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Spirulina: A nutritious algae


Spirulina is blue - green algae. This nutritious-medicinal tiny algae is now thought to provide singly a whole range of nutritious ranging from protein to vitamins (including cynacobalamin) and minerals. Its protein content, the highest ever reported, ranges between 65-70% and is three times that of soyabean and five times more than meat. It has full range of vitamin B complex and is the abundant source of vitamin B12 which is essential for combating anemia. Spirulina is also a good source of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, having twenty times more carotene than carrots and has high amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus and trace elements like potassium and magnesium.

In medicinal values are numerous and actually it is boon to human health, combating protein malnutrition, anemia and their diseases. The high beta-carotene content finds use in curing glaucoma; cataract and control of diabetes have been reported in developed countries following administration of two to five grams of Spirulina per day.

It has also been used as a remedy for pancreatitis, cirrhosis and hepatitis and acts as prophylactic against cancer. The algae tablets are also given to increase lactation in nursing mothers and improve their health and immune system. Spirulina can reduce blood sugar and cholesterol level effectively and improve and improve health of skin.

It helps to control obesity by affecting levels of phenylalanine, an essential amino acid in the body, and thereby suppressing appetite levels. It also contains many poly unsaturated fatty acids which help to reduce cholesterol level in the body on long term basis (ten grams of plant introduce thirteen mg of cholesterol in the blood and provide 36 calories of energy).

Cosmetics preparations of algae rich in vitamin E have been found to improve the skin health. When applied on cuts/wounds they help in quick healing by promoting cell regeneration.

The algae is cultivated by allowing to boom in sunlight in a suitable pond containing alkaline water and harvested using some efficient technique involving membrane filters etc. The Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore is working on this product and it has been launched as a health food-cum-drug.