Spirulina is one of 1,500 species of microscopic aquatic plants known as blue-green algae. Spirulina is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids and contains 10 times more carotenoids than carrots. Spirulina thrives in lakes with high pH levels, and is also harvested from commercial ponds with strict purity regulations before being dried and commercially distributed in powdered form. Spirulina powder loses its nutrients if cooked. Instead, sprinkle it directly onto food or stir it into drinks to receive its many health benefits.
Research conducted by The National Autonomous University of Mexico suggests that spirulina may help protect against cirrhosis and liver damage associated with chronic hepatitis.
Studies show that spirulina proects against herpes, influenza and HIV-1, which is the AIDS virus. Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Laboratory of Viral Pathogenesis and Harvard Medical School found that extracts of spirulina inhibits HIV-1 replication. Another group of scientists at Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Japan discovered that extracts of spirulina protect human and monkey cells from viral infection in cell culture.
Animal and test tube research at the College of Pharmacy at Wonkwang University in South Korea points to spirulina lessening allergic reactions by stopping the release of histamines, the substances that causes many allergic symptoms.
Laboratory research at North Carolina State University suggests that spirulina increases production of antibodies and infection-fighting proteins that improves immunity and aids in warding off infection and chronic illnesses. Additional research conducted at the University of California-Davis demonstrated that adding spirulina to cultured immune system cells increased the number of infection-fighting agents.
Antibiotics destroy harmful organisms in the body, but they can also kill friendly bacteria, known as probiotics, which leads to various health problems. According to studies conducted at the University of Buenos Aires, spirulina has enhanced the growth of L. acidophilus and other probiotics in test tubes.