What Is In Spirulina?
The 13 Science-Based Health Benefits
Miracle foods can be overhyped and can come with a lot of spurious claims and spirulina is one of those foods that makes that super foods list.
We went searching and researching the positive benefits of spirulina that actually stand up to scrutiny and what we found were these 13 health benefits that make spirulina a pretty decent addition to a healthy diet.
To learn more about this pretty decent nutritional food, please read on.
What Is Spirulina?
Where Does It Come From?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) which grows in fresh water. The algae can be harvested from non-contaminated water bodies or ponds.
Spirulina is also commonly used as an ingredient in energy bars, superfood beverages, and natural supplements. You can find it available in dry powder form, including flakes, powders, or as a supplement in capsules and tablets.
Spirulina grows naturally in large bodies of water in subtropical and tropical climates. However, most of the spirulina consumed in the US is grown in laboratories.
This helps eliminate the risk of contamination, which is actually pretty common with wild spirulina.
So What Exactly Is It?
It’s really an edible freshwater algae.
What Is In Spirulina That Makes It A Health Food?
Is It One At All?
Spirulina contains protein, insoluble and soluble fiber and many nutrients that make it a nutritionally dense and valuable asset to almost any diet.
In the following segment, we will highlight the many health benefits of spirulina and the nutritional power that has made it an increasingly popular health food.
Is It Really Healthy?
The following list of benefits would make it seems so.
What Are The 13 Health Benefits Of Spirulina?
Let’s Take A Look…
Many people anecdotally swear by the value of spirulina as a healthful addition to their diet.
It would appear that a lot of the compounds found in spirulina can be validated by science as being beneficial to human health.
The health benefits of spirulina may include:
1. It May Help With Lowering Blood Pressure
Spirulina contains a pigment called phycocyanin which possesses anti-hypertensive properties that lower blood pressure. (1)
This may be exciting news for those people who have difficulty maintaining a healthy blood pressure. The pigment reverses the effects of endothelial dysfunction which is part of the metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome may be one of the contributing causes of many incidents of stroke, heart disease, and even diabetes.
2. It Contains A High Concentration Of Nutrients
Spirulina is considered the most nutrient concentrated food in the world. It is a remarkable source of the following nutrients:
Spirulina may be the best plant based source of iron making it an ideal option vegetarians use.
This vitamin is also called thiamine and is used in digesting proteins and fats. It is also used to improve brain and nerve functioning and it can be adequately provided by spirulina.
The blue-green algae contains more than 26 times the content of calcium in milk.
For vegans, people with lactose intolerance or other dairy allergies, calcium may be a genuine issue and finding good sources of calcium is important to their diet.
Spirulina also contains smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals such as chromium, potassium, vitamin c, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and manganese.
3. It Could Help To Remove Heavy Metals From The Body
This freshwater plant can bind with heavy metals. (2)
The binding enhances the removal of the metals from the body. Daily consumption of spirulina (5 grams) combined with zinc supplements can actually decrease toxicity due to the arsenic metal by a half.
Spirulina may also bind with other radioactive isotopes so it can be useful in radioactivity. The algae also have a high chlorophyll content which boosts the immune system by removing toxins from the blood.
4. It May Accelerate Weight Loss In Some Individuals
There are several mechanisms used by spirulina to lower the storage of fat in the body. This, in turn, helps to decrease the body weight. A good example is by contributing to the burning of fats since protein requires more energy for its metabolism.
Spirulina can also curb hunger due to its high protein content. This benefits overweight people preventing them from eating more food.
It’s a low glycemic food too, which means it won’t elevate blood sugar and impair the fat burning potential of a diet.
5. It Has Antioxidant Properties
The phycocyanin contained in spirulina is also a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. Its antioxidant properties protect the body cells from damage.
Oxidative damage can cause aging including wrinkly skin as well as contributing to the degradation of neural tissue. For this reason, brain foods such as spirulina are excellent for those who want to operate at peak physical and mental capacity. (3)
6. It May Be Useful When Dealing With Allergies
Some of the main symptoms of many allergies are breathing problems which can be caused by nasal congestion.
The congestion is caused by inflammation which can be reduced by spirulina due to the anti-inflammatory properties of phycocyanin.
For people with dog allergies, food allergies and the many people living with inflammation related conditions, this could be of interest although, more scientific research is needed to show definitive proof that spirulina specifically can alleviate symptoms of such allergies.
7. Boosts Your Energy Levels
The chemical composition of spirulina enables it to avail a lot of energy to its consumers. Because it not only contains iron but also antioxidants and protein, it may have a beneficial effect, especially for those who find themselves iron deficient.
8. Fighting Anemia
Spirulina is an effective natural supplement that has the ability to fight anemia.
Adding spirulina to your diet on daily basis is known to help increase the hemoglobin content of red blood cells.
It may be very good for people who are suffering from anemia as well as the elderly.
9. Dealing With Insomnia
People who have difficulty sleeping may benefit a lot from including spirulina in their daily diet.
Spirulina is known to be a rich source of a certain amino acid called tryptophan that helps promote the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps promote better sleep. Tryptophan can assist in the serotonin to melatonin production cycle that helps increase the potential for sleep.
10. Helping the Body Eliminate Toxins
As mentioned above, spirulina is known to have the ability to help remove harmful chemicals from our bodies, which are contained in the foods that we eat.
It is one of the most effective chelating agents known to man. This means that spirulina has the ability to bond chemically with certain metal ions.
Adding a little spirulina powder to your food may actually help eliminate any harmful chemicals it may contain, though it certainly wouldn’t be a reliable eliminator of toxins and shouldn’t be used as such.
11. Adding Beneficial Bacteria To Your Digestive Track
Most of the foods that we consume do not promote the health of our digestive track because of their sterility. In addition, many people with busy modern lifestyles take a lot of antibiotics and also consume heavily processed grains. All which can affect disgestive health.
These factors have been associated with serious intestinal stomachic problems that affect a big number of people.
Adding spirulina to your diet regularly is known to stimulate the growth as well as the production of beneficial bacteria in your gut while controlling candida and other harmful bacteria at the same time. This helps promote intestinal health. (4)
12. Serving As A Super Food
Spirulina is one of the best super foods that you can eat. It can serve as a nutrition and dietary alternative.
As a superfood, spirulina packs a lot of nutritional punch in a very small helping. It has an exceptionally high concentration of minerals and vitamins when compared to most foods.
It is rich in iron, calcium, and micronutrients, including manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
For people who are temporarily lowering their calories for weight loss goals, this can make spirulina a nutritionally dense source of low calorie sustenance.
13. Providing Lots Of Plant Based Proteins
Spirulina is mostly made up of amino acids and proteins. The protein it contains is high quality and is often compared to that found in eggs.
The protein is also highly usable and boasts a remarkable utilization rate of 50-60 percent (high for plant based proteins).
It is also a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids. For vegans and vegetarians, spirulina is a very important source of protein.
Because of its relatively neutral taste, it can be included in virtually any meal. You can always include spirulina in your diet plan as a rich source of protein by sprinkling it in powder form over your meal. In addition, you can take it in form of tablets.
So there we have it. 13 legitimately effective health benefits that spirulina can provide for most individuals.
The sheer utility of spirulina is very efficient and it’s no longer the expensive supplement it was a decade ago because of better farming methods.
What’s The Take Home Message Here?
There are some very good reasons to consume spirulina and enjoy the possible health benefits
What Are The Side Effects Of Spirulina?
Are There Any?
Most spirulina that is farmed is very safe and grown under strict controls that are put in place.
Wild spirulina can be a little (or a lot) more dangerous depending on its exposure to certain environmental factors.
Any blue-green algae that is contaminated can possibly cause damage to the liver.
Side effects of contaminated spirulina may include general nausea, needing to vomit, accelerated heart rate, a feeling of weakness or a simple thirst.
According to WebMD, the worst case scenario of contamination may result in illness and potential death.
For this reason, it would be prudent to purchase and consume respected spirulina brands.
What’s The Bottom Line?
It’s overwhelmingly safe, but contaminated, wild spirulina could be very dangerous.
What Is In Spirulina?
Spirulina might be one of the most convenient and healthy sources of nutrition of the planet.
With its massive serve of protein, it could be a wonderful supplement to vegans, athletes, bodybuilding enthusiasts and anyone looking to add a little extra quality protein to their diet.
We’ve shown that it has many nutrients and health benefits that make it worthy of at least thinking about.
While most packaged spirulina is excellent and high in quality and safety, some wild spirulina may not be subject to the controls of the farmed variety and therefore could be dangerous.
We hope you enjoyed this article about what is in spirulina and please feel free to join the discussion below.