In case you don’t know, spirulina is a type of algae found in oceans and lakes. It’s easy to confuse with seaweed, but it’s not. It’s algae. The filtered and dried biomass can be used as a dietary supplement.
It’s considered a nutritious superfood. “Superfood” can sound like a buzzword — social media is full of influencers and nutritionists who swear by different foods and diets. But if NASA’s opinion is of any credibility, then it’s worthwhile taking a closer look at spirulina — it has been tested and recommended for astronauts.
Characterization of Spirulina biomass for CELSS diet potential - NASA Technical Reports Server…
Spirulina sp. as a bioregenerative photosynthetic and an edible alga for space craft crew in a CELSS, was characterized…
I didn’t notice spirulina because of NASA. Last year I had a consulting contract with a biomaterials company making materials and products out of microalgae, albeit not in the nutrition space.
So I became aware of microalgae and then educated myself on spirulina because of my interest in its benefits for endurance fitness. I’m a runner. Generally, I avoid supplements, hoping I can get all nutrients from eating in a balanced way, but there is a first time for everything.
Spirulina is rich in nutrients, boasting a 60% protein content, and is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants. It is also a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid.
When you explore the benefits of spirulina, you come across a very extensive list: gut health, immunity, heart health, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
However, I wasn’t looking for some generic do-it-all supplement. As I mentioned, I was curious about supplements that improve endurance fitness.
This is what I found:
- Increase in peak oxygen intake and time to exhaustion
- Lowers heart rate, increases power output
- Reducing muscle damage and optimizing recovery
- Ergogenic and antioxidant effects
There were several other similar studies. All seem to point to spirulina’s benefits for athletes.
Two weeks ago, I went to Whole Foods and bought Spirulina in the form of a powder. It’s available as tablets, but I wanted to taste it…