Spirulina Algae: what is it? How to use it? The complete guide

The complete Severino Becagli’s guide  to the uses, benefits and history of the Spirulina algae

What are the thousand uses of the miraculous green-blue algae? Find out the benefits for health and how Spirulina is used in the medical and clinical field. The food of the future, also called superfood, contains large quantities of nutritive elements essential for our body. Contains a ratio of nutritional values ​​much higher than any other food and this is also used by astronauts. Read here all you need to know about Spirulina algae.

What is the use of Spirulina algae?

The alga, also known as ‘food of the gods’, is one of the oldest inhabitants of our planet. It is a seaweed called Spirulina for its typical spiral shape, colored between green and blue. Spirulina is considered to be one of the most complete foods for the human organism, so much so that it has also been called ‘twenty-first century supremacy’. It was declared “food of the future” by the FAO in 2008.

Spirulina Algae: what is it?

Let’s clarify: Spirulina (Arthrospira Platensis) is a “cyanobacterium” commonly called “blue algae” although not belonging to the class of algae. The “twin” strain of Spirulina (Arhrospira Maxima) is not yet recognized as food by the European Union.

The incredible properties of this green alga

Let’s find out together what the nourishing properties of the ‘food of the gods’ are:

Protein

The dried Spirulina has a high protein value: between 55-77% of its weight.
It also contains phycobiliproteins, in particular Ficocianina and Allocycocyanin.

Essential amino acids

Amino acids are elements that make up the proteins taken by our body. When we ingest a food, our digestive system is able to break down proteins into simple amino acids so that our bodies can assimilate them. Among the amino acids, however, there are some (to be precise eight) that our body is not able to synthesize itself: the essential amino acids. Spirulina contains them all with the same proportions of mother’s milk, ready to be assimilated.

Unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fatty acids are ‘healthy’ fats, ie those that lower the number of triglycerides in the blood and decrease cholesterol.
Among these, in particular, are present in Spirulina:

  • Linoleic acid;
  • Alpha-linoleic acid;
  • Gamma-linoleic acid;
  • Stearidonic acid;
  • Cocodahexaenoic acid;
  • Arachidonic acid;
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid;

Vitamins

Spirulina is also rich in vitamins useful to the human body for a correct balance of its functions. In particular, the alga contains the following:

  • Vitamin A;
  • Vitamin D;
  • Vitamin C;
  • Vitamin E;
  • Group B vitamins ( B1, B2, B3, B6,B9)

Mineral salts

This blue-green alga also contains many mineral salts and microelements essential for our body:

  • Calcium;
  • Iron;
  • Zinc;
  • Potassium;
  • Selenium;
  • Sodium;
  • Copper;
  • Phosphorus;
  • Magnesium;
  • Manganese;

The benefits and the medicinal uses of the Spirulina algae

The nutritive principles described above make the alga very important in the fight against various diseases and diseases. Let’s see together which:

Allergies Treatment

Arthrospira Platensis is also able to improve the immune responses of our body, so it is useful in the treatment of allergies.
According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, in 2005, taking it regularly would help fight allergies, especially hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Other sources and experiments would also confirm that Spirulina is also able to help people suffering from inflammation and arthritis.

Spirulina alga as the basis of a healthy diet

Spirulina can also help in choosing to adopt a healthy diet.
In both cases of malnutrition and overweight, Spirulina is a valuable ally in support of a healthy and nutrient-rich diet.
In case of malnutrition it helps to prevent the occurrence of anemia and contributes to providing a source of vitamins, fats, proteins and amino acids easily assimilated by the body.

Taken before meals in cases of overweight, it accelerates the appearance of satiety thanks to the abundance of nutrients and their effect on the secretion of cholecystokinin. In this sense, it can find space in dietary-behavioral therapies aimed at reducing body weight.

The intake of Spirulina algae reduces triglycerides in the blood, stimulating the increase of the so-called ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL) and reducing instead the bad and high blood pressure, responsible for cardiovascular diseases.

Can Spirulina fight aging?

The green alga is able to regulate the metabolic and muscular functions of our body. Thanks to the very high content of antioxidants it is able to reduce free radicals and cellular aging.

Spirulina: the best ally of those who practice sport

Containing many proteins useful for those who practice sports routinely, Spirulina is an excellent energy support. Its content of ferridoxin and biotin slows down the production of lactic acid. The high content of vitamins and minerals acts as an enzymatic co-factor to support energy production during a particularly intense muscular effort.

Who uses Spirulina?

Companies interested in buying Spirulina algae can belong to different fields of business. For example, one of the most useful uses for Spirulina is pharmaceutical. A pharmaceutical company will be able to use this alga for medical purposes and to pack tablets, or preparations (Spirulina has beneficial effects in the treatment of Herpes Simplex and is useful for stabilizing the level of sugar in the blood – type 2 diabetes mellitus).

The same applies to herbal companies or companies that produce supplements or functional foods, which deal with the production of natural herbal products based on algae.
A cosmetic company could also be involved in the algae to create skin creams. In fact, Spirulina is a powerful ally in the fight against the aging of our epidermis.

But Spirulina also has much more unexpected uses, such as food: here then, a food company could be interested in a quality product to pack products based on Spirulina or nutritionally enriched with Spirulina (eg Spirulina paste).

Spirulina Algae: are there any contraindications?

Generally the intake of Spirulina does not generate side effects, if it is taken in the recommended quantities. Being in fact rich in nutrients, the risk is to incur an overdosing of active ingredients contained in it. In addition, it is necessary to ensure the quality of the product offered to its customers, to ensure that no problems are generated.

What are the characteristics to determine that we are in the presence of quality Spirulina algae?

Pure Spirulina

To be considered pure, the alga must not be chemically treated, neither during cultivation nor during production, and must not contain additives or other substances that alter its quality. Usually a light green color is an indicator of poor product quality. In order to preserve purity, the ideal is that algae grow in a protected and confined environment.

Organic algae: Spirulina

To be bio it is necessary to have a specific certification according to EU regulations and on the label must appear the European symbol of BIO () in addition to the codes of the operator that produces it and the control body, whose validity can be verified on the site of the Ministry of Agriculture. In particular, organic Spirulina can not be treated with artificial additives, colorings, sweeteners or GMOs.

Spirulina 100% made in Italy

The fact that Spirulina is cultivated, processed and packaged in Italy is a guarantee of quality. In fact, our country as a member of the European Union, is bound by the regulations on the quality of the products in force in it. In addition, the Severino Becagli products respect and are also recognized by US standards. Remember that products that are not 100% made in Italy but only “made in Italy” can also be simply packaged in Italy, but come from any foreign country.

How should the high quality Spirulina algae be grown?

Spirulina must first be certified, checked and selected.
The control should start from the DNA itself of the alga, in order to choose the Spirulina Platensis strain most suited to the climatic conditions of the cultivation area and, above all, to verify that it is not “Spirulina Maxima”.

Secondly, the cultivation must take place in well controlled and air-conditioned environments, inside open tanks equipped with a suitable hydrodynamic conformation. The development of the best alga occurs thanks to proper ventilation and exposure to sunlight. Ideally, the cultivation environments should not be contaminated by external agents, not even by the presence of the personnel assigned to the work.

Spirulina algae: a quality production

The same canons of non-contamination must also be adopted during the processing phase. The production process develops in two phases: filtration and drying. Everything must take place in controlled temperature rooms and with “absolute” HEPA filters, which allow operation in sterile environments. An important part of the production process to obtain a quality product is the one concerning microbiological and nutritional analysis, and the verification of the absence of contaminants.

Spirulina types on the b2b market

The types of Spirulina on the market are many: we find it dried in spaghetti, flakes, capsules, tablets, in the form of granules and fresh. Severino Becagli offers the following solutions to maintain a high standard of the product:

Fresh Spirulina

With a consistency similar to a fresh pasta, it has a particular characteristic: the seaweed is still “alive” when it is sent and arrives to the companies that stock up on us. This allows to preserve intact all the nutritive properties of the food that can already be packaged and placed on the market. This type of Spirulina is collected only at the request of the client company to preserve its characteristics and genuineness.

It is advisable that it be shipped maximum in packs of 1 to 3 kg because its storage is only 7 days and must therefore be consumed within a maximum of one week. It must be kept in protected from light and at a temperature between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius (refrigerator temperature).

Spirulina Granules

Granulated Spirulina is produced in four different types. These four granules have different nutritional inputs: in particular they are distinguished by a different balance between carbohydrates and proteins. The quality of the Spirulina granulate is easily verifiable by pouring a small amount of powder into water and checking the color of the liquid, which depending on the type of wheat varies from blue to bluish green, which is illuminated directly by the artificial light of a flashlight shows red-purple reflections. This fluorescence is revealing the presence of Ficocianina, an essential component of Spirulina that defines its quality.

This simple test will verify the purity of the product. The processed Spirulina can be sold in larger packs than fresh Spirulina (from 1 to 10 kg) and can be consumed up to 36 months after the date of purchase.

Dried Spirulina

The seaweed is dried in such a way that it stays longer and in a totally sterile environment. The drying process takes place below 45 degrees centigrade, in order to maintain the properties of the alga, while the packaging places the product in a controlled atmosphere protected from light and oxidizing agents, which would cause a decay of the beneficial properties of the spirulina. The so-preserved alga can be used up to 36 months after its purchase, keeping it away from high temperatures.