Spirulina adds to the list of the most enriched nutrient foods currently known. The alga is rich in all the three broad categories of essential nutrients including mac-ronutrients (proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates), minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, managanese, selenium, micronutrients, provitamin A (j-carotene), riboflavin, cyanocobalamin, «-tocopherol, a-linoleic acid, the most potent antioxidant enzyme, SOD, phytopigments including chlorophyll and the characteristic phycobilin pigments88,89 in an greater bioavailable state. The typical phycobilin pigments of Spirulina include C-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin. The pigments,
C-phycocyanin and chlorophyll, give Spirulina their bluish tinge, and hence the species are classified under blue-green algae. Phycobilins, in structure, are similar to the bile pigments such as bilirubin. In Spirulina, phycobilins are intracellularly attached to proteins and the phycobilin-protein complex is called phycobiliprotein. Spirulina contains high amounts of bioavailable iron, which has been shown to be easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract.90
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