FAQ : Spirulina

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a microscopic blue green microalgae that grows naturally in freshwater ponds and lakes in warm, sunny environments. Spirulina has been used as a food source for centuries. It is considered the most complete naturally cultivated nutrient in the world.

  • Approximately 60% complete digestible protein - it contains every essential amino acid;
  • Contains more carotenoids than any other whole food and an excellent source of vitamins A, K, B12 and iron, manganese and chromium;
  • Best wholefood source of gamma linoleic acid (GLA) – an essential fatty acid, necessary for human health. It plays a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development;
  • Rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, chlorophyll and enzymes.

What are the benefits of taking Spirulina?

Spirulina strengthens the immune system and boosts energy levels. In addition to being a wonderful source of protein, Spirulina contains more carotenoids than any other whole food. It is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that contribute to the body operating in optimal condition. Spirulina is also a complete protein, containing essential and non-essential amino acids. While we encourage everyone to eat their fruits and vegetables, Spirulina helps enable 'picky eaters' and others who don't like vegetables to still "eat some greens."

Who should take Spirulina?

Everyone! Spirulina is an ideal food supplement for people of all ages and lifestyles.

What are some of the key nutrients in Spirulina?

It is a complete protein with high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients including:

  • Beta Carotene: Necessary for healthy skin, good vision, and a healthy immune system;
  • Vitamin B12: An essential vitamin required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis;
  • Vitamin K1 & Vitamin K2: Essential vitamins known to promote blood clotting and support bone health. Recent studies have confirmed that vitamin K2 may help osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases;
  • Superoxide Dismutase (SOD): An enzyme that acts as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in the body, neutralizing free radicals and helping to repair cells, for age related degeneration;
  • Zeaxanthin: A carotenoid and powerful antioxidant that fights free radical damage with specific benefits for eye and cellular health;
  • Phycocyanin: The blue pigment color in nature, only found in Spirulina. Supports kidney, liver and brain health;
  • Iron: Essential in the formation of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Iron assists the memory and helps build resistance to infection, stress and disease.

 How much Spirulina should I take each day?

The suggested serving for Spirulina is 3 grams a day. Spirulina is available in tablet and powder form:

  • 150 tablets - 5 tablets (3 grams) / a day with or in between meals, or as directed by your health care practitioner. Drink plenty of water.
  • 150 grams - 1 scoop / day mixed with organic juice, smoothie, or as directed by your health care practitioner. Drink plenty of water.

Are the Spirulina tablets absorbed by the body as well as the powder?

In terms of absorption, the tablets take longer to breakdown once ingested, but this can actually be a good thing. There are many enzymes in Spirulina (for example superoxide dismutase is an outstanding antioxidant the human body actually produces itself as a defense mechanism against harmful reactive oxygen species). Enzymes are often destroyed by stomach acids during digestion; however, Spirulina tablets are only partially digested in the stomach. Their digestion is completed in the intestines. In the intestines there are no stomach acids present, so you can get the full benefit of these vital enzymes.

Should I be concerned about the high amount of vitamin A in Spirulina?

No, the vitamin A activity of Spirulina comes from natural beta carotene. Beta carotene is a precursor to vitamin A. The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A on an as-needed basis. There is no toxicity level for beta carotene, so there is no need to worry about taking too much.

Does Spirulina contain iodine?

The small amount of Spirulina consumed daily plus the fact that iodine occurs in only trace quantities makes the Spirulina’s iodine most likely not a problem for people with hypothyroidism. A daily serving of 3 grams of Spirulina provides approximately 15mcg (micrograms) of iodine which is 10% of the US recommended daily intake for iodine (150mcg), we always suggest that you consult with your health care practitioner before using any dietary supplement including Spirulina.

Since Spirulina contains iron and is a source of vitamin K1 & K2, is it safe for anyone to take, regardless of their age?

Spirulina is safe for all ages, however if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication, we suggest that you consult with your physician.

What is the difference between Organic Spirulina and Non-Organic Spirulina?

Spirulina contains more beta carotene as it’s cultivated in open ponds. Other nutrients are very similar in both.

Gandalf's Organic Spirulina contains less bacteria as they use water from 500 meters underground and covered ponds.

Spirulina average 45,000 CFU / Organic Spirulina average 37,000 CFU. There is only a small difference between both.

Is it normal to find bacteria in Spirulina?

Yes. Spirulina absorbs bacteria naturally, it’s for that reason that the cultivation method is very important. Most of our competitors use water from rivers containing a high bacteria level which explains why their products smell strong.

Why doesn’t Gandalf use plastic or glass jars?

Spirulina is very sensitive to light and air, it is very important to squeeze out the air of the packaging.

Should I keep Spirulina in the refrigerator?

No, it is not recommended. Natural beta carotene doesn’t like humidity and dark dots can appear on beta carotene supplements. Keep in a dry, cool, dark area.

Do you test your Spirulina for BMAA and microcystins?

We do test for BMAA on a periodic basis and the results are consistently below the very low analytical detection limit of 0.5 microgram/kg – meaning “non-detectable.”

Spirulina has a Class A (the highest) level of safety per the Dietary Supplement Information Expert Committee (DSI-EC) of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). These independent experts reviewed all available evidence for Spirulina consumption and concluded that it does not indicate a serious risk to health of other public health concern.

Please rest assured that our Spirulina is safe to use and if a lot were not to pass for any reason, it would be disposed of and not release for sale.

Can children take Spirulina?

While the United State Pharmacopeia (USP) expert safety panel found no contraindications or reasons for children to not supplement with 3 grams of Spirulina, we always suggest that you consult with your health care practitioner before giving any dietary supplement including Spirulina to your child. For children that don’t like vegetables, Spirulina is a nice nutritious addition to a smoothie or shake. Please also note that Spirulina contains iron which can be harmful to children under 6 and should be kept out of reach of children. Products without child resistant closures should not be purchased for households with young children.

Can pregnant woman take Spirulina?

While the United State Pharmacopeia (USP) expert safety panel found no contraindications or reasons not to supplement with Spirulina during pregnancy, we always suggest that you consult with your health care practitioner before using any dietary supplement including Spirulina.

What kind of testing do you perform to ensure the quality and safety of your products?

We conduct testing to ensure the purity, safety and quality of each batch of our Spirulina, Chlorella and Astaxanthin. Each lot goes through a series of over 15 different tests that include microbial, heavy metals, and other analysis unique to microalgae. Our Spirulina is also periodically tested for microcystins and has never been found to be contaminated with them. If a lot were not to pass our strict testing standards, it would be disposed of and not processed for sale. It is also important to note that Spirulina grows in an environment with a Ph level around 10, which make it very difficult for other organisms to grow (though Spirulina will thrive!).

Purity issues are common with low quality Spirulina coming from developing countries. We take our reputation for producing the highest quality, purest and cleanest Spirulina in the world very seriously. In addition to our 15 in-house quality tests, we also regularly verify our own results with independent lab analyses (LAB list available in our website).