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Spirulina is A Supercool Superfood
June 2010
By Suzy Cohen, RPh

Dear Pharmacist,

You mentioned ďspirulinaĒ in a recent column as a supplement to help boost thyroid hormone.  Iíve never heard of this, is it a vitamin?  What else is it good for? --T.E. Chicago, Illinois

Answer:  Spirulina is supercool, and itís a superfood.   Itís actually algae that grows in our oceans, springs and lakes. If you viewed it with a microscope you would see beautiful bright blue-green spirals, for which it is named.  Spirulina is a single-cell organism that is capable of turning sunlight into energy, and it has been on earth for eons.  There are very good commercial products sold nationwide, and youíll find capsules, tablets and powders for convenience. Mine comes from closely monitored, organic cultivation ponds in Hawaii.   When my children were little, I  used to sneak Hawaiian spirulina into their fruit smoothies and soup.  Hey, what they donít know might help them.

Spirulina is a superfood because it has tons of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Itís food, people of many cultures actually eat a version of it.  Spirulina is a great source of vegetable protein and what makes it even more amazing is the detoxifying chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants).  Chlorophyll eliminates body odor and cleans out the digestive tract. Because spirulina packs this kind of a punch, I think it is a good supplement for everyone, especially those of you who do not eat a lot of fruits and veggies. Spirulina could be of benefit to you if you have:

         Chronic fatigue or anemia:  It sparks energy because it contains many B vitamins which form ATP, an energy molecule.  The mineral content is great for energy, as well as nail and hair growth.  It makes my nails grow like crazy.

         Hypothyroidism, Hashimotoís or Gravesí disease:  Spirulina contains thyroid-supporting minerals like iodine, and the amino acid tyrosine, which together make up one form of thyroid hormone.

         Vision loss:  Spirulina is chock-full of carotenoids, which support eye health; good brands have dramatically higher amounts of beta carotene compared to carrots, gram per gram.

         Frequent infections:  Numerous well-designed clinical trials have concluded that blue-green algae has anti-viral activity, possibly against herpes and HIV.

         Pollen, hayfever, and/or mold allergies: Spirulina appears to block the production of interleukin-4, -a nasty chemical produced in our bodies that sparks some of the misery.

         Heart problems: Spirulina is also widely researched and has shown cardioprotective properties.

         Neuropathic  pain or heavy metal burdens (lead, mercury, arsenic):  Spirulina is a chelator and might help rid the body of these toxins

          Type 2 diabetes:  Spirulina protects the pancreas and insulin-producing cells  so it might be able to help prevent or reverse diabetes, how phenomenal is that!


Reader Alert:

Zicam Nasal Gel and Swabs may be pulled off the shelves soon, because it could be linked to permanent loss of smell.  Lozenges and oral supplements are still considered safe.

This information is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Suzy Cohen is the author of \"The 24-Hour Pharmacist.\" For more information visit www.DearPharmacist.com


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