Spirulina is blue-green algae rich in essential nutrients and beneficial compounds with many potential health benefits.
Many scientists believe that blue spirulina is one of the oldest life forms on Earth, and it has been cultivated as a food and supplement since ancient times.
Many Mesoamerican peoples (including the Aztecs) used spirulina to treat various illnesses, and it is widely used as a food supplement today.
Legends say that Aztec messengers used spirulina to sustain their marathon runs between cities, and modern studies confirm many of these alleged spirulina benefits. Today, spirulina is regarded as a superfood and commonly used in dietary supplements, as it contains large amounts of essential nutrients, including B vitamins and dietary minerals.
Furthermore, the health benefits of spirulina are well-documented, and it is considered safe for use as a whole food and dietary supplement. With a long history of human use, wide availability and low-risk profile, there are plenty of things to recommend in blue spirulina supplements, so let’s explore the health benefits of spirulina and how it can boost your overall well-being.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is commonly used as a dietary supplement due to its high nutritional content and is often sold in powder or tablet form. Spirulina benefits from an extraordinarily high concentration of macro and micronutrients, including protein, iron, and amino acids, among others.
Spirulina is especially popular among vegans and vegetarians, who may struggle to get enough protein and amino acids from plant-based foods. In addition to its impressive nutritional content, the benefits of spirulina are believed to extend to supporting the immune system, heart health, and reduced inflammation.
Blue spirulina is widely used as a dietary supplement for its nutritional content, and it may help support general health when used as a Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM). As such, spirulina benefits from a wide range of potential uses and has various applications ranging from animal feed to health supplements:
The main benefits of spirulina are that it can grow in fresh and saltwater and requires very little effort or food to grow, making it easy to grow and suitable for use in:
Spirulina is being researched as a possible way to address food insecurity and malnutrition, especially in developing countries and the third world. While it may not cure world hunger, spirulina benefits from low investment and higher yield (in terms of nutrient density) than many other food sources, such as livestock.
Organizations like the European Space Agency and Nasa are researching the benefits of spirulina as dietary support in long-term space flight, as it may help provide essential nutrients in the absence of fresh food. Dried spirulina contains around 60% protein, 24% carbohydrates, 8% fat and 5% water, making it a great source of essential nutrients, especially when every gram counts, as in space travel.
Although it’s far from the glamour of Aztec remedies and space food, blue spirulina is commonly added to animal feed to help provide vital nutrients for chicken, cows, fish and more. Studies show that adding spirulina benefits many animals’ yield and immune systems, and studies show that amounts as high as 2% of food are generally safe.
Blue spirulina is one of the world’s most popular supplements and has many potential health benefits thanks to its potent nutrient profile and powerful antioxidant effects.
Scientific studies prove many spirulina benefits, and supplementing with this amazing algae may help support general health as it:
As we’ve mentioned already, spirulina is packed with essential nutrients, and a single tablespoon (approx. 7g) of dried spirulina powder contains:
Chronic inflammation and oxidative damage are linked to various chronic diseases, so dietary sources of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds help support long-term health. Blue spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, and its main active component – phycocyanin – has strong anti-inflammatory effects and is responsible for spirulina’s unique color.
Studies show spirulina benefits heart health by lowering total cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL (widely regarded as ‘good’) cholesterol. As heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, these findings are impressive and show that spirulina supplements may help promote general health.
High blood pressure is linked to many chronic conditions, including strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease, but one of the known benefits of spirulina is that it can reduce blood pressure. These benefits are thought to be driven by increased production of nitric oxide, which helps your blood vessels relax and dilate.
Anaemia is a common condition in older adults that can cause prolonged feelings of weakness and fatigue due to reduced hemoglobin or red blood cells. Fortunately, taking spirulina supplements can increase the hemoglobin content of red blood cells and improve immune function, helping ease symptoms of anemia.
Studies show that spirulina benefits muscle strength and endurance by improving oxygen uptake during exercise, with researchers noting that it may help increase athletic performance. Furthermore, spirulina may help improve muscle recovery, as it fights oxidative damage, which is a major contributor to muscle fatigue.
Several studies show that spirulina may help lower blood sugar levels in doses ranging from 0.8g to 8g daily. However, the blue spirulina supplements used did not show significant effects on blood sugar levels after eating, so more research is needed.
Some evidence suggests that supplementing with spirulina may help fight against cancer, as it may reduce cancer occurrence and tumor size. However, more research is needed to confirm these spirulina benefits, and you should not use it in place of proper cancer treatments.
While blue spirulina is widely considered safe and has been consumed as a whole food or supplement since ancient times, you should be aware of the potential side effects. Spirulina is a cyanobacterium, and other cyanobacterium species can produce toxins like microcystins which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
Spirulina does not produce toxic compounds, but these toxin-producing blue-green algae can contaminate batches, so it’s important to choose supplements that take precautions against cross-contamination. Look for products with third-party certification or Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) approval to find supplements with rigorous quality control, and you should be good to go.
In conclusion, spirulina is a nutrient-dense, easy-to-grow algae that offers a wide range of health benefits and may even help solve world hunger. Blue spirulina supplements are a powerful and convenient way to improve your overall well-being, from boosting heart health to helping prevent chronic diseases with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.