- Spirulina is a blue algae that is often praised as a superfood. It is packed with essential nutrients, including plant protein, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
- Spirulina can help normalize blood lipid levels, lower blood pressure, suppress oxidative stress, and lower blood sugar levels. Some studies suggest that spirulina can help people who suffer from allergies, diabetes, and fatigue and can even relieve the symptoms of some types of cancer.
- Spirulina (grown in a safe environment without heavy metals like FUL Spirulina) is safe to consume and has little to no side effects.
- However, people suffering from autoimmune diseases, phenylketonuria, pregnant or nursing women, and individuals taking immunosuppressive medication should avoid spirulina.
Spirulina is a cyanobacterium belonging to the family of single-celled microbes, also known as blue-green blue blue algae. Spirulina is often referred to as a “superfood” because of its high nutritional value. It is one of the most popular health supplements containing many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can provide numerous health benefits for the human body and brain.
Since numerous studies have shown spirulina’s health benefits, some researchers now continue to study this blue blue algae as a potential treatment for many diseases. In this article, we will discuss all the reasons why spirulina may be the best supplement for your health.
Spirulina Health Benefits Explained
High Nutrient Density
Spirulina can grow in both fresh and saltwater and is packed with nutrients. One tablespoon of spirulina contains:
- 4 grams of protein
- 11% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- 15% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- 4% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B3 (niacin)
- 21% of the recommended daily amount of copper
- 11% of the recommended daily amount of iron
This blue blue algae is also packed with minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and manganese. It also contains virtually all other micronutrients necessary for humans. Spirulina is also a low-calorie and low-fat product, as one tablespoon of this supplement contains:
- 20 calories.
- 1.7 grams of digestible carbs.
- 1 gram of fat (which is comprised of highly beneficial omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids).
Plus, as mentioned above, spirulina is packed with healthy protein, which makes it comparable to eggs in this regard.
Spirulina is also extremely rich in beta carotene, a precursor for vitamin A. Interestingly, the iron in spirulina may be more easily absorbed by the human body than iron contained in vegetables and meat. This occurs due to the fact that in spirulina, iron is combined with phycocyanin, a blue pigment that gives spirulina its colour. This significantly improves the nutrient’s absorption.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Antioxidants are compounds that protect our bodies from oxidative damage that impacts the DNA and cells and can potentially cause chronic inflammation, which results in cancer and other illnesses.
Spirulina is one of the greatest sources of antioxidants available to humans. Phycocyanin, the pigment that gives the blue algae its colour, is the main active component in spirulina, as it is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Phycocyanin aids the body in combating free radicals and blocking inflammatory signalling molecules.
Positive Effect on LDL and Triglyceride Levels
Numerous studies have shown that spirulina can help mitigate many factors that contribute to heart diseases, which are the number one cause of death in the world. For instance, this supplement effectively lowers total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides. Triglycerides cause the blockage of arteries which increases the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis.
At the same time, spirulina can help raise HDL or “good” cholesterol.
Spirulina Protects LDL Cholesterol from Oxidation
Fatty molecules found in the human body are susceptible to oxidative damage or lipid peroxidation, which is one of the main contributing factors for many serious diseases.
For instance, oxidation of LDL cholesterol is one of the main causes of heart disease. But antioxidants found in spirulina have been proven to be effective at reducing lipid peroxidation in both humans and animals.
Potential Anti-Cancer Properties
Some studies suggest that spirulina has anti-cancer properties. For example, research conducted on animals has provided evidence that taking spirulina can decrease the chance of an animal developing cancer. It was also shown to reduce tumour size.
In addition, one study has shown that spirulina has a positive effect on oral cancer. One study observed 87 people with precancerous lesions, also known as oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF), in the mouth. People participating in the study consumed one gram of spirulina every day for a year. Once the year had passed, nearly half of all people who were taking spirulina were cured of their lesions. At the same time, only 7 per cent of people in the control group had the same results. Interestingly, of those who stopped taking spirulina after the end of the study, nearly half redeveloped lesions in the mouth.
Thus, phycocyanin contained in spirulina has been shown not to stop tumour growth and destroy cancer cells. At the moment, this immune-enhancing protein is still being researched for its potential in cancer treatment.
Spirulina Can Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause many serious diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. In the past, scientists have shown that taking 4.5 grams of spirulina every day can effectively lower blood pressure.
Doctors believe that this occurs as a reaction to an increase in nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a signalling molecule that contributes to the relaxation and dilation of blood vessels. This means that spirulina helps keep the arteries clear and prevent blood clots, reducing strain on your heart and reducing the chance of you experiencing a stroke.
Allergic Rhinitis Relief
Allergic rhinitis is a condition that occurs when nasal passageways become inflamed. This disease is often caused by environmental allergens, and it can be triggered by pollen, animal hair, and wheat dust. Spirulina can sometimes be used as a primary or additional treatment method for symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Studies suggest that taking spirulina can help alleviate symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and itching.
There are many different types of anaemia depending on the cause of the disease, but the most common occurs when there’s not enough haemoglobin in the red blood cells. The condition commonly occurs in children, women, and older people, and its symptoms include prolonged feelings of weakness and fatigue.
One study of 40 older people with a history of anaemia concluded that spirulina supplements can help increase the haemoglobin content in the red blood cells and improve the general function of the immune system.
Spirulina Improves Muscle Strength and Endurance
The main reason why athletes and regular people experience muscle fatigue is oxidative damage, which is caused by intense exercise. However, you can include certain plant foods in your diet to decrease muscle damage and alleviate the unpleasant feelings that come with it. One of these plant foods is spirulina. This supplement improves muscle strength and endurance due to its rich antioxidant content.
Improved Blood Sugar Control
Studies on animals have shown a strong connection between spirulina consumption and lowered blood sugar levels. In some cases, the results shown by spirulina were even better than those of widely used diabetes drugs such as metformin. Scientists expect that spirulina should have the same excellent results in humans, but more research is necessary.
Immune System Support
Spirulina contains numerous nutrients necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system. In addition, some research has shown that spirulina also boosts the production of white blood cells and antibodies responsible for fighting viruses and bacteria in your body. Some animal studies even found that spirulina is effective against herpes, flu, and HIV. However, there isn’t enough evidence to back up these effects in humans.
Better Eye and Oral Health
Spirulina is full of zeaxanthin, a plant pigment that can reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related vision loss.
In addition, spirulina’s antibacterial properties can potentially help humans maintain good oral health. For example, one study showed that mouthwash that contained added spirulina reduced dental plaque and the risk of gingivitis in people who used it instead of regular mouthwash.
Possible Side Effects of Spirulina
Spirulina is full of vital and beneficial nutrients. However, as with any supplement, you should talk to your doctor before starting to take it. Spirulina is generally safe, but a small number of people who take it experience headaches, muscle pain, sweating, and insomnia. Some individuals can also experience an allergic reaction to spirulina. This is particularly in people with allergies to seafood, seaweed, and other sea vegetables.
Wild-grown spirulina can be contaminated with heavy metals and bacteria. And when the supplement is consumed in large amounts, some of these toxins may pose a danger to your liver. Plus, some spirulina may contain microcystin, a contaminant that can cause serious liver and kidney problems, so make sure you use products that have been certified free of contamination. These contaminations are not present in FUL Spirulina and we take special care to grow our Spirulina in a safe, closed loop environment.
People who have the following medical conditions should also reconsider taking this supplement:
How to Use Spirulina?
Spirulina is most commonly used as a supplement, either as a loose, dried powder or pressed tablets. There is no recommended dose for spirulina. As a general rule, you should use the product label recommendation and never exceed that dose. Daily doses used in clinical studies range from 1 to 10 grams, but it’s recommended to take 1 to 3 grams of spirulina daily.
You can also opt for FUL® sparkling drinks, which contain all the beneficial nutrients from spirulina without the blue algae’s off-putting taste. Browse the selection on our website right now!
Do not self-treat any condition mentioned above with spirulina. Always discuss new supplements, including spirulina, with your doctor to find out whether they are safe for you.
What does spirulina do to the body?
Spirulina contains a lot of micronutrients – bioactive and essential – and it’s packed with a plant-based protein known as phycocyanin. Studies show that spirulina has potent antioxidant, pain-relief, anti-inflammatory, and brain-protective properties.
Is it safe to take spirulina every day?
Yes, consuming spirulina every day is safe, and a lot of people add powdered spirulina to enrich their shakes or smoothies or drink FUL®.
When should I take spirulina?
Generally, it does not matter when you consume it. People see the benefits regardless of when, how and how often they take spirulina.
Is there anything bad about spirulina?
While spirulina is generally considered to be very healthy, it can sometimes be contaminated with toxic metals, harmful bacteria and microcystins if it is grown in wild conditions. Consumption of contaminated spirulina can result in liver damage, nausea, weakness, vomiting, and abnormal thirst. FUL® Spirulina is NOT grown in these contamination-prone conditions, and thus avoids the potential risks associated with other brands of Spirulian.
Does spirulina thicken hair?
Yes, if used externally, spirulina has been shown to speed up hair growth. This blue algae has been used as an ingredient in shampoos and conditioning treatments because it’s known to help with hair re-growth.