15 Amazing Spirulina Powder Benefits

0
456
By OKcamera on Shutterstock



Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) used as a dietary supplement (intended to supplement a person’s diet but is not considered food). Spirulina is an easily grown, non-toxic spirulina species of Arthospira bacteria.

Among the several species of Spirulina, Spirulina Platensis, Spirulina Maxima, and Spirulina Fusiformis are extensively used as nutrient-dense foods. Spirulina, like seaweed, grows in freshwater habitats like lakes, ponds, rivers.

shutterstock 1721834281
By pilipphoto on Shutterstock

Spirulina supplements are often referred to as superfoods with their high nutrient density (number of nutrients for the given volume of food), Phytonutrients, and antioxidants. Spirulina is frequently used as a vegan source of protein, which consists of 55-70% of protein by weight.

One of the best parts of spirulina powder benefits is that it is recommended for long flights and space travels as a nutritional supplement. It is believed to have vitamin B12, but in reality, it only contains pseudo vitamin B12.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlights that ‘Vitamin B-12 from algae appears not to be bioavailable.’ The first use of Spirulina as a dietary supplement is dated back to the ancient Aztecs as an endurance-booster and also to treat various illnesses.

Spirulina is collected or grown in water pools, and later freeze-dried and then is sold as either powder form or Spirulina tablets or capsules.

Spirulina powder is available in green and blue. Green Spirulina is a whole cell, whole food with a fishy scent and taste. But, Spirulina powder benefits are more in the blue one. Blue Spirulina is an extract with a neutral taste and smell which is more nutrient-dense and has more health benefits than the former.

Health Benefits Of Spirulina Powder

Even though the Spirulina powder benefits are numerous, here are a few:

shutterstock 1721834290
By pilipphoto on Shutterstock

1. Excellent Nutrient Profile Of Spirulina Supplements

The main part of Spirulina powder benefits is that it is highly nutritious. The microscopic blue-green algae are loaded with a lot of nutrients.

A tablespoon of dried spirulina powder contains:

  • Calories-20 gms
  • Carbs-2 gms
  • Proteins-4 gms
  • Thiamine(Vit B1)-11% of RDA
  • Riboflavin(Vit B2)-15% of RDA
  • Niacin(Vit B3)-4% of RDA
  • Copper-21% of RDA
  • Iron-11% of RDA

It also has a significant amount of Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Gamma-linolenic acid(an essential fatty acid), and traces of every other element that the human body needs. It has both the essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

The Spirulina supplements have an excellent protein profile with all the essential amino acids in them, almost comparable to eggs. Spirulina is an extremely rich source of carotenoid antioxidants such as beta carotene (provitamin A) and zeaxanthin.

It is one of the most nutrient-dense food on earth.

2. Regulates Cholesterol

Cholesterol regulation is one of the most useful Spirulina powder benefits. Regular intake of Spirulina supplements positively affects regulating the body’s cholesterol. Studies have shown that consuming Spirulina frequently positively affects blood lipids. It brings down the ‘bad’ Low-density Lipoprotein(LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, which have deleterious effects on the heart.

It can uplift the relatively ‘good’ High-density lipoprotein(HDL) cholesterol. It prevents the clogging of blood vessels, mitigating heart disease, and strokes.

3. Antioxidants

One of the most important Spirulina benefits is antioxidants. Oxidation is the process that leads to the inflammation of cells, which over a long time may potentially lead to cancer. Spirulina has huge amounts of antioxidants in the form of carotenoids, one of the world’s powerful antioxidants.

Phycocyanin, a carotenoid pigment responsible for the blue/green color of the Spirulina, prevents oxidation and refrains inflammation of the cells, and inhibits tumor formation. Spirulina powder benefits include the anti-inflammatory property against allergic rhinitis.
It is also proved that it increases the antioxidant enzymes in the blood.

shutterstock 487353895
By Elena Schweitzer on Shutterstock

4. Blood Pressure

Based on the reports of WHO, an average of 1.28 billion adults between 30-79 years have hypertension. Blood pressure increase may cause harmful effects on the body. High blood pressure is one of the major causes of premature death worldwide.

Regular Spirulina supplementation has a positive impact on blood pressure. It was found that 4.5 gms of Spirulina reduces the blood pressure in the individuals to the normal level.

It is believed that Spirulina increases the production of nitric oxide, which helps your blood vessels relax. Blood pressure regulation is one of the profitable spirulina powder benefits.

5. Boon for Diabetic Patients

Spirulina supplementation regularly has a significant effect on reducing blood sugar levels. In a study with 25 people with type 2 diabetes, two gms of daily spirulina significantly reduced the blood sugar levels.

This suggests that Spirulina can be used in controlling type 2 diabetes. Regular intake of Spirulina is to balance blood sugar and prevent heart disease, which can be the best Spirulina powder benefits.

When the researchers gave type 1 diabetic mice Spirulina extract orally, in a 2017 study, the mice showed:

  • Blood sugar levels decrease.
  • Insulin level increase in blood.
  • Liver enzyme markers increase.

Though, more research is needed to prescribe the medication to humans in controlling blood sugar.

6. Anti-cancer Properties

Research shows that taking Spirulina regularly inhibits cancer development in the body. Studies have shown that Spirulina has reduced the size of the tumors significantly in animals and humans. It can be the best part of spirulina powder benefits, as it prevents the deadliest disease.

Spirulina consumption has greatly impacted cancer tumors, especially oral cancer. Oral Submucous Fibrosis(OSMF); oral cancer with precancerous lesions was reduced by 45% in India by taking 1 gm Spirulina daily.

More research is yet to do to know more about the anti-cancer properties of Spirulina.

shutterstock 1578651949
By myboys.me on Shutterstock

7. Alleviates Allergy

Some people are allergic to dust, pollen, or pets which leads to the inflammation of nasal airways. Studies have shown that taking Spirulina can alleviate the allergic reaction, especially to allergic rhinitis.

Test tube studies suggest that Spirulina can reduce the allergic reaction by preventing the release of histamines, the chemicals which are responsible for allergic reactions such as runny nose, sneezing, swelling of the soft tissues, and watery eyes.

2011 research has produced evidence showing that consuming Spirulina positively affects allergic rhinitis. Medical and pharmacological sciences studies have proved spirulina benefits on allergic rhinitis.

Dried spirulina intake can reduce most of the allergic symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, itching, and nasal discharge.

8. Alleviates Stress

Spirulina powder benefits include the regulation of mental health. Research in 2018 highlights the role of Spirulina in regulating mood disorders. Spirulina is a rich source of Tryptophan, an amino acid that is essential in the production of serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that reduces depression and anxiety. Serotonin is used in antidepressants. Serotonin regulation improves an individual’s mental health in a significant amount. Serotonin plays a pivotal role in mental health.

Thus a daily dose of Spirulina would regulate the serotonin level. However, more clinical research is yet to conduct in this field.

9. Monitors Eye and Oral Health

Spirulina is highly concentrated with zeaxanthin, a plant pigment that reduces the risk of cataracts and vision loss at an early age. It decreases age-related macular degeneration. However, a lot of research is needed to know more about it.

The antibacterial properties of Spirulina promote good oral health. Research has shown that Spirulina enhanced mouthwash alleviates the risk of gingivitis and dental plaque in people.

Another study has shown that it reduces the risk of oral cancer in people who are addicted to tobacco.

10. Toxicity Absorber

Contamination is one of the main concerns for many infectious diseases around the world. There is a lot of risk of poisoning due to contamination in food and especially water. Spirulina is effective in treating heavy metals toxicity, according to a 2016 study review.

Due to its antitoxic properties, It is used to counteract the pollutants in the body. A few of them are:

  • Arsenic
  • Fluoride
  • Mercury
  • Iron

Spirulina is highly used in arsenic toxicity. It has a great impact on chronic arsenic poisoning, one of the most common poisonings globally due to heavy metal contamination.

11. Immunity booster

It is believed that Spirulina boosts our immune system as it contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Animal and Test tube studies have shown that Spirulina increases the production of antibodies and infection-fighting proteins in the blood.

Also, the immune-strengthening properties of Spirulina can be useful in eliminating the candida cells. Research proves that white blood cell production boosts, vital in fighting infection and chronic illnesses.

However, it is not tested in humans. Chlorella, a type of blue-green algae, did not boost immunity in response to a flu vaccine.

12. Reduces body weight

People starve their stomachs to lose excess fat and body weight. Spirulina is an excellent food that aims to lose weight. People take low calories to lose weight. Spirulina supplements contain all the nutrients with low calories.

siora photography cixohzDpNIo unsplash 1
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

So, Spirulina supplements can be used as a highly nutritious and low-calorie food. Spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that can supplement a balanced diet for a person on a diet.

The excellent health benefits of Spirulina make it one of the best plant-based supplements.

13. Boost metabolism

The Health Benefits of Spirulina include a boost in the metabolism. A higher rate of metabolism indicates active metabolic reactions in the body, which makes people feel active all day. 

A 2018 study suggests that uptake of 6 gms of Spirulina increases metabolic rate and a healthy weight loss with enhanced quality of life.

 Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends combining one teaspoon of spirulina powder with 12 ounces of lime juice and freezing the mixture in ice cube trays for a healthy boost.

According to Dr. Oz, Spirulina and lime enhance energy performance because they unlock sugar from our cells. The cold from ice boosts metabolic energy while also giving our bodies a wake-up call.

Despite this, studies are further needed to study the benefits deeper.

14. Gut health

Taking Spirulina as a part of your diet enhances your digestion. It is proven that Spirulina contains the essential amino acids that are important in the production of digestive enzymes. Regular updates of Spirulina aid your digestion.

Since it doesn’t have fiber content in it, it is recommended to add Spirulina to your fiber foods. Primary studies have found that Spirulina can also be used to treat liver disorders like cirrhosis in people with chronic hepatitis.

Further studies are needed to confirm any benefits.

15. Building muscle

Spirulina is one of the primitive blue-green algae on the planet that is one of the best supplements for building muscles. Ibnosina journal of medical and biomedical sciences has stated that adding Spirulina to your diet increases your muscles.

The study highlights that eight-week use of Spirulina increases your isometric muscle development by 22%. One of the spirulina powder benefits is its high muscle-building capacity.

Here’s another reason why you can add it to your diet: it reduces muscle degeneration during exercise and prevents DOMs because of its highly complex branched amino acids. Its antioxidants also prevent your muscles from fatigue, a cherry on the top.

Dosage And Preparation Of Spirulina

Spirulina powder benefits dosage depends on the individual. Many doses of Spirulina have been prescribed to the research. The optimal ibuprofen dosage will depend upon your age, gender, and medical history. There is currently no reliable scientific evidence to recommend Spirulina for you.

Talk to your healthcare provider to get personalized advice about the type of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and other health conditions. Spirulina powder benefits can only be reaped to their maximum with personalized dosage recommendations. In several studies, doses of 1 – 8 grams daily for 4-6 weeks have been used to know the results on hypotension.

This is compared to a controlled trial administered an oral dose for three days. Dosages must be taken as prescribed by your healthcare provider to avoid complications. Despite many Spirulina powder benefits, its usage is less due to its savory taste.

How To Eat The Blue-green Algae?

Spirulina is available in dried powder form, Spirulina tablets, and capsules. Spirulina is often used in protein and energy-boosting mixes. Spirulina enhanced diet can be used as a medicinal food.

Spirulina’s slightly savory, sea vegetable flavor is off-putting to some people. They can balance the flavor with some sweet flavored fruits like Mango, banana.

However, its intense earthiness can off-put a sweet juice or smoothie. Yet, you can make your favorite recipe without compromising with the spirulina powder benefits. Spirulina powder benefits can be obtained with a taste of flavor in the following ways-

As a dried powder,

  • You can mix it in your sweet smoothie to mask the sea flavors.
  • Sprinkle Spirulina onto your favorite juice for a nutritional boost.
  • Add Spirulina to your matcha green tea for a creamy morning breakfast.
  • Mix Spirulina to your lemon cocktail, like lemon drop martini.
  • Make energy balls with nuts, figs, and Spirulina for a superfood bite.
  • Replace ground seaweed with Spirulina for a powerful flavor.
  • Substitute spinach with Spirulina in your recipes.
  • Spirulina is used as a green food coloring sometimes.

In some healthy restaurants, Spirulina is used in desserts. Even a small amount of Spirulina can change your drink to a deep blue-green, almost black color.

One thing you need to avoid with Spirulina recipes is, avoid eating teaspoons of raw powder as it ‘tastes like a spoonful of flour.’

Tip: Keep water in handy to prevent green teeth.

Side effects and Risk Factors

Despite the numerous spirulina powder benefits, there are a few downsides to it. Ignorance to them can have a negative impact on your health. 

Contaminated Spirulina can often lead to side effects. The Source of Spirulina, from where it is harvested, is very important to avoid contamination. Spirulina harvested from wild habitats has a high chance of contamination. For the following reasons, Spirulina powder benefits can’t be reaped by everyone.

Toxic effects

Spirulina powder benefits are alleviated due to the contamination. Spirulina grown in contaminated habitats contain high amounts of heavy metals, infectious bacteria, and harmful particles called Microcystins.

Microcystins are released from the blue-green algae itself. Spirulina releases them in stress conditions as a defense mechanism. When consumed in high amounts, these Microcystins can cause damage to the liver.

Microcystins-rich algae are highly toxic to the liver. It has been a growing concern in many developed countries. However, Spirulina grown in a controlled environment, with the least stress, has very few Microcystins.

Scientists are also experimenting with habitats for the blue-green algae to produce fewer Microcystins and how to remove them. So, it’s highly important to buy Spirulina only from an authentic source.

Bad for autoimmune diseases

Spirulina indeed boosts your immune system to a greater extent. But unfortunately, in people with autoimmune diseases, this blue-green algae can worsen the conditions.

Studies highlight that Spirulina boosts your immune system by increasing the production of natural killer cells (NK cells). These natural killer cells attack foreign antigens, cancer cells, or dysfunctional body cells. They attack at the cellular level and kill them.

But in people with autoimmune disease, the increase in the number of natural killer cells can worsen the conditions. Sometimes it is fatal to the person. It also affects your skin and muscles in severe autoimmune responses, although it is rare.

So people with autoimmune diseases should avoid all algal supplements.

Slows down blood clotting

Spirulina has an anticoagulant effect on the blood. Anticoagulants thin down the bloodstream and slow down the clotting of the blood.

Clotting prevents the excessive loss of blood during an external injury or internal bleeding.

Spirulina in people with blood disorders or in people taking blood thinners is dangerous because it prevents blood clotting, which may be fatal in most cases.

Avoid Spirulina

  • If you are a pregnant women
  • If you are breastfeeding
  • If you have any allergies to other sea vegetables and seaweed.
  • If you have any autoimmune disease.

The primary symptoms of side effects often include stomach problems, muscle weakness, liver damage, headache, insomnia, thirst, and heart palpitations. However, further research is required to risk any spirulina powder benefits.

Bottom line

Though there are many spirulina powder benefits, to reap the health benefits from Spirulina, they must be taken in the prescribed dosage in a prescribed way. You need to re-check the package information and make sure you are not allergic to any compounds.

Avoid Spirulina in any of the above-mentioned medical conditions. Many academic research institutions are experimenting with various Spirulina powder benefits on different age groups in society.

Peer-reviewed studies suggest that more research is needed before any health claims relating to Spirulina can be confirmed. Among all the fads in the present world, you need to follow someone who is authentic to provide medical advice correctly.

More research is yet to be done to learn more about the Spirulina powder benefits.

——————–

While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 

Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here