Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spirulina: Athletes’ Best Kept Secret

The nutritional secrets of athletes are usually closely guarded, but in the wake of the Olympics, reports have emerged that again prove that algae play a major role in performance.

Spirulina(Gallo Images, The Science Photo Library)

Superfoods have become incredibly popular among athletes as conventional foods do not contain sufficient nutrients. Athletes say and research shows that superfoods deliver energy, improve stamina, and prolong endurance. Superfoods are packed with large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals, and are natural foods considered to have health-protecting qualities. Spirulina, a tiny green spiral shaped algae, is a superfood identified by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation as a potential tool in the fight against widespread malnutrition. And according to NASA scientists, "one gram of algae has the nutritional equivalent of 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables". (Boston MZ [PRWEB], August 2012). Research has also shown that Spirulina has, gram for gram, 300% more calcium than whole milk, 2,300% more iron than spinach, 3,900% more beta carotene than carrots, and 375% more protein than tofu. And, three grams of Spirulina has more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity than five servings of vegetables (Moorhead K, Capelli B, Cysewski Dr GR: Spirulina, Nature's Superfood, Cyanotech Corporation 2006). According to the US news and business website, Olympic athletes have relied on algae for over four decades because nothing else in the world matches its nutritional density or ability to deliver energy, endurance and vitality -- all naturally. It states that one of the first athletes to attribute success to algae, Lee Evans of the USA, a four-time Olympic gold medallist and holder of four world records in track and field, said Spirulina "improved my training, gave me speed and improved my endurance all of which resulted in my faster times." And, for the last 10 years, the Chinese Government has said its Olympic athletes take Spirulina. Other elite groups such as the World Bank, United Nations and Carnegie Institute have endorsed algae for decades as the most nutritionally dense food in the world. The report on states that Spirulina has over 60 percent protein compared to meat which is only 22 percent protein. "Turns out that algae... is also the most nutritionally dense, lowest calorie in the world. Algae has been shown to increase an athlete's energy, endurance, speed and mental agility. It also helps prevent colds, stops hunger, reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and fatigue, improves digestion, helps with weight loss, removes toxins, balances blood sugar, builds the immune system and more." A separate report on Spirulina notes that world class and Olympic athletes in China and Cuba have been using Spirulina to improve performance for some time. "At the largest Chinese training centre for over 2,000 athletes, trainers report it improves recovery...and boosts the immune system...." The Cuban Ministry of Sports was given 1,600 bottles of Spirulina before the 1996 Olympic Games so athletes could intensify training and some marathon runners consume eight grams daily for endurance and to ward off cramping, according to another report (Henrikson R, 2009, titled Earth Food Spirulina, Ronore Enterprises, Inc, Hawaii, p 188). And a report on the effect of Spirulina supplementation on sportsmen by Milaðius et al. (2004) noted: "Studies have shown that Spirulina supplementation induced a significant increase in exercise performance (and) fat oxidation... After five days of Spirulina usage, sportsmen felt more bouncy, their sleeping quality improved, fatigue after physical load performance was less, recuperation processes became quicker, and their endurance when performing strength exercises improved." In South Africa, Marcus Rohrer Spirulina is marketed and distributed by health and wellness company OTC Pharma SA. It is produced in pristine agricultural conditions in sun drenched Hawaii and has been proven to be among the purest and most potent Spirulina in the world. Responsible pharmacist for the company, Giulia Criscuolo, says the reports back studies on the potency of Spirulina. She says it's also rich in antioxidants, proven to prevent skeletal muscle damage caused by exercise induced oxidative stress. "Spirulina has also been proven in various studies to strengthen immunity and Marcus Rohrer Spirulina is a super nutrient not only for athletic performance but also as a comprehensive nutritional supplement for overall great health," she added. Source -

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