Spirulina, the superfood, is among the world’s most popular supplements. Loaded with various nutrients and antioxidants, Spirulina may benefit not only your body but also your brain. Here are 8 scientifically proven health benefits of Spirulina, along with the side effects.
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salt and fresh water. You may be surprised to know that it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. It became popular when NASA proposed that spirulina could be grown in space for use by astronauts because of its immense health benefits. Spirulina contains various nutrients and antioxidants that may not only benefit our body but also our brain.
Spirulina: Nutritional Content Profile
This tiny alga is packed with nutrients. It is not only a good source of Proteins, Copper, and Iron but also Vitamins (Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3). The quality of the protein in spirulina is considered excellent — comparable to eggs. It gives all the essential amino acids that you need. It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium, manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that you need. And other good news is that 7 grams of Spirulina hold only 20 calories and 1.7 grams of digestible carbs. It provides a small amount of fat — around 1 gram.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Spirulina?
1. Can Lower “Bad” Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death. Research shows that spirulina can lower triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol. It may also simultaneously raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
2. Protects “Bad” LDL Cholesterol From Oxidation
Fatty structures in our body can become oxidized, which could be a key driver of many serious diseases. Thanks to the antioxidants in spirulina, the oxidation of fatty structures could be prevented, and thus multiple serious disorders.
3. May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Some evidence suggests that spirulina has anti-cancer properties. The effect of Spirulina on oral cancer — or cancer of the mouth — has been particularly well studied and the results have been very encouraging. The study found that people who took Spirulina showed better results with the disappearance of lesions or redevelopment of lesions.
4. Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the reasons for many serious diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney diseases. A higher dose of Spirulina may lead to lower blood pressure levels, a major risk factor for many diseases.
5. Effective Against Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis, the inflammation in the nasal passageways, could be triggered by environmental allergens, such as pollen, animal hair, or even wheat dust. But, thanks to the nutritional benefits of Spirulina, it is used as an alternative treatment for symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
6. Effective Against Anemia
As you might be aware that there are multiple forms of anemia. The most common is the reduction in hemoglobin or RBCs in the blood, which leads to prolonged feelings of weakness and fatigue. Spirulina helps the body with essential nutrients and this reduces the chances of Anemia.
7. Improve Muscular Strength & Stamina
Spirulina may provide multiple exercise benefits, including enhanced stamina and increased muscle strength.
8. Aids Blood Sugar Control
Some evidence suggests that Spirulina may benefit people with type 2 diabetes, significantly reducing fasting blood sugar levels. However, we need more studies to confirm the findings.
What Are The Side Effects Of Spirulina?
Few adverse effects associated with Spirulina are headaches, allergic reactions, muscle pain, sweating, and insomnia in some cases. People with allergies to seafood, seaweed, and other sea vegetables should avoid spirulina. Additionally, women with a thyroid condition, an autoimmune disorder, gout, kidney stones, phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid it too. Consuming Spirulina may not be appropriate if you are pregnant or nursing. It’s possible that Spirulina grown in the wild can absorb toxins from water, such as microcystins (known to cause severe liver damage), pollutants, and heavy metals.
As with all supplements, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider before using spirulina to discuss whether it’s appropriate for you and whether it can be taken in combination with other medications and/ or supplements.