Last updated on June 9th, 2023
**2020 Status Update
On March 29, 2017, we launched a campaign demanding to change the content of the spirulina Wikipedia page. To recall, although Wikipedia defines itself as the “free encyclopedia”, allowing anyone to edit its pages, we have found that there are interest groups out there that are actively trying to censor the Spirulina Wikipedia page by editing and re-editing it over and over again.
Thanks to the advocacy by the members of Spirulina Network Whatsapp Group and other colleagues, the first section on Etymology and ecology is more favorable of Spirulina, as well as Food and Nutrition section. There have been few edits that were all driven by Zefr., but these are favorable, stating that Spirulina is a food for food security and malnutrition.
However, the B12 section is unchanged as well as the quality and safety about microcystins, which still need to be edited. The section on animals and aquaculture is good and strong !! But alas the Research section is left as it.
The problem with the Spirulina Wikipedia Page
The spirulina wikipedia page is deliberately misleading the public! Over the years, Spirulina advocates and researchers have been trying to change the content of the Spirulina wikipedia page, but when one examines the HISTORY of that page, going back at least seven years, most attempts to collaboratively edit it have been DELETED and EDITED OUT word for word by individuals from vested groups usually within 24 hours, and without giving any good solid reason.
Spirulina is a 3.6 billion year old ancient cyano-bacterium, generally classified as a blue-green algae, which has filled the Earth’s atmosphere with oxygen. It is an autotroph with excellent functional nutrient content, unusual phytonutrients, antioxidants with proven health benefits. It has been used since ancient times by the Aztecs, and both NASA and European Space Agency, describe it as the food of the future.
When you google the word Spirulina, the Wikipedia page is the first result to come up.
Wikipedia is one of the largest reference websites, attracting over 300 million unique visitors per month. The reason Wikipedia enjoys this authoritative status as a source of information is because it is written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers who write without getting paid. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles. In a true collaborative environment, each contributor has an almost equal ability to add, edit, and remove text (Source: Wikipedia). However, this is not so when vested interest group(s) want to control the content of a Wikipedia Page.
The shocking scam What we are going to describe below will shock and surprise you!
When you read the spirulina Wikipage there are several subtle and not so subtle statements that mislead the readers, intentionally drawing them away from using Spirulina. For instance, this sentence is misleading:
Even though there is a reference cited, when you read the reference it ONLY REFERS to the adverse drug interactions, while there is NO Reference for the other prior insinuations about it being no better than other protein sources, and being more expensive gram for gram, which are both not true. It is the best source of protein as its production occupies the least environmental footprint, with considerable efficiencies in terms of water use, land use and energy consumption, compared to traditional terrestrial crops and beef [i].
The vitamin B12 controversy
Then they refer to vitamin B12 content and its controversy, which is again misleading and erroneous. The Wikipedia table and paragraph state that there is NO vitamin B12 in spirulina. They quote two references which are both old and are not direct research articles. More recent data such as this clearly shows that vitamin B12 has been purified, identified and characterized in Spirulina Plantensis [ii]. This is extremely important for vegetarians as their diet otherwise can be deficient in Vitamin B12.
Quality-related safety and toxicology
Wikipedia’s reference to “Quality-related safety and toxicology” is very misleading and has mis-citations. The Wikipedia page refers to contamination with toxic algae ‘Microcystins’, which can occur when Spirulina is harvested from natural water bodies, and that is exactly the reference they cite is microcystin contamination in Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) in southern Oregon.
However, there is minimal if no risk in “cultivation of Spirulina” where the pH is extremely alkaline, thus not allowing for any such contamination. The Spirulina Wikipedia Page does state that Spirulina itself does not produce any toxic metals, but the very next sentence is extremely misleading:
“Because spirulina is considered a dietary supplement in the U.S., no active, industry-wide regulation of its production occurs and no enforced safety standards exist for its production or purity. “
It fails to mention that Spirulina has been granted the status of Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. Moreover, the Global Spirulina Network counts over 200 Spirulina growers from all over the world, and NO ONE so far has had a problem with microcystin contamination in their ponds!!!!!
So it is extremely safe if Good Practices are followed in the cultivation, which is true with all commercially available products. Overall Wikipedia manages to scare a layperson from the use of Spirulina with over hyped claims about toxicology. In addition, this sentence in that same paragraph is misleading:
The paper cited is actually an excellent review of the use of Spirulina in Protein Energy Malnutrition, cataloging all human and animal studies; the Wiki authors have not given credit to the actual content of the paper, which talks about the health benefits of Spirulina, and have misquoted the above number from a reference of a reference.
The most misleading sentence of all on the Spirulina Wikipedia Page is the following, regarding research:
“At present, research is preliminary. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence is insufficient to recommend spirulina supplementation for any human condition, and more research is needed to clarify its benefits, if any. “
The reference cited is a 2011 Medline webpage from the National Institutes of Health, wherein there are plenty of references on the health benefits and studies with Spirulina which have not been cited. There are numerous other studies documenting the health benefit of Spirulina for malnutrition, allergies, cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and arsenic poisoning, just to name a few.
Not a Word about Spirulina and Gut-Microbiome
As noted in the table below, the most robust research data on the reversal effects of spirulina on malnutrition, which are not mentioned at all on the Wikipedia page.
The postulated mechanism for this effect is improvement in the gut-microbiome. Researchers such as Jeffery Gordon, from St. Louis, MO, USA, has clearly demonstrated the poverty of gut-microbiome diversity among malnourished children in Bangladeshi children.v Spirulina is known to have in-vitro, and in-vivo, pro/pre biotic effects.[iv] [v] Studies are underway to examine the effect of Spirulina on gut-microbiome among humans.
There are several important implications of this research in the use of Spirulina. We believe that since Spirulina has the potential to be the best “superfood” and a ‘panacea’ for a lot of health conditions, especially considering it is pre/pro-biotic with a potential to impact the ‘gut microbiome’[vi].
Emerging data suggest that the ‘human microbiome’ is intimately associated with human health and disease[vii], it appears that it is extremely unsettling for the nutraceutical /pharmaceutical and other vested groups who for their profits control the information which is available on the Wikipedia page, which is their way of controlling its use in the general population.
The Conspiracy: Who’s Controlling the Spirulina Wikipedia Page?
All the above misrepresentations have been attempted to be corrected by Spirulina advocates and researchers over the years, but when one examines the HISTORY of the Spirulina Wikipedia page, going back at least seven years, most attempts to collaboratively edit have been DELETED and EDITED OUT word for word by individuals from vested groups usually within 24 hours of the addition.
For instance, in the last several months, we have tried to edit the Research subpage, and as you will see in the ScreenShot below, a person by the pseudonym “Zefr” has edited out our content without giving any good solid reason. Similarly, the same person has promptly edited out other attempts in the last two years.
History Repeats Itself
Back when the Spaniards began colonizing the Americas, they banned Spirulina production among the native Mexicans to weaken and control the population; it is not surprising that vested interest groups are now controlling the one commodity which can be controlled…. “the right for information”, for nothing but their own greed and power.
The Spirulina Wikipedia Page is definitely NOT collaboratively edited by anonymous unpaid writers, but appears to be controlled by industry paid ‘watchdogs’, much to the detriment of the general public’s interest.
Spirulina is cheap and widely available online and in local stores, but it can also be grown at home easily and only requires some very basic equipment. You can access the work on malnutrition and spirulina at www.spirulinafoundation.org.
Spirulina can be purchased online from the Spirulina.Network website. The usual dose is 6 grams of spirulina per day as tablets, capsules, powder, or value-added products such as chocolates and snacks. Research on Spirulina has been published in peer-reviewed journals and ongoing research which forms the backbone of all medical research.
Spirulina Research Summary
We’ve compiled a handful of research work that proves the benefits of spirulina in a pdf, for easier view.
[ii] Purification, identification, and characterization of methylcobalamin from Spirulina platensis. Kumudha A, Kumar SS, Thakur MS, Ravishankar GA, Sarada R.
J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Sep 22;58(18):9925-30. doi: 10.1021/jf102159j
[iii] Siva Kiran RR, Madhu GM, Satyanarayana SV (2015). “Spirulina in combating Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) and Protein Energy Wasting (PEW) – A review”. Journal of Nutrition Research. 3 (1): 62–79
[vi] Probiotic Efficiency of Spirulina platensis – Stimulating Growth of Lactic Acid Bacteria Dola Bhowmik, Jaishree Dubey and Sandeep Mehra. World Journal of Dairy & Food Sciences 4 (2): 160-163, 2009
[vii] The Human Microbiome, Accessed March 2017.