Spirulina: Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits.
Spirulina is a microalgae that has been consumed for centuries due to its high nutritional value and supposed health benefits. Today, popular lifestyle personalities endorse Spirulina as a secret, potent "superfood," and a "miracle from the sea."
"Spirulina" sounds so much better than "pond scum," but that's what the popular supplement really is — a type of blue-green algae that grows naturally in oceans and salty lakes in subtropical climates. The Aztecs harvested Spirulina from Lake Texcoco in central Mexico, and it is still harvested from Lake Chad in west-central Africa and turned into dry cakes.
Spirulina was once classified as a plant because of "its richness in plant pigments as well as its ability of photosynthesis," according to a study published in the journal Cardiovascular Therapeutics. New understanding of its genetics, physiology and biochemical properties caused scientists to move it to the Bacteria kingdom and the Cyanobacteria phylum.
At first it was classified in the genus Arthrospira, but later it was placed into the genus Spirulina. There are several species, but three — Spirulina platensis, Spirulina maxima and Spirulina fusiformis — are studied extensively because of their high nutritional as well as potential therapeutic values, according to the study's authors.
Spirulina grows in microscopic spirals, which tend to stick together, making it easy to harvest. It has an intense blue-green color, but a relatively mild taste. Aside from supplements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers to use Spirulina as a color additive in gum, candy and other packaged foods.
Health claims about Spirulina:
Many people promote Spirulina as a treatment for a range of metabolism and heart health issues, including weight loss, diabetes and high cholesterol, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). People may also recommend Spirulina as an aid for various mental and emotional disorders, including anxiety, stress, depression and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Spirulina is said to help a range of eclectic health problems, including premenstrual symptoms and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), according to the NIH. A combination of zinc and Spirulina may help the body clear arsenic in people whose drinking water has unusually high levels, according to the NIH.https://www.livescience.com/48853-spirulina-supplement-facts.html