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Spirulina is a genus of filamentous cyanobacteria (commonly called blue-green algae), with a coil-like shape. ITIS recognises 13 species.

Spirulina is also the commercial name for the species Arthrospira platensis (previously known as Spirulina platensis), which is cultivated around the world as a food source. It is a very rich source of nutrition. In fact, it was a staple of Aztec cuisine. The genus is also responsible for the flamingo's pink plumage.

It is currently popular as a health food in the U.S. and Europe, often taken as a dietary supplement in the form of powder or tablet.

Vegetarians and vegans should not rely on spirulina (among certain other foods) as a source of vitamin B12.

Nutritional facts

55 - 70 % protein.

Contains: vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, vitamin K, biotin, pantothenic acid, beta carotene (source of vitamin A), inositol.

Minerals: calcium, manganese, iron, chromium, phosphorus, molybdenum, iodine, chloride, magnesium, sodium, zinc, potassium, selenium, germanium, copper, boron.

Contains: phycocyanin, chlorophyll, carotenoids.

Contains: myxoxanthophyll, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, echinenone and other xanthophylls.

gamma linolenic acid, glycolipids, sulfolipids, polysaccharides.

Amino acids: isoleucine, phenylalanine, leucine, threonine, lysine, tryptophan, methionine, valine, alanine, glycine, arginine, histidine, aspartic acid, proline, cystine, serine, glutamic acid, tyrosine.


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