Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Antioxidant Power of Spirulina



Spirulina* is a green food supplement made of single-celled blue-green algae from the genus Anthrospira that floats freely in highly alkaline waters. Two species of the algae are used to produce spirulina supplements: the Anthrospira platensis and the Anthrospira maxima. The algae are believed to be one of the oldest organisms on our planet. The species used to produce nutritional supplement spirulina are cultivated all over the world in specially designed water farms.

Nutrients

The blue-green algae has been valued as a food source for a very long time. Aztecs discovered its nutritional properties and used it as their staple food. It was also consumed by the Mayas and the Olmecs.
  • The blue-green algae is probably the most concentrated source of nutrition. It is the best source of complete protein. It contains 18 amino acids including lysine, threonine, phenylalanine, and methionine.
  • It is rich in vitamins, especially of the B group including B12. This makes the spirulina supplements perfect food for vegans whose diet normally does not include sufficient amount of the vital vitamin B12. Some research suggests, however, that the vitamin B12 in spirulina is an analog form of vitamin B12 which is not easily absorbed by the human organism.
  • The high chlorophyll content makes it a perfect plant source of bio-available chlorophyll for the human body. Chlorophyll which has a similar structure to human hemoglobin, carries oxygen which enriches our blood, helps to normalize digestion and to keep our intestines healthy.
  • The blue-green algae is rich source of minerals. Among others it contains zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and selenium. The algae is very high in calcium and iron. Unlike other supplement sources, the iron in spirulina is easily absorbed by the human body. Spirulina is low in sodium and iodine.
  • The blue-green algae is high in GLA or gamma linolenic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid used by the body to fight allergies, decrease inflammation, and prevent skin damage, among others.
  • One of the characteristics of this algae is its high content of carotenoids, especially beta carotene. In fact, its beta caroten content is ten times higher than that of carrots. 10 grams of spirulina provide 23,000 IU of beta carotene which is 460% of the RDA recommendation. It also contains astaxanthin, fucoxantin, and zeaxantin. The total content of mixed carotenoids is about 0.37 per cent.
  • The blue-green algae contains very high levels of SOD, or superoxide dismutase enzyme. SOD has a remarkable ability to fight free radicals and to retard aging.
  • The algae also contains only 15 to 25 percent of carbohydrates. Two main polysaccharides, glycogen and rhamnose, are easily absorbed by the body and do not cause insulin spikes. 

Spirulina as an antioxidant 

An ongoing research is being conducted all over the world. Spirulina may be the best antioxidant available to us. It is a highly complex superfood. Its high content of mixed carotenoids and the SOD enzyme, as well as selenium, makes spirulina a valuable antioxidant supplement. Spirulina also contains vitamin C and vitamin E which are both known for their antioxidant activity. The antioxidant activity of these nutrients is well researched. They work in synergy and seem to be most effective when acting together. In spirulina they all come in a natural proportion and are not synthetically manufactured to compose an antioxidant formula.

Like beta carotene and selenium, SOD effectively decreases the generation of free radicals in the body and reduces oxidative stress. It fights the superoxide, which is the most ubiquitous and aggressive free radical in the body.

Researchers also found that the algae contains the water soluble phycocyanin, a pigment that gives it its blue hue. Phycocynin is considered to be a free radical scavenger that protects liver and the kidneys from the oxidative damage. Phycocynin is also a powerful immune system modulator and is believed to alleviate the damage caused by radiation. The Russians successfully used spirulina to treat the victims of post-Chernobyl radiation.

Health benefits of spirulina

High nutrient content makes spirulina a superfood supplement. Although there are some conflicting findings, spirulina is generally believed to :
  • help control weight
  • improve digestion
  • detoxify the body
  • build muscles
  • reduce inflammation
  • reduce cholesterol
  • enhance immune system
  • inhibit viral replication in the body
  • lower the risk of certain cancers
  • inhibit growth of tumors in the body
  • help digestion
  • improve the skin
  • assist with the PMS
  • alleviate malnutrition

Daily dosage 

The suggested dosage is 500mg three to four times daily. Total daily dose of spirulina should not exceed 5,000 mg. Spirulina comes in the form of tablets, capsules, or a powder that can be mixed with juice or water, or added into smoothies. Spirulina has a very strong detoxifying effect and may cause Herxeimer reaction* in the body. It is sensible to begin supplementation with a small dose and increase the dosage gradually over a period of few days.

A caution is advised while buying spirulina supplements. Always consider buying spirulina from a certified, organic source as spirulina is subject to contamination. Because some allergic reactions have been observed, consult your health care provider before commencing supplementation. Discontinue use if condition worsens.

By Dominique Allmon

*Information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat a disease.

* The Anthrospira species of algae were once classified in the genus Spirulina hence the resulting confusion between the name of a nutritional supplement and the name of a species. Spirulina species belong to a genus of the Cyanobacteria in the Kingdom of Bacteria. In the older literature we still find the terms Spirulina platensis and spirulina maxima.

* Herxheimer reaction occurs in the body when a large amount of toxins flood the body as a result of a rapid detoxification.


         

Creative Commons License Antioxidant power of spirulina by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Harmony and Love



Harmony 
is one phase of the law 
whose spiritual 
expression is 
love. 

 James Allen

Image: "The Bug And The Wild Rose... In Perfect Harmony" by Dominique Allmon©2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Modern Culture and It's Discontents


 Jean-Michel Basquiat - Self Portrait as a Heel, Part Two 1982

By Robert Beaudine

Most of my conservative friends are fighting political battles heroically, but they continue to ignore the cultural wars – which began over two hundred years ago, first over religion, then over education, then over the media, and much later over modern art.

Progressives knew if they won the cultural battles, they would eventually win the political front by default. During the 19th Century, conservatives were engaged in these cultural battles, but they kept losing ground. When they ultimately retreated from the battle over education, all was lost. Their progeny became less and less educated and lost interest in the cultural wars. 

Many decades later, during the 1950's and 1960's, a confused and apathetic generation of conservatives accepted our culture as a natural development and immersed themselves in the newest art forms including modern music, movies, and television – without a clue that these were progressive productions that influenced their thinking. Later, their progeny retreated from the political front and merely cast votes. 

Finally in 2008, a nation of slumbering conservatives awoke to the danger of our political situation and realized they better engage and fight back or else. But they lacked any understanding of history, which is vital to understand the modern day. Because of their government schooling, they didn't understand culture and never conceived that it was captured by progressives long ago. 

This is why political victories will not restore our Republic. We certainly need a paradigm shift in politics, but more importantly, we need a spiritual awakening. We must restore our cultural heritage based on Christianity – not today's watered down version, but its original Apostolic form.

***

By Dominique Allmon

Mr. Baudine has touched here such a vast and complex subject. Without education and knowledge there is no understanding of history and the processes that govern a civil society, its literature and art. 

"Progress" seems to be a natural quality to humanity, or we would still dwell in caves if this was not so. New technology opens new, undreamed of, possibilities and always makes an impression on the human mind. It creates, directly or indirectly, the need for new ways of aesthetic expression. Conventions are broken and new styles appear to meet the persistent need for self-expression, self-knowledge and discovery.

With each generation, societies became more "permissive" and "daring." For an artist to break with the past became a way of life somewhere around 1870s when the old masters and their schools were finally relegated to the dark rooms of art history and made space for the new, daring, light-caring, scandalizing, "image-distorting" Impressionists. 

When Impressionism appeared on the cultural scene the society was also in a state of turmoil. And yet, for the most part, despite their divorce from the tyranny of artistic conventions of the past, Impressionists created masterpieces of such beauty that we cannot even imagine that some of the artists died in poverty. 

Things changed drastically, for the worse, in the beginning of the 20th century, especially after the incredibly bloody revolution in Russia. I remember a whole semester of the early 20th century European art and literature with the Soviets and the French leading the trends. Poets employed onomatopoeia to bring the sound of machinery; painters broke with the past completely and either deconstructed the human image or glorified the machine. Destroy the old, create the new! Movements such as Dadaism sprung in Europe like mushrooms after the rain. 

Soviet revolution not only uprooted wealthy tyrants, it destroyed their Christian values and their "decadent" love for beauty. A so called "Soviet Person" was created and this, of course, found reflection in artistic expression and literature. By force if necessary. Soviet censors made sure that art, literature, and film propagated their idea of the world. 

Elsewhere, intellectuals insisted that their was the desired way of life and broke off with ancient conventions. In 1950s France, for instance, the cool "cafe society" glorified the Soviet tyranny. Intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre were infatuated with Marxism and communism while at the same time countless people suffered unimaginable horrors in Russian gulags and Chinese re-education camps.

When we look back, the technology of the early 20th opened the doors to mass media. The whole process actually started much earlier, in France and Prussia even before the Industrial Revolution, but was perfected later to the point that the Y generation of today resembles spineless, ignorant zombies. 

We are at a turning point, but the future looks rather bleak. Art, music, cinema, and literature became incredibly permissive and allow for violence and ugliness of unheard proportions. If you do not understand or do not appreciate depravity you are not sophisticated enough. But is a butter stain on the wall or a crucifix immersed in the artist's urine really an art? It definitely is an artistic expression of the "rebellious" artist, but has little aesthetic value to a disturbed human soul constantly seeking solace in the urban jungle. Social alienation, depravity, mental illness, substance abuse and addiction are often the unexpected consequences of modern society. We are definitely free to do as we please, but often also completely alone in our struggle for sanity in the ever more complex world. Art, literature, and the media are not helping, unless we consider self-destruction to be the ultimate goal.  

So much more can be said and written on this subject, but I will end here and leave you, dear reader, to your own reflection. Change is inevitable, but how much of it we allow depends on our "capital" of knowledge. Unfortunately, when the educational system is distorted and schools are dominated by Fabian social engineers, our future is more than uncertain.

Dominique Allmon©2016