Nature can provide you with valuable weapons against cancer, but like all things, it's up to you to use them. Although the Japanese have known about and used spirulina for medicinal purposes for years, this form of microalgae is still not "mainstream" in American diets. Spirulina natively grows in alkaline, warm-water lakes. Demand for this whole food has sparked the cultivation of spirulina for commercial use in specially designed algae farms. As a result of this new distribution, you can buy spirulina supplements in your local health food store. Western medicine is finally taking note of spirulina's anti-cancer benefits, and you owe it to yourself to do the same.
Potent cancer-fighting phytonutrients
Spirulina's blue-green color is more than a pretty facade; it is also the source of much of its cancer-prevention abilities. In Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford writes, "Important to note in the area of prevention, spirulina is richly supplied with the blue pigment phycocyanin, a biliprotein which has been shown to inhibit cancer-colony formation."
Like tree leaves, spirulina also obtains its color from chlorophyll. According to Alan Keith Tillotson's "One Earth Herbal Sourcebook," the high levels of chlorophyll in spirulina may explain its ability to stop cancer colonies from forming. As Tillotson writes, "Foods and herbs that contain high levels of chlorophyll show pharmacological evidence of cancer prevention, perhaps because pigments in green vegetables (and algae) … bind with and thus stimulate excretion of cancer-causing chemicals." If cancer cells are stopped before they can form colonies, your body's naturally occurring cancer cells won't be able to run amok and develop into symptomatic cancer.
If you're not familiar with the link between cancer and immune system function, you may have been a little confused by the last point. You might be thinking, "Wait a minute. The reason why I don't have cancer cells in me is because I've never been diagnosed with cancer." The truth is, however, we all have cancer cells within us. Cancer cells develop within our bodies all the time, but our immune systems normally fight them before they develop into the disease we know as cancer. In other words, if you are diagnosed as "having cancer," that means only that your immune system didn't kill your body's naturally-occurring cancer cells the way it was designed to. If you'd like to read more about this phenomenon, you can find many articles about it on News Target's cancer page.
Boosting immune system function
This immune system / cancer link explains why spirulina effectively prevents cancer. Spirulina is best known as an immune booster, and this property has medicinal implications far beyond cancer prevention. In A Natural Physician's Healing Therapies, Mark Stengler, ND, writes, "Spirulina stimulates natural killer cells and similar anti-immune components of the immune system that can help fight cancer cells." Furthermore, these spirulina-stimulated killer cells can fight illnesses other than cancer, ranging from the common cold to HIV.
Scientists have been exploring spirulina's ability to treat cancer, although most of the research in this area has been exclusively related to oral cancer. Animal studies repeatedly show that spirulina hinders the growth of oral cancer. Moreover, Indian scientists conducted the first human study of spirulina-based cancer treatment in 1995. "[These scientists] reported a complete regression of pre-cancerous mouth lesions in 45 percent of subjects who were given extracts of spirulina for 12 months," wrote Earl Mindell, RPh, PhD, in Earl Mindell's Secret Remedies.
Consider adding spirulina to your diet, especially if your current diet contains foods high in animal protein, such as meat and cheese. In Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford writes, "The special form of protein in spirulina benefits those with problems resulting from excessive animal protein, which does not assimilate well and further burdens the body with waste products." If you already have cancer, making a few diet modifications, such as adding spirulina and restricting meat and cheese, can make all the difference in your recovery, according to Patrick Quillin's Beating Cancer with Nutrition and Joseph B. Marion's Anti-Aging Manual. This difference can be the deciding factor between life and death.