(NaturalNews) Spirulina are blue-green algae that have been used since ancient times. These days, spirulina is used in many dietary supplements because of its health benefits. Studies and research have confirmed the various health benefits of spirulina. According to researcher Jacque Simpore from the University of Ouagadougou, spirulina can be a good nutritional supplement for Africa's malnourished children.
Experts like Simpore study about the history and health benefits of spirulina because they believe that these blue-green algae may be the answer to Africa's malnutrition crisis.
Where is spirulina found?
Spirulina is found in both salt water and fresh water in the wild. It is also commercially cultivated in African countries, France, China, India, Thailand, and the United States. Most dietary supplement manufacturers get their supply of spirulina from commercial spirulina farms.
History of spirulina
Spirulina has been consumed by many people for a very long time in many countries. It grew in many lakes, seas, and oceans all around the world. Spirulina was found growing in Lake Chad and Mexico's Lake Texcoco, and people of these regions have been drying and eating spirulina since ancient times.
Spirulina was first discovered by Hernando Cortez and his Spanish Conquistadors in 1519. Cortez observed that Spirulina was served and eaten at the tables of the Aztecs during his visit in Lake Texcoco. The health benefits of spirulina were first discovered by explorer Pierre Dangeard who observed that flamingos were able to survive by consuming these blue-green algae. Botanist Jean Leonard supported the findings of Dangeard and people soon started to commercialize spirulina to reap its benefits. The first spirulina processing plant, Sosa Texcoco, was set up in 1969 by the French.
Spirulina health benefits
According to Simpore, spirulina is high in antioxidants. Some of the antioxidants found in spirulina include selenium, phenolic acid, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Antioxidants destroy the free radicals in the body that damage cells. According to experts from the American Dietetic Association (ADA), antioxidants can also protect the body from cancer, infections, diabetes, and heart disease.
Spirulina also has antimicrobial properties that destroy bacteria and viruses such as HIV-1, enterovirus, cytomegalovirus, measles, mumps, influenza A, and herpes simplex. Studies have also confirmed that spirulina can also boost the body's immune system by making it produce more monocytes, natural killer cells, and macrophages. Monocytes, natural killer cells, and macrophages destroy invading pathogens in the body. According to a study published in an Indian scientific journal, spirulina can also destroy fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans (yeast infections), Aspergillusniger, and Aspergillusfumigatus.
Simpore's study on spirulina was also able to confirm that the algae are also rich in protein, valine, leucine, isoleucine, omega-6, omega-3, vitamin B1, zinc, vitamin B2, iron, beta carotene, manganese, copper, and many other nutrients. Simpore and his colleagues believe that nutrition provided by spirulina may be the answer to the malnutrition crisis in Africa because these algae are abundant throughout the continent.
Simpore is not the only researcher who believes that spirulina is the solution to malnutrition. Spirulina may also be beneficial to countries where people are lacking nutrition due to the proliferation of fast food and junk food. Many health experts all over the world are now becoming aware of the history and health benefits of spirulina and are starting to recommend it to their patients.