5 Ways Candida Destroys Your Health

There’s a lot of talk about how Candida is bad for you. This is really an understatement. Candida isn’t just bad for you – given the chance it will destroy your health!

If you’re a woman, you’re probably at least familiar with the idea of Candida. It’s the fungus that causes yeast infections. Parents might be familiar with it in the form thrush, the yeast that coats the tongues of newborns and infants. The elderly can also develop thrush from a Candida build-up on their dentures that spreads to their tongues.

These, however, are the Candida overgrowths you can see. They’re unpleasant, but also obvious. This makes it easy to know when you have a Candida problem that needs to be treated.

Unfortunately, there’s a Candida overgrowth you’ll never see, won’t know you need to treat and if left untreated will may wreck your health in 5 different ways. It’s the one in your digestive tract. Here’s how it does it.

#1. Candida Disrupts the Way You Digest Food

A Candida infection in the digestive tract triggers an immune response and causes inflammation. Swelling in your gut like this interferes with your body’s ability to break down food. Some food may pass undigested. Other food may cause bloating, gas and indigestion, common symptoms of a Candida overgrowth. Your ability to absorb the nutrients into your blood is also negatively affected.

How does Candida get into your intestines? The reality is, like in other areas of the body, it’s always there. It’s just in small amounts the body can keep under control.

Candida becomes a problem when the body loses control of it. Reasons the body might lose control include:

  • Taking antibiotics which kill off the probiotic bacteria that help keep Candida under control
  • Using oral contraceptives, another chemical known to interfere with digestive health
  • Stress
  • Eating a lot of sugar

Antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria making you sick, but they also kill of the probiotic (good bacteria) that help keep Candida under control. Oral contraceptives also kill gut bacteria. Stress increases cortisol, a hormone that slows digestion. And then there’s sugar.

As a fungal yeast, Candida lives on sugar. The more the better. A diet high in added sugars, refined carbs and processed foods simply feeds Candida.

And once Candida gets out of control, your body has a real hard time regaining control. This has to do with that white biofilm it creates to protect itself. It’s a combination of sugars, fibers and proteins that pose a real problem for your body to deal with. While you have ways to break down sugars and proteins, the fibers present a real challenge. Plant enzymes are really the most effective way to break through these parts of the biofilm.

Left untreated, Candida will only increase intestinal inflammation. This can lead to more severe conditions like irritable bowels or ‘Leaky Gut,’ a condition where your intestines lose the ability to prevent toxins from getting into the bloodstream. Digestion gets worse, starving you of nutrients and simply making you feel miserable with indigestion when you eat.

 

#2. More Candida Means Less Probiotic Bacteria

You need healthy levels of probiotic bacteria for good health. These friendly bacteria have been shown to improve everything from digestion to memory.[i] The problem is, the more Candida you have, the less of these probiotics you have.

In a healthy digestive tract, probiotics help keep Candida under control. When it does get out of control, Candida releases waste from the sugars it eats that creates an environment that is hostile to probiotic bacteria. Without these probiotic bacteria, your digestion suffers. And as the research shows, so does your memory, thinking and mood.[ii]

#3. You’ll Crave Sugar

Every cell in the human body, including brain cells, burn glucose for energy. The more Candida you have though, the more sugar it eats, depriving your body of what it needs. As a result, you start to get sugar cravings, a common symptom of Candida overgrowth.

Eat the sugar and you’ll feed the Candida. Eat enough sugar and you’ll throw off your metabolism, prompting weight gain, hormone imbalances, high blood sugar and other potential metabolic disorders that will slowly destroy your health.

#4. Candida ‘Turns Off’ Your Immune System

The Candida biofilm has molecules in place that deactivate your body’s natural immune response. For example, in the biofilm there is a sugar, beta-glucans which causes inflammation. This same sugar turns immune cells off when they arrive.[i]

#5. Candida Literally Poisons You

Candida produces two waste by-products that are toxic to the human body. These are acetaldehyde and gliotoxin.

Acetaldehyde may sound familiar. You expose yourself to it when you drink alcohol. It’s called an intermediary by-product that exists as your liver breaks down alcohol molecules. When you drink too much alcohol, the acetaldehyde builds up as your liver can’t keep up and you get drunk.[i]

That’s right, Candida overgrowth produces the same toxin as alcohol that deprives your body of oxygen and which has been linked to liver damage, memory loss and cancer.[ii]

And if acetaldehyde wasn’t bad enough, there’s gliotoxin. It’s a poison produced by fungi that kills liver cells and immune cells and may even be linked to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.[iii],[iv],[v]

How to Overcome Candida Overgrowth

The good news is, you can defeat a Candida overgrowth. Check out our next article in the series How To Identify if You Have Candida Overgrowth  which details the symptoms of a Candida overgrowth and what you can do to cleanse yourself of it.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2016-11-11-probiotics-aid-memory-in-people-with-alzheimers-disease/

[1] Tillisch K1, et al. Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology. 2013 Jun;144(7):1394-401, 1401.e1-4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043. Epub 2013 Mar 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23474283

[1] Y Nakagawa, et al. Suppression by Candida albicans b-glucan of cytokine release from activated human monocytes and from T cells in the presence of monocytes. J Infect Dis. 2003 187: 710–713.

[1] https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol/hangover4.htm

[1] Gainza-Cirauqui ML1, et al. Production of carcinogenic acetaldehyde by Candida albicans from patients with potentially malignant oral mucosal disorders.  J Oral Pathol Med. 2013 Mar;42(3):243-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0714.2012.01203.x. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

[1] Wright, M. C., et al. Gliotoxin stimulates the apoptosis of human and rat hepatic stellate cells and enhances the resolution of liver fibrosis in rats. Gastroenterology, 2001; 121(3), 685-698.

[1] Sutton, P., et al. In vivo immunosuppressive activity of gliotoxin, a metabolite produced by human pathogenic fungi. Infection and Immunity, 1994; 62(4), 1192-1198.

[1] de Arruda, M. S. P. Effect of c. albicans infection on experimental autoimmune encephalitis. 2013.

The Powerful Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is great for weight loss! Do a Google search and you’ll find plenty of stories (like this one) about how people who turned to intermittent fasting, or “IF” for short, have lost weight. And we’re not talking about individuals who needed to lose only a couple pounds either.

Many of the intermittent fasting weight loss success stories come from people who struggled for years with obesity. When other diets failed, they found the IF approach made it easier to stay with it. Best yet, by continuing to practice IF, they’ve kept the weight off!

There is one thing to understand about intermittent fasting. It’s not a diet. Research may show it works for weight loss, but IF is really a way of life which is what makes it so easy to follow.[i],[ii] More importantly, its benefits go far beyond weight loss and weight management.

Let’s take a closer look at intermittent fasting and the many powerful health benefits it offers…

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting describes a lifestyle featuring a pattern that switches between normal eating and periods of fasting. A popular practice is the 5:2 method. You eat a normal diet for five days a week. Then, two days a week you eat at most 25% of your normal dietary calories. For a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s 500 calories; an 1,800-calorie diet would be 450 calories.

The practice doesn’t define which days you fast. It’s only important that you do it twice a week. It’s generally recommended to space the days so there is at least one non-fasting day between the two on which you do fast.

Intermittent fasting is different from continuous caloric restriction, aka dieting or severe fasting, where you restrict calories all the time. This makes IF easier to do as hunger pangs aren’t constant. It also allows for a normal diet the rest of the time, so you keep up your nutrient intake to keep your body fueled with the vitamins and minerals it needs.

A normal diet doesn’t, of course, include “junk food” which would counteract or negate the value of the fasting periods – and could lead to weight gain! But as noted, weight loss isn’t the only major benefit of intermittent fasting. Here are many other powerful benefits of intermittent fasting researchers have reported:

Speeds Up the Metabolism

Studies show people who do intermittent fasting enjoy lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.[iii],[iv] Based on results from one small study, this may have to do with an ability to metabolize fats better.[v] Their bodies simply cleared fat out of the system faster after they ate. This leads to more energy, faster recovery from exercise and other physical labor and a clearer mind.

Regenerates Intestinal Cells to Improve Digestion

Intermittent fasting “turns on” stem cells which are responsible for regeneration and renewal of the intestinal lining.[vi] This process is essential to keep the intestines working at top efficiency.

Symptoms like indigestion, gas, bloating and generally irritable bowels indicate incomplete digestion and often occur as a result of a poor diet, illness and age. Whatever the cause, these symptoms also mean the lining of the intestines is breaking down. The research suggests intermittent fasting gives the intestines a chance to recover which would help improve digestion, nutrient absorption and may reduce the unpleasant gas, bloating and other uncomfortable issues that happen with poor digestion.

Lifts the Mood

In one study, people with multiple sclerosis who practiced intermittent fasting showed “significant improvements” in their overall emotional well-being.[vii] Intermittent fasting has been shown to boost levels of BDNF, a protein in the brain associated with improving mood and memory.[viii]

Protects the Brain

Intermittent fasting has been shown to prompt a process called autophagy that clears old or dead cells from the body. It also does this in the brain.[ix] This has a profoundly positive impact on the brain as it promotes the creation of new brain cells, which are essential to protect your memory, support a positive mood and think clearly![x]

IF Boosts Levels of Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone supports your body’s natural healing processes. It also supports brain health and keeps your cells working the way they’re supposed to. Research shows intermittent fasting naturally encourages your body to produce more HGH which helps keep the body in a regular state of renewal.[xi],[xii]

Improves Insulin Response and Blood Sugar

Researchers have observed improvements in fasting insulin levels and reduced insulin resistance in people who do intermittent fasting.[xiii]

Supports Heart Health

The weight loss, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and better blood sugar that comes from improved insulin response also support heart health.[xiv] Additional research shows it supports lower blood pressure and higher HDL-cholesterol (the good cholesterol) levels.[xv]

IF Increases Resistance to Oxidative Stress & Inflammation

Intermittent fasting also increases the body’s ability to respond to chronic inflammation. In one study, researchers looked at the effect of IF on patients with asthma and discovered that the diet decreased inflammation in their airways and improved their overall breathing.[xvi]

Slows Aging and Promotes Longevity

Intermittent fasting has been shown to turn on specific genes called sirtuins. These genes are known for their anti-aging effects, especially the way they improve metabolism, encourage antioxidant response, help the body handle stress and support the removal of old, malfunctioning or dead cells.[xvii] By promoting cellular renewal, sirtuins slow aging and may support a longer, healthier life!

References:

[i] Tinsley GM, et al. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev. 2015 Oct;73(10):661-74. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv041. Epub 2015 Sep 15.

[ii] Wilson RA, et al. Intermittent Fasting with or without Exercise Prevents Weight Gain and Improves Lipids in Diet-Induced Obese Mice. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 12;10(3). pii: E346. doi: 10.3390/nu10030346.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Tinsley GM, et al. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev. 2015 Oct;73(10):661-74. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv041. Epub 2015 Sep 15.

[v] Antoni, R., Johnston, K., Collins, A., & Robertson, M. (2018). Intermittent v. continuous energy restriction: Differential effects on postprandial glucose and lipid metabolism following matched weight loss in overweight/obese participants. <i>British Journal of Nutrition,</i> <i>119</i>(5), 507-516. doi:10.1017/S0007114517003890

[vi] Mihaylova MM, et al. Fasting Activates Fatty Acid Oxidation to Enhance Intestinal Stem Cell Function during Homeostasis and Aging. Cell Stem Cell. 2018 May 3;22(5):769-778.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.04.001.

[vii] Fitzgerald KC, et al. Effect of intermittent vs. daily calorie restriction on changes in weight and patient-reported outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2018 May 5;23:33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2018.05.002. [Epub ahead of print]

[viii] Mattson MP1, et al. Meal size and frequency affect neuronal plasticity and vulnerability to disease: cellular and molecular mechanisms. J Neurochem. 2003 Feb;84(3):417-31.

[ix] Alirezaei M, Kemball CC, Flynn CT, Wood MR, Whitton JL, Kiosses WB. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagyAutophagy. 2010;6(6):702-710. doi:10.4161/auto.6.6.12376.

[x] Manzanero S, Erion JR, Santro T, et al. Intermittent fasting attenuates increases in neurogenesis after ischemia and reperfusion and improves recoveryJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 2014;34(5):897-905. doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2014.36.

[xi] Aberg ND1, et al. Aspects of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-I related to neuroprotection, regeneration, and functional plasticity in the adult brain. ScientificWorldJournal. 2006 Jan 18;6:53-80.

[xii] Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, et al. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in manJournal of Clinical Investigation. 1988;81(4):968-975.

[xiii] Adrienne R. et al. Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Translational Research, Volume 164, Issue 4, 2014, Pages 302-311, ISSN 1931-5244.

[xiv] Mark P. Mattson, et al. Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Volume 16, Issue 3, 2005, Pages 129-137, ISSN 0955-2863.

[xv] Sundfør TM1, et al. Effect of intermittent versus continuous energy restriction on weight loss, maintenance and cardiometabolic risk: A randomized 1-year trial. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 Mar 29. pii: S0939-4753(18)30100-5. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2018.03.009. [Epub ahead of print]

[xvi] Johnson JB, Summer W, Cutler RG, et al. Alternate Day Calorie Restriction Improves Clinical Findings and Reduces Markers of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Overweight Adults with Moderate AsthmaFree radical biology & medicine. 2007;42(5):665-674. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2006.12.005.

[xvii] Zhu Y1, et al. Metabolic regulation of Sirtuins upon fasting and the implication for cancer. Curr Opin Oncol. 2013 Nov;25(6):630-6. doi: 10.1097/01.cco.0000432527.49984.a3.

The Connection Between Metabolism and Your Health

Fitness and health experts talk all the time about boosting the metabolism to burn fat, lose weight and stay healthy. This begs the question, what exactly does metabolism have to do with your health? The simple answer is…everything.

Your metabolism defines your health. It determines your quality of life. The reality is, metabolism is life itself.

And that’s why there’s so much talk about boosting metabolism. Good health needs an active metabolism. When you’ve got an active metabolism, you have energy, you feel better – physically, mentally and emotionally, and you don’t get sick often. Here’s why…

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is often described by its relationship to food and fat. Your metabolism turns food into energy or, if it’s slow, fat. This definition does not communicate the full extent of what your metabolism does.

Your metabolism includes every biochemical reaction in your body. Metabolism breaks down and builds up substances, aka the chemicals we need to live.[i] For example, through the action of enzymes metabolism starts in the mouth as you chew food and continues through every process down to the cellular level.

Metabolism also breaks down free radicals created during the energy creation process which would otherwise damage the cell or DNA. Your metabolism also neutralizes toxins that get into the body via food and environment, and pathogens like viruses, bacteria and fungi that would do you harm.

As part of the process, your metabolism builds the chemicals needed to drive this process. It builds new DNA as damaged cells are replaced. And of course, it builds ATP, the fundamental energy molecule needed in every chemical reaction.

Every process you can think of in your body – digestion, immune system, waste removal, muscle function including heart health, and more! – they all belong to the process we call metabolism.

Metabolism is your health.

The Importance of an Efficient Metabolism

An efficient metabolism gets the most work done for the least amount of energy. If you think of the trillions of chemical reactions taking place every second, the need for efficiency makes sense.

Wasted energy forces the body to prioritize what processes get energy and which have to wait. Over time, the waiting leads to inefficient conversion of food into energy, forcing the production of fat cells to store it. The immune system is less active allowing infectious germs to cause illness. Waste builds up throughout the body.

What Disrupts Your Metabolism

You have a lot of control over your metabolism. While some factors may be beyond your complete control such as exposure to infection, genetics and aging, there are some you do control. Diet is one example.

After 70+ years of the Western diet, the terrible impact of a carb-heavy diet featuring starches and added sugars on the metabolism is generally well-accepted by the scientific community. Added sugars provide no nutritional value and burn a lot of energy to convert them into energy. This taxes the digestive tract, the liver, the pancreas and the immune system.

Although the body uses glucose, a form of sugar, for energy, added sugars end up providing the body with too much. This sugar gets turned into fat which creates stress on the entire body. And in 2018, the results are telling:

  • Heart disease is still the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States.[ii]

 

  • Fatty liver disease, a condition which in the past only affected alcoholics (with rare exceptions), now afflicts more than 30% of the population.[iii]

 

  • Nearly 40% of U.S. adults are obese, according to the CDC.[iv]

Researchers have confirmed the relationship between fatty liver and obesity.[v] But health experts have also recognized the connection between these conditions and other chronic conditions such as diabetes. Many of these chronic diseases are now referred to as metabolic diseases.

Of course, diet is only one cause of an inefficient metabolism. A lack of exercise is another. And research continues to show how exercise boosts metabolism.[vi]

What You Need for an Efficient Metabolism

The first step for an efficient metabolism is good digestion. Your body needs the raw materials like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to drive its metabolic processes. You also need adequate enzymes.

Although energy is needed to power the chemical reactions of metabolism, enzymes are the molecules that make those chemical reactions possible. Without enzymes, the energy molecules alone would not be enough. Digestive enzymes improve the efficiency of food break down and nutrient absorption into the bloodstream.

Of course, digestive enzymes are only a small group of enzymes. Every other chemical reaction in the body needs enzymes too. These enzymes are called metabolic enzymes. They keep the blood clean, make immune response possible, support waste removal and more.

Unfortunately, as you age, enzyme levels naturally drop.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your metabolism running strong. And when you do, you’ll not only find it easier to maintain the weight you want, but you’ll have more energy, look great, and feel better too…not to mention enjoy better health as you reduce the risk of metabolic diseases.

How to Keep Your Metabolism Strong and Efficient

Diet and exercise are two of the simplest ways to support metabolism. Eating raw, natural, non-processed food and exercising regularly are the two most basic ways to support or even boost your metabolism. They aren’t the only ones.

Here are a few other ways to support a healthy metabolism:

  • Eat breakfast. Research shows eating breakfast gets the metabolism going in the morning with people who eat breakfast showing higher metabolic rates.[vii]

 

  • Drink water. It might seem odd, but dehydration is a quick way to slow down the metabolism. Researchers report that drinking 500 ml of water increases the metabolic rate by 30% with increases being observed in as little as 10 minutes.[viii]

 

  • Get enough sleep. Your metabolism requires a full night’s sleep in order to perform efficiently according to studies.[ix]

 

  • Supplement as needed. Finally, take supplements as needed to ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals and enzymes in your diet. These are the building blocks your body needs to fuel your metabolism.

References:

[1] https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4359

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

[1] Le MH, Devaki P, Ha NB, et al. Prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and risk factors for advanced fibrosis and mortality in the United States. Yu M-L, ed. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(3):e0173499. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173499.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

[1] Le MH, Devaki P, Ha NB, et al. Prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and risk factors for advanced fibrosis and mortality in the United States. Yu M-L, ed. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(3):e0173499. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173499.

[1] Kristin I. Stanford, et al. 12,13-diHOME: An Exercise-Induced Lipokine that Increases Skeletal Muscle Fatty Acid Uptake. Cell Metabolism, 2018; 27 (5): 1111 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.03.020

[1] Ruddick‐Collins LC, Johnston JD, Morgan PJ, Johnstone AM. The Big Breakfast Study: Chrono‐nutrition influence on energy expenditure and bodyweight. Nutrition Bulletin. 2018;43(2):174-183. doi:10.1111/nbu.12323.

[1] Michael Boschmann, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, Jens Jordan; Water-Induced Thermogenesis, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 88, Issue 12, 1 December 2003, Pages 6015–6019, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2003-030780

[1] Sharma S, Kavuru M. Sleep and Metabolism: An Overview. International Journal of Endocrinology. 2010;2010:270832. doi:10.1155/2010/270832.

Why NASA is studying the health benefits of Spirulina

Sometimes it seems popular health foods rarely get a lot of positive support from mainstream nutrition and health authorities. That’s why when an organization like NASA studies the potential value of a super-health food like spirulina, well, it gets a lot of attention. In fact, since NASA’s research, the European Space Agency, the World Health Organization and many global organizations committed to ending malnutrition have embraced spirulina for its amazing dietary and health benefits![i]

Spirulina itself isn’t new to the human diet. We know the Aztecs used it at least as far back as the 1300’s. Some groups in Africa have also included spirulina in their diets. Today it’s an important source of nutrition and nourishment for many people and an important supplement to others, which is pretty incredible for something most of us would overlook as pond scum.

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is the name given to the dried substance of a single-celled, blue-green algae called Arthrospira platensis that grows in fresh and saltwater environments. It grows best on highly alkaline lakes. It supplies a complete range of nutrients and protein, is easy to digest and has no significant side effects, all reasons that inspired NASA.

NASA Studies Spirulina for Its Nutrient Density

Space travel presents many challenges. A big one is ensuring astronauts get the nutrition they need. After all, due to weight limitations, there’s only so much they can take. As NASA discovered, spirulina may be small, but it’s a nutrient-dense powerhouse![ii]

Nearly 70% of spirulina is protein by weight and it contains all the essential amino acids. It’s also loaded with a complete range of vitamins and minerals, including many trace minerals missing in many diets today!

USDA Nutrient Profile for Spirulina[iii]

Nutrient Unit Value per 100 g 1 cup = 112.0g
Protein g 57.47 64.37
Total lipid (fat) g 7.72 8.65
Carbohydrate, by difference g 23.9 26.77
Fiber, total dietary g 3.6 4
Sugars, total g 3.1 3.47
Minerals
Calcium, Ca mg 120 134
Iron, Fe mg 28.5 31.92
Magnesium, Mg mg 195 218
Phosphorus, P mg 118 132
Potassium, K mg 1363 1527
Sodium, Na mg 1048 1174
Zinc, Zn mg 2 2.24
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 10.1 11.3
Thiamin mg 2.38 2.666
Riboflavin mg 3.67 4.11
Niacin mg 12.82 14.358
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.364 0.408
Folate, DFE µg 94 105
Vitamin A, RAE µg 29 32
Vitamin A, IU IU 570 638
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 5 5.6
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) µg 25.5 28.6
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturated g 2.65 2.968
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0.675 0.756
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 2.08 2.33

 

Spirulina also contains a compound called phycocyanin, the pigment that gives spirulina its brilliant green color. This pigment is also a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties which has been shown to protect the brain, memory, and nervous system.[iv] Phycocyanin has also been reported to help:

  • Reduce allergy symptoms as well as over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines
  • Detox heavy metals
  • Enhance and balance immune response
  • Kill tumor cells

It’s no wonder NASA used to feed and nourish astronauts in space. It’s also no wonder that spirulina is being used to address malnutrition in the poorer areas of the world.[v]

These nutrition and health benefits also explain why spirulina as a supplement has become popular today in modern countries like the United States.

Why NASA’s Spirulina Research is So Important Today

There’s no question there’s a serious health epidemic in the U.S. and really in many countries in the western world today. Heart disease is on the rise in middle-aged adults.[vi] Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 30% of the population.[vii] And then there’s metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue and a host of degenerative diseases affecting people everywhere.

It’s become apparent that the refined, processed foods which make up a large part of the average diet don’t supply the nutrition the body needs. Plus, fruits and vegetables have experienced significant declines over the last 50 years in the amount of proteins, vitamins and minerals they have.[viii]

Spirulina offers a way to enhance daily nutrition which is essential to support metabolism and the body’s natural healing ability. It also keeps calorie counts low, making it a valuable tool for weight loss.

Great health starts with nutrition. But as researchers have discovered, nutritionally rich sources like spirulina provide additional benefits.

Additional Benefits of Nutrient-dense Spirulina

Researchers have identified that spirulina helps with many health problems people face today. Studies show, spirulina can help:

  • Lower cholesterol and protect the heart[ix]
  • Protect the brain, memory and cognitive function[x],[xi]
  • Boost energy and endurance[xii]
  • Stabilize blood sugar[xiii]
  • Reduce chronic fatigue[xiv]
  • Keep skin looking clear and healthy[xv]
  • Support the liver[xvi]
  • Strengthen bones[xvii]
How to Take Spirulina and Get the Maximum Benefit

You can find a lot of spirulina products and supplements online and in health food stores. Usually you’ll find them in capsules or powders. Some people swear by one or the other. The reality is, taking a quality spirulina supplement in any form will add high quality nutrition to your diet.

To get the most from your supplement (and your hard-earned dollar too), you need to ensure you can digest and absorb as much of the available nutrition as possible. Taking spirulina is good and will bring some health benefits, but if your digestion and absorption is less than optimal, then you might not get the maximum benefit from your spirulina.

How can you know if your digestion is weak? Digestive issues like gas and bloating, IBS, indigestion may indicate you’re not digesting your food well. This also means you’re not going to get the most out of your spirulina supplement.

One of the biggest reasons for poor digestion in adults is inadequate digestive enzyme levels. At age 30, the body start producing fewer enzymes, including digestive enzymes. This means you aren’t completely digesting your food or absorbing all the nutrients from it that you should.

So, to get the most from your spirulina, look for a supplement that includes digestive enzymes. This will ensure you have the enzymes needed to break down the nutrients and support absorption. It will also probably cost less than getting a separate spirulina supplement and a digestive enzyme supplement.

 

REFERENCES:

[i] https://www.bmj.com/content/326/7381/146/rr

[ii] https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19890016190.pdf

[iii] USDA

[iv] Liu Q, Huang Y, Zhang R, Cai T, Cai Y. Medical Application of Spirulina platensis Derived C-Phycocyanin. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2016;2016:7803846. doi:10.1155/2016/7803846.

[v] https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/sep/12/spirulina-health-food-panacea-malnutrition

[vi] Vaughan, Adam S. et al. Widespread recent increases in county-level heart disease mortality across age groups. Annals of Epidemiology , Volume 27 , Issue 12 , 796 – 800.

[vii] Le MH, Devaki P, Ha NB, et al. Prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and risk factors for advanced fibrosis and mortality in the United States. Yu M-L, ed. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(3):e0173499. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173499.

[viii] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

[ix] Park HJ1, et al. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study to establish the effects of spirulina in elderly Koreans. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;52(4):322-8. doi: 10.1159/000151486. Epub 2008 Aug 19.

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