Curious about spirulina benefits? We’re here to help!
The concepts of what we consider “healthy eating” have gone through a revolution over the past decade. It can be hard to keep up with the newest news and research.
On top of that, how do you know which clean eating trends are worth their weight in salt and which ones are a bust?
Gluten, sugar, sodium, and dairy are just a few foods that have been in the spotlight recently. It’s hard to keep track of what you should and shouldn’t be eating to be the healthiest version of you that you can possibly be.
The Superfood Spirulina
One of the big focuses of the healthy eating wave recently has been ‘superfoods,’ or foods so chock full of health benefits that you’d be crazy not to incorporate them into your life.
Arguably the most prominent and notable superfood is an algae called spirulina.
Yes, you heard that right – spirulina is an algae, and it’s about to change your life!
Many healthy living trends call for drastic lifestyle changes, and that’s not always simple to implement in the short term.
Spirulina is incredible because it’s so easy to incorporate into your day-to-day routine. Consuming a tiny bit per day will give you an innumerable amount of health benefits, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top 11 spirulina benefits you should be aware of.
Read on to find out more about the health benefits of spirulina, and what it can do for you when you include it in your diet!
But first… what is spirulina?
What is Spirulina?
So we’ve gotten the whole “spirulina is algae” thing out of the way, but what does that mean, really?
Spirulina is the same algae that you see on the surface of lakes and ponds, but it goes through an extensive process before it becomes the easy-to-eat superfood that we know and love.
Spirulina is a deep blue-green color, and is spiral in shape.
While “pond scum” may not have been on the top of your list of delicious foods you’d like to try, spirulina can actually be quite tasty! With such an easy way to pack in a crazy amount of health benefits with minimal effort and no downside, what’s not to love?
Spirulina began receiving a lot of attention back in the ’70s when scientists identified it as a superfood due to its extreme nutrient density. However, it wasn’t until decades later that spirulina gained mainstream popularity.
The real boom has been over the last 5-10 years when health-conscious eaters began to identify the depth of spirulina benefits and what the superfood can do for them and their health goals.
Why should you incorporate spirulina into your daily healthy regime? What is Spirulina good for?
Let’s break down the top 11 spirulina benefits!
How To Supplement With Spirulina
Spirulina is an excellent health supplement with a whole host of benefits, which makes sense granted its superfood status, but what’s the best way to supplement with it?
Spirulina is available in various forms, as are most health supplements, including the most common variations which are tablets and powders.
Since spirulina is a potent supplement, it’s important to pick the right type for you, because otherwise you might end up not wanting to continue with it.
Spirulina tablets aren’t as common as the dried powder supplement.
Yet what they offer is a convenient way to get your daily fix of the superfood without having to blend it into your drinks or food and turning them green.
If you can’t stomach the thought of adding the blue-green algae to your morning smoothie or porridge, then tablets are hands-down the best option for you.
However, there is a caveat.
Even in tablet form, spirulina can have a pungent odor due to the strong aroma that spirulina produces.
So that means first thing in the morning whenever you open up your bag or container of spirulina tablets, you’re going to be hit with the smell whether you like it or not.
This is simply an unavoidable reality of taking a supplement that’s sourced from an algae such as this one.
Nevertheless, if you choose to take spirulina in tablet form, the short-term discomfort should be outweighed by the long-term convenience of being able to simply take it with a glass of water.
Plus, there’s the added bonus of portability and the slow-release nature of tablets which means the effects will gradually be felt over the course of the day.
Powdered spirulina is the most popular choice for taking the algae as a supplement, and it’s definitely not because it tastes amazing.
Far from it.
Spirulina powder is preferred by many because it can be easily combined with a number of ingredients to make health recipes that have that extra slew of benefits.
If you’re already committed to downing a green smoothie or juice on a regular basis, then why not make it even healthier by throwing some spirulina powder in it?
You will also be able to get a greater dose of the green stuff with a powdered form, and you can more precisely measure out quantities if that’s something you’re interested in doing.
Of course, the tradeoff here is that it won’t be as portable as a container of tablets and the taste of the power might seep into your meals.
Plus, it requires more preparation to implement spirulina powder into your diet, unlike with the tablets.
How Often Should You Take Spirulina?
Spirulina is an excellent health supplement packed full of benefits which you’ll discover throughout this guide.
But just how often can you take spirulina, and are there any side effects associated with the supplement?
The recommended daily dosage for spirulina to get the most out of the algae is 1-3 grams. However, if you’re prepared to take even more of the green stuff to potentially maximize the benefits, it’s safe to use up to 10g and can be even more effective at that high dosage.
If you’re using a spirulina powdered supplement, take care to measure out the powder so that you get an exact dose otherwise you could take up more than intended or end up with a different dose every time you take it.
With tablets, getting the right dosage is simply a case of following the instructions on the label which will be based on the potency of the supplement in question.
Known Side Effects
For the most part, spirulina is safe, so you don’t have too much to be concerned about.
Though with that said, there are more risks of serious side effects for people with specific health conditions and some general side effects you could experience.
- May contain toxins
Some batches of spirulina can be contaminated, depending on how the algae was harvested.
If the water the algae was taken from is heavily polluted with bacteria or heavy metals, that could spell bad news for the superfood.
Spirulina also produces microcystins, which are harmful particles intended to protect the algae from predators. If a human consumes too many of these microcystins, they can prove toxic to the liver.
Generally speaking, though, this shouldn’t be an issue you come across with the spirulina you pick up in your local health food store. This is because in the lab scientists can remove microcystins, so that when it arrives on the shelves the supplement is free from the harmful particles.
If you are worried about consuming toxins, though, it might be worth considering organic spirulina supplements which have the highest quality.
- Could affect autoimmune disorders
If you have an autoimmune disorder, exercise caution when it comes to taking spirulina supplements.
This is because it can worsen certain diseases including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
This may be at odds with the fact that spirulina is touted to boost your immune system, but the increase in natural killer cells, while a good thing for common illness, is a bad thing for autoimune disorders.
- Might affect those with allergies
Some say that spirulina can help alleviate symptoms associated with allergies.
While this may be true, there is some evidence to suggest that it could also have a negative effect.
As such, always consult your doctor before taking this supplement for allergies, or to be safe avoid it altogether.
- Can act as an anticoagulant
Finally, spirulina supplements can have an anticoagulant effect, which means that it could thin your blood and extend the time it takes for the blood to clot.
Since clotting can help slow down excessive bleeding among other things, this could be bad news.
Especially if you take a blood thinner or already have a bleeding disorder, you don’t want to take the risk.
1. Spirulina Helps Your Body Detox
Spirulina is algae, which means that it’s a plant.
Chlorophyll is amazing at helping the body get rid of toxins floating around in the bloodstream, which is essential for good health and long-term well-being. Another one of its less-known benefits is that it binds radioactive isotopes in the body to heavy metals, so it’s often used in tandem with radioactive therapy to help with detox.
If you or anyone you know is trying to detox after the holiday season, keep these spirulina benefits in mind – you’ll notice a difference in no time!
2. Can Spirulina Help Prevent Cancer in the Long Run?
Yes, you read that right. Spirulina is a superfood not only because of its dense nutrient profile, but also because it has profound effects on the human body and may prevent diseases like cancer from affecting the body.
More than 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles have been published confirming that spirulina has a significant effect on cancer cells, due to it being an antioxidant and “anti-proliferative” force in the body.
Cancer will affect over 1.5 million new people this year in just the United States alone. Whether you personally have been affected by cancer or you’ve seen it affect people around you, you know that it’s a relentless disease with various effective treatments but no known cure.
Do what you can for your health and well-being and incorporate spirulina into your daily regimen to help your cancer prevention efforts. Let’s talk about a few more spirulina benefits!
3. It Will Help With Your Weight Loss Efforts
If you’re anything like most of the population, you have some sort of weight loss regime in place, and you’re trying to look your best!
Whether your regime involves diet, exercise, or a combination of both, you should consider adding spirulina to your weight loss plan.
Spirulina is extremely nutrient-dense and full of protein, which are the two hallmarks of a food being good for weight loss.
Protein takes a longer time for the body to break down than carbohydrates and fats. So, ingesting protein-rich foods helps with burning fat and aids lean tissue maintenance.
To get the most out of it, try to ingest your spirulina midday after a workout. This will help curb hunger, and the protein in spirulina benefits your muscles while you rest.
4. Spirulina Is Good for Your Eyes
Spirulina is chock full of essential vitamins. One of them is vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential to eye health and function, and a diet rich in vitamin A will help ensure that your eyes keep functioning at their best.
In this day and age of staring at screens all day, it’s more important than ever to make sure your eyes get everything they need to stay healthy. Forget eating carrots for eye health – move on to spirulina, and don’t look back!
5. Spirulina Helps Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a problem that has been plaguing the modern world forever, but there has been a near-exponential rise in cases of high blood pressure over the last ten years.
High blood pressure affects much of the modern world either directly or indirectly, so finding ways to reduce blood pressure that don’t have harmful side effects like some pharmaceutical drugs is always a win/win scenario.
Spirulina is an excellent natural treatment for high blood pressure. An active ingredient that is found in high concentrations in spirulina, phycocyanin, affects hypertension and can eventually play a part in reducing high blood pressure.
Do your part in keeping your heart healthy and use spirulina to keep your blood pressure in check. Better safe than sorry!
6. Spirulina Fights Allergies
If you’re one of the millions of people around the world that suffers from allergies, you know they can be truly debilitating and prevent you from being your naturally energetic, bubbly self when they’re in full swing.
To make it worse, it seems like almost anything can trigger allergies – dust, pet dander, pet saliva, common foods, and unavoidable parts of the outside world like pollen and cedar.
If you suffer from allergies, fear not – spirulina is here to save the day!
In a study that compared spirulina against a placebo, spirulina significantly affected allergy symptoms like sneezing and congestion and reduced allergy symptoms overall.
For allergy relief, incorporate spirulina into your daily health regimen and reap the benefits!
7. Spirulina Helps Lower Cholesterol
Managing cholesterol is a crucial factor in healthy living. High cholesterol negatively impacts the heart and does not bode well for a happy and healthy future.
Cholesterol can be lowered and kept in check by ensuring you’re sticking to a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and a consistent exercise regimen.
That being said, if you need a little help keeping your cholesterol in check, consider spirulina before you consider prescription medications with a list of side effects a mile long.
Spirulina has been tested in groups of elderly patients, and after incorporating 8 grams of spirulina into their daily regimen for 16 weeks, significantly lower cholesterol was observed. However, that’s not all that spirulina does – spirulina has also been observed to help prevent cardiovascular disease in the long run.
If heart health and cholesterol levels are a concern of yours, consider using spirulina to ease your worries and get on the right track.
8. Spirulina Enhances the Immune System
A healthy immune system is essential to ward off nasty viruses like the common cold – that’s especially important at this time of year when it seems like the common cold is everywhere! Spirulina has been clinically proven to increase immune system function, which directly prevents viral infections.
What’s not to love about that?
In addition to its direct impact on immune system functionality, spirulina also helps boost white blood cell production, which helps the body fight infections and heal itself faster. White blood cells also play a part in keeping bad bacteria from entering your body and making you sick.
Yes, that’s right – spirulina not only helps your body fight off illness, it also helps speed up the healing process.
Make sure you start taking spirulina before your local cold and flu season, so you don’t have to suffer this year!
9. Spirulina May Help Red Blood Cells
If you’ve ever gone to see a doctor because you were experiencing chronic fatigue, it’s likely you were tested for anemia. Anemia is an exceedingly common condition that affects red blood cells and hemoglobin in the bloodstream, resulting in fatigue and drowsiness throughout the day.
As anyone who has experienced anemia can tell you, it greatly affects productivity and wellbeing day to day unless it’s treated.
While studies looking at the link between spirulina and anemia are ongoing, one conclusive study looked at an elderly population with a history of anemia. These patients were given daily spirulina supplements for an extended period of time, and as a result there was an increase in hemoglobin in the blood.
This is promising news for spirulina as a supplemental treatment of anemia. We will keep you posted on dosage recommendations as additional studies are published over the coming months and years, so stay tuned!
10. Spirulina May Help With Controlling Blood Sugar
Blood sugar regulation is at the center of Diabetes, a group of conditions that affect millions of people around the world. In studies done on animals, spirulina has shown to reduce blood sugar levels significantly, sometimes even outperforming pharmaceutical treatments for Diabetes.
In addition to its effectiveness at lowering blood sugar levels in animals, spirulina has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels in adult patients with Type 2 diabetes. Keep in mind that the human study is small and only lasted for eight weeks – it is promising, but additional information is needed before we can recommend spirulina for extended blood sugar control.
That being said, promising is great, especially when it’s in relation to a disease as prevalent as diabetes. We’ll take promising over nothing! Stay tuned for additional information as new studies are published.
11. Spirulina Helps With Pms and Reduces Inflammation
The ladies reading this article are well aware that PMS is no joke – the pain and cramping associated with PMS are debilitating for many women, and can make life miserable in the days leading up to their menstrual cycle.
Spirulina is full of gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, an anti-inflammatory agent that can be a lifesaver from anyone experiencing PMS or chronic inflammation.
In addition to its effects on PMS and inflammation, a promising study has been done on mice that indicates spirulina may have a significant effect on reducing arthritic pain and inflammation almost immediately – how amazing is that?
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
These 11 spirulina benefits only scratch the surface of what this amazing superfood can do for your life.
Whether you’re focused on fatigue, health, or just being the best you that you can be, start incorporating spirulina into your daily health regimen to experience the innumerable wonderful effects of this superfood.
Which benefit would improve your life the most? Leave a comment below and let us know!