The controversy surrounding radiation exposure to humans has been raging for many years now. Since radiation is invisible to the naked eye – many don’t realize its potential harm. Over the past decade, researchers have looked at various options to protect ourselves in the event of radioactive fallout. Especially since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
Some ‘experts’ would argue there’s nothing that can be done. But, others would point to the work of Dr. Akizuki – a medical doctor in Nagasaki – who survived and served to help the injured with a traditional Japanese diet, including miso soup. Dr. Akizuki was only 1.4 kilometers away from the blast, when the WWII bomb exploded, and his ability to help those exposed to nuclear radiation was simply amazing!
From this perspective, spirulina, a microalgae promises to be a potential radio-protective agent that can help protect us from radiation damage.
Could a micro-algae be the panacea for radiation damage?
Spirulina,a superfood, is often valued for its nutrient-dense properties because it is 70% protein by weight. Although known for its anti-tumor and immune-boosting effects – the therapeutic abilities of this simple plant food are not well-known.
The first ever reported effect of spirulina being able to treat and minimize radiation damage came from the Chernobyl incident. The 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown resulted in radiation poisoning among children and workers causing cancer, bone marrow degeneration, leukemia, birth defects and compromised immune function.
It was then physicians discovered that children who consumed spirulina showed rapid improvement when compared to those who did not receive it.
Spirulina has been shown to have powerful radio-protective properties
The ‘spirulina effect’ observed in Chernobyl intrigued many researchers triggering a series of scientific experiments to understand its radio-protective properties. A 1989 study published in the Journal of Toxicologic Pathology proved that spirulina significantly decreased the radiation damage and promoted the formation of new blood cells and enhanced immunity in gamma-radiation induced mice.
A 1993 study from Belarus confirmed that consuming five grams of spirulina – every day – effectively reduced the radioactive load in children fed with radiation-contaminated food.
In yet another study, which analyzed the adaptive potentials of those who worked in the cleanup of the Chernobyl aftermath, researchers noticed that spirulina was excellent in mitigating the radiation damage. And, with a little more effort, one can find many other studies that back up these claims.
Now to our big question, what gives spirulina this ‘power’ to minimize radiation damage?
The magic of phycocyanin – a miracle pigment
Phyocyanin is the protein-pigment complex that imparts the blue-green hue to the algae. Many studies confirm that phyocyanin trap heavy metals and is responsible for the excretion of other radio-active components. Once administered, the phycocyanin component efficiently bind to heavy metals and radioisotopes, convert them into an inactive form and eliminate these toxins via urine and feces.
According to a recent 2010 pilot study, phyocyanin in spirulina exhibited a pronounced effect on minimizing radiation damage. The protein pigment activated the body’s endogenous antioxidant defense mechanisms – which, in turn, stimulated the immune response and minimized the radiation damage to cells and tissues.
Spirulina recognized as the finest superfood by conventional science
The United Nations recognizes spirulina as a safe and suitable food for its rich nutritional profile and ease of administration. It was also declared as the ”best food of the future” – in the 1974 United Nations World Food Conference. In addition to its rich nutritional profile, it is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
If ignored, we all know what excessive radiation exposure can create – oxidative stress, a compromised immune system and, eventually, cancer. Spirulina can address these issues effectively with no side effects.
If you are considering a spirulina supplement, choose organic and buy from manufacturers that you can trust. Keep in mind, spirulina can be contaminated with microcystin – which are toxic. So, be sure the product has been tested and certified that it’s free of microcystin and other toxins.
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