Protein & Amino Acids
As a protein supplement Spirulina has a distinct advantage over other forms of supplement. Because of the important role proteins play in our overall health and well being, they are often referred to as the building blocks of life.
Proteins are complex molecules consisting of chains of amino acids and are best known for their role in the formation and repair of structures such as muscle and bone. However, proteins and their aminos’ have numerous other vital functions, such as insulin management, immune system regeneration, mineral transport and anti-hypertensive properties.
Proteins are made up of 22 identified amino acids. Nine of these are essential yet the body cannot produce them, so they must be provided by the diet. Non-essential amino acids are needed also, but the body can produce these itself. . Essential amino acids, plus sufficient nitrogen in foods, are needed to synthesize the non-essential amino acids.
The quality of the protein depends on the amounts of amino acids contained in a protein. The more closely the protein matches the body’s requirements the higher the quality. Spirulina is known as a ‘complete protein’ due to the fact that it contains all the essential amino acids. This means we can get our necessary intake of protein without subjecting our digestive system to the hard work of processing animal products.
Digestable Protein Unlike other forms of protein, the protein in Spirulina is 85-95% digestible, one of the highest available. In fact, Spirulina is second only to a dried egg supplement with regards to usable protein, and higher than any of the common foods in the form in which they are usually purchased. Being composed of soft mucopolysaccharides, Spirulina has no cellulose in its cell walls making it easy for the body to digest and assimilate.
Its amino acids are delivered to the body for almost instant absorption.
Protein digestibility is important for many people and especially important for people suffering from intestinal mal-absorption or digestive disorders. Typically, many older people have difficulty digesting complex proteins and are on restricted diets. They find Spirulina’s protein an ideal way of ensuring they receive the nourishment needed. Spirulina is an effective supplement for sufferers of malnutrition diseases where the ability of intestinal absorption has been damaged. Given to malnourished children, it is more effective than milk powders because milk’s lactic acid can be difficult to absorb.
On top of all this, Spirulina complements vegetable proteins found in beans and pulses and increases their amino acid quality.