Spirulina may be the superstar of the world's food
supply. These tiny, blue-green algae are one of nature's original foods.
It is high in protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Spirulina is a complete protein. That is, it can supply
all twenty-one amino acids, including the essential amino acids (those
we cannot manufacture in our bodies). Even though Spirulina is a plant,
the cell walls are mostly protein (not cellulose, as in land plants),
which means it is easily digestible. Spirulina can be compared to dried
eggs, considered to be the most usable of all protein food. Eggs have
an NPU (Net Protein Utilization) of 94 percent, because the essential
amino acid portion of the egg is very close to that of the human body.
Because the NPU of Spirulina is very similar to that of eggs, Spirulina
has been used in the treatment of protein-deficiency diseases.
Spirulina also contains the entire B-complex, although
it is strongest in vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B12, with only traces of
the rest of the B-complex family. One tablespoon provides the body with
a useful amount of vitamin B12 and chlorophyll.
Spirulina is rich in minerals, including iron, phosphorus,
zinc, potassium, magnesium, selenium and chromium. It is also a prime
source of calcium, since it contains about twenty-six times the amount
of calcium found in milk.
Spirulina can be used as a quick protein supply.
Many athletes use it for an energy boost before
sports. It is also ideal for backpackers as a source of nourishment.
Spirulina's use as a dietary aid
relates to its phenylalanine content. Phenylalanine is an amino acid
that scientists believe can act
the appetite center of the brain to relieve hunger pangs. It has been
used as an appetite
suppressant. And should be incorporated in most diets along with alkaline