Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria that can be consumed by humans and animals. The three species are Arthrospira platensis, A. fusiformis, and A. maxima.
Cultivated worldwide, Arthrospira is used as a dietary supplement or whole food. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium, and poultry industries.
Most people think spirulina is a type of alga, but it’s actually a type of bacteria called cyanobacterium.
What makes spirulina so special? A blue pigment that allows the bacteria to produce their own food through photosynthesis, like a plant.
Spirulina is a nutritional powerhouse that is more than 60 percent protein and packed full of life-giving chlorophyll. It’s a dense source of vitamins, minerals, amino and omega-3 fatty acids, enzymes and trace minerals. You can use it for yourself and your pets to assist with a myriad of issues like inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, immune support, bacterial and yeast overgrowth and radiation exposure.
More protein than eggs, more iron than spinach
Studies have shown anti-oxidant properties, reduction in allergy reactions, less tumours than comparative animals not fed spirulina. A rich natural source of vitamins and minerals
Spirulina is one of the richest plant-based sources of protein (60-70%). With so much research to confirm its health benefits, it is now recommended by the UN World Health Org
Suggested Feeding Amounts
Optimally give twice daily:
Dogs and cats < 10 kg, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon daily
• Dogs 10-25 kg, 1/2- 1 teaspoons daily
• Dogs > 25 kg, 1-2 teaspoonfuls daily
It is not a medicine so these are only suggestions, does not have to be give everyday.
According to herbalist, Greg Tilford, it’s safe to use every day but because it’s so nutrient dense, it can cause diarrhea and digestive upset if feeding too much.
According to Tilford, a daily amount of 1/4 teaspoon per pound of food is generally safe, while cats would require 1/2 teaspoon.
Try giving your dog spirulina as part of his daily supplementation and you might notice a shinier, more lustrous coat, fresher breath and better overall physical condition.
More Recent Information
Spirulina, also named Arthrospira, are multicellular and filamentous cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). It has gained considerable popularity in the health food industry and is considered a food supplement for humans, livestock, poultry, and aquaculture diets.
Spirulina grows in water and can be harvested and processed easily. It has very high macronutrient and micronutrient contents, such as proteins, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. It has been used as a dietary supplement for centuries by people living close to the alkaline lakes where it is naturally found.
Spirulina consists of 55–70% protein, 15–25% polysaccharide, 5–6% total lipid, 6–13% nucleic acids, and 2.2–4.8% minerals. The polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) constitute 1.5– 2.0% of the total lipid content of this algae. In fact, the Arthrospira spp. is rich in γ-linoleic acid (GLA; 30–35% of total PUFAs) and also provides stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA). Arthrospira spp. contains a variety of vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12), minerals (Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mg, P, Se, Na, and Zn), photosynthetic pigments, and insulin like proteins. Some of its actions include:
- Immune modulating
- Selective COX-2 inhibitor
- Antiviral, antibacterial
- Cardiovascular protective
- Spirulina aids in the early recovery of dogs with demodicosis and does not lead to undesirable effects resulting from its chemical composition, revealing its benefits as adjuvant therapy for the treatment of canine demodicosis.2
- The combination of piroxicam and C-Phycocyanin from Spirulina on rat colon carcinogenesis induced by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine dihydrochloride reduces the number and size of tumors, increases the tumor inhibition rate compared with single drug treatment, and reduces drug toxicity and side effects; thus, this combination prevents tumor progression.
- In cats fed a high-cholesterol diet, administration of concentrated Spirulina plantensis by oral gavage lowered serum cholesterol levels3. The spirulina doses were 0.5 and 1.0 g/kg body weight.day. In feline, bronchoalveolar lavage macrophages, a water-soluble extract from Spirulina platensis enhanced phagocytic function.4
- It is considered very safe.
Cats 0.5-1g/kg BW daily, although the higher amount may push palatability. A dose of 1/16-1/8th tsp daily is tolerated/
Dogs 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per 10kg daily.
Note there are huge variations in quality of products with a risk of contamination with heavy metals and pollutants.
1. Rios J, Liu Q, Yinghong H et al., 2016, 'Medical Application of Spirulina platensis Derived C-Phycocyanin', Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Vol 2016
2. Berraza L, Souza A, Melo M et al., 2013, 'Use of cyanobacterium Spirulina associated with amitraz to treatment in juvenile generalized canine demodiciosis', Acta Scientiae Veterinariae 2013 Vol.41 pp.1124
3. Shamsudin L, Ab Rashid S, Rozaini NNM and Kyaw T, 2018, 'Cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis LUQS1: Effects on serum lipids and kidney in domestic cats, Felis catus', Malaysian J Microbiol 2018; 14: 265-271
4. Qureshi MA and Ali RA, 1996, 'Spirulina platensis exposure enhances macrophage phagocytic function in cats', Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 1996; 18: 457-463