for lecithin
that is used today comes from soybean.
Lecithin is an essential fatty substance that also protects cell membranes from hardening.
High concentrations of lecithin are found in the brain and prostate gland. Lecithin is largely
composed of choline, plus linoleic acid and inositol. Lecithin acts as an emulsifying agent,
enabling fats and other lipids to be dispersed in water.
Phosphatidyl choline (a different kind of lecithin) is a powerful fat-emulsifying compound. It
solubilizes fats and cholesterol in the bloodstream and solubilizes dietary fats in the intestinal
mucosa. It maintains the structural integrity of cell membranes.
Lecithin is also a source of choline, a B vitamin with powerful lipotropic activity. Choline is
utilized by virtually every cell for synthesis of various phospholipids, proteins, and the
TRADITIONAL USES OF LECITHIN SUPPLEMENT
Administration of choline or lecithin raises plasma and brain choline and acetylcholine levels.
As discussed before, people take lecithin supplement mainly for proper liver function and fat
utilization. It is also believed that oral choline and lecithin may help alleviate neurological
motor disturbances, and restore cognition and memory. Oral administration of choline, lecithin
or phosphatidylcholine may ameliorate symptoms of tardive dyskinesia and Alzheimer's
Have you ever wondered as to what is the key building block of cell membranes in our body? It's Lecithin! A fat-like substance known as phospholipid, lecithin is produced by the liver and can be found in the heart, liver and the kidneys. This article talks about the numerous lecithin benefits and its different uses...
Lecithin is among the other several factors which govern the proper functioning of our overall health, and it is utilized by every cell in our bodies. As mentioned earlier, lecithin is produced by our body, however, there should be enough consumption of foods which can make for the nutrition which is needed to produce the required amount. Foods such as cabbage, soy beans, chick peas, split peas, cauliflower, organic meat, seeds, nuts and eggs are some rich sources of this fatty substance. As the average diet of people is not sufficient to make up for the required quantity of lecithin in the body, its supplementation has become necessary for good health and well-being. The various lecithin benefits have been listed below.
Lecithin Health Benefits
One of the most essential lecithin benefits is for the heart. Since long and even now, lecithin is associated with a healthy heart. It gained its popularity due to the beneficial effects it has on the heart. The ability of lecithin to break cholesterol into smaller particles is the key to its function that prevents several chronic heart diseases. The process of breaking up of the cholesterol into smaller amounts prevents it from building up against the wall of the arteries and thus the cholesterol can be handled by the system with ease. Normally what happens is that the fat and the 'bad' cholesterol that gets accumulated in the blood causes ill effects in the body. Adequate intake of lecithin helps in removing these deposited fat and cholesterol from the blood and utilizing them for the benefit of the body. Most of the heart diseases are a result of increased amount of blood cholesterol and decreased amount of lecithin. So, such diseases can be countered by taking small amounts of lecithin on a daily basis. More on heart health.
Apart from the lecithin benefits for the heart and cardiovascular functions of the body, lecithin is also linked with preventing the onset of gallstones and improves the gallbladder function and health. Treating problems or illnesses related to the functions of the brain such as Alzheimer's disease, amnesia and dementia are associated with soy lecithin benefits (soy lecithin is extracted as a by-product while processing soybean oil and is generally used as a natural emulsifier or stabilizer in various food applications).
Other Lecithin Benefits
Other benefits of soy lecithin includes treatment of bipolar disorder, eczema (generic term for inflammatory conditions of the skin; particularly with vesiculation in the acute stages), fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) and liver disease. Apart from all these, extrapyramidal symptoms, anxiety and dry skin have also been known to be treatable by soy lecithin supplements. However, these soya lecithin benefits to the body is a part of a controversial debate in medical science. It is not certain that this dietary supplement may work for all these medical conditions.
Another form of lecithin is made from soy flour and liquid lecithin; known as lecithin granules. You can add the granules to smoothies, shakes and other health drinks. Morning breakfast can be made very nutritious if taken with this supplement. Lecithin granules benefits show impressive results in improving cardiovascular health, liver and cell function. They are also beneficial for healthy skin and as said earlier, for treatment of gallstones and other medical conditions.
It is important to take note of the fact that expecting or nursing mothers should seek professional advice, before including the supplement in their diet. However, some research reveals that intake of lecithin ensures healthy pregnancy and development in the infant. According to some other studies, this product forms an important ingredient in breast enhancing supplements, as it is known to add to the proper functioning of breast cells.
Health benefits of lecithin also involve the improvement of the quality and quantity of male *****. Consuming soy lecithin improves prostate secretions making it high in volume and amount. Another benefit of lecithin has been found to be related with healthy hair. Healthy hair growth is governed by the amount of protein in the hair. Lecithin benefits for hair mainly support and enhance the required amount of protein for hair growth. Thus lecithin not only maximizes hair growth, but also improves its texture making it strong and shiny.
Lecithin Side Effects
Along with the numerous lecithin benefits, there are certain possible but minor side effects as well. These include nausea, vomiting, weight gain, loss of appetite and rashes. Other probable side effects of lecithin which may arise are gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, anorexia, sweating, headache, unpleasant body odor and bad breath. However, all these side effects does not occur when the administration of lecithin is kept to its required amount of dosages.
So these are the different lecithin benefits and side effects (a few of them!). Apart from the food sources rich in lecithin, as mentioned in the beginning, its supplements can be found in local health food stores. These dietary supplements have also been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and is non-toxic in nature. As mentioned earlier, in order to prevent the onset of any side effects, the consumption should be followed according to the prescribed dosages.
Lecithin Benefits and Side Effects
The term lecithin has many different meanings when used in chemistry and biochemistry than when it is used commercially. Many times the term lecithin is also used interchangeably with a compound called phosphatidyl choline, a fat-soluble phospholipid. Chemically, lecithin is phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine, is present in commercial lecithin in concentrations of 20 to 90. However, most of the commercial lecithin products contain 20 phosphatidylcholine.
Lecithins containing phosphatidylcholine come from vegetable, animal and microbial sources, but mostly from vegetable sources. Soybean, sunflower, and rapeseed are the main sources of commercial lecithin with soybean being the most common. Plant lecithins are considered to be regarded as safe. Eggs themselves naturally contain from 68 to 72 phosphatidylcholine, while soya contains from 20 to 22 phosphatidylcholine. Notwithstanding, most lecithin nutritional supplements contain phosphatidylcholine from soya.
Uses of Lecithin
Phosphatidylcholine (Lecithin) may be useful in helping to restore liver function in a number of ailments including alcoholic fibrosis and possibly viral hepatitis. It has also been used in connection with some manic conditions. There is also some evidence that Phosphatidylcholine may be useful in the management of Alzheimer's disease and some other cognitive disorders including tardive dyskinesia.
r day; Spirulina has such small amounts of sodium that no danger is presented to persons on a salt-restricted diet.