Spirulina is cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) that grows in alkaline water. Spirulina is rich in protein and nutrients and been used as a food source in Africa for centuries. Today, spirulina powders and capsules are popular nutritional supplements. And, the rich antioxidant properties and therapeutic benefits are not just for people. Preliminary research in Australia has shown that livestock feed that’s been enhanced with nutritious spirulina to improve growth, fertility, aesthetic and nutritional quality in farm animals.
Spirulina and Eye Health
Spirulina is a rich dietary source of zeaxanthin, a xanthophyll. Xanthophyll are substances similar to carotenes, the pro-eye compounds found in carrots. Zeaxanthin is a xanthophyll that has nutritional importance to human eyes in that sufficient intake may reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Observational studies have shown a connection between adequate zeaxanthin and lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration.
Spirulina and Liver Health
Incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise. It is often a side effect of obesity and poor diet that occurs when a fat overload in the liver is coupled with oxidative stress. The best strategy against it is to lose any excessive body weight (fat) and make the appropriate dietary changes that will help decrease lipid levels. Additionally, supplementing with spirulina may support a boost in fatty acid oxidation. Many, many animal models have shown spirulina to significantly hinder progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by lessening inflammation through anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
A Chinese study involving mice showed that supplementation of spirulina and vitamin C could reduce enzyme activity known to be damaging to the liver. No surprise, the effect was credited to the antioxidant levels.