Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is a filamentous cyanobacterium that has been proposed, at present, as an ecofriendly alternative to ecofriendly for ecosystem bioremediation, nitrification and carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation. Spirulina is an excellent candidate for the elimination of toxic agents in the environment, such as heavy metals and phenols. Beyond its bioremediation properties, as we will see below, it also presents multiple benefits in the field of human nutrition.
On the other hand, its biomass production is fast (it grows at a more than adequate rate), does not require extensive land for its cultivation and, among other things, does not need so much water and space for each kilogram of organic matter obtained. With the right climate, 4 grams per square meter of plot per day are obtained, while 1,700 liters of water and much more time are required to generate half a kilo of rice.
For all these reasons and many more, Spirulina is considered a superfood for a world in crisis.. The concentrate of this microalgae has antioxidant, hypoglycemic and antihypertensive properties. If you want to know all the benefits of Spirulina Mercadona, read on.
What is Mercadona Spirulina?
“Mercadona Spirulina” is nothing more than an arbitrary name to designate the dried spirulina compounds made available to the public in the form of oral tablets and pills. In this case, we look at the specific product of the Deliplus brand “Fucus and Spirulina”, as it is the supplement that is marketed in this supermarket. It comes in a container with 60 tablets for the modest price of 4.5 euros.. Undoubtedly, it is a very cheap food supplement compared to others available on the market.
However, the information we are going to give you here is applicable to many other products based on the concentrate of this microalgae, such as Spirulina-supersmart, Spirulina-Dietinatural, Spirulina Bio, Organic Spirulina and many others. Most of these products are a bit more expensive, but they are pure spirulina (without the fucus algae) and come in more tablets per bottle, from 200 to 500.
To understand the properties of these oral tablets, we must go to the nutritional composition reported by the dry spirulina-based supplements. Here are the most important facts you should know:
- Proteins: they represent about 57% of the dry weight of the compound.
- Carbohydrates: between 8 and 14% of the total, mainly in the form of polysaccharides.
- Lipids6%, although this depends on the culture conditions of the microorganism.
About 100 grams of dried spirulina provide 300 kilocalories and are a rich source of essential micronutrients, such as iron, manganese, niacin, B vitamins and various compounds beneficial to the body. Its very high protein concentration in relation to its low lipid content makes it an ideal supplement for sportsmen and women. makes it an ideal supplement for athletes who are trying to gain muscle weight.To give you an idea, 100 grams of chicken have 27 grams of protein, that is, spirulina contains twice as much.
- You may be interested in: “Moringa: what is it good for and 8 benefits of this plant”.
What does spirulina do?
Reading all these qualities could make us think that spirulina is a miraculous superfood, but it is time to get a little skeptical and come down to earth again. To affirm the properties of a compound we must resort to science, because as they say, numbers are the only ones that do not lie to us. So here are some studies that explore the properties of spirulina on several fronts.
The research Antioxidant, Immunomodulating, and Microbial-Modulating Activities of the Sustainable and Ecofriendly Spirulinapublished in the journal Oxidative medicine and Cellular longevityis the first that catches our attention. First of all, it has been demonstrated in animal models that spirulina has a potent antioxidant effectthat is, it is capable of slowing down harmful oxidation in the cellular environment by the metabolic release of free radicals.
The active compound of this microalgae to which this capacity is attributed is pyocyanin, as it seems to be able to sequester these free radicals and inhibit the synthesis of pro-inflammatory molecules. In addition, it has been recorded that in its natural environment Spirulina produces selective antibacterial agents, which could promote a healthy microbiota in the individual who regularly consumes its concentrates.
On the other hand, the U.S. National Library of Medicine argues that this compound could potentially be effective in treating high blood pressure (hypertension). One of the peptides it contains (SP6) is considered to be a vasodilator. after research in experimental models, which is why it is suspected to have an antihypertensive property.
Finally, we should not forget that spirulina has a high protein content and many essential vitamins and minerals, always in the right doses. In any case, it is necessary to put all these concepts into perspective, since no one is going to eat (nor should they) 100 grams of spirulina a day. Chicken, turkey, vegetables and many other healthy foods can be consumed in large quantities without endangering the digestion of the individual, so despite presenting “less” benefits, they compensate with lower price and more quantity.
Spirulina and weight loss
We enter a point of conflict, as many sources argue that Spirulina Mercadona (and all concentrates based on this microalgae) can promote weight loss in patients who consume it. The study Effects of Spirulina supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trialsThe study of the effect of spirulina on overweight and obese people in multiple previous investigations puts this idea to the test.
The results of the research showed that Spirulina consumers lost considerably more weight than those who did not ingest it, especially if they were obese.. It is stipulated that this could be due to certain physiological mechanisms of the algae, such as the following:
- Studies have shown that when patients ingest spirulina concentrates, they reabsorb less fat in the small intestine and secrete more cholesterol in the feces.
- It appears that spirulina prevents intrahepatic fat accumulation, decreases oxidative stress and increases insulin sensitivity.
- It could help to increase satiety by giving the patient greater leptin resistance.
All of the above studies and many more (such as Effects of spirulina on weight loss and blood lipids: a reviewfrom the medical journal Open Heart) seem to indicate that spirulina should have some effects that facilitate weight loss in obese patients.. These investigations have no monetary interest, as they are in the public domain and are not endorsed by any company that produces the supplements described here. Therefore, they do not arouse our mistrust.
The limitations of spirulina
As you may have noticed, so far we have been moving all the time in “maybes” and “maybes”, because to claim a causality between weight loss or blood pressure reduction only by the consumption of spirulina is, directly, untruthful. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the only effect that seems to have been clearly demonstrated is the decrease in hypertensive activity, but everything else remains to be proven..
Therefore, it is considered that there is insufficient evidence to prescribe it or use it as an adjuvant in the treatment of rhinitis, athletic performance (many researches have found no correlation), insulin resistance, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, obesity, mental alertness and many other things. Many studies show properties on some of these fronts, while others have found no causation. Therefore, it is impossible to say anything, at least at this point.
As you may have noticed, we are at an impasse at the scientific level, because it is necessary to continue researching the properties of spirulina, especially in humans, beyond experimental animal models.beyond experimental animal models and sporadic situations. For every research that finds a correlation, there is another that is not able to do so, so it is clear that any property of this microalgae must be presented with nuances.
Therefore, if you want to lose weight or you are concerned about your hypertension, we recommend in all cases that you put yourself in the hands of a medical professional. Some may recommend consuming spirulina as an adjunct treatment, but never as a primary medication. Putting a disease in the hands of over-the-counter supplements is always a mistake, so keep your critical thinking and don’t be dazzled by the advertising that certain sources show.