In 1980, one of the most important and comprehensive animal studies was sponsored by the U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on rats and mice. Spirulina comprised 10% to 35% of the total diet. No second or third generation reproduction, fertility, lactation or birth defect problems were found. No cancer causing properties were found. No problems with heavy metals, nucleic acids, pesticides or bacteria were found. The study concluded any further research would demonstrate its complete safety as a human food. Toxicology research has continued through the 1980s and 1990s, showing spirulina has no peri- and postnatal toxicity in rats, no adverse effects on gestation, and no increase in number of abnormal offspring.
Nucleic Acid Safety Research
Spirulina has about 4% nucleic acids (DNA and RNA); lower than chlorella and other microalgae, yeast and fungi (6-11%). Although there was once some concern that eating microalgae might increase uric acid levels because of the nucleic acids, there is little evidence to support this. In fact, one study found that uric acid levels did not increase in humans taking up to 30 grams a day of chlorella protein (50 grams of chlorella). 10 since spirulina is lower in nucleic acid content, eating up to 50 grams a day is safe as well, and means it can be safely used as major protein source. Published studies from independent laboratories around the world confirm the absence of any toxic effects even when it provides a significant amount of dietary protein. Since its introduction as a human food in 1979, its success has confirmed the work of the earlier animal studies. Spirulina has been safely consumed by millions of people in North and South America, Asia, Europe and Africa.
Heavy Metal Safety Research
Mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic are widespread in our environment form industrial pollution. Heavy metals are toxic to humans in small amounts. Prolonged eating of foods contaminated with heavy metals can lead to long term health problems. Few companies or organizations disclose levels of these heavy metals in foods. Earthrise Farms, has published strict standards for heavy metals in spirulina. A five year testing program in California showed heavy metals were either not detectable or extremely low. Based on 120 independent lab tests, Earthrise set some of the toughest standards for heavy metals. Mercury was not detectable in 40 tests, and the standard for mercury was set at less than 0.05 parts per million (pip). In comparison, the US FDA standard in ’aquatic animals’ is 1.0 ppm, permitting over 20 times more mercury. Standards were set for cadmium (less than 0.05ppm), lead (less than 1.0 ppm), and arsenic (less than 1.0 ppm). By comparison, the UN Protein Advisory Group standard for single cell protein permits higher heavy metals: 1.0 ppm for mercury; 1.0 ppm for cadmium, 5.0 ppm for lead; and 2.0 ppm for arsenic.
Hawaiian Spirulina · Recipes
Creating Recipes with spirulina can be fun, enlivening and tasty. Use spirulina powder in culinary creations, sprinkle it lightly over dinner and salads, and find a new zest and excitement with food. It’s easy, nutritious and colorful.
Here are a few simple rules to follow:
When first using spirulina powder, use 1 to 2 teaspoonful per recipe to acclimate to the taste, you can always add more later. Add spirulina towards the end of the cooking process, as the most benefit will lessen if spirulina is heated. Spirulina can be added to any recipe; however, spirulina is a dry ingredient, so add it to recipes accordingly.
The following recipes are all allergy-free and nutritious. All ingredients are readily available in health food stores and some supermarkets. Enjoy!