Rajnee1*, Urmila Chaudhary1, Garima Jeswani1, Vikram Singh2, Bhanwar Lal Jat2, CR Chaudhary3, Raaz K Maheshwari4
1Department of Physiology, SN Medical College, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
2Department of Botany, SBRM Govt PG College, Nagaur, Rajasthan, India
3Pro-President, Mewar University, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India
4 Nodal officers, Geographical Information System, SBRM Govt PG College, Nagaur, Rajasthan, India
Received: 10 June 2014, Accepted: 15 July 2014, Published Online: 10 August 2014
Dried spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein with all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes. Spirulina’s lipid content is about 7% by weight, and is rich in γ-linolenic acid (GLA), and also provides α-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA),stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) along with vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2(riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E. and various minerals viz. K, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, P, Se, Na, & Zn. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including β-carotene, zeaxanthin, chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3′- ydroxyechinenone, β-cryptoxanthin andoscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin. Spirulina is not considered to be a reliable source of Vitamin B12. In recent years, spirulina has attracted scientific attention, not only for its various health benefits, but also at a micro level of understanding the mechanisms of action of its various components. From being a ‘complete’ protein source, spirulina and its components have been shown to have positive benefit across a range of human health indications from malnutrition to antioxidant properties. These reports come from in vitro, animal and human studies. Human evidence suggests that spirulina can improve lipid and glucose metabolism, while also reducing liver fat and protecting the heart. Animal studies are very promising as well, as spirulina has been shown to be of similar potency as commonly used reference drugs, when it comes to neurological disorders. These effects also extend to arthritis and immunology. Spirulina has phycocyanobilin, (~ 1% of spirulina) which mimics the body’s bilirubin compound, in order to inhibit an enzyme complex called NADPH oxidase, thereby providing potent anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.
Keywords: Lipid content; Essential fatty acids; Inflammation problems; Auto-immune diseases; Phycocyanobilin; Antioxidant enzymes; Neurotransmitter function