Spirulina as a Functional Feed Ingredient

WHAT IS SPIRULINA? AND WHY IS IT USED IN ANIMAL AND FISH FEED?

  1. ANTIBIOTIC FREE PROGRAM Spirulina greatly increases the production of natural antibodies to fight disease and infections.(1)
  2. INCREASED PRODUCTION Studies show that Spirulina leads to a 10-15% increase in production due to lower mortality rate, resistance to disease and infections, and chelated bioavailability of nutrients. (2)
  3. PROBIOTIC Spirulina’s cell wall is made of digestible polysaccharides for beneficial bacteria to vastly increase cell count in the gut. (3)
  4. MULTIVITAMIN SUPPLEMENT High in Protein with 10 BCAA, Iron, 10 Vitamins, and 10 Minerals. (4)
  5. LIVESTOCK SIZE MANGEMENT Spirulina promotes uniform growth rate in animals and fish. (5)
  6. QUALITY ENHANCEMENT Spirulina promotes natural colors and taste by providing carotenoids and other essential compounds for balanced nutrition. (6)

Where health is concerned, diet is everything! This is as true for our livestock and fish as it is for us.  It would therefore seem logical to eat only the best foods we can obtain – and to feed only the best foods to our precious Livestock and Fish. Among the many feeds available to the modern farm, one product stands head and shoulders above the rest: Spirulina!

BUT WHAT IS SPIRULINA – AND WHY IS IT SO GOOD?

Spirulina (actual name Spirulina Arthrospira) is a planktonic blue-green algae found in the warm waters of alkaline lakes. Spirulina is completely different from other algae in that it is more similar to bacteria than to plants. In truth it occupies a niche between bacteria and plants. (True plant plankton is toxic.) In fact, it is a unique kind of cyanobacteria, and its spiral shaped structure makes it look very similar to other cyanobacteria. Amazingly, it is this characteristic likeness to bacteria that causes the body, once it is ingested, to perceive Spirulina as a bacterium, and therefore causes it to step up its production of antibodies, which in turn increases disease resistance.  

But here is the true magic: Spirulina is rich in raw protein and ten major vitamins and  ten essential minerals – A1, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E; Iron, Potassium, Selenium and Magnesium to name a few. In fact, it is one of the best natural sources for vitamin B12. It also naturally contains beta-carotene and other color enhancing pigments, as well as a whole range of beneficial minerals. In addition, Spirulina has a 62% amino acid content. It not only contains eight major amino acids, but also all essential fatty acids required for complete nutrition. Spirulina is also one of the most profound anti-oxidants available to us. All of these are in natural chelated form which is 100% bioavailable, unlike chemical supplements.

Unlike other green micro algae, like Chlorella, which have cell walls made of indigestible cellulose, just like green grass, Spirulina has a soft cell wall made of complex sugars and protein, and is therefore very easily digested. And because of its high content of usable and digestible amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, Spirulina is nutritionally dense, yet five times easier to digest than the meat and soy proteins usually found in commercial animal feeds.

Besides the above-mentioned high protein content and digestibility, Spirulina comes from waters with minerals where no other plants can survive due to the alkalinity caused by this high mineral content. Yet, Spirulina thrives in these alkaline waters, having evolved to incorporate and synthesize these many minerals and their derivative compounds into its cell structure. During this transformational process the minerals actually are chelated with amino acids, with the result that Spirulina renders the minerals in a natural organic form that is now more easily assimilated by the body of the organism that feeds on it.

This is extremely important in animal feeds and aquaria, because it is so difficult to supplement animal diets with the required minerals. Most fish and animal foods are so low in natural calcium that added calcium is needed to meet the requirements of the animal. Yet, at the same time those supplements are usually inorganic and therefore incompatible – meaning that the living body does not know what to do with these supplements and tend to excrete it, unused. In fact, the latest evidence seems to conclude that inorganic supplements can actually block the absorption of organic mineral forms, which can ultimately lead to mineral deficiency diseases.

But for all its magic, Spirulina’s most profound benefit must be that it improves immune function. This reason alone is why Spirulina should be part of EVERY animal diet, including carnivorous fish, which should be fed with Spirulina by gut-loading the worms, feeder fish, or crickets (arowanas) that make up their diet.

The reason is that Spirulina is rich in a brilliant blue polypeptide called ‘Phycocyanin’, a source of biliverdin which is among the most potent of all intra-cellular antioxidants. Studies also show that Phycocyanin beneficially affects the stem cells found in bone marrow. These stem cells are the ‘mother lode’ of all life, and the place from which both the white blood cells that make up the cellular immune system, and the red blood cells that oxygenate the body originate.

 

Calorie Information

Amounts Per 114 g

 

   
Calories 325 1361 kJ
  From Carbohydrate 95.4 399 kj
  From Fat 72.4 303 kj
  From Protein 157 657 kj
  From Alcohol 0.0 0kj

 

Carbohydrate Information

Amounts Per 114 g

  %DV

 

Total Carbohydrate 26.8 g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g 16%
Starch ~  
Sugars 3.5 g  
     

 

Protein and Amino Acids

Amounts Per 114 g

 

   
Protein 64.4 g 129%
Tryptophan 1040 mg  
Threonine 3326 mg  
Isoleucine 3594 mg  
Leucine 5541 mg  
Lysine 3387 mg  
Methionine 1287  mg  
Cystine 7.42 mg  
Phenylalanine 3110 mg  
Tyrosine 2894 mg  
Valine 3933 mg  
Arginine 4645 mg  
Histidine 12.15 mg  
Alanine 5056 mg  
Aspartic acid 6488 mg  
Glutamic acid 9393 mg  
Glycine 3471 mg  
Proline 2668 mg  
Serine 3358 mg  

 

Fats & Fatty Acids

Amounts Per 114 g

  %DV

 

Total Fat 8.6 g 13%
Saturated Fat 3.0 15%
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 922 mg  
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1404 mg  

   

 

 

Minerals

Amounts per 114g

  D.V. %
Calcium 134 mg 13%
Iron 31.9mg 177%
Magnesium 218 mg 55%
Phosphorus 132 mg 13%
Potassium 1527mg 44%
Sodium 1174 mg 49%
Zinc 2.2 mg 15%
Copper 6.8 mg 342%
Manganese 2.1mg 106%
Selenium 8.1 mcg 12%
Fluoride ~

 

 

 

Vitamins

Amounts Per 114 g

 

  %DV
Vitamin A 638 IU 13%
Vitamin C 11.3mg 19%
Vitamin D ~ ~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 5.6 mg 28%
Vitamin K 28.6 mcg 36%
Thiamin B1 2.7 mg 178%
Riboflavin B2 4.1mg 242%
Niacin B3 14.4 mg 72%
Vitamin B6 0.4mg 20%
Folate B9 105mcg 26%
Vitamin B12 0.0mcg 0%
Pantothenic Acid B5 3.9mg 39%
Choline 73.9 mg  
Betaine

 

~  

 

 

Bibliography

Phycocyanin enhances secretary IgA antibody response and suppresses allergic IgE antibody response in mice immunized with antigen-entrapped biodegradable microparticles.

Nemoto-Kawamura C1, Hirahashi T, Nagai T, Yamada H, Katoh T, Hayashi O.

Author information

 

Abstract

In the present study, we have investigated the effects of phycocyanin, a biliprotein of Spirulina platensis, on mucosal and systemic immune responses and allergic inflammation in C3H/HeN and BALB/cA mice. To induce the antigen-specific antibodies in the peripheral lymphoid tissues such as Peyer’s patches and mesenteric lymph nodes, biodegradable ovalbumin-entrapped poly (DL-lactide-co-glycolide) particles were used as an antigen. Two weeks after the onset of phycocyanin ingestion, mice were immunized with an aqueous ovalbumin (OVA) solution. Starting at one week after the primary immunization, the mice were subjected to oral immunization with the biodegradable OVA microparticles twice a week. IgA, IgE and IgG1 antibodies were determined by ELISA. The OVA microparticles of 4-microm diameter successfully induced antigen-specific antibodies. In the mice that received phycocyanin treatment for 6 wk, a marked increase in the antigen-specific, as well as the total, IgA antibody level was observed in the Peyer’s patches, mesenteric lymph nodes and intestinal mucosa as well as in the spleen cells. Both antigen-specific IgG1 and IgE antibody levels in the serum were suppressed by ingestion of phycocyanin for 8 wk. However, inflammation of the small intestine, monitored as vascular permeability by the Evans blue-leaking method was reduced by phycocyanin at 6 wk, which preceded the suppression of antigen-specific IgG1 and IgE antibody production by 2 wk. These results suggest that phycocyanin enhances biological defense activity against infectious diseases through sustaining functions of the mucosal immune system and reduces allergic inflammation by the suppression of antigen-specific IgE antibody.

 

  • Immunomodulary effects of spirulina supplementation in chickens. by M. Qureshi, et al. May 1995. North Carolina State. Pub. in Proc. of 44th Western Poultry Disease Conference, pp 117-120. USA.
  • Immune enhancement potential of spirulina in chickens. by M. Quereshi, et al. August 1994. Poultry Science Assoc. Dept. of Poultry Science, North Carolina State, NC. Pub. in Journal of Poultry Science Vol 73, S.1. p. 46. USA.
  • Study on effect and mechanism of polysaccharides of spirulina on body immune function improvement. by G. Baojiang, et al. April 1994. South China Normal Univ. China. Pub. in Proc. of Second Asia Pacific Conf. on Algal Biotech. Univ. of Malaysia. pp 33-38. China.
  • Effects of polysaccharide and phycocyanin from spirulina on peripheral blood and hematopoietic system of bone marrow in mice. by Zhang Cheng-Wu, et al.. April 1994. Nanjing Univ. China. Pub. in Proc. of Second Asia Pacific Conf. on Algal Biotech. Univ. of Malaysia. p.58. China.
  • Enhancement of antibody production in mice by dietary spirulina. by Hayashi, et al. June 1994. Kagawa Nutrition Univ. Japan. Pub. in Journal of Nutr. Science and Vitaminology. Japan.
  • Inhibitive effect and mechanism of polysaccharide of spirulina on transplanted tumor cells in mice. by Lisheng, et al. 1991.Pub. in Marine Sciences, Qingdao, N.5. pp 33-38. China.
  • Immunostimulating activity of lipopolysaccharides from blue-green algae. by L. Besednova, et al. 1979. Pub. in Zhurnal Mikrobiologii, Epidemiologii, Immunobiologii, 56(12) pp 75-79.
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