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, spirulina is one of the best-known supplements in the world. Here are the health benefits of spirulina.
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 of spirulina is 3 grams, but you can use the doses up to 10 grams per day. The following single tablespoon dried spirulina 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 in the list of most nutritious food on the planet. Spirulina’s 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 (2, 3).
Spirulina is a blue-green type of algae that grows in both fresh and salty water. In addition, it is one of the nutritious food in the world.
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 (4, 5, 6).
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 (7).
Spirulina has anti-cancer properties and is effective against a precancerous mouth lesion known as OSMF.
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 (8, 9).
High BP has known as a major risk factor for many diseases. Therefore, spirulina may lower blood pressure.
Can Reduce LDL Cholesterol Levels
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 (11, 12, 13).
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 (14, 15, 16).
Fatty structures may become oxidize in your body, which may drive many diseases to progress. The antioxidant in spirulina may prevent oxidative damage in your body.
It 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 (17, 18, 19, 20).
The main active compound in spirulina is phycocyanin. Thus, it has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
May Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
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 of Spirulina daily 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 (21, 22, 23, 24).
Studies show that spirulina can decrease triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
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 (25, 26, 27, 28, 29).
There is certain evidence that spirulina could help people with type 2 diabetes, and blood sugar reduction.
Can Improve Muscle Strength and Endurance
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 spirulina improves endurance, increases the time to muscular failure during exercise (30, 31).
Spirulina can offer many benefits, including improved stamina and increased muscle strength.
Can Improve Symptoms of 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. Spirulina is an alternative popular treatment for allergic rhinitis symptoms and it can be effective (32).
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 (33).
Spirulina supplements are effective in reducing various symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Can Be 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 (34).
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 (35).
One research study suggests that spirulina may decrease anemia in older adults.
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.
The Bottom Line
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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