Updated: Aug 21, 2020
A miracle. A superfood. The richest nutrient and complete food source found in the world.
Not to mention that it is also the most concentrated whole food source of protein.
Some people may think that I’m talking about meat (meat is the highest source of protein isn’t it?!) but they couldn’t be any further from the truth. The only food that can claim all of these accolades is the micro salt water, spiral shaped blue-green algae, spirulina (Arhrospira platensis).
The health benefits of spirulina
Spirulina contains a wealth of health benefits:
Digestible vegetable protein, approximately 55-70% (3-4 times higher than fish or beef!).
Essential fatty acids (18%), including up to 2% of y-linoleac acid (GLA, which can help cure arthritis, heart disease, obesity and zinc deficiency).
Vitamins – provitamin A, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin E, thiamin B1, riboflavin B2, Niacin B3, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folic acid (vitamin B9), biotin (vitamin H), phantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin K.
Minerals – calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
What does the science say?
There have been hundreds of published and reviewed scientific studies on spirulina. These studies have resulted in a number of significant findings, which include that spirulina:
contains anticancer, antiviral and immunological properties;
acts as a potent antioxidant;
has been shown to prevent or inhibit cancer in both humans and animals;
builds a healthy immune system and scavenges free radicals;
can help protect against certain nutritional deficiencies;
can improve gastrointestinal and digestive health;
can reduce allergies;
can assist with wound healing and has antibiotic effects.
Some other interesting facts about spirulina
Spirulina can also partially replace fishmeal, groundnut meal and soybean meal in the preparation of diets for fish, poultry, cattle and domestic animals.
Spirulina is environmentally sustainable. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, spirulina production “occupies only a small environmental footprint, with considerable efficiencies in terms of water use, land occupation and energy consumption”.
In fact, the FAO has encouraged national governments and inter-governmental organizations “to re- evaluate the potential of spirulina to fulfill both their own food security needs as well as a tool for their overseas development and emergency response efforts”.
Not all spirulina is the same
Some spirulina can be contaminated from toxic substances. It is important to make sure that the spirulina you buy is free from contaminants, from a reputable source and preferably organic. I choose to purchase spirulina for me and for my patients from Green Nutritionals.
The simplest way to incorporate spirulina into your cat or dog's diet is to sprinkle it on or mix it with their food. Alternatively, you can mix the powder with cold pressed coconut oil and feed directly. You may find that your pet likes the tablets – one of my cats loves to chew on small portions of my spirulina tablets! The recommended daily dose for cats and dogs is 5-200mg per kg body weight. For the powder, aim for about 1/4 tsp daily per 10kg body weight.
What you will most likely first notice when you start to give spirulina to your pet is a thicker and shinier coat. You may also find that if your pet suffers from stiff joints, they will have greater mobility in their joints.
I hope you and your cats and dogs enjoy the benefits of spirulina. I’d love to hear your spirulina success stories in the comments section below!
 Mercola.com 2011, ‘Ignored Since the 1950s – Is Spirulina Now a ‘Miracle’ High-Protein Super Food?’, viewed 23 September 2015, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/01/spirulina-the-amazing-super-food-youve-never-heard-of.aspx.
 Henrikson, R 2011, ‘Scientific Research Reveals Health Benefits’, Algae Industry Magazine, viewed 24 September 2015, http://www.algaeindustrymagazine.com/special-report-spirulina-part-4-scientific-research-reveals-health-benefits/. See also http://www.spirulinasource.com/library/health-library/.
 Ali and Saleh, above n 1.
 Henrikson, above n 3.
 Cingi, C, Conk-Dalay, M, Cakli, H and Bal, C 2008, ‘The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis’, European Archives of Otorhinolaryngol, vol 265, issue 10, pp.1219-23, viewed 24 September 2015. Retrieved from PubMed.gov.
 Henrikson, above n 3.
 Habib, MAB, Parvin, M, Huntington, TC and Hasan, MR 2008, ‘A review on culture, production and use of spirulina as food for humans and feed for domestic animals’, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No 1034, Rome.
 Ibid, p. iii.