A one-celled plant that grows in water and has an amino acid pattern similar to animal protein. Contains significant amounts of essential fatty acids, iron, B-12, and minerals. It can be used to boost immunity and energy levels, to help with detoxification and smoking cessation, and to prevent altitude sickness. Spirulina appears to inhibit the penetration of viruses into cell walls. It reduces the infectivity of HIV, flu, measles, herpes, and common cold viruses. It may prevent and even reverse certain cancers. In Kerala, India, 30 tobacco-chewers with pre-cancerous mouth lesions took 1 gram of spirulina per day. Half of them had a complete disappearance of symptoms compared to only 7% of a control group.

To add more spirulina to your diet, you can buy tabs, powders, or mixes (with protein) in chocolate or vanilla flavors. I put a scoop of soy-spirulina vanilla-flavored high protein powder in a blender with milk, yogurt, fruit, and cheetos. It's the cheetos that make it. I like the orange color.
"Spirulina" is NOT Spirulina.

"Spirulina" is Arthrospira.
Spirulina is a genus of cyanobacteria that is not "Spirulina".

Got it? Good.

The confusion lies in the fact that one is a genus of cyanobacteria which forms spiraling chains of cells and the other is an entirely different genus of cyanobacteria which forms spiraling chains of cells. Oh, and both belong to the same order: Oscillatoriales.

Health food companies, not caring either way, sell Arthrospira as "Spirulina". Some sources attempt to clear up the confusion by putting one of the genus names in parethesis or listing both genus names before the species (for example, Arthrospira Spirulina platensis). Some scientific papers which discuss "Spirulina" will note that the genus is actually Arthrospira, then use the "Spirulina" name for the rest of the paper.

What in the world is the difference? To quote SPIRULINA (ARTHROSPIRA): AN EDIBLE MICROORGANISM. A REVIEW., "Spirulina and Arthrospira morphologies are differentiated fundamentally by: helix type, distribution of pores in the cell wall, visibility of septos under light microscopy, diameter and fragmentation type of Trichomes (filaments) (Guglielmi, et al., 1993; Vonshak and Tomaselli, 2000)."

Check out http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&q=spirulina+arthrospira to see the taxonomic mess for yourself.

Sources: http://www.javeriana.edu.co/universitas_scientiarum/vol8n1/J_bernal.htm

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