• Spiruline

Organic Spirulina : Benefits, Dosage and Contraindications

The organic spirulina has many benefits: you will find in this guide different dosages according to the objectives, the complete list of benefits and contraindications to the consumption of organic spirulina to take into account.

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Definition
Definition

What is Organic Spirulina and what is its composition?

Spirulina is a plant that grows in alkaline water. It is a microscopic organism that belongs to the large family of phytoplankton. It is often presented as a microalgae or blue-green algae, but it is a cyanobacterium, an organism much older than microalgae.

Spirulina, definition

Spirulina is a single-celled organism with a prokaryotic (lacking a nucleus) structure typical of bacteria. Photosynthesis occurs directly in the cytoplasm of the cell. It is the main species of cyanobacteria cultivated industrially for its recognized health properties.

The beneficial properties for our health have been known for a long time. Traces of its consumption have been found among very ancient civilizations including the Aztecs, or the populations living on the shores of Lake Chad where it is still used as a condiment called “Dihé”.

This small plant cell is among the most studied organisms in the world. These studies have resulted in the publication of several thousand articles in medical and scientific journals since the middle of the last century. Spirulina is a ” food ” according to the AFSSA Agence Française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments which became ANSES [1]. Its virtues are such that it is possible to market it as a health food supplement in the sense of the European regulation (*). Spirulina is generally offered for consumption without processing in a dehydrated state. It is found in the form of powder or flakes or in capsules or tablets. Industrialists are increasingly offering preparations containing spirulina, for example in energy drinks, cereal bars, bread, pasta, cookies …

Differences between classic spirulina and organic spirulina?

Differences between classic spirulina and organic spirulina?

The classic spirulina is a spirulina produced in conditions known as conventional. Its mode of culture does not respect the European specifications of the organic culture of micro algae.

Nutrients used

Organic spirulina is certified as organic because its production corresponds to the criteria of the specifications. The main difference between the two productions is the origin of the elements used for the enrichment of the spirulina biomass: within the framework of an organic culture, they must also have an organic origin. The nutrients are brought by filtered clays.

Composition

Composition

Spirulina is composed of a super cocktail of nutritional elements valuable for health. It has a high percentage of protein (up to 60%), all the amino acids including the 8 essential ones. It is also composed of minerals and trace elements, vitamins, enzymes, peptides, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

A real nutritional bomb

• Protein

Studies have shown that some strains of spirulina can contain up to 65% protein, about 10% more protein than chlorella [11],[14], [5], [15]. It has been shown that the proteins in spirulina are perfectly well absorbed by our body [11].

Due to its high protein composition, the NASA is working on using spirulina to enrich the diets of astronauts on missions[16].

• Lipids

Spirulina provides polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including omega 6 [17],[18]. It is very complementary to chlorella which contains mainly omega 3.

• Mineral salts and trace elements

Spirulina contains valuable nutrients, such as iron, copper… However for supplementation needs it is advisable to prefer chlorella which is richer in iron.

• Vitamins

Spirulina contains vitamins in good proportion such as vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin K1. It has a vitamin B12 which for the most part is not assimilated because it is a pseudo vitamin B12.

3 g of spirulina provides almost the entire dose of vitamin K1 recommended by health authorities, it can indeed provide up to 40 micrograms (**)

• Antioxidant pigments

Antioxidants in our diet have been widely proven to have health benefits [20]. Spirulina is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which are powerful antioxidants but it contains other antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and pigments : carotenoids and chlorophyll [11]. Spirulina is rich in phycocyanin its specific pigment which is a very active antioxidant compound. It also contains chlorophyll a particularly beneficial antioxidant compound [21].

• Average caloric values

Spirulina is a low-calorie food that contains Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron…and a little sodium (to be considered, however, in case of a salt-free diet)Organic Spirulina eChlorial For 100 g: 1377 kJ – 326 kCal. For 3 g : 41 kJ – 9.8 kCal.

Benefits, Advice, Dosage

Benefits of organic spirulina, advice for use and dosage

The organic spirulina, resulting from organic farming, is a food, rich in micronutrients valuable for health that stimulates our immunity. It is a natural dopant which brings energy and reinforces our capacities of recovery: it is for this reason very appreciated by the sportsmen and the weakened or tired people.

How much spirulina dosage per day?

Spirulina Benefits: Click to Enlarge →

For adults and teens, recommended dosages range from 3 to 5 g per day, which is between 7 and 12 400 mg organic spirulina tablets per day or a heaping teaspoon of powder.

Experiments show that a daily intake of 2 to 5 g for adults (in 1, 2 or 3 times taken during the day) of spirulina has significantly positive effects on quality of life.

For optimized effects, consumption should be daily. Regularity of intake is important. Even if the effects, particularly on tone and well-being, are felt before the end of the first month, optimal effectiveness requires consumption over time. An average cure optimized in duration is about 3 months.

Spirulina is particularly well suited for people with anemia or malnutrition, weakened by age or disease but also for athletes seeking performance or anyone looking for a natural energy supplement that can be quickly assimilated. Spirulina is particularly recommended for people suffering from anorexia who suffer from deficiencies.

Given the absence of risk in consuming them and the absence of deleterious side effects, the use of spirulina just like that of chlorella, is widely recommended in prevention but also in accompaniment to anti-cancer treatments and care.

Note: The dosage of spirulina that has been used in scientific and medical studies ranges from 1 to 10 g per day per adult.

When to take spirulina during the day?

Consumed alone spirulina is taken in the morning with a large glass of water. It is also possible to spread the intake throughout the day depending on the objectives targeted. In the case of an associated consumption of chlorella and spirulina, it is recommended to take chlorella in the morning on an empty stomach and spirulina in the afternoon or evening.

Joint pain and inflammation

Spirulina contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). PUFAs possess anti-inflammatory actions highlighted in studies [11], [12], [13].

Detox and Liver

The phycocyanin in spirulina has been shown to have real properties detoxifying. Associated with chlorophyll it helps the body to get rid of its pollutants such as heavy metals and toxins. Spirulina pigments such as phycocyanin and chlorophyll, are powerful antioxidants recognized very effective for detoxification.

It participates in the cleansing of the emunctories such as the liver. For a detox research it is recommended to associate spirulina with the intake of chlorella (see the article Differences between chlorella and spirulina). It is also necessary to remain very vigilant on the quality of the consumed micro-algae. These must be extra pure. It is recommended to choose products grown in Europe.

Excess blood sugar

Animal studies suggest that spirulina may control blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. Its ability to regulate blood sugar levels would be a valuable aid in type II diabetes [8], [9],[10].

Overweight

Organic spirulina can be used in weight loss diets because as an ultra complete food it will tend to act as an appetite suppressant and fill in some deficiencies.  The posology recommended varies between 3 and 10 g per day, divided into one to three takes over the day.

Recent studies in obese individuals supplemented with spirulina show interesting results (Saioa Gómez-Zorita 2019, Szulinska 2017, Zeinalian 2017, Yousefi 2018 ) (A, B, C, D). In addition to a reduction in the accumulation of body fat in obese individuals, study results show that other parameters are improved. Plasma lipid levels, insulin resistance, diabetes and inflammation are improved when consuming microalgae.

Cheart and the cholesterol

Regulating the level of fat in the blood can reduce  cardiovascular risks. Spirulina would be able to moderate the levels of fat in the blood (dyslipidemia).

In vivo, in vitro and human studies have proven their benefits to our health [5] as well as their abilities to decrease the risks to our heart [6],[7].

Spirulina and pregnancy: is it indicated for pregnant or nursing women?

Spirulina is an excellent natural supplement suitable for young moms looking to boost their immune systems and those of their children. However, it is necessary to remain particularly vigilant as for the quality and the origin of the consumed organic spirulina. Pregnancy being a particular situation, it is always wise to ask the advice of your doctor. Consumption can be 5 to 10 g per day, divided into one to three intakes during the day.

Spirulina and Sports: muscle building and mass gain

For a search for performance enhancement, consumption can varied between 5 and 10 g per day, divided into one to three intakes during the day. Spirulina is also particularly well indicated to accelerate recovery. The assimilation of proteins and other nutrients is optimal within 30 minutes after the effort.

Spirulina promotes cell regeneration and red blood cell production!  It contains phycocyanin (between 5 and 20% depending on the products and the method of analysis) and phycocyanobilin (about 1%), which are super antioxidant pigments, equivalent to  “EPO”. It owes its blue color but also most of its properties to these pigments, including its ability to regenerate our blood cells.

Phycocyanin and phycocyanobilin have been shown to increase performance, endurance and muscle recovery. The results of studies on the benefits of these very specific pigments in Spirulina are particularly numerous and well documented in the scientific and medical literature.

Thyroid

Microalgae grown in fresh water do not contain iodine. They are recommended for thyroid problems. Spirulina and chlorella can restore energy for all those who have health problems whose symptoms are excess fatigue.

The brain and its cognitive functions

It cleanses our bodies and enriches them with valuable nutrients for our brains. Sleep, concentration and cognitive brain functions are improved.

Skin and Mucous membranes 
Spirulina strengthens our mucous membranes and helps protect our skin.

Hair and Nails
It stimulates cell development and promotes hair growth. Hair is denser and nails are less brittle.

Animals: dog, cat, and horse

Spirulina is as good for human health as it is for animals. Every day 1% of their food ration in spirulina powder form will give them tone and vitality.

Posology for Children

Spirulina can be consumed at all ages. Doses should be adjusted as needed. 

Can spirulina and chlorella be consumed at the same time?

For a research amplification of the energizing effect, the combination chlorella and spirulina is recommended. The dosage of chlorella and spirulina, taken in combination, can vary from 2 to 5 g per day and per product for an adult.

In the case of a low-calorie diet, or if the diet is poorly balanced, it is recommended to combine 2 to 5 g of spirulina and chlorella at 50/50.

According to one’s own needs one will choose to consume chlorella and/or spirulina, alone or combined, in cures (of 3 months, 2 cures per year) or throughout the year.

Contraindications

Contraindications, harms and side effects

There are some contraindications to spirulina that it is important to know.

Contraindications and dangers

Anticoagulants

Before consuming spirulina, which contains a high level of vitamin K1, people who are taking high doses of anticoagulants, should first seek the advice of their doctor.

Vitamin B12

Spirulina alone does not provide sufficient vitamin B12 supplementation to vegetarians because it essentially contains a pseudo non-assimilated vitamin B12. It has been shown that single supplementation of vegetarians with spirulina does not prevent vitamin B12 [22] deficiencies.

People who eat little or no meat, including the elderly, vegetarians, vegans, and people on meatless diets need to supplement with absorbable vitamin B12. Chlorella grown in glass tubes is ideal for this a good supplementation in vitamin B12.

phenylketonuria

Spirulina is not indicated for people with phenylketonuria.

the ANSES (ANS) in its report on the risks associated with the consumption of dietary supplements containing spirulina [4], specifies that spirulina is not indicated for people with phenylketonuria (a rare genetic disease linked to the accumulation of the amino acid phenylalanine in the body) because it contains it. The same is true for people who have an allergic terrain or who are prone to drop attacks.

Salt-free diet

In case of diet it will be advisable not to neglect the contribution in sodium (salt) of spirulina (about 2 g for 100 g that is 0.06 g of salt for 3 g of spirulina).

Is organic spirulina dangerous?

Where to buy ?

How to choose your organic spirulina?

The majority of microalgae sold in Europe come from Asia. They are cultivated in the open air under very profitable economic conditions. They are sold at prices that can be very low but most of them should be avoided.

Check its origin

No toxicity has ever been observed with spirulina with products of unquestionable quality. The‘ANSES (ANS) [1] in its 2014 report on the risks associated with the consumption of dietary supplements containing spirulina [4],  stresses the importance of choosing the quality of its product. In case of diet it will be advisable not to neglect the intake of sodium (salt) from spirulina.

It is very important to check the location of cultivation of microalgae. There is now organic spirulina, grown in Europe.

Organic Spirulina, Natural, Grown in Europe

Trial offer ( 2 x 100g ) Organic Spirulina

Trial offer ( 2 x 100g ) Organic Spirulina

Organic European Spirulina, in tablets

47.80 €

42.90 €

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Spirulina and regulations

Spirulina and regulations

European regulation (*)
Food supplements are regulated by the European Parliament directive, transposed into French law by the decree n°2006-352 [2]. They are defined, according to Article 2, as ” foods whose purpose is to supplement the normal diet and which constitute a concentrated source of nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect alone or combined … “.

US regulations

American authorities represented by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have given spirulina the status of ” product recognized as safe for consumption ” : GRAS  status (Generally Recognized as Safe) [3].

Sources

[1] AFSSA Agence Française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments devenue ANSES

[2] Décret n°2006-352 du 20 mars 2006 relatif aux compléments alimentaires ; J.O.R.F. Lois et décrets ; 25 mars 2006 : 4543

[3] Statut GRAS Generally Recognized as Safe pour la spiruline (GRN No. 391) : FDA / Food and Drug Administration

[4] ANSES : Saisine n° 2014-SA-0096 relative aux “risques liés à la consommation de compléments alimentaires contenant de la spiruline”.

[A] Saioa Gómez-Zorita , Jenifer Trepiana and co, Anti-Obesity Effects of Microalgae, Intern. Journal of molecular sciences Review 2019

[B] Szulinska, M. ; Gibas-Dorna, M. ; Miller-Kasprzak, E. ; Suliburska, J. ; Miczke, A. ; Walczak-Gałezewska, M. ; Stelmach-Mardas, M. ; Walkowiak, J. ; Bogdanski, P. Spirulina maxima améliore la sensibilité à l’insuline, le profile lipidique et le statut antioxydant total chez les patients obèses souffrant d’hypertension bien traitée : Une étude randomisée en double aveugle contrôlée par placebo. Eur Rev. Med. Pharmacol. Sci. 2017, 21, 2473-2481.

[C] Zeinalian,R.;Farhangi,M.A.;Shariat,A.;Saghafi-Asl,M. Les effets de la spiruline Platensison des indices anthropométriques, de l’appétit, du profile lipidique et du facteur de croissance endothélial vasculaire (VEGF) sérique chez les individus obèses : Un essai randomisé en double aveugle contrôlé par placebo. BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 2017,17,225. [CrossRef]

[D] Yousefi, R. ; Mottaghi, A. ; Saidpour, A. Spirulina platensis améliore effectivement les mesures anthropométriques et les troubles métaboliques liés à l’obésité chez les individus sains obèses ou en surpoids : Un essai contrôlé randomisé. Complement. Ther. Med. 2018, 40, 106-112.

[5] Mark L. Wells,1 Philippe Potin,2 James S. Craigie,3 John A. Raven,4,5 Sabeeha S. Merchant,6 Katherine E. Helliwell,7,8 Alison G. Smith,7 Mary Ellen Camire,9 et Susan H. Brawley1 Les algues comme sources d’aliments nutritionnels et fonctionnels : revoir notre compréhension J Appl Phycol. 2017 ; 29(2) : 949-982.

[6] Mazokopakis EE1, Starakis IK, Papadomanolaki MG, Mavroeidi NG, Ganotakis ES. Les effets hypolipidémiques de la supplémentation en spiruline (Arthrospira platensis) dans une population crétoise : une étude prospective. J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Feb;94(3):432-7.

[7] Patricia V Torres-Duran,1 Aldo Ferreira-Hermosillo,1 et Marco A Juarez-Oropeza Effets antihyperlipémiques et antihypertenseurs de Spirulina maxima dans un échantillon ouvert de la population mexicaine : un rapport préliminaire Lipids Health Dis. 2007 ; 6 : 33.

[8] Ou Y1, Lin L, Pan Q, Yang X, Cheng X. Preventive effect of phycocyanin from Spirulina platensis on alloxan-injured mice. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2012 Nov;34(3):721-6

[9] Ou Y1, Lin L, Yang X, Pan Q, Cheng X. Potentiel antidiabétique de la phycocyanine : effets sur les souris KKAy. Pharm Biol. 2013 mai;51(5):539-44.

[10] Hamedifard Z1, Milajerdi A2,3, Reiner Ž4, Taghizadeh M1, Kolahdooz F5, Asemi Z1.The effects of spirulina on glycemic control and serum lipoproteins in patients with metabolic syndrome and related disorders : Une revue systématique et une méta-analyse des essais contrôlés randomisés Phytother Res. 2019 Jul 29. doi : 10.1002/ptr.6441.

[11] Sinéad Lordan, R. Paul Ross et Catherine Stanton Les bioactifs marins comme ingrédients alimentaires fonctionnels : Potentiel de réduction de l’incidence des maladies chroniques Mar Drugs. 2011 ; 9(6) : 1056-1100.

[12] Calder PC. Acides gras polyinsaturés n-3, inflammation et maladies inflammatoires. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83:1505-1519.

[13] Tokuşoglu M.K. üUnal Biomass Nutrient Profiles of Three Microalgae : Spirulina platensis, Chlorella vulgaris, et Isochrisis galbana Food Science publication 20 juillet 2006.

[14] Stephen Bleakley1,2 et Maria Hayes1,* Protéines algales : Extraction, application et défis concernant la production d’aliments. 2017 Mai ; 6(5) : 33.

[15] Ulrike Neumann,1 Felix Derwenskus,2 Andrea Gille,3 Sandrine Louis,1,3 Ulrike Schmid-Staiger,4 Karlis Briviba,3 et Stephan C. Bischoff1,*Biodisponibilité et sécurité des nutriments provenant des microalgues Chlorella vulgaris, Nannochloropsis oceanica et Phaeodactylum tricornutum dans les nutriments de souris C57BL/6. 2018 Aug ; 10(8) : 965.

[16] P. D. Karkos, 1 ,* S. C. Leong, 1 C. D. Karkos, 2 N. Sivaji, 1 et D. A. Assimakopoulos 3 La spiruline en pratique clinique : Applications humaines fondées sur des données probantes Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011 ; 2011 : 531053

[17] Otleş S1, Pire R. Fatty acid composition of Chlorella and Spirulina microalgae species. J AOAC Int. 2001 Nov-Dec;84(6):1708-14.

[18] Megan Kent, 1 Heather M. Welladsen, 1 Arnold Mangott, 1 , 2 et Yan Li Evaluation nutritionnelle de microalgues australiennes comme suppléments potentiels de santé humaine PLoS One. 2015 ; 10(2)

[19] AFSSA – AFSSA Agence Française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments devenue ANSES.

[20] Douglas W. Wilson,1,2,* Paul Nash,2 Harpal Singh Buttar,3 Keith Griffiths,4 Ram Singh,5 Fabien De Meester,6 Rie Horiuchi,7 et Toru Takahashi8 Le rôle des antioxydants alimentaires, les avantages des aliments fonctionnels et l’influence des habitudes alimentaires sur la santé des personnes âgées : Une vue d’ensemble Antioxydants (Bâle). 2017 Dec ; 6(4) : 81

[21] Lee SH1, Kang HJ, Lee HJ, Kang MH, Park YK. Six-week supplementation with Chlorella has favorable impact on antioxidant status in Korean male smokers. Nutrition. 2010 Feb;26(2):175-83.

[22] Rauma AL1, Törrönen R, Hänninen O, Mykkänen H.  Vitamin B-12 status of long-term adherents of a strict uncooked vegan diet (“living food diet”) is compromised. J Nutr. 1995 Oct;125(10):2511-5.

* Referral n°2007-SA-0315 OPINION of the French Food Safety Agency concerning the evaluation of vitamin and mineral contents in fortified foods and food supplements: summary

* Referral n° 2011-SA-0328

(**) Vitamin K1: the dose recommended by the health authorities is approximately 50 micrograms per day per adult, according to the ANSES, which also recommends not to exceed a supplementary intake of 25 micrograms per day (ANSES Report 2007 and 2011) [19].

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