Spirulina platensis, Spirulina maxima, Blue-green algae
Part of the plant used: whole
Spirulina is a microscopic aquatic plant, a blue-green algae. It is naturally found in warm waters with high-salt, alkaline content. When present in large quantities, it can give water a dark-green coloration. Commercial spirulina is cultivated in large reservoirs before being harvested.
Spirulina contains about 65% proteins, B-vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc and carotenoids. The quality of proteins found in spirulina is inferior to that of meat.
Spirulina is available in tablets, capsules and powder.
Used doses: 3 to 5 grams daily, taken before meals (providing 65% of their content in proteins). According to different references, this amount of spirulina may provide 1.5 to 16 grams of iron.
Used doses: 1 gram daily for 12 days.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that spirulina is effective in any other indication.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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