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Mumbai: TB hospital to add spirulina to patients’ diets

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Mumbai: The algae spirulina is set to debut in the diet of patients in the civic-run Sewri Tuberculosis hospital. Authorities propose to create an artificial pond on the premises of the hospital to cultivate spirulina for its protein content. The liquefied form of this algae will be fed to TB patients for faster recovery. Doctors say spirulina is rich in protein and minerals, which will boost the immunity of patients.

Spirulina is blue-green algae growing in both fresh and salt water, a phylum of bacteria called cyanobacterium. Just like green plants, these bacteria can produce energy from sunlight and water through the process of photosynthesis. Medical superintendent Dr Lalit Anande said TB patients find it hard to chew and swallow food, as a result of which their dietary intake is affected. This delays their recovery. In other countries, spirulina is included in TB patients’ diet to enable them to recover rapidly, as it is rich in protein and other minerals.

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“For the first time, spirulina will be included in the diet of TB patients. We have spoken about the idea with the IIT-Bombay, students and soon a proposal will be send to the BMC to begin preparations for the artificial pond in which spirulina can be cultivated,” Dr Anande said. “For faster recovery, TB patients need a diet rich in protein and vitamins. Just two-three spoons of spirulina every day will be sufficient to make them stand on their feet again. To keep a body healthy there should sufficient intake of vitamins, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese. The intake of spirulina strengthens the immune system of TB patients, which helps the body fight the disease,” Dr Anande explained.


Nutrient powerhouse

A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1-3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day can be used effectively. A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains four grams of protein, Vitamin B1 (11 per cent), Vitamin B2 (15 per cent), Vitamin B3 (4 per cent), Copper (21 per cent) and iron (almost 11 per cent).