These days, people want natural ways to get healthier. Spirulina is a product that you may not be familiar with but has numerous health benefits. This isn’t a new product; it has been used for its health benefits since the ancient times. The Aztec and African natives have long used it centuries ago. Only recently has this become a popular superfood. The goal here is to educate you about what this product is and how it can benefit its users. By reading on, you will learn everything that you need to know about spirulina uses and the many spirulina health benefits you can gain.
Spirulina: What is it?
The first question that you may have is “What is spirulina”? Spirulina is microalgae that is as known for its bright and distinctive blue green colour as well as its many nutrients. This is algae that naturally grows in both oceans and salty lakes found within subtropical climates. Aztecs harvested their spirulina from Lake Texcoco, a lake found in central Mexico. It can also be harvested in Lake Chad, an African lake found in the west-central part of this continent. Spirulina is easy to harvest since it grows in a microscopic spiral. While it has a bold colour, the flavouring of this algae is very mild. While it is primarily used as a supplement, it can also be used as a colour additive.
Spirulina and chlorella are often confused, as chlorella is another type of algae. However, spirulina is an older product and lacks the harder membrane that chlorella has.
There are so many spirulina health benefits that can help you live that healthy lifestyle you have been trying to live. Spirulina nutrition and benefits are what is making this such a popular item to add to your diet. Spirulina could potentially help you improve your mental health, helping treat people with mood disorders by boosting serotonin. This is possible since it is believed that spirulina contains tryptophan, which boosts serotonin production. Spirulina can also be great for detoxing your body, especially helping fight against pollutants like arsenic, mercury, lead, and iron. It can boost metabolism, prevent heart disease, reduce your blood pressure and offer so many other health benefits.
By reading on, you can learn more about some of the most important health benefits that you can get by adding spirulina to your diet. These are just a few of the many benefits of spirulina, which is why it is a top superfood.
Spirulina Weight Loss Aid
One great benefit of spirulina is that it can be a great tool for your weight loss journey. Spirulina is a low-calorie but nutrient dense food that offers a powerful health punch in only a small amount. By adding spirulina to your diet, you can get the nutrients that you need without a lot of calories. There are people who end up malnourished when they are dieting, but spirulina can help avoid that problem. In fact, there was a study in 2016 that showed spirulina can also help with weight management. This was a double-blind placebo-controlled trial that was performed, which showed that people who were overweight and consumed spirulina saw a reduction in their BMI.
This can be a great product to try if you have struggled to lose weight and it can be a great tool to help you maintain the weight loss you have already achieved. Since there are so many ways to consume this, such as enjoying a spirulina smoothie or spirulina tablets, there’s no excuse not to add this to your diet.
Spirulina is High in Essential Nutrients
As previously mentioned, spirulina is high in nutrients. These are nutrients that are essential to your health that you may not be getting enough of in your diet. Here is a look at some of the main nutrients that you can find in spirulina:
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids
It could be argued that this is one of the most nutritional food items, gram for gram. Spirulina can contain a good chunk of your RDA for various nutrients. You can get 21% of your RDA of copper, and 15% of the RDA of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin). This list is only a small portion of the entire list of nutrients found in spirulina. Spirulina can work as part of a balanced diet to ensure that you not only can lose the weight you need, but that you get all of the right nutrients to live a healthy life.
Prevent and Help Treat Cancer
There may be some evidence that consuming spirulina can help prevent certain types of cancers. Some studies have shown that spirulina could increase the production of various infection-fighting proteins, antibodies, and other cells that are capable of improving your immune system. These cells are able to fend off infections, and some chronic illnesses including cancer. Another study tested spirulina on human pancreatic cells, showing that this could even help fight your cancer. This shouldn’t be the only treatment that you use, but this can be effective when you use it alongside your current cancer treatment plan.
Spirulina may even have anti-cancer properties, meaning that in addition to preventing cancer it can help treat it. A study was done on the effects of spirulina on oral cancer specifically. This study showed that people who had precancerous lesions in their mouth, 45% of them saw a decrease in the tumors when using spirulina versus the 7% in the control group.
Spirulina and Diabetes
Someone with diabetes may get help managing their diabetes by using spirulina. A recent study in 2018 showed that using spirulina helped to significantly lower one’s fasting blood glucose levels. Having these levels too high is a common problem that people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes struggles with. In another study in 2017, researchers gave mice with type 1 diabetes an oral extract of spirulina daily. This study saw the mice had a lower blood sugar, high insulin levels, and improved liver enzyme markers. This shows that spirulina could potentially help manage their diabetes, especially as part of their treatment plan. There is some evidence that spirulina can even help manage your diabetes symptoms, but there is nothing conclusive confirming this yet.
One reason for this could be because of how it can help you lose weight and maintain your weight loss. By losing weight and keep it off, you will lower issues like your blood sugar that can worsen your diabetes or cause diabetes.
Spirulina Can Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a common issue that can lead to potentially serious problems if left uncontrolled, such as heart disease. There is some evidence that taking spirulina can lower your bad cholesterol levels (LDL cholesterol) and increase your good cholesterol levels (HDL). This is important because heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the globe, so ensuring your cholesterol levels are where they need to be is essential to your health. By having this product simultaneously increase the HDL and decrease LDL, you are getting that balance that your body needs to be healthy.
There is also a condition related to this called “lipid peroxidation”, which can cause a variety of diseases. The fatty structures within the body are particularly susceptible to issues like oxidative damage. When your LDL cholesterol goes through oxidation, this is a major step in the development of heart disease. Spirulina can also help prevent this oxidation process from happening.
Spirulina Helps Fight Allergy Symptoms
Allergies are something that a lot of people struggle with, though a lot of people can’t find relief using the traditional allergy medicines. Spirulina can be very helpful with your allergy symptoms as well, which can be great if you can avoid your allergies. It can be particularly helpful in easing your allergic rhinitis, which is when your allergies cause the interior of your nose to swell up. There has been some evidence that spirulina can reduce this symptom and reduce the histamine in your body. When compared to the placebo, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis that can be eased include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny Nose
There are only early studies going on about this right now, so there’s no definitive evidence on the benefits of spirulina on your allergies. But there is enough evidence that shows that this could be helpful if you are looking for something to help with those annoying allergy symptoms you have been struggling with.
Is Spirulina Safe?
An important thing to know is if there are any spirulina side effects. There are some things to be concerned with when taking this product. One concern is that the spirulina may be contaminated with harmful bacteria, microcystins (which are toxins produced by some types of algae) and toxic metals. This can happen if the spirulina is grown in unsafe conditions. If contaminated, this can cause problems like vomiting, nausea, liver damage, shock, rapid heartbeat, and potentially even death.
If you have some autoimmune conditions, you should avoid spirulina. Since spirulina can boost your immune system, it can actually worsen your symptoms if you have lupus, MS, and rheumatoid arthritis. It could also potentially reduce the effectiveness of immunosuppressants used to treat certain autoimmune conditions as well as treating organ transplant patients to prevent organ rejection.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid using products with spirulina in it. There isn’t enough evidence to prove whether or not spirulina is safe for women in this group yet, which is why avoiding it is probably best.
What to Look for When Choosing Spirulina
In the previous section, it was discussed about the dangers of consuming spirulina that wasn’t grown responsibly. There are a few things to look for when deciding on the best spirulina. The first thing that you should look for is to ensure that you are buying organic spirulina. Choose a brand that is known for organic products, as this will prevent you from purchasing items that have a lot of harsh chemicals, pesticides, and toxins that can make you sick.
It is also important to look at where the spirulina comes from. Where the spirulina was grown will have a significant impact on how healthy the product is. You will want to avoid purchasing spirulina products that come from China and Japan. There are a few reasons for this. One, China doesn’t have as strict regulations for supplements, which can be a concern for consumers. These supplements also tend to be high in arsenic, mercury, and lead. The problem with Japanese spirulina is that depending on where it’s grown, there could be high levels of radiation in it.
Finally, read the labels. You only want products where you are consuming 100% spirulina and without as many additives and fillers.
How to Take Spirulina
There are many spirulina uses, offering different options so that you can find one that will work best for your needs. One option is to eat or drink spirulina. You can make spirulina smoothies or you can find a delicious spirulina recipe to try. Take a scoop of the spirulina powder and mix it into the recipes of your choice, just make sure that you choose recipes that can balance the earthy and savoury flavour that is often found with spirulina.
You also have the option of taking spirulina tablets. When you are taking the tablets, you will want to follow the instructions on the product. For adults, you can often take between 6 and 10 tablets. For kids, they will only need 1-3 tablets. When you are just starting out using tablets, you want to start off by taking only 1 for the first 2 days. Then, move onto 2 tablets every day. Keep following this pattern until you feel you are getting the right amount. These should be taken with plenty of water before you eat a meal. It is also recommended to not take this right before bed, otherwise you may have too much energy to sleep.
Spirulina can be an incredible product to invest in to improve your everyday life. It has benefited people for centuries and is now being recognised again for its excellent benefits. It is a versatile and powerful superfood that can help you to live a healthier life. Natural solutions like spirulina could potentially transform your life, making it easier for you to go on that journey of transforming into a healthier version of yourself. There are so many products on the market, but some of these products don’t offer the same nutritional or health benefits that you can receive by adding spirulina in your diet. Whether you make it into a smoothie, cook a more savoury dish with it, or just take a tablet, you will notice positive results over time with spirulina.