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In 2009, a team of scientists teamed up with the National Education Departments of Dakar to see if they could improve the nutritional status of school-aged children in Senegal. (1)
In the study, a total of 549 children took 2 grams of spirulina for 60 days.
Within just two months, students performed better in school while taking spirulina.
Spirulina: Mother Nature's Multivitamin
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that thrives in both fresh and salt water. It is roughly 62% protein in dry weight. Besides containing a formidable amount of protein, spirulina is also a complete protein containing essential amino acids. (2)
If you're looking for a powerful dose of polyunsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals, and protein, look no further than fermented spirulina. Fermented spirulina can even protect the brain against degenerative disease, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Along with protein, spirulina is a storehouse of bioactive molecules, such as:
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 fats
- Polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system
- Minerals, including selenium, iron, calcium, and potassium
- Vitamins that fight oxidative stress, like vitamins E and B12
With such a wide array of benefits, spirulina fits the bill as a superfood.
It could even be called Mother Nature’s multivitamin. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that children performed better on exams with the addition of spirulina to their diet.
Enhance Brain Power with Spirulina
In animal studies, researchers have found that spirulina may protect the brain from damage and degenerative disease, like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. (3)
In other research, the antioxidant effect of spirulina was more pronounced than other natural antioxidants, like blueberry or green tea. (4)
Spirulina is an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which offer another way to protect against oxidative stress. Omega-3 fats also boost cognitive performance. In recent research out of the UK, children with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids were more likely to perform poorly in school and have behavioral problems. (5)
Researchers at the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences in Delhi, India, found that spirulina may safeguard against toxicity, stress, and degeneration in the brain. (6) Other studies show that spirulina has the ability to scavenge free radicals, restore levels of antioxidants, and chelate toxic heavy metals. (7)(8)
Fermented Spirulina Is Superior
As with most raw foods, when spirulina is fermented and pre-digested, it is more biochemically active in the body.
For example, a study published in 2011 compared the antioxidant benefits of raw spirulina versus spirulina that had been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. While the results of the study showed that both forms of spirulina could defend against oxidative stress, researchers found that fermented spirulina was better equipped to scavenge free radicals and protect the body against inflammation. (9)
Because fermented spirulina is pre-digested, it is the best form of spirulina for anyone who may have a difficult time breaking down and assimilating food. Children can be particularly vulnerable to digestive troubles and prone to a picky palate, so we make a special recommendation that they only supplement with the fermented form of spirulina.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Spirulina is one of the most potent superfoods available. In one recent study, schoolchildren in Senegal performed better in school after taking 2 grams of spirulina for only 60 days. Spirulina is made up of 62% protein, and it also contains essential amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and polysaccharides that support the immune system.
Spirulina can help to protect your brain against damage and degenerative disease, including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
If you're ready to boost your brain power, fermented spirulina is best. Fermented spirulina effectively protects the body against inflammation and better scavenges harmful free radicals. Fermented spirulina is also pre-digested, making it especially beneficial for young children prone to digestive issues.
- Dia, A. T., Camara, M. D., Ndiaye, P., Faye, A., Wone, I., Gueye, B. C., ... & Diongue, M. (2009). Contribution of supplementation by spirulina to the performance of school children in an introductory course in Dakar (Senegal)]. Santé publique (Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France), 21(3), 297.
- Patel, S., & Goyal, A. (2013). Current and Prospective Insights on Food and Pharmaceutical Applications of Spirulina. Current Trends in Biotechnology and Pharmacy, 7(2), 681-695.
- Bermejo-Bescós, P., Piñero-Estrada, E. and del Fresno, A.M.V. (2008) Neuroprotection by Spirulina platensis protean extract and phycocyanin against iron-induced toxicity in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Toxicology in Vitro, 22: 1496-1502.
- Bachstetter,A.D.,Jernberg,J.,Schlunk,A., Vila, J.L., Hudson, C., Cole, M.J., Shytle, R.D., Tan, J., Sanberg, P.R., Sanberg, C.D., Borlongan, C., Kaneko, Y., Tajiri, N., Gemma, C. and Bickford, P.C. (2010) Spirulina promotes stem cell genesis and protects against LPS induced declines in neural stem cell proliferation. PLoS One, 5: 10496.
- Montgomery, P., Burton, J. R., Sewell, R. P., Spreckelsen, T. F., & Richardson, A. J. (2013). Low Blood Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids in UK Children Are Associated with Poor Cognitive Performance and Behavior: A Cross-Sectional Analysis from the DOLAB Study. PloS one, 8(6), e66697.
- Shukla, V., Vashistha, M. and Singh, S.N. (2009) Evaluation of antioxidant profile and activity of amalaki (Emblica officinalis), spirulina and wheat grass. Industrial Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 24: 70-75.
- Bermejo, P., Piñero, E. and Villar, A.M. (2008) Iron-chelating ability and antioxidant properties of phycocyanin isolated from a protean extract of Spirulina platensis. Food Chemistry, 110: 436-445.
- Sharma, M.K., Sharma, A., Kumar, A. and Kumar, M. (2007) Spirulina fusiformis provides protection against mercuric chloride induced oxidative stress in Swiss albino mice. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 45: 2412-2419.
- Liu, J-G., Hou, C-W., Lee, S-Y., Chuang, Y. and Lin, C-C. (2011) Antioxidant effects and UVB protective activity of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) products fermented with lactic acid bacteria. Process Biochemistry, 46: 1405-1410.