Spirulina is a blue-green algae containing a variety of nutrients such as vitamin B, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. In addition, it is a source of vegan protein that contains antioxidants, minerals, chlorophyll, and phycocyanobilins. However, it is one of the best-known supplements in the world.
Spirulina Is Nutritious
Spirulina grows in salty freshwater. In addition, it is cyanobacteria, a single-cell family of microbes often called blue-green algae. A standard daily dose is 3 grams, but you can use the doses up to 10 grams per day. The following single tablespoon of dried powder (7 grams) contains:
- 20 calories
- 4.02 grams of protein
- 1.67 grams of carbohydrate
- 0.54 grams of fat
- 8 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 2 mg of iron
- 14 mg of magnesium
- 8 mg of phosphorus
- 95 mg of potassium
- 73 mg of sodium
- 0.7 mg of vitamin C
Well, spirulina is on the list of most nutritious food on the planet. Its protein is like eggs. Therefore, it provides all the amino acids. Many people claim that it has vitamin B12. However, there is no concrete evidence available.
May Help People With Cancer
Some evidence shows that spirulina has anti-cancer characteristics. Animal research shows it may reduce the size of the cancerous tumors. One study examined 87 Indians with precancerous lesions in their mouth called oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF). For those who took 1 gram of spirulina a day for one year, 45% of lesions were lost compared to only 7% in the control group.
However, half of these people have redeveloped the lesions in the next year when they stopped taking it. In addition, another study of 40 people with OSMF lesions, 1 gram of Spirulina a day, led to more improved symptoms of OSMF than a drug called Pentoxifylline.
May Lower Blood Pressure
A major driver of many serious diseases, including heart attacks, strokes or chronic kidney disease, is high blood pressure. A dose of 4.5 grams per day was shown to lower blood pressure among people with normal BP levels, while 1 gram of spirulina was futile.
However, this decrease is supposed to be driven by increased nitric oxide production, an indicator molecule that helps relax and dilate your blood vessels.
Reduces LDL Cholesterol
In your body, fatty structures are defenseless against oxidative damage. Therefore, lipid peroxidation is a major driver of several serious diseases. For instance, oxidation of LDL cholesterol is one of the key reasons for heart disease.
Spirulina antioxidants seem effective in reducing human and animal lipid peroxidation. In a study conducted in 37 patients with type 2 diabetes, eight grams, a day reduced oxidative damage marks. In addition, the level of antioxidant enzymes also increased.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Oxidative damage may harm DNA and cells. This damage can cause chronic inflammation, leading to cancer and other diseases. Therefore, spirulina is an excellent source of antioxidants to protect cells from damage. Phycocyanin can prevent free radicals and inflammatory molecules, which provide impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Prevents Heart Disease
Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death. However, spirulina can influence many factors that cause heart disease. For example, it can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
One study shows that 2 grams of spirulina per day improved DM (diabetes, mellitus) in 25 people. In another study, 1 gram on a daily basis decreased Triglycerides levels by 16.3%, and LDL (bad cholesterol) by 10.1%. Several other studies found positive effects–albeit with higher doses of 4.5 to 10 grams per day.
May Control Blood Sugar Levels
Animal studies show it can lower sugar levels in the blood. Sometimes it has been more used than diabetes drugs, including Metformin. However, spirulina is also effective in humans. People took 2 grams of spirulina a day for 2 weeks, experienced a slight reduction in blood sugar levels.
They conducted this study in 25 people with type 2 diabetes. HbA1c, the long-term blood sugar marker reduced from 9% to 8%. Studies have estimated that a reduction of 1% in this marker may decrease the risk of death related to diabetes by 21%. The study was, however, small. Further studies are needed.
Improves Muscle Strength
Oxidative damage caused by exercise such as weight training is an important part of muscular failure. Some plant foods have antioxidant properties that can help sportsmen and active people reduce this damage.
Spirulina appears useful, as certain studies have shown that muscle strength and endurance have improved. Studies show that it improves endurance, increases the time to muscular failure during exercise.
Relieves Allergic Rhinitis
The inflammation of your nasal passes is characterized by allergic rhinitis. It is caused by allergens like pollen, animal hair, or even wheat dust. It is an alternative popular treatment for allergic rhinitis symptoms, and it can be effective.
The study shows 2 grams of spirulina per day in 127 persons allergic to rhinitis, symptoms such as nasal discharge, sneezing, congestion, and itching decreased.
Effective Against Anemia
Anemia exists in many forms. A decrease in hemoglobin or red blood cells is the most common element. In older adults, anemia is rather common and leads to prolonged feelings of fatigue and weakness.
Spirulina supplements have increased the hemoglobin content and improved the immune function of red blood cells in 40 older people with a history of anemia.
The Hazard of Herbs
Although spirulina is safe, it may have some side effects. However, some herbs can have hazardous interactions with conventional medicines, so first talk to your therapist, herbalist, or naturopath before you begin any herbal supplement if you are on medication. Stop taking it right away and seek professional help if you react to herbal supplements.
It is a kind of exceptionally healthy cyanobacteria called blue-green algae. Thus, it may improve blood lipid levels, eliminate oxidation, reduce blood pressure, and blood sugar. Always ask your health care provider about herbal supplements you are taking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spirulina is blue-green algae grown in alkaline lakes, which are then dried and powdered. The taste differs by species of it but, unfortunately, few people like it, it tastes just like seaweed.
You can always take it in tablet form if you don’t like spirulina powder or paste taste.
Most spirulina is now produced by commercial plants worldwide. It is difficult to grow as a stable ecology is required in the water and pollution must not contaminate.
If it’s grown in a polluted or chemical fertilizer environment, then the answer is yes.
The spirulina comprises 60% of protein.
Many sources say that you can not overdose. However, it can lead to an overdose of vitamin A.
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Pseudovitamin B(12) is the predominant cobamide of an algal health food, spirulina tablets. J Agric Food Chem. 1999.
Evaluation of chemoprevention of oral cancer with Spirulina fusiformis. Nutr Cancer. 1995.
Spirulina and pentoxyfilline – a novel approach for treatment of oral submucous fibrosis. J Clin Diagn Res. 2013.
Circulating oxidized LDL: a biomarker and a pathogenic factor. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2009.
Antiinflammatory and antihyperalgesic activity of C-phycocyanin. Anesth Analg. 2009.
Preventive effects of Spirulina platensis on skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative stress. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006.
The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens. Cell Mol Immunol. 2011.