Spirulina is a microscopic algae in the shape of a perfect spiral coil. It contains the most remarkable concentration of nutrients known in any food, plant, grain or herb. It’s the highest protein food- over 60% all digestible vegetable protein. It has a very high concentration of beta carotene, vitamins B-1,2 and 3, iron and trace minerals and the rare essential fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).
Spirulina contains a number of unique phytonutrients like phycocyanin, polysaccharides and sulfolipids that enhance the immune system, possibly reducing the risk of infection, cancer and autoimmune disease. It is rich in natural carotenoid antioxidants that promote cellular health and reduce the risk of cancer. It has cleansing chlorophyll which helps detoxify our bodies of ever present pollution.
Both test-tube studies and animal-based research suggest that spirulina may help to:
- Strengthen the immune system
- Improve gastrointestinal health
- Aid in detoxification
- Reduce the rate of cancer
- Help allergies
Spirulina Can Strengthen The Immune System
When the immune system is stressed or suffering, it draws on the body’s metabolic energy. Dogs with immune system imbalance often feel chronic fatigue and low energy. Small amounts of spirulina can help balance and stabilize the immune system, freeing up more metabolic energy for vitality, healing and assimilation of nutrients. It enhances the body’s cellular communication process and its ability to read and repair DNA, like a kind of cellular tune up. Scientists around the world – in Japan, China, India, Europe, Russia and the USA – are discovering how and why spirulina is so effective for human and animal health. Hundreds of published scientific studies reveal how spirulina and its unique phytonutrients boost the immune system and improve health.
Studies confirm spirulina improves immune system function. Medical scientists discovered it not only stimulates the immune system, it actually enhances the body’s ability to generate new blood cells. Important parts of the immune system – bone marrow stem cells, macrophages, T-cells and natural killer cells, spleen and thymus glands – all show enhanced activity. Scientists observe it causes macrophages to increase in number, become activated and more effective at killing germs. Because spirulina increases disease resistance in animals, even in very small doses, the animal feed industry is studying its use as a new probiotic to help replace overused antibiotic drugs in animal feeds.
Spirulina Can Improve Gastrointestinal And Digestive Health
Research confirms spirulina promotes digestion and bowel function. It suppresses bad bacteria like e-coli and Candida yeast and stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Healthy flora is the foundation of good health and it increases absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat, and helps protect against infection.
Spirulina Can Enhance Detoxification and Natural Cleansing
Researchers in Japan found spirulina significantly reduced kidney toxicity caused by the heavy metal mercury and three pharmaceutical drugs. Other researchers found rats consuming spirulina or chlorella algae eliminated seven times the dangerous chemical dioxin compared to a control diet.
In 1994, a Russian Patent was awarded for spirulina as a medical food to reduce allergic reactions from radiation sickness. 270 Children of Chernobyl consuming 5 grams a day for 45 days (donated by Earthrise Farms), lowered radionucleides by 50%, and normalized allergic sensitivities. Today our dogs are subjected to an onslaught of toxic chemicals in our air, water, food and drugs. Their bodies need to continually eliminate these accumulated toxins. Spirulina has a completely unique combination of phytonutrients – including chlorophyll, phycocyanin and polysaccharides, that can help cleanse the body.
Spirulina Can Prevent and Treat Cancer
Spirulina’s blue-green color is more than a pretty facade; it is also the source of much of its cancer-prevention abilities. In Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford writes, “Important to note in the area of prevention, spirulina is richly supplied with the blue pigment phycocyanin, a biliprotein which has been shown to inhibit cancer-colony formation.”
Spirulina and its extracts have been shown to have anticancer activity in animal studies. Spirulina stimulates natural killer cells and similar anti-immune components of the immune system that can help fight cancer cells. Laboratory studies also show that spirulina polysaccharides can work to repair genetic material that has been damaged from toxins or from radiation.
An Oregon State University study in which laboratory animals were exposed to a potent cancer-causing substance found that animals given a chlorophyll supplement prior to exposure developed far fewer tumors than animals who were not given the supplement. The researchers believe that chlorophyll may reduce the risk of developing skin, stomach, colon, and liver cancers. Take a chlorophyll or sea-greens supplement, such as spirulina and blue-green algae, as directed on the product label.
Spirulina Can Reduce Allergies
Clinical research points to broad basis for the anti-allergic activity of this functional food. A trial published in August 2008 demonstrated an immune-modulating effect in people who were administered spirulina for 16 weeks. Significant reductions in IL-6 (interleukin-6) were noted, which suggests a balancing effect on “immune variables”. Other experiments performed in “test tubes”, animals and humans support these prior findings and suggest that the effect of spirulina may even afford protection to those with food allergies. These test results are important because allergic reactions are partially brought about by inappropriate responses by the immune system. That explains why one dog can be severely reactive to a certain flower pollen or a common food and another in the same circumstance feels completely fine.
Spirulina is often sold in powder form, but it’s also available in capsules and other natural products (including juices). According to herbalist, Greg Tilford, it’s safe to use every day but because it’s so nutrient dense, it can cause diarrhea and digestive upset if feeding too much.
According to Tilford, a daily amount of 1/4 teaspoon per pound of food is generally safe, while cats would require 1/2 teaspoon.
Try giving your dog spirulina as part of his daily supplementation and you might notice a shinier, more lustrous coat, fresher breath and better overall physical condition.