Spirulina is one of those things that has been around for a long time.
People are slowly beginning to discover its many health benefits which means now is a good time to get some clarity on it. Let’s begin.
What Is Spirulina?
This is an interesting one because spirulina is often said to be one of the oldest forms on life on our planet. It is referred to as a superfood that contains a lot of nutrients and proteins. Spirulina is a bluish-green algae that was used since the time of the Aztecs to treat diseases, boost endurance and keep up during marathons.
Some of these claims are supported by modern scientific research which makes spirulina a good addition to your food.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Spirulina Powder?
It is a fact that spirulina has a lot of nutrients that are good for the human body. Here’s how it can help.
1. Anti-inflammatory And Anti-Cancer Properties
Spirulina is known for containing a lot of antioxidants. Oxidative damage that can cause long-term inflammation and has the potential to lead to diseases like cancer can be controlled with spirulina.
Phycocyanin is a plant pigment that is the main component in spirulina. It is an antioxidant and also the reason why it is blue-green in color. Phycocyanin is also the reason spirulina can stop inflammation and contain free radicals in the body. It can also kill the cells with cancer and block the growth of tumors in the body.
The antioxidants in spirulina can also help with allergy relief when dealing with problems due to dust, animal hair and pollen.
2. Rich Source Of Nutrients
Spirulina is a kind of cyanobacteria (single-celled microbes) that grows in salt water and fresh water. They produce energy through photosynthesis using sunlight.
One tablespoon or 7 grams of spirulina powder contains:
- 20 calories
- About 1 gram of fat (omega 3 and 6)
- 1.7 grams of carbs (digestible)
- 4 grams of protein (better than eggs)
- 11 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B1
- 15 percent of the RDA of vitamin B2
- 4 percent of the RDA of B3
- 21 percent of the RDA of copper
- 11 percent of the RDA of iron
It also contains manganese, potassium and magnesium and was considered safe to grow in space by NASA for astronauts to use. But it does not contain B12 as some claim. Instead, it has pseudo vitamin B12 which does not do anything for humans.
3. Good For The Heart
With heart disease still being a leading cause of death, the world over it is helpful to know that spirulina has a positive impact on the treatment. It has the ability to reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol while also increasing the good cholesterol in the human body.
The low-density lipoprotein or LDL which is the good one can be increased with spirulina supplements according to a 2018 study. It is also a good and natural way to improve the blood lipid profile which adds to the measures one can take against heart diseases.
4. Might Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the things that causes strokes, heart and kidney diseases among others. Studies show that 4.5 grams of spirulina every day for a period of six weeks can help reduce levels of blood pressure but only if you don’t have a chronic health issue. It’s said that spirulina causes an increase in nitric oxide production which keeps the blood vessels dilated and relaxed.
Daily Recommended Dosage
Strictly speaking, there is no one-size-fits-all recommended dosage when it comes to spirulina. It is available in the form of dried powder but also as tablets, liquids and capsules.
The dosage that works best for you depends on many factors like sex, age and medical history. The best way to take it is after consulting a doctor. The other way is to follow the instructions on the label. This is because of the way each manufacturer handles spirulina while making the supplement.
But some studies show that up to 1 to 3 grams a day for about 12 months is a safe dosage that also does not cause any side effects.
How To Take Spirulina
This is a very popular supplement and can be consumed in many different ways. The taste of spirulina is a bit bitter so individuals who take it in powder form like to mix it in foods like smoothies or juices which turns them slightly green.
You can also add it to yogurts to make it more palatable. There is also the option of adding the powder to a soup, salad or energy ball. If you are taking tablets well, you can do it the usual way.
And it is available in all these forms quite easily in drug stores or online.
Possible Side Effects Of Spirulina
If you are planning to do this without consulting a doctor, first of all, that would be a big mistake. Self-medication is always a terrible idea but especially so if you have a medical condition.
So, if you want to discard the advice about consulting an expert, you should know that there are a few health risks involving spirulina. Here’s the lowdown on that.
- Spirulina is known to cause problems among those who are being treated for diabetes because it impacts blood sugar levels. It is also not great for those who are using blood thinners or immunosuppressants because of drug interactions.
- It is also possible for spirulina to make things worse for those who have auto-immune diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.
- Spirulina is also known to reduce blood clots which is bad for those who have bleeding disorders.
- There isn’t enough scientific evidence to show what the blue-green algae does to pregnant women. There is a risk of toxins which is why doctors insist that pregnant women avoid this supplement.
- Since it grows in the wild, spirulina might have toxins accumulated from bacteria and heavy metals. These toxins may cause stress or even damage the liver.
What Are The Health Benefits of Spirulina Powder? Summary
Spirulina has been a good addition to diet, clearly for a long time now. And it’s known to be effective too. But as is always the case with supplements that work well, it is best to make these changes in consultation with a doctor. That’s because there are a lot of other benefits and side effects too which we have not listed.