History of Spirulina

What is Spirulina about? History of Spirulina
Spirulina diagram*

What Is Spirulina About?

The History of Spirulina. What is Spirulina about exactly? What is it? Is it safe for me to take? Where did it come from? Why do so many people rave about it, and yet a few are sceptical or critical?

 

 


The Numerous Benefits of Spirulina

Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, research has shown the numerous benefits of adding spirulina to our diet, to help prevent or mitigate against modern ailments including even certain cancers, high blood pressure, cholesterol and many other conditions that we have highlighted in the spirulina frequently asked questions.  We are supporters of the growing number of doctors and health professionals who advocate that we should “eat ourselves to health,” rather than bombard our bodies with other poisons (increasingly ineffective anti-biotics) to kill other poisons in our bodies.

Having experienced it ourselves, we believe spirulina can play a helpful and supporting role in strengthening and helping our health. But always under the guidance of your medical professional.*


What This Page is About

This page on whyspirulina.com is for those who want to learn more about the history of spirulina and also for those looking to check those few conditions where spirulina is best avoided.


Index of Key Paragraphs

Can we help you find what you are looking for quickly? Internal page links:

Chad and spirulina.
The Aztecs and spirulina.
Today, NASA  using spirulina.
Those who should best avoid spirulina.
Spirulina provided the evolutionary gap.
The United Nations promoting the benefits of spirulina.
Iodine and spirulina.


What is Spirulina About. The History of Spirulina

Spirulina has been around for thousands of years. It has grown wild in freshwater lakes in Africa and Central & South America, for millennium.

When Cortes arrived in America, his soldiers noticed the Aztecs were eating something the locals called Tecuitlatl. In the 1960´s, French Researchers found Spirulina in abundance at Lake Texcoco, Mexico. If you ever have the chance to visit Xochimilco in Mexico, you can even see it growing wild in the the water there. But we don´t recommend you do as this has undoubtedly been tainted by the Mexico City pollution.  We explain the importance of consuming good quality spirulina in this click through

The Mayas, and Toltecs (3) in Mexico consumed spirulina during the Aztec civilization.


The Aztecs & Spirulina – They Called it Tecuitlatl

Apparently, the Aztec emperor Montezuma (1467-1520) really enjoyed fish. He would send messengers to collect fish in the Gulf of Mexico from what today is Mexico City, a one way distance of almost 400 km. The runners had enhanced EPO, giving them increased endurance & energy, to run the distance, thanks it would seem to spirulina.

Unfortunately most of the natural sources of spirulina disappeared after the Spanish conquistadors dried up the lakes to develop farmland and pastures. But some can still be seen in the water at Xochimilco.


Tecuitlatl Today

A few hundred years later, an engineer from France was running a sodium hydroxide facility in Mexico, and had to manage a “blue slime” getting into their machines – after initially burning it together with the rubbish, he finally identified it as spirulina.

Today, young Mexicans are rediscovering the benefits of Tecuitlatl which is rich in nutrients, proteins and minerals and are producing Tecuitlatl to mix with Tortillas, a staple Mexican food.


Chad

They call Spirulina “Daei” in Chad

By Joan Simon, wikipedia

 

In the 1940`s, on the other side of the world in Chad Africa, a French botanist found people eating a dry bread called “daei”. In Chad, Spirulina is known as “daei”. They still eat “daei” today, harvested from their lakes and used for cooking. The Kanembu people in Africa have been using spirulina for many generations.

 

The people in Chad who eat the “daei” (Spirulina) are renowned for being people that lead lengthy lives, which they attribute to their “daei” (Spirulina).


The United Nations & Spirulina

This well presented video from the United Nations, highlights how spirulina “has been the secret of the good health” of  people in Chad:


The 1940´s & Cortes Are Modern History!


In relative terms, 1940 and Cortes are modern history, when compared to the history of Spirulina. It’s been around for far longer than millennium, it’s been around for some 3.6 billion years!

Researchers think it’s; “the evolutionary bridge between bacteria and green plants” and yet Spirulina is not well understood, particularly in the “West”. It’s thought to be one of the building blocks for plant DNA.


Today

NASA Are Using Spirulina

What is Spirulina About?
NASA studying Spirulina for space travel

And the story does not end there.  NASA are studying Spirulina for long distance space flights.


So what is Spirulina about exactly?

Spirulina is a cyanobacteria with a history of 3.6 billion years. An even higher authority is referenced here (2).

Spirulina is NOT a seaweed. You will find a lot of people referring to spirulina as an algae (alga).  It isn´t.  Technically it’s a cyanobacteria.  However, for the sake of simplicity many people refer to it as a “blue-green algae”. “Modern botanists restrict the term algae to eukaryotes”.

Some people mistakenly refer to it as a seaweed, we repeat, it isn´t.  That’s really important to understand because seaweed has far more iodine than spirulina.


Quality Spirulina Today

Today, Quality spirulina is usually, but not always, produced in freshwater and generally only has the same amount of iodine that is found in fresh water.  River water has about 5 parts per billion (ppb) of iodine.  Most quality spirulina producers, have carefully monitored production plants.

But even if it does have iodine, as may be the case (We recommend you check before purchasing) if you can eat fish and seafood without any difficulty, generally you ought to be fine taking Spirulina supplements.  But please check with your Doctor or Health professional first whether it is right for you.


A word about Iodine in seaweed (Not SPIRULINA)

Iodine is found naturally in the air, soil and water.  Particularly seawater. Seawater has about 60 parts per billion (ppb) of iodine. That is why brown seaweed (This is NOT SPIRULINA) can have as much as 0.45% (dry mass) of iodine.

Iodine is also found in your body and is necessary for it to function properly. It’s when you have an imbalance it can be a problem. In which case you need to check carefully with your Doctor or Medical Professional before you take any supplements that may be high in iodine. Well sourced Spirulina typically has low or insignificant levels of iodine. – much less than you already have in your body


Why we think Spirulina is a terrific “super-food” supplement.

We have experienced ourselves or researched the many benefits of taking the Spirulina “super food” – (that’s the 3.6 billion year old cyanobacteria) supplements, covering a wide range of conditions.  Check our Frequently Asked Questions page for the many ways spirulina can help (and a few where it does not). It might surprise you, but it also helps with weight loss!– it is packed with so many nutrients that you feel “fuller” and so eat less! Along with exercise, it has helped me to lose 28 kilos!

Please refer to our FAQ page for a full list of our research on different conditions that the spirulina super food might help you with. We also have a page giving suggestions on how much to take?.  This is important, so you can slowly build up, and over a period on months, you will start to experience the benefits.  Remember, its a superfood, not a medication, most people experience the benefits after a few months, and for those who are obese, its likely to take a little longer, as their body goes through a detox.

Although its a superfood, don´t forget to check with your doctor or medical professional before using it. There are a few pre-existing conditions (see below),  where it might impact on any traditional medications you might be taking.

==>Click Here If You Are Interested In Buying Quality Spirulina Or Chlorella<==

 


So is it all good news?

Also is it right for you, from where? There are so many brands. You are right to be cautious to choose a safely sourced supply.

Generally, the vast majority have people have no difficulty consuming Spirulina.  However, you may be aware that there are some people who are allergic to nuts, strawberries and seafood.

However for those who have autoimmune conditions, or are taking blood thinning medication, please read the note below.


PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY

Spirulina is not recommended for rheumatoid arthritis or other conditions associated with an overactive immune system e.g lupus or multiple sclerosis.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis or other conditions associated with an overactive immune system, including conditions such as multiple sclerosis or lupus.  Also if you are taking blood thinning medication. We advise you not (not) to take spirulina, unless you have confirmed you may do so with your Doctor on your specific personal circumstances. Only if your Doctor or medical professional, gives you the go ahead, should you take spirulina.


Choose Your Spirulina Carefully

During our research of the cyanobacteria known as Spirulina we have found a few relatively rare examples of people who have not had a good experience with Spirulina. We suspect they may have purchased contaminated Spirulina and that may have made them feel sick.

Or if its processed  in the same factory or line, where seafood, or fish are processed, the levels of iodine are likely to be higher.  That’s why we are so careful with our recommendations as to which supplier (s).

Or perhaps like me, they didn´t realise they were going through a detox

Its also important to be aware, that as Spirulina grows, it soaks up anything that’s in its environment. Some supplies, particularly from China, have been found to contain quite high levels of toxins. I have some reviews of different suppliers on this page that you may find useful.

Let’s keep things in perspective, spirulina is a natural food that the Aztecs ate and the people in Chad eat and seem to thrive on. However, if you are considering taking this superfood supplement for the first time and you have a pre-existing condition, do check with your doctor first, if its right for you.


Use a Quality Supplier

To avoid these risks, we particularly recommend specialist companies like E-vitamins or Whole Foods.  The problem with a huge generalist online (Department Store e.g. Amazon) with massive warehouses, customs clearance storage etc., that cater for millions of different items, is that they might be hot and so impact on the useful shelflife of the spirulina.  The fresher spirulina is, the better the quality and more likely you will see the benefits.

You may also wish to check on how much to take. Put simply, we recommend you build up slowly, but the how much to take page, provides fuller advice. Remember, buying from a quality producer is essential.


==>Click Here If You Are Interested In Buying Quality Spirulina Or Chlorella<==


Thank you, For Visiting

Thank you for visiting whyspirulina. We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any comments or questions, kindly leave them below and we will get back to you.


Affiliate links

You might have seen the “affiliate link” button at the top, that links to a page.  This basically means we could make a tiny commission, if you purchase anything using one of our affiliate links on this page.  It helps to keep us in coffee, making a small contribution, allowing us to research and write articles on the benefits of superfoods. You will not pay more by making a purchase via one of our links.


US Regulations on Spirulina

Spirulina is listed (1) by the US Food and Drug Administration under the category of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), as “many toxicological studies have proven Spirulinas safety”.

*Please see the About Page. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

*when we say “helps” we do not mean or want to suggest its a “cure” for anything, but it is something that may help you to manage or mitigate symptoms of certain conditions mentioned on this site.

*Top picture/Diagram by Joan Simon


Sources

(1) Tarantino LM. Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN000127. FDA Home page, October 2003.

(2) Earth Food Spirulina (Arthrospira): Production and Quality Standards
by Edis Koru, Ege University, Turkey

(3) Spirulina Study on its Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory properties


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41 thoughts on “History of Spirulina”

  1. You really did an awesome job helping me understand what is spirulina about, and in fact, I never even heard of this until I read your article just now.

    So where does one get this superfood?

    Jeff

    Reply
  2. Hi
    This is a lot of information and very educating. I have never heard of spirulina before.

    It is worth reading more about it. I will have a look around be to see if this is offered in any health store in my surrounding or maybe order it online.

    It could boost my immune system and maybe I could lose some weight and also protect me against covid-19

    Very professional website.
    Thank you for sharing this information.
    reg.
    Thorhallur

    Reply
  3. Thanks for this article, I never had so much knowledge on spirulina until now. This article had been educating. Consumption of spirulina has so many advantages to man,  but basically I love the fact that its a nice option for weight loss and also help against anxiety. It also reduces blood pressure and also lowers blood sugar which are major challenges to Man. It’s indeed a super food. 

    Thanks for the insights on this article.

    Reply
  4. No doubt that if I had not stumped into this article I wouldn’t have known such a good body building nutritious natural plant do exist known as spirunilia

    You articles are always educating and eye opening , I believe Consumption of spirulina has so many advantages to man, but basically I love the fact that its a nice option for weight loss and also help against anxiety. It also reduces blood pressure and also lowers blood sugar which are major challenges to Man.

    Reply
  5. I read with interest, your article on spirulina. It is amazing the number of things in nature can do for our health. With diabetes being so prevalent it is interesting to note that spirulina is good at controlling blood sugar. Dementia is also on the rise, so having something to help reduce the incidence of dementia is great with the aging population. As with any changes to diet it is always best to check with your physician to see if it would agree with any medications you are taking.
    Thanks for the great information.

    Reply
  6. This is very educative. Didn’t know a lot about spirulina till I read this article. Is spirulina good for people like me who are suffering from cholesterol problems which eventually will lead to a heart disease?

    Reply
    • Dear Jude,

      Thank you for the visit. And just to be very clear, YES, spirulina is terrific to help manage cholesterol issues. There is considerable evidence to support this too, as is described on this click through.

      Thank you for visiting our site and I would encourage you to speak to your doctor about your cholesterol problem. A natural way to help with your cholesterol may well be to take spirulina on a regular basis. But as we describe in this click through, be sure to obtain supplies from a reliable and secure source, free of pollutants.

      Best Regards,

      Trevor

      Reply
  7. This is really impressive Trevor, thank you for providing this valuable information for us.
    I’m pretty sure many will be interested in this product .

    Reply
  8. Your website caught my eye because although I heard about spirulina, I never really knew exactly what it is. Your website is very informative and the text is easy to read. I just have a critique which is that there are many words and sentences that are linked to internal or external websites. Because of these links (in blue) I actually overlooked the most important link which is the one which leads you to the page where you can BUY the spirulina. So my suggestion would be to reduce the amount of links so that your buying link stand out more.
    I hope this feedback helps! Good luck with your journey!

    Reply
    • Thank you Emelia.  I think you are right, this page was built before we had our FAQs page.  Your helpful critique, has reminded us that we need to edit this page now our Frequently Asked Questions page is available.  Thank you for the good wishes and feedback.  I´m glad you found it so easy to read and informative. 

      Reply
  9. Thank you for broadening the knowledge about spirulina and actually helping me to understand it better and all it entails. Actually I didn’t know some things about spirulina before and getting to understand them here is great. It is actually very potent with the ght application too. I also like the fact that it is very safe to make use of. thanks

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback.  Spirulina is a terrific superfood and has many benefits across a wide range of conditions, not a cure, but it helps to mitigate and support a lot of health conditions, a bit like eating a good varied diet.  There are a few conditions where it is best avoided which is also highlighted on this page.  Check our FAQs for a full list of conditions we have researched.  The how much to take page is also worth reviewing.  Remember, its not a medication, it needs to be taken over a period of time.  And initially, it might cause a detox before you see the benefits, e.g. raised energy levels and improved memory or cognitive health – I have seen many benefits, but the boost to my memory was an amazing benefit and entirely unexpected! Prior to taking spirulina, I had many brain fog moments, no longer ! Make sure you buy from a good and fresh source.  That is why we recommend E-Vitamins and Whole Foods, rather than a general online distributor, whose stock may have been held in a hot warehouse for a long time.  The freshness of spirulina really matters.

      Reply
  10. This is so fascinating. I didn’t realize spirulina was ‘blue-green algae’. I knew a man who took it in the 90’s and swore by it. He was extremely healthy and vibrant. To be honest, I learned a lot about spirulina from your article here. I really thought it was some kind of grain before reading this. Thank you for sharing this. I also went to the brands you recommend and they look really good. 

    Reply
    • Thank you Paula for visiting.  I`m sure the man you knew was indeed healthy and vibrant.  It has really helped to turn my health around. Did you have a chance to check the FAQs?  We have links there to the many conditions that spirulina can help with & a few (not many) where it is best avoided (as highlighted above).  The how much to take page is also important.  My own health has been boosted by spirulina but also my energy levels and my memory has improved immeasurably.  I`m glad you checked out the brands.  This is so important when you buy spirulina to ensure it has been produced safely. The other real surprise for us when we conducted research is that it can help as a natural remedy for mental health.  Some say (a study too) it can help ease autism symptoms too.  

      Reply
  11. Hello there, it’s nice to get to see how this all came about, because I believe knowing the origin of something is really helpful. In reality, its the first step to getting the cure, understanding and knowing how it helps.  That means a lot in our World, if it can help cure whatever sickness we are faced with. Thanks for the knowledge, it’s really nice. 

    Reply
    • Thank you Justin.  I agree, understanding how it came about is always helpful and reassuring. Spirulina is a superfood not a medication.  Doctor`s are increasingly of the view that diet plays an important role in improving our health.  “You are what you eat”.  In my case I found spirulina when my health was extremely poor, but now it has been turned around by regular consumption of spirulina which initially gave me a pretty intense detox.  However, I am glad I followed my Alternative remedy Dr, who encouraged me to stick with the programme. You can avoid the mistakes I made by following the advice we have suggested in; “how much to take“.  The FAQs page is also a good way to quickly see if there have been any studies for particular conditions, as well as those where spirulina is best avoided.  & please do remember, where you buy from is critical.  This really is a case of “you pay for what you get” but its generally quite accessible.  What I love about spirulina now is how it boosts my energy and helps my mindto be so much clearer, no longer do I suffer from brain fog, that was common for me a few years ago,   

      Reply
  12. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and insightful article. I really enjoyed reading your article ‘History of Spirulina’ and learning from it. This is my first time hearing of Spirulina, but it does sound like a really great product with many médical purposes. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain the history of Spirulina as it helped me understand the product better.

    Reply
  13. Thank you for sharing this article ‘History Of Spirulina’. This is my first time hearing of Spirulina but it sounds like a really great supplement with a lot of healthy benefits. I appreciate you going deep into the history of Spirulina as far as the aztecs and how they took it and how it helped them a lot. This shows how it has been helpful over the years. 

    Reply
  14. This is a fascinating post on What is Spirulina about and I found it very helpful. I only recently heard about spirulina and thought it was an algae, so thank you for correcting me on that thinking. I had been wondering about it what it actually is, and how it grows, so it was very interesting to read about the history and how even the Aztecs used it. Very good to know that those with an autoimmune syndrome like lupus, should not be using this superfood. 

    Reply
  15. Spirulina seems to be a great natural weight loss extract but I have a question on how much should one consume? Are there any side effects for people who face malnutrition? Honestly it is my first time hearing about it. I think that one should first consult with his/ her doctor before going ahead to consume the extract. Great detailed article.  

    Reply
    • Thank you Ezra for a great comment and question.  On the question of malnutrition, spirulina has indeed been identified as something to help prevent malnutrition, indeed it has been identified by the World Health Organisation as something that could help in the fight against malnutrition.  This article on how spirulina helps you to detox mentions this exact point. However, we will be writing a new article to cover this point, partly because you have raised it, but it was also something we were planning.  Thank you.

      Side effects with spirulina? For most people there are none, (very few people have problems) but we always advise people to check with their doctor before taking spirulina, just in case they are one of the few people (auto immune diseases can be problematic and those taking blood thinners)  who cannot take it.  However, for most people, it enhances their health. Its also essential to buy spirulina from a quality source. Buying poor quality spirulina can impact on your health. Its also great to wash out smoothie pots that had spirulina in them and pour the water & remaining mixture onto your plants, as its a great for plants or vegetables too!

      How much spirulina to take? is a common question, this article offers some advice as there is no official recommendation.   You might find the Spirulina FAQs a useful reference too.

      Reply
  16. It’s very good that you shared this article, I’m a very big fan of natural medicine because I believe that they are safer to use and they are more easy to come by. Spirulina has great benefits and it’s been confirmed to help in  so many ways. I’d love to learn more about this supplement.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Bruce.  You are right, spirulina is a great natural superfood that in some ways is a natural medicine.  But its important to draw the distinction between spirulina as a superfood and other medications.  Spirulina is not a medication.  But we certainly like the approach that more doctors and health professionals are increasingly following, that you should “eat yourself to good health”.  That is what we have done, with the help of spirulina.  You might want to check our Spirulina FAQs page out.  Also the how much spirulina to take

      Reply
  17. Hello Trevor, this website had a very clean and warm feel to it. I found myself scanning the article before digging into some details. I did have to go to a new tab and type in your web address as I was initially getting an error message regarding redirects.

    I’m not sure how to alleviate this one, but I did have difficulty finding the focus of the article at the beginning. I know it’s important to get the message of the benefits of spirulina but it felt kind of hit and miss. Maybe in the beginning you could highlight the benefits to the reader initially. Something like, ” Research has shown the many benefits of adding spirulina in our diet.  Along with a healthy diet and exercise, modern ailments that effect us; cancer. high blood pressure, etc., etc. can become less the norm when we add spirulina…. 

    Just a thought.

    By the way, you have done your homework and you have made it very clear that you are experts in the field!

    Henry

    Reply
    • Thank you Henry for your helpful feedback, both technically and in terms of structure of the article, which was aimed at somebody who was looking for historical information on spirulina, but you make some very good points.  I can see it would be helpful for us to give a summary in an early paragraph of the benefits of spirulina, even though it is mentioned elsewhere on the site.  I will add one to the article. I am also investigating why you had the error messages that you did. Thanks again.  Much appreciated and helpful.

      Reply
  18. Hmm, I was having issues accessing your site. It might be a 404 error but I just wanted to let you know that the content that was presented on this site was very helpful on my quest and I appreciate the information a lot, I hope you are able to fix the possible 404 issue but just an FYI there because I am still having trouble accessing this post. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thank you Misael, I am most grateful for the feedback and the point about the 404 error.  I`m glad you found the actual content helpful.  I`m speaking to the platform that hosts us to iron out the 404s.  

      Reply
  19. Initially I was unable to see your website to read your article but I´m glad I persevered. I was so pleased to learn about all the different conditions that spirulina can help to mitigate and even overcome!  It just goes to show that diet really matters with our health.  My family have suffered from Alzheimers/Dementia.  Do you think spirulina could help with Alzheimers/Dementia as all?   

    Reply
    • Thank you Anastazja, I´m glad you persevered.  Yes, spirulina helps with a wide range of conditions.  Rarely is it a “cure” but it helps, as you say to mitigate and alleviate problems.  So even problems such as herpes, helping to control blood sugar levels, and as you ask, alzheimers/dementia.  Let us be very clear, it is not a cure but the medicinal effects of spirulina help to alleviate symptoms.  We are actually in the process now of updating a page on dementia.  There is new evidence (2020) that spirulina helps to prevent dementia and alleviates symptoms, whilst the pharmaceutical industry have a track record of failing to provide a solution to this problem.  A Mediterranean diet helps too, as does reducing or avoiding cheese.  One of the most obvious benefits of spirulina that most people notice are the increased energy levels.

      But something that is absolutely critical to experience the benefits of spirulina is that you need to use a quality spirulina brand or you probably wont. Taking the right amount of spirulina is important.  You can learn more about the range of conditions spirulina can help with (and the few where it is best avoided) via this click through.

      Reply
  20. WOW !!! This is a very thorough research of the spirulina. Even though I’ve heard about spirulina before, I’ve never seen such great descriptions of why and how spirulina will be helpful for each health problem. It’s broadened my knowledge about spirulina and helped me understand how it might be useful to me. As you can imagine, I found a number of health issues that I can be using it for. 

    I know that you provided a number of sources where to buy it. I am just wondering if you’ve ever done the research for the company “Nature’s Sunshine”. I am using some of their products and very happy with the quality. They also have Spirulina. 

    Your articles are very educational and eye-opening. Thank you, Trevor.

    Jane

    Reply
    • Thank you Jane for this detailed and thoughtful comment.  I`m glad it has opened your eyes to the many benefits of spirulina. I`m pleased to see that you have a brand that you like.  No, we are not familiar with Nature`s Sunshine. It COULD be a good and safe brand but we would need to check into their growing supply chain first.  But something all consumers of spirulina should be aware of is that there are many suppliers e.g. out of China & India who supply to companies who then produce their own brands.  That is where the weakness in the supply chain can be, as if their growing conditions are not optimum, you can be taking e.g. heavy metals by accident which can slowly build up in your system and then negatively impact your health.   We are currently looking into a supplier who produce an organic brand on the edge of a desert with pristine well water and growing conditions.  We hope to add this brand to our “approved” list shortly, after a visit to their facilities, but until then, we can only recommend those on our “buy” page.  We will look into Nature`s Sunshine.  Thank you again Jane for such a great comment and we are so pleased it could help you or a loved one with different conditions.   

      Reply

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