Spirulina is an edible algae. It possesses numerous potential health benefits, but these may not include tartar control. Some cat foods include spirulina. Spirulina may help strengthen a cat's immunity, and this may combat infection associated with tartar. Alongside that, you have other means of fighting tartar on Tiger's teeth.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has been used for thousands of years around the world by indigenous cultures, including Aztec civilizations and African nations. Many modern versions are synthesized in labs. Spirulina is available in powder, pill or liquid form. Although it may have some oral benefits -- one placebo-controlled study showed spirulina reduces precancerous lesions called leukoplasia, says the University of Maryland Medical Center -- it may not have any effect on tartar formation or control.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, spirulina may have a much wider range of potential health benefits than combating leukoplasia. Some of the possible health benefits the medical center's website lists include boosting the immune system, protecting against allergies, warding off herpes and other viruses, and protecting the liver. Spirulina is also high in protein, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and beneficial fatty acids including DHA and GLA. Serving cat food with spirulina may, therefore, benefit a cat regardless of tartar issues.
Controlling tartar begins with controlling plaque, the sticky film that develops on teeth. Brushing removes plaque, which in turn prevents tartar. If tartar is already present on a cat's teeth, options include surgical scaling, treats designed to control tartar, and even rubbing vitamin C on your cat's gums. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin C can reduce tartar by 33 percent when applied to the mouth. Spirulina may possibly protect a cat against infection associated with tartar buildup.
When choosing spirulina, consider the source. The algae are vulnerable to toxins within their source waters. These include heavy metals, radiation and contamination within the waters. Cats with autoimmune disorders shouldn't eat food with spirulina in it, as it can overstimulate the immune system. As with any new foods, introduce cat food with spirulina slowly, to let your cat adjust.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Spirulina
- WebMD: Tartar (Dental Calculus)
- Allied Waves: Spirulina and Pets
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Spirulina
- Ocado: Yarrah Organic Cat Food MSC Fish Pate With Seaweed & Spirulina
- PubMed: The Release of Vitamin C From Chewing Gum and Its Effects on Supragingival Calculus Formation
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.