The high protein content of various algae species makes them a potential dietary supplement for those seeking a plant-based protein source. Spirulina, stands out for being one of the richest protein sources of algae, with similar protein levels when compared to soybeans and meat. In addition to being one of the best sources of protein, spirulina’s high level of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids is the superfood needed to benefit every aspect of your health and well-being.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga, classified as cyanobacteria, has a long history of use as a staple in the diets of Aztec civilization for its high levels of protein and vitamins. Spirulina has a protein content of 70%, along with being a good source of the trace minerals, calcium, iron, beta-carotene, and the essential fatty acid, linolenic acid. Spirulina has been shown in research to assist in the detoxification of heavy metals and encourage healthy liver and kidney function, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Spirulina lacks cellulose cell walls, which can be easily digested to benefit those with gastrointestinal complaints.
Many toxicological studies have proven the safety of spirulina and listed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the category Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Those with autoimmune disease, phenylketonuria (PKU), or taking anticoagulation medication should consult their doctor before use.
Spirulina is available in capsules, powders, tablets and added to beverages and snacks such as smoothies, energy bars, popcorn, frozen treats, and baked goods.
Not all spirulina is created equal and purchasing the wrong brand can put your health at serious risk. The guaranteed way to ensure that a spirulina supplement is free of heavy metals is to have a sample tested. Even organic spirulina can have hidden levels of toxic metals like arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
While there are heavy metal tests that are available, the best way to source pure spirulina is to research companies that own organic farms and rigorously test their product.