What are the vitamins in spirulina
Spirulina - a lot of green and little behind it
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina platensis (more correctly: Arthrospira platensis) is a cyanobacteria (formerly "blue algae") that inhabits shallow, subtropical to tropical waters with a high salinity, especially in Central America, Southeast Asia, Africa and Australia. It has been used as food by the people who live in these waters since ancient times. The use as a source of protein, iron and vitamin A, for example in India or Burkina Faso, is undisputed according to the WHO. However, there is no shortage of this in Germany.
Today spirulina is produced commercially in aquaculture. They are obtained by filtering or centrifuging and then hot air or freeze-dried.
Unlike microalgae like Chlorella, spirulina has no cellulose walls. This means that all ingredients are more bioavailable than with yeast and other single-cell algae. According to the Federal Food Code, 100 g of dried spirulina provides around 60 g of protein, 19.8 mg of iron and 3.6 mg of beta-carotene and 1820 µg of folate.
According to the Max Rubner Institute, around 80% of the vitamin B12 contained in spirulina is in a form that cannot be used by humans, so it is of no help to vegans. The same possibly also applies to a large part of the beta-carotene, since spirulina showed practically no influence on the serum level in a study.
Can there be problems with pollutants?
Since the production of microalgae and spirulina is often an open system, a mix can occur: Spirulina can be contaminated with algae (e.g. green algae) and other cyanobacteria, but also with intestinal bacteria (entry via bird droppings). As a typical natural product, it can also contain microorganisms (e.g. water fleas). In the event of contamination with other cyanobacteria, exposure to liver-toxic microcystins, as known from so-called AFA algae, is possible. In the meantime, however, spirulina are also offered from closed systems, but not as often as chlorella algae.
In previous investigations, heavy metal loads (lead, cadmium and mercury) from contaminated breeding water were found. According to EFSA, increased exposure to inorganic arsenic is possible through increased consumption of algae-containing food.
In the last few years there have been regular reports in the European rapid warning system RASFF about excessive amounts of carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in Spirulina, presumably due to contamination as a result of improper drying. Therefore, since 2015 there have been maximum PAH values for food supplements with spirulina (VO (EU) 2015/1933).
Again and again, products from Asia in particular attract attention due to impermissible radioactive radiation.
Webb GP: Dietary supplements and functional foods. Wiley-Blackwell, 2006, ISBN 9781405119092
Pers. Message from the Max Rubner Institute to the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia dated May 24, 2016
State Office for Consumer Protection Saxony-Anhalt: Food Safety Studies, Annual Report 2004
CVUA Sigmaringen: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Food - Balance 2012. Status: May 28, 2013, accessed on September 28, 2020
CVUA Karlsruhe: "Superfood" - does not keep what the name promises. Test results 2017, as of: 08/28/2018, accessed on 09/28/2020
Chamorro G et al .: Update on the pharmacology of Spirulina (Arthrospira), an unconventional food. Arch Latinoam Nutr 52 (3): 232-40, 2002
Ponce-Canchihuamán JC et al .: Protective effects of Spirulina maxima on hy-perlipidemia and oxidative-stress induced by lead acetate in the liver and kidney. Lipids Health Dis. 9:35, 2010
Torres-Duran PV: Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of Mexican population: a preliminary report. Lipids Health Dis. 6:33, 2007
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Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to various food (s) / food constituent (s) and protection of cells from premature aging, anti-oxidant activity, antioxidant content and antioxidant properties, and protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage pursuant to Article 13 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, EFSA Journal 2010; 8 (2): 1489 [63 pp.]. doi: 10.2903 / j.efsa.2010.1489
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