Get Iodine Naturally – Best Organic Iodine Supplement?

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With all the health risks associated with synthetic supplements out there, its a no-brainer that you want to get iodine naturally. And there is one great natural source of iodine that I want to bring to your attention. The source is… Spirulina!

Yes spirulina. If you are unfamiliar with what this is, it is called a blue-green algae but is actually a cyanobacteria that is becoming more and more popular in the recent years due to its numerous health benefits. It is considered the most nutrient dense food on the planet and holds several records for nutrient concentration.

But what I want to bring to your attention here is that spirulina is NOT a very good source of iodine. Sure it contains iodine, and plenty of it, but I do not recommend that you supplement spirulina for this reason and I will get into the details below.

Anyways, lets get into things and first take a look at how much iodine is recommended.

How Much Iodine Is Recommended?

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health, these are the iodine amounts that one should be trying consume on a daily basisiodine rda

The majority of you are going to be wanting to try to consume as close to 150mcg a day as possible. This accounts for both males and females that are over the age of 14. The only exception is women that are pregnant and/or lactating, which need a much higher doses due to loss of nutrients.

Now that you know how much is recommended you need to know how much you can get from spirulina.

How Much Iodine In Spirulina?

The amount of iodine in spirulina varies greatly, and when I say greatly I mean it. Some reports suggest that it can vary thousands of micrograms per serving. And as you can imagine, this is a major problem.

The variance has to do with a lot of things. But one of the main reasons is whether or no the spirulina is grown in sea water or fresh water.

It would be fine if every spirulina retailer had “iodine content” labeled on their bottles. This would at least let you know what you are getting. But the problem is that they don’t. No one has iodine labeled on the packaging and I think this is a major problem.

There is only one retailer that I have found that tests for iodine content. And that is Nutrex Hawaii. They claim that their Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica contains only 15mcg of iodine per every 3g serving. This would mean that you only get 10% of your daily iodine dose per serving and it is safe for people with hypothyroidism.

If You Want A Trustworthy Source of Iodine Go Elsewhere

The bottom line is that spirulina is not a reliable source of iodine. You will have no idea how much iodine you are getting with most of the spirulina supplements out there.

There are much better and more reliable sources of iodine that are all natural. Here is a list from the National Institutes of Health (not all listed are natural foods)

iodine sources

How To Ferment Spirulina – A Simple Way To Do It

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spirulinapowderFermenting spirulina can be very beneficial, allowing its nutrients to be more easily absorbed. During fermentation sugars are converted into lactic acid. It kickstarts the digestion process and makes it easier for your body to get what it needs.

Spirulina is often fermented for its protein content. Fermenting protein makes the individual amino acids more easily available, which means you have a better chance of absorbing them and getting your use out of them.

The process of fermentation can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be. I’m going to go over a very simple and easy to follow process that anyone can do, and it works just fine.

How To Ferment Spirulina

Steps:
1: Kefir Starter

First you are going to start out with a probiotic, in this case I recommend a kefir starter.

2: Water

Mix the kefir in with semi-warm water until it is thoroughly dissolved. If the kefir is clumping you will need to add more water and stir more. And if the mixture is very thin you may be able to add more kefir. Just make sure its all dissolved.

3: Sweetener

Add a little bit of sweetener into the mix. Usually I go with a natural sweetener such as yakon root (powder form). Bee pollen is also good.

4: Spirulina

Add in your spirulina powder. The amount is up to you really. Again, just make sure it mixes in okay.

5. Bottle

Now its ready for you to bottle the mixture. Glass jars are probably the best, but you can use whatever really. Make sure you have a small amount of air space at the top, and seal the lid tight.

6: Ferment

Store the jars in a cool, dark place. Anywhere from 70-75 degrees I would say is ideal. The amount of time you should let it ferment will vary depending on the temperature. Higher temperatures speed up the process.

I would suggest you let it ferment for anywhere from 12-24 hours.

And thats it. What I do next is refrigerate the mixtures just because it tastes better cold. The fermentation process will continue in the refrigerator, but not very much.

There are a lot of different ways you can go about this, but this is a very simple way that works.

Should You Ferment Spirulina?

I’ve done it, and it seems to work good, but is there really much benefit to fermenting your spirulina? The answer to this question is still up in the air as far as I see it.

There are some people out there that swear by eating fermented spirulina over non-fermented. But these people often tend to be those that are selling fermented spirulina, so there is a conflict of interest there.

The fact of the matter is that spirulina is easily digested WITHOUT fermentation. The individual cell walls of each spirulina cell are made up of mucopolysaccharides, which are easily digestible. Your body has no trouble breaking the wall down and getting to the nutrients in the first place. Spirulina does not contain indigestible cellulose.

While fermenting your spirulina may make it easier to digest, there is just no need to do this in my opinion. Your body is already plenty capable of digesting spirulina as it is.

The Best Phycocyanin Supplement, I Present To you Spirulina

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best phycocyanin supplementPhycocyanin is a pigment protein complex that is heavily sought after for its many health benefits. But how can get phycocyanin? What is the best phycocyanin supplement?

Spirulina is a great source of phycocyanin, and its all natural. Supplementing spirulina will provide you with a good amount of phycocyanin, and I’ll go over exactly how much phycocyanin you can expect to get. But first, for those of you who don’t already know, or for those of you who just need a little refresher, I’m going to go over what phycocyanin is and its more important health benefits.

The Wonderful Phycocyanin

Phycocyanin is a phycobiliprotein that is common in many cyanobacteria, such as spirulina. It plays a very important rule in the process of photosynthesis and directly absorbs sunlight.

One thing about phycocyanin that is unique and rare in nature is its chemical structure. It resembles that of  bilirubin, which is a very powerful antioxidant that is synthesized by the body. Higher levels of bilirubin are associated with lower risks for many diseases [1]

Since phycocyanin’s chemical structure is very similar to that of bilirubin, you would think that it would have similar properties and benefits, and you would be absolutely correct to think that.

Phycocyanin’s Amazing Health Benefits

There are a lot, but let me just go over a few of the main ones.

Antioxidant – Phycocyanin has the ability to fight off free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that occur within the body and cause harm due to their instability. Phycocyanin, being a powerful antioxidant (like bilirubin) is able to interact safely with free radicals and prevent damage. It is important to have enough antioxidants to keep a stable antioxidant to free-radical balance.

Anti-inflammatory – Phycocyanin is shown to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, which is responsible for much of the inflammation and pain that goes on in the body [2]. Inhibiting this enzyme leads to both reduced inflammation and pain. This is a proven method of reducing and treating inflammatory type diseases such as arthritis.

Immune Booster – Another thing you should know is that phycocyanin is an antiproliferative as well as a proliferative [3]. This means that it prevents or slows down the spread of cells and can also increase the spread of cells. It does so in a an optimal manner, slowing bad cells and increasing good cells. It has proven to be effective in treating diseases such as cancer by reducing, and in some cases eliminating the mutant cells.

Ok, so there are a few benefits to consuming this incredible molecule. But now you need to know if spirulina is that good of a source.

Spirulina, A Great Source of Phycocyanin

Phycocyanin is one of the major phycobiliproteins that spirulina contains, so as you could imagine it makes up a good bit of spirulina’s overall content.

Spirulina generally has a phycocyanin content of around 10-16% of its dry weight. But this number varies depending on things like nitrogen levels in the water, the amount of sunlight, and the drying technique used. It can vary greatly and has been found to have levels from as low as 4.71% all the way up to 22.3% [4].

The environment in which spirulina is grown as well as the drying techniques used make a huge difference in its nutrient content, and this is a big reason why you need to buy spirulina from a quality source.

How much phycocyanin you can expect to get

A common dose of spirulina if you are taking powder is a tablespoon, which is 7g. Based on the general range of 10-16% phycocyanin content this would mean you are getting anywhere from 0.7 – 1.12g of phycocyanin.

A common dose for spirulina tablets is around 3g. And you could expect to get anywhere from 0.3 – 0.48g of phycocyanin.

But again, these are very general numbers. Cheap and poor quality spirulina supplements will likely be grown in poor quality environments where they will be incapable of developing good nutrient profiles.

Spirulina is packed with nutrients

Spirulina has many many nutrients that can benefit human health in all sorts of ways, after all it is the most nutrient dense natural food on the planet. But phycocyanin is by far one of the most notable. Among its many benefits it has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative properties. This can help with anything from general health, to more severe health cases like arthritis and even cancer.

The best natural source of phycocyanin is spirulina. And spirulina is growing in popularity, now being available in powder, tablet, or capsule form. It is available in many natural health stores around the world, but is easier bought online.

Where to buy spirulina?

It is essential that you buy quality spirulina. If you don’t, you may be wasting your money on spirulina that has an inadequate nutrient profile.

Not only that, but spirulina has the ability to absorb toxins from the environment. So if its not grown in a quality and clean environment this could be a problem.

If you do choose to buy spirulina online there are some products that I recommend. I recommend them because they are grown in with quality assurance and come from reputable sources. To see the products I recommend Click Here for my product reviews.

 

Sources

1) HELLWEG, BRENDAN. “With New Research, Toasting to Health.Yale Daily News With New Research Toasting to Health Comments. Yale News, 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

2) Selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 by C-phycocyanin, a biliprotein from Spirulina platensis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Nov 2;277(3):599-603.

3) C-Phycocyanin from Oscillatoria tenuis exhibited an antioxidant and in vitro antiproliferative activity through induction of apoptosis and G0/G1 cell cycle arrestFood Chem. 2013 Sep 1;140(1-2):262-72. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.02.060. Epub 2013 Feb 24.

4) Over Production of Phycocyanin Pigment in Blue Green Alga Spirulina sp. and It`s Inhibitory Effect on Growth of Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Cells. Journal of Medical Sciences, 2003. 3: 314-324.