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  • Didier Berli

Spirulina vs Moringa

Different comparisons have been made between Spirulina and Moringa, some of them being simplistic, biased and therefore deceptive. The reality is always a bit more complex…


Spirulina is a blue green microalga which has been growing in alkaline water bodies for an estimated 3.5 billion years. Its name comes from its spiral shape. 400 years ago, the Aztecs discovered Spirulina as a food source. Today, its benefits have been recognized by the NASA and the European Space Agency. They have both selected it as one of the primary foods to be cultivated during long-term space missions.


Moringa (Moringa Oleifera) is a plant native to northern India that can also grow in other tropical and sub-tropical places, like Asia and Africa. Its leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots have been used for centuries for its nutritional and medicine properties. It is available on the market mostly in form of leave powder.


Proteins

Both Spirulina and Moringa contain all essential amino acids (amino acids cannot be made by the body and, as a result, must come from food) and many other nonessential amino acids.

In terms of quantity, Spirulina contains 2.4 x more proteins than Moringa: 65 % vs 27 % of its dry weight.


Fatty acids

Spirulina is rich in Gamma linolenic acid (GLA). It is in fact the second richest source of this nutrient after maternal milk. GLA has showed positive effects on cardiovascular protection (lowering total cholesterol and LDL, raising HDL cholesterol), on skin conditions (acne, eczema), dry eye syndrome, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Spirulina contains also sulfolipids, such as Sulphoquinovosyl diacylglycerol (SQDG), that have proved to be effective against viruses such as HIV.


Fibers

Moringa contains more fibers than Spirulina: 19.2 % vs 7.7 % of its dry weight.


Vitamins and minerals

Both Spirulina and Moringa contain many vitamins and minerals. Spirulina is richer in vitamin A (Beta Carotene), iron and phosphorous, but Moringa is richer in calcium.


Enzymes

Spirulina is rich in Superoxide dismutase (SOD), a powerful antioxidant, protecting the cells against free radicals.


Pigments

Spirulina is very rich in Phycocyanin, the pigment that gives its blue-red color (10 to 15 % of its dry weight. Different clinical studies have demonstrated that Phycocyanin: stimulates the blood production and regulates production of white blood cells; strengthens the immune system; is a powerful antioxidant & anti-hydroxyl radical (The most dangerous free radicals); protects the cells against DNA damage; inhibits the lipid peroxidation; protects and improves liver function; has powerful anti-inflammatory properties; has proven positive effects on neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Spirulina contains also significant quantities of Zeaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant which helps protect your vision from harmful levels of blue light, improves visual performance and protects your eyes from age-related eye health problems.


Flavonoids

Moringa contains Flavonoids (69.3-125 mgQE/g extract) and other phenolic compounds. Flavonoids have been shown to have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-cancer and anti-diarrheal activities.


Other compounds

Spirulina contains Calcium spirulan (Ca-SP), a sulfated polysaccharide that has been found to have antiviral activity, as it inhibits the replication of several enveloped viruses, including Herpes simplex virus type 1, human cytomegalovirus, measles virus, mumps virus, influenza A virus, and HIV-1.


Conclusion

As you can see, Spirulina and Moringa present similarities and dissimilarities.

Here is a table with the main differences:

What Spirulina has (and Moringa hasn't)

  • Phycocyanin

  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)

  • Superoxide dismutase (SOD)

  • Sulfolipids, such as Sulphoquinovosyldiacylglycerol (SQDG)

  • Zeaxanthin

  • Sulfated polysaccharides, such as Calcium spirulan (Ca-SP)


What Spirulina contains more than Moringa

  • Proteins (in particular essential amino acids)

  • Vitamin A (Beta Carotene)

  • Iron

  • Phosphorous


What Moringa has (and Spirulina hasn't)

  • Flavonoids


What Moringa contains more than Spirulina

  • Fibers

  • Calcium


In any case, it is important to remember that both Spirulina and Moringa have exceptional nutritional values and very interesting health benefits. As of today, the benefits of Spirulina have been studied in a larger number of clinical studies than those of Moringa.


Below is a table with detailed comparison of their nutritional profile (please bear in mind that, both Spirulina and Moringa being living organisms, their content can vary because of environmental conditions).



If you have any comment, don’t hesitate to contact me.

didier@antenna-cambodia.org


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