Spirulina is at the top of the food industry, known for its many health benefits. It is densely packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, disease and cancer fighting compounds, all while lowering LDL and raising HDL.
I try to get spirulina powder into my smoothies as often as I am able. If there is spirulina in your diet, you can rest assured that you’re getting some quality nutritional value in your daily life.
Spirulina is especially known for being anti-inflammatory, mineral and nutrient dense, its ability to improve endurance, reduce the effects of allergies, and its cancer fighting compounds.
Certain foods are more nutritious than others. Here is one of the most practical lists of 15 spirulina health benefits a person can use when deciding on whether spirulina is right for them:
15 Health Benefits of Spirulina
#1 Improves Endurance
If you get out of breath often, feel like your low on energy, or are not exercising or competing at your optimal or known capabilities, you might be missing out on what spirulina can do for your endurance and exercise performance. Exercise-induced oxidative damage is a major culprit in muscle fatigue. Spirulina is one food that can contribute to minimizing this oxidative damage.
To illustrate, one study had nine moderately trained males take part in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced crossover study. Each subject received either spirulina or the placebo for 4 weeks and ran on a treadmill at an intensity corresponding to 70%-75% of their VO2max for 2 hours and then at 95% VO2max to exhaustion. The researchers determined that time to fatigue after the 2-hour run was significantly longer after spirulina supplementation. The spirulina group decreased carbohydrate oxidation rate by over 10% and increased fat oxidation by 10.9%.
I personally love this particular spirulina health benefit for this very fact. I can work out harder and longer without major muscle fatigue.
#2 High in Nutrients
Spirulina is also packed full of nutrients. One tablespoon of spirulina contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, 4 grams of protein, calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, potassium, magnesium, 0.5g fat, 0 cholesterol, and 20 calories. Consuming spirulina is a great way to supplement protein and vitamins in a person’s diet without notable side effects.
#3 Powerful Antioxidants
Some of my favorite foods provide the most oxidative capacity. Blueberries, walnuts, and spirulina all fall into this category. If your body is prone to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, spirulina acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting against oxidative damage. The active component, phycocyanin, fights free radicals and inhibits the production of inflammatory signaling molecules.
One overview shows that spirulina activates cellular antioxidant enzymes, inhibits lipid peroxidation and DNA damage, scavenges free radicals, and increases the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase.
#4 Raises Good Cholesterol (HDL)
Cholesterol is the waxy, fat like substance found in the body’s cells, produced in the liver. In this case, the HDL (high density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol transports cholesterol from other parts of your body to the liver, removing it from your body. In most cases, the more HDL in the body, the better. You can raise your good cholesterol by eating healthy foods such as spirulina, losing weight, exercising, and removing alcohol and cigarettes.
In one study, rabbits were fed a high cholesterol diet for 4 weeks. Following the 4 weeks, the rabbits were supplemented with spirulina for 8 weeks. After the 8-week mark, HDL’s were found to be markedly increased as compared to the control group.
#5 Lowers Bad Cholesterol (LDL)
The archenemy of HDL is the LDL or the bad cholesterol known as low density lipoprotein. A significant amount of LDL in the body leads to the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries, which raises your risk of coronary artery disease. You can lower your LDL’s by eating healthy food such as spirulina, exercising, eating monounsaturated fats, avoiding trans fats, eating soluble fiber, losing weight, and eliminating smoking or drinking alcohol.
One study had fifty-two adultCretan outpatients, median age 47, with recently diagnosed dyslipidemia, consume 1 g Spirulina per day for 12 week. At the end of the 3-month intervention period the mean levels of triglycerides (16.3%), low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (10.1%), total cholesterol (8.9%), non-high density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels (10.8%), and the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (11.5%) were significantly decreased.
Chronic inflammation can run rampant on your body and cause you pain for years. Understand your symptoms and what you can do to alleviate your pain and suffering. Some symptoms and indicators of chronic inflammation include fatigue, sores, pain, fever, rash, or joint pain.
I’ve had patellar tendonitis and general joint pain ever since I can remember, mainly due to playing a lot of basketball during the week. To remedy this, I focus on getting my daily dose of spirulina and turmeric to ease and often eliminate the pain and inflammation all together. Supplementing with spirulina and turmeric has allowed me to work out more, play more basketball and become almost pain free. If I forget to take my daily dose, I can start the pain creep back into my joints.
One study showed that spirulina extract significantly attenuated carrageenan-induced hind paw edema, and cotton pellet-induced granuloma, or in other words, inflammation in the paw of an animal. The study concluded that spirulina extract acted as a natural, harmless remedy for the treatment of inflammation and pain.
Don’t forget to check out my article about turmeric and its anti-inflammatory effects.
#7 Effective against Anemia
Anemia is a condition where in which you are deficient in the necessary amount of healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen to your body’s tissues and organs. The most common cause of anemia is low iron levels in the blood, often leading to bodily fatigue and weakness. Essentially, you begin to suffocate from within. A great way to combat this is through spirulina intake.
One study took 40 volunteers, 50 years or older with a history of anemia, and gave them spirulina supplements for 12 weeks. Over the course of the 12-week study, there was a progressive increase in the hemoglobin content of red blood cells, suggesting spirulina may counteract anemia.
#8 Helps Control Blood Sugar
For those of you who suffer from diabetes or high blood sugar, spirulina may be a great addition to your diet, helping you to control your blood sugar levels. According to diabetes.org, other things that can make you blood sugar rise include:
- Certain/more foods or more carbohydrates than usual
- Certain medications
- Infection or illness
- Changes in hormone levels
Things that can make blood sugar fall include:
- Certain/less foods or less carbohydrates than usual
- More activity than normal
- Certain medications
- Missing a meal or snack
- Alcoholic beverages
One study had twenty-five subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus randomly assigned to receive Spirulina or to form the control group. The group receiving the spirulina at a 2g/day dose for 2 months resulted in an appreciable lowering of fasting blood glucose and postprandial blood glucose levels. A significant reduction in the HbA(1c) level was also observed, indicating improved long-term glucose regulation. The findings suggest the beneficial effect of Spirulina supplementation in controlling blood glucose levels and in improving the lipid profile of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
#9 Reduces Cancer Risk
News of cancer is a hard pill to swallow, no matter if you or a loved on has it. That’s why it’s best to do everything you can to reduce the risk and try to avoid the chance of contraction as best you can. One way to do this is through the consumption of spirulina.
One study found that in trials using the blue green alga spirulina platensis, the proliferation of pancreatic cancer substantially decreased. The effects were at least partially due to their potent antioxidant activity, inhibition of mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species and subsequent changes in intracellular redox status. The data shows spirulina supports a chemo preventive role with potential for its use in the chemo adjuvant treatment of cancer diseases.
#10 Could Help People with ADHD
With the expansion of technology, the increases in internet, phone, and tv usage, ADHD has become increasingly prevalent among people around the world. ADHD is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and/or motor hyperactivity, affecting the development and social integration of people with said condition.
People’s lack of attention and inability to be present in the moment can become frustrating for people trying to communicate with a person with ADHD. I often notice that if I am staring at my phone, my attention span for other’s needs becomes far worse than if I am not using the phone. The good news is Klamath, a blue-green alga similar to spirulina could be a great health benefit for people suffering from ADHD.
One study of 30 subjects, aged 6-15 and previously diagnosed with ADHD, were given a Klamath Lake Microalgae extract for a 6-month period. After 6 months of therapy, the researchers found the test subjects to have significant improvements of their overall functioning, behavioral aspects related to inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, attention functions in both the selective and sustained component and executive functions.
#11 Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the “silent killer” and is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. The good news is hypertension is a modifiable risk factor and can be improved quickly and naturally with a daily dose of proper exercise and nutrition. Any time you can lower your blood pressure, the better. Spirulina is a great food for helping you on your path to lowering your blood pressure.
One study had 40 patients with hypertension take 2 grams of spirulina or a placebo for three months. The patients in the spirulina group showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure.
If you want to learn more about what you can do to lower your blood pressure, check out my article: 30 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Quickly, Naturally, and without Medication
#12 Aids in Weight Loss
A bonus to any food that you put into your body is in its ability to help you lose weight. Obesity is one of the biggest problems in the world and it only seems to be getting worse. People are making unhealthy food choices and are deciding to eat things based on taste and convenience rather than what can make feel, look, and be healthier. One health food does just that, spirulina can be consumed as spirulina powder if need be. It can help you maintain and reduce weight safely and effectively.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 5 studies showed significant reduction in weight after spirulina supplementation. In these studies, the obese group had a greater weight change than the overweight participants. Analysis also showed spirulina supplementation led to significant reductions in body fat percentage and waist circumference.
#13 Improves Gut Health
As our lives get more sedentary and we continue to eat unhealthy foods, more and more people are starting to experience leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain, upset stomach, or acid reflux. It’s time to reverse the trend and start putting things into our body that heal our guts and improving our health and our lives. Spirulina is one of the foods that can provide great health benefit to the health of your gut.
One study had the researchers feeding old mice a diet supplemented with 5% spirulina for 6 weeks. They concluded that the oral administration of a Spirulina can modulate the gut microbiota and activate the immune system in the gut, improving of the hepatic inflammation in aged mice.
#14 Boosts Metabolism
What do most people say about skinny people who eat a lot and never gain a pound? You’d probably say they have a high metabolism. Fortunately, I am one of those people who’ve always had a high metabolism. I’ve never had a problem burning calories and keeping the weight off.
But for those of you who have a low metabolism and seem to put on weight effortlessly, maybe it’s time to focus on exercising and eating foods that naturally boost your metabolism. Spirulina is one of the foods that can help you increase metabolism and increase the rate at which you convert food and nutrients into energy.
One study took 15 outpatients and orally supplemented them with 6g of spirulina per day for 6 months. Spirulina supplementation at this high dosage rate had a strong and beneficial metabolic effect, improving the patient’s health-related quality of life.
Other ways you can increase your metabolism include:
- Eating protein
- Doing HIIT workouts
- Lifting weights
- Drinking tea or coffee
- Eating spicy foods
- Getting the recommended amount of sleep
#15 Reduces Allergy Symptoms
Allergies and sneezing have plagued me ever since I was little. During the fall and spring months, I could never stop sneezing. It wasn’t until I started supplementing with spirulina and turmeric that I was able to eliminate almost all my allergy symptoms including sneezing, itching, and watery and poofy eyes.
One study found a high prevalence of herbal treatment usage for the relief of allergic rhinitis symptoms in Turkey. Spirulina was one of the top herbs in Turkey used to treat the hay fever.
Summary: 15 Health Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina is a great part of a healthy diet. I’m always looking for new ways to get spirulina into my meal choices. The nutritional value and health benefits of spirulina usually exceeds that of most traditional staple foods. Try to figure out how you can get some added spirulina in your daily meals, snacks, and smoothies. Your body will be glad you did.
What are your favorite health foods? Are you going to give spirulina a try? Let me know below!