Frequently Asked Questions

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green algae that is part of the cyanobacteria family. It gets its name from its spiral shaped cells that contain a remarkable concentration protein, vitamins and minerals. Unlike many other algae that are difficult to digest, Spirulina has very thin cell walls making the nutrition contained very accessible for the human digestive system.

 

In existence on earth for approximately 3,5 billion years, records indicate that the early Mayans consumed Spirulina as part of their regular diet.

Is Spirulina considered vegan?

Yes. Spirulina paste and dried Spirulina is very good for vegans, and the high content of vegetarian protein is very helpful to maintain a balanced diet.

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How much Spirulina should I eat each day?

You are the judge of what you eat, and Spirulina is a food, not a medicine, so eating too much will only make you full. We recommend that a newcomer to Spirulina experiment consuming 10 – 15 grams of Spirulina per portion. After observing reactions and energy levels you may consume as much or little as your body tells you it needs.

How much protein can I get from Spirulina?

Dried Spirulina is approximately 60 percent protein and consist of all eight essential amino acids that the body does not synthesize. How much protein you consume is dependent on how much you eat.

Is the vitamin B12 useable?

There is an ongoing debate within the scientific community whether humans can absorb the vitamin B12 found in Spirulina. According to a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) publication titled A review on culture, production and use of Spirulina as food for humans and feed for domestic animals and fish humans do benefit from the B12 found in Spirulina. However certain scientists and government organizations, including the United States Department of Agriculture, argue that the B12 is inactive and therefore unusable by humans. Either way, B12 is only one of the many nutritional benefits present, and the possible lack of efficient absorption won’t harm you in any way.

Does fresh Spirulina paste spoil?

Yes, fresh Spirulina spoils like any fresh vegetable. We do not recommend consuming Spirulina if it has been left unrefrigerated or has passed 21 days after its harvest date.

How should I store Spirulina to ensure freshness?

Always keep fresh Spirulina paste in the refrigerator at around 5 – 8 degrees Celsius or cooler. Dry powder may be kept in a cool dark place and stored for long periods of time.  Frozen Spirulina can last up to 12 months from date of harvest.

Can I freeze fresh Spirulina?

You can freeze fresh Spirulina but it should not be thawed before using. Freezing fresh Spirulina ruptures the cell walls allowing some of the nutrition to leach out, so thawing frozen Spirulina is not advisable. If you choose to freeze Spirulina to extend its shelf life, it is advisable to do so in single serving portion sizes that can be added to smoothies or food in its frozen state.

 

Many users freeze fresh Spirulina paste in ice cube trays and keep the frozen cubes as single serving smoothie or food additives.

How long can fresh Spirulina paste be stored before using?

If stored in a refrigerator fresh Spirulina can last up to 3 weeks after harvesting.

What is the difference between dried and fresh Spirulina?

Certain Spirulina powders and supplements are reported to have a strong taste and smell compared with fresh Spirulina which is virtually tasteless. While dried Spirulina offers higher concentration by weight of nutrients, fresh Spirulina paste provides greater creativity in how you incorporate it into your meal.  Fresh Raw Spirulina has no cellulose and because of this it is nearly 100% bioavailability.  The process of drying Spirulina removes essential enzymes for us to break down and utilize all of the nutrients that Spirulina contains – making it much more effective and efficient to consume in fresh form.

 

Additionally, the drying process does slightly degrade some of the vitamins, minerals and protein making fresh paste more nutritious than other forms of Spirulina.

Does fresh Spirulina paste smell or have flavor?

One of the advantages of fresh Spirulina paste is the lack of smell and flavor. This unique characteristic gives you greater creative flexibility when cooking.

Is Spirulina good for weight loss?

Eating Spirulina as part of a balanced diet and exercise can help with weight loss. Spirulina is packed with nutrients and low in calories which makes it ideal for anyone looking to trim a kilogram or two. Because Spirulina is absorbed rapidly into your digestive system a small dose before or with your meals will help you to feel full sooner and be satisfied eating much less.

Does Spirulina suppress appetite?

Many users report appetite suppression after consumption of Spirulina. Though Spirulina is not an appetite suppressant in the same way as caffeine or stimulants, its nutrition and protein is absorbed so quickly and efficiently into your system that it is very common to feel full.

Can I live on 100% Spirulina?

Some inhabitants surrounding Lake Chad, where Spirulina grows naturally, have been reported to have survived times of famine on diets consisting purely of Spirulina. Some sources advocate replacing a single meal with Spirulina but no one recommends a diet consisting entirely of Spirulina. Doctors and nutritionists recommend a daily consumption of between 5 and 40 grams of fresh Spirulina to support an otherwise healthy diet. Larger serving sizes can certainly be eaten to increase protein and nutrient intake.

 

Please consult your doctor to determine what your ideal daily consumption should be.

How do I eat Spirulina?

How you eat Spirulina largely depends on if you buy dietary supplements, powder or fresh paste.

 

A common way for people to consume Spirulina is as a dietary supplement pill. Dietary supplement pills offer little opportunity for creativity and should be taken in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Another common form is dried/powdered Spirulina. Most people start by reconstituting the powder then adding the liquid to beverages and smoothies.

 

A less common but more exciting way to consume Spirulina is fresh. Fresh Spirulina paste gives you access to the maximum nutritional benefit and is far more versatile. Fresh paste typically has much less flavor and odor than dried Spirulina, and is also much easier to mix with other foods and beverages.

 

When cooking with Spirulina, try to add it just before serving, and avoid excessive heating and microwaving as the temperature degrades nutritional value.

It is difficult to mix powder into a drink, how can I avoid green lumps?

We recommend that you add a little bit of water to the dried Spirulina and let it absorb it for a few minutes. Mix well and then add the pre-soaked Spirulina to your drink. A second option is to add liquid/drink to Spirulina and blend it ensure that all lumps are broken up. Then mix the rest of the liquid/drink.

 

Alternatively, fresh Spirulina paste is much easier to mix than powder.

Can I mix Spirulina with coffee?

Yes! You can mix Spirulina with any of your favourite foods and beverages.

Can I microwave Spirulina?

We recommend against using a microwave to cook Spirulina because doing so reduces the nutritional value of the product. If you are adding Spirulina to a meal that requires microwaving we recommend you heat the meal separately and add Spirulina after reheating.

Can I cook with Spirulina?

You can cook Spirulina but, as is the case with all vegetables, exposing fresh Spirulina to heat will reduce the bioavailability as well as the amount of available nutrition. We recommend adding fresh Spirulina to food just before serving to maintain optimal nutrition.

How does Ness prevent contamination when producing Spirulina in an urban setting?

We have a lot of people ask about the risk of contamination when producing spirulina and other algae in an urban center. Rest assured contamination from the surrounding environment is not a problem.

 

Ness grow spirulina in closed-circuit system. As the name suggests the system used to grow the spirulina is designed to keep potential pollution and foreign algae out of the system and out of product. We also prevent contamination by using filtered water in washing of spirulina.

 

We conduct random lab test to ensure the quality of our produce.

Is plastic chemical leaching a concern with Spirulina grown in plastic bio-reactors?

Many plastics are known to leach harmful chemicals into food products, however Ness uses food safe plastics to ensure the best quality, chemical free Spirulina possible. Our bio-reactors are 100% polypropylene which is widely considered to be one of the safest plastics for food storage.

I don’t like the green color?

The potent pigments in Spirulina will turn pretty much anything green, and there is little that can be done to mask the color. Remember that many of the most powerful nutritional properties come from the pigments that impart this dark color, and that it is very good for you.

I may be allergic to Spirulina?

Allergic reactions to Spirulina are extremely rare, but if you are concerned that you might be having an adverse reaction to Spirulina stop taking and consult your doctor immediately.

Can everybody consume Spirulina?

Spirulina is generally safe for everyone to consume but may have adverse interactions when taken with prescription drugs, particularly those affecting the immune system and blood clotting.

 

Recommended daily consumption ranges between 5 – 40 grams per day of fresh paste. Consult with your doctor or nutritionist to determine how much is right for you.

Why is there a blue coloured liquid or residue?

This blue coloured liquid or residue comes from the blue phycocyanin pigment present in Spirulina. This pigment is very good for you and a very powerful antioxidant. It is completely normal for some of the phycocyanin to leach out of the fresh Spirulina paste, particularly if it is frozen.

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