What is spirulina?
Spirulina is a kind of blue-green algae that qualifies as a superfood. It has an intense flavour and a great nutritional profile. Taken as a nutritional supplement, it gives us many health benefits. Here we will talk about Spirulina health benefits, nutrition facts, side effects.
Spirulina has a high protein and vitamin content, which makes it an excellent dietary supplement for people on vegetarian or vegan diets.
Research says that spirulina has antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties, as well as the ability to help regulate the immune system.
Spirulina nutrition facts
We have so many nutrients in spirulina in such as tiny volume that it qualifies as a superfood. In one tablespoon (7 grams) we see the following ingredients:
- Energy: 20 calories
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 11% of the RDA
- Carbohydrates: 1.7 grams
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the RDA
- Protein: 4 grams
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 4% of the RDA
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Copper: 21% of the RDA
It also has good amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium along with manganese. You will find every nutrient you need in it.
Also Read: Health benefits of seaweed
Top 10 Spirulina Health Benefits
1. Helps reduce blood pressure
These were patients who had hypertension and were overweight. You lose weight when you use up more energy than you get from your food.
Use of the high-nutrient, low-calorie food spirulina helps satiate your hunger without increasing the calorie intake. You have a healthy meal because of the good amount of nutrients present in spirulina.
Heart disease invariably leads to death and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels play a significant part in it. Decreasing the levels of these substances can help you prevent a heart attack and decreased the incidence of death. Spirulina helps to do this. You must take spirulina regularly both morning and evening.
2. Could be useful for treating cancer
There is evidence through animal studies to show that spirulina reduces tumor size and decrease the occurrence of cancer.
In a study of people with precancerous lesions in the mouth, when they took spirulina 1 gram every day for one year, 45% of them saw the disappearance of these lesions completely.
Oxidative stress will cause damage to the cells and DNA. This kind of damage will increase chronic inflammation that increases the possibility of cancer and other diseases.
Antioxidants in spirulina help decrease the number of free radicals and thus prevent oxidative damage. This antioxidant substance gives spirulina its blue-green color. This is one of the best Spirulina health benefits.
3. Prevents the bad LDL cholesterol from getting oxidized
When the LDL cholesterol gets oxidized, it damages the healthy fatty tissues. This process known as lipid peroxidation is the forerunner for many diseases.
Spirulina prevents the oxidation from happening by neutralizing it. This is due to the antioxidants present in spirulina and it proves to be effective on both animals and humans.
The markers of oxidative damage in people with type 2 diabetes were seen to decrease in a study when they were given 8 grams of spirulina daily.
The indicators of heart disease are cholesterol and high blood pressure. Since both are alleviated through the action of spirulina, it raised the question of whether it would prevent heart disease.
Though studies were yet to be conducted, it is assumed that this seaweed would prove beneficial for fighting heart disease.
4. Protects from allergic symptoms
People usually suffer from allergic reactions to pollen and dust that increases as the season changes. A 2013 study showed that symptoms of an allergic reaction such as a running nose, itching, and nasal congestion significantly reduced when the person took spirulina.
Spirulina soothes the tissues and helps reduce inflammation of the sinus. When you are suffering from sinus issues, you can have spirulina and get relief in a short time. This is one of the effective Spirulina health benefits.
Also Read: Top 10 anti allergy superfoods
Spirulina is shown to reduce fatigue. Take a tablespoon of spirulina in the morning and evening and you will soon be energetic throughout the day.
This is useful for those recovering from illness or for athletes preparing for a meet. The regular intake of spirulina will help them remain fit and active all the time.
The nasal passageways get inflamed when you have allergic rhinitis. This is caused by environmental allergens such as pollen, wheat dust, animal hair, and so on.
Symptoms, such as nasal discharge, nasal congestion, itching, and so on, were reduced when the patient was given spirulina.
Also Read: Natural remedies for seasonal allergies
5. Useful for people having attention deficiency disorder
Spirulina enhanced diet is shown to provide neuroprotection for Parkinson’s disease patients. Spirulina is a source of tryptophan, the amino acid that helps in serotonin production.
Serotonin is important for mental health. The loss of memory is prevented by spirulina by reducing the AB protein accumulation thereby preventing oxidative damage.
This is due to the presence of tryptophan in spirulina. This helps the production of serotonin which is necessary for the health of the brain.
6. Helps you get rid of candida
Candida belongs to the species of microbiota that we find in the person’s vagina, mucosal oral cavity, and the gastrointestinal tract.
We need a healthy balance of the microflora to remain free of diseases and infections. Many ailments such as improper digestion and leaky gut are caused due to the imbalance of the microflora.
Candida overgrowth is a symptom of many autoimmune diseases. Spirulina proves to be a good antibacterial agent, especially against candida because it promotes healthy bacterial growth in the gut.
7. Improves the metabolism
Use of spirulina helps improve appetite and digestion. The improvement in the food intake helps augment metabolic activity.
Does spirulina help with weight loss? A higher metabolic rate helps the person improve his or her energy level. It also helps the person shed weight due to the higher amount of calories they burn.
The study showed that the use of spirulina helps those who were suffering from liver disease by making their metabolism better.
It is seen we can digest spirulina because it does not have fibrous cell walls. In animal studies, it was seen that the gut health of older people improved by taking spirulina.
The studies showed that gut health is preserved by the action of spirulina and the effect of aging did not weaken the gut health.
One can manage the symptoms of diabetes by using spirulina. Fasting blood glucose levels were found to decrease when patients used spirulina.
High fasting blood sugar is a common symptom for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This is one of the best Spirulina health benefits.
8. Distinct anti-toxic activity
In many parts of the world, people suffer from impure drinking water because of the high toxicity levels. Spirulina is capable of counteracting many kinds of pollutants such as arsenic, iron, mercury, lead, and fluoride.
It was recommended by researchers that spirulina be used alongside clinical treatment for people suffering from poisoning. Anaemia is a common complaint in adults aged more than 40 years.
Of the many varieties, the most common one is the one that has a reduction of haemoglobin in the blood. It results in fatigue and feeling of weakness. Use of spirulina is found to increase the haemoglobin content in the blood of adult patients.
9. Cures viral infections
The seaweed shows good antiviral action. Spirulina is given twice a day for those suffering from viral infections. The symptoms of the infection soon disappear.
Taking spirulina regularly will help prevent recurrence of the infection. One of the reasons why people from Japan, Korea, and nearby regions show a lower incidence of AIDS/HIV is spirulina.
In a study group, it was seen that the control group that at brown seaweed 5 grams a day showed remarkable stability in the CD4 cells. These are the cells that fight infection. Also, the HIV-1 viral load remained stable.
10. Stimulant for the immune system
The immune system gets a boost from spirulina. This helps you resist diseases and keep yourself fit. Take spirulina tablets that are available in the form of tablets, powder, and sheet.
Add it to your diet and you will remain free from infections and diseases. Use of spirulina helps reduce exercise-induced muscle fatigue through oxidative stress damage and preserve muscle power due to its anti-oxidative properties.
Studies indicate that prolonged use of spirulina helps the athletes improve their endurance. It proved useful for the user to get better muscle strength in another separate study.
In a study, researchers found that spirulina decreased the intimal aortic surface. This helps prevent the incidence of stroke by reducing the amount of atherosclerosis.
Spirulinaplatensis helps prevent loss of memory. Spirulina boosts energy levels, especially when taken with lime because it has the potential to unlock the sugar from the cells.
Spirulina side effects
Some of the Spirulina side effects that could affect you include muscle pain, allergic reactions, headaches, insomnia, and sweating. If you are allergic to seafood and seaweed you must not take spirulina.
The spirulina you get in the US is grown in the lab. Wild spirulina has the capacity to absorb toxins such as microcystins that cause excessive liver damage from the water. In addition, they also absorb heavy metals and pollutants.
People with an autoimmune condition, a thyroid condition, phenylketonuria, kidney stones, or gout should not take spirulina. Also, do not take it if you are nursing or are pregnant.