Is there a plant that can fight fatigue, boost immunity, help you to lose weight, give you your daily protein dose, improve vision and brain health, reduce inflammation, help control blood pressure, protect against cancer and stroke, and more?
Do you need a breath yet? Because we're just getting started on all the potential health benefits of spirulina!
Spirulina is an incredible "superfood" abundant in proteins, vitamins and other key nutrients that your body needs for physical and mental well-being.
In fact, until today there have been over 1800 peer-reviewed research studies evaluating spirulina health benefits.
In this post, we'll discover what spirulina is, uncover the nutritional properties of this "miracle" plant and learn about the many amazing spirulina health benefits that you should be taking advantage of in your daily life:
Table of Contents
- What is Spirulina?
- Spirulina Nutritional Benefits
- Spirulina Health Benefits
- Spirulina for Eyes
- Spirulina for Skin
- Spirulina for Digestion
- Spirulina for Weight Loss
- Spirulina for Energy
- Spirulina for Allergies
- Spirulina for Muscle Strength
- Spirulina for Anemia
- Spirulina for Candida
- Spirulina for Diabetes
- Spirulina for Reducing Cholesterol
- Spirulina for Lowering Blood Pressure
- Spirulina for Detoxifying Heavy Metals
- Spirulina for Controlling Oxidative Damage
- Spirulina for Mental Health
- Spirulina for Cancer
- Spirulina Dosage
- How to Buy Spirulina
- Key Takeaways
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green alga that flourishes in both warm salt water or fresh water. It is a type of organism called cyanobacteria made up of single-celled microbes. Similar to plants, cyanobacteria can create energy from the light of the sun through photosynthesis.
Considered a superfood, and often referred to as pond scum, there's no doubt spirulina is one of the most 'nutrient-rich foods' on the planet, that is well-known for its strong taste.
Spirulina has actually been used as food for centuries. Reports show that it was used by the Aztecs "for over 1000 years." Its use as food by natives in the ninth century around Lake Chad in Africa has also been documented.
Spirulina's use as human food and its authorization for being safe for consumption has been established via various toxicological studies commissioned by the United Nations in the 1980s. There are two species namely, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima that are safe to be consumed.
Spirulina gained major popularity after its successful use by NASA as a nutritional supplement for astronauts in space.
Today, spirulina is commercially produced in powder form, or as supplements, capsules, tablets, beverages and energy bars and is proven to have many nutritional and therapeutic benefits.
Spirulina Nutritional Benefits
There's a reason why spirulina is currently one of the world's most popular supplements. Spirulina is "60-70% protein by weight" and provides all the essential amino acids your body needs.
It also contains a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins such as Vitamin A, K, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and copper. It is also known to contain a tiny amount of fat and includes both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Being an all-natural vegetarian source of nutrients, spirulina is an excellent supplement choice for vegetarians and vegans.
Though it does have a pretty strong, intense taste spirulina has some amazing health-boosting properties:
Spirulina is often compared to eggs for the quantity of protein it offers per gram. It is a rich source of highly usable protein. In fact, as per research conducted in 2018, the average digestibility of indispensable amino acids (IAAs) in "spirulina protein was 85.2%."
1 tbsp of dried spirulina powder contains 4 grams of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Also known as thiamin, vitamin B1 is an important vitamin that the body needs to convert carbohydrates to energy. It helps in digestion, boosting immunity, eye health, protecting the heart and restoring brain and nerve function.
1 tbsp of dried spirulina powder contains 11% of the required daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin B1.
Also called riboflavin, vitamin B2 helps in metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to produce energy and is important for boosting blood circulation, regulating the thyroid, promoting growth and development and preventing diseases.
1 tbsp of dried spirulina powder contains 15% of the required daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin B2.
This mineral is what makes spirulina a popular source of nutrition for those who don't eat meat. Spirulina contains a bio-available form of iron that the body can easily absorb and is, in fact, one of the best plant-based sources of this essential mineral.
1 tbsp of dried spirulina powder contains 11% of the required daily amount (RDA) of iron.
Copper is essential to produce collagen, a protein responsible for giving structure to your skin, muscles, bones and connective tissue. Copper also protects your cells from damage caused by free radicals, helping to slow down the aging process and helps to produce melanin, the pigment found in skin, hair and the iris of the eye.
1 tbsp of dried spirulina powder contains 21% of the required daily amount (RDA) of copper.
Essential Fatty Acids
Spirulina is one of the few plant-based foods that contain a high content of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) also known as Omega-6 fatty acids essential to fight inflammation, boost immunity and promote healthy hair, nails, and skin.
GLAs cannot be produced by the body so it is imperative to get the GLA your body needs from natural food sources or supplements such as organic spirulina capsules, or black currant oil.
Apart from GLA, spirulina also contains other essential fats such as Omega 3 and 9 fatty acids.
Spirulina is rich in antioxidants, compounds essential in fighting free radicals and maintaining the body's oxidative balance. Antioxidants essentially protect our cells from damage by balancing free radicals, thereby helping to prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The antioxidant found in spirulina is known as phycocyanin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is the blue pigment that gives spirulina it's color and is to spirulina what chlorophyll is to plants, as in it helps in the process of photosynthesis of this incredible cyanobacteria.
In fact, when tested in an independent lab, spirulina's ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score, meaning its antioxidant concentration was 4 times the amount found in that of blueberries.
Spirulina Health Benefits
1. Spirulina for Eyes
Spirulina contains high concentrations of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid important for eye health and protecting eyes from blue light and UV rays.
Carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, and lutein are also important for eyes and help to protect the eyes by preventing the degeneration of the macula, the area in the center of the retina. They also help to slow down UV induced damage to the lipid bilayer membranes of the eye.
Research in 2012 showed that "spirulina can serve as a rich source of dietary zeaxanthin in humans," and "may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration."
Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is a real-world growing problem today and one of the leading causes of visual dysfunction that can lead to blurry vision, inability to see in low light, distorted vision and even blindness.
By 2030, AMD is set to affect close to 3.7 million Americans and by 2050 the number will rise to over 5.44 million.
Spirulina is also known to have high amounts of beta-carotene making it excellent for maintaining eye health and preventing nighttime blindness.
By supplementing with natural sources such as natural organic spirulina supplements you can potentially prevent visual damage and protect your eyes against AMD.
2. Spirulina for Skin
Want to maintain a glowing complexion, with smooth, hydrated skin? Taken orally or applied topically, spirulina can do amazing things for your skin.
Spirulina contains an amino acid called tyrosine with antioxidant properties that can get rid of free radicals and slow down the aging process of skin cells.
Spirulina is also an effective source of chlorophyll which has detoxifying and cleansing properties and keeps your skin hydrated.
With an abundance of vitamins and minerals, when taken internally, spirulina detoxifies and purifies your system, restoring your skin's vitality.
3. Spirulina for Digestion
Some research suggests that spirulina may improve gut health. A 2017 study on aging mice suggested that spirulina may help to preserve a healthy gut during the aging process and thereby also have beneficial effects on immune function.
The study concluded that consuming spirulina orally can "influence both gut immunity and systemic sites, such as the liver." This suggests that spirulina's immune action is not confined to the gut alone. The study also demonstrated that manipulating the gut microbiota can help to preserve "a healthy gastrointestinal microbial community in addition to its beneficial effects on immune function."
Research has shown that the microbiota in the gut has a significant effect on the overall immune system, which can affect "autoimmune-related diseases both within and outside the gut." So, supplementing with spirulina seems to be promising to maintain gut health.
Also, since spirulina does not have a thick, fibrous cell wall, it is gentle on the digestive system and can be digested easily. However, this means that since it does not provide fiber or roughage, it is important to make sure to add foods high in fiber to the diet.
Fermentation of spirulina has also shown to release polyphenols, naturally occurring chemicals in plants that help to convert phycocyanin into phycocyanobilin, which also contributes to a healthy gut.
4. Spirulina for Weight Loss
Want to lose weight without losing nutrition?
The premise of losing weight is to eat lesser calories than your body can use. Being a low-calorie supplement but high on nutrition, spirulina is able to give you the nutrition that you need if you're looking to lose weight.
A 2016 study suggested that spirulina can help weight control and concluded by stating that, "three months of regular consumption of Spirulina maxima not only improves BMI and weight but also results in improvements in blood pressure and endothelial function spirulina in overweight patients with hypertension."
Like we mentioned above, spirulina is 60-70% protein by weight and contains a host of vitamins and minerals along with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. So, introducing spirulina as part of your diet plan can help you to lose weight without sacrificing nutrition.
5. Spirulina for Energy
Spirulina is a low-calorie supplement that could help to boost metabolism. When a person's metabolic rate is higher they may feel more energized and may even burn more calories which could potentially aid in weight loss as well.
In a 2014 study, spirulina supplementation at 6 grams daily showed "multiple beneficial metabolic effects," and improved the "health-related quality of life," in participants with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
According to leading health expert Dr. Oz, spirulina "boosts energy by unlocking sugar from your cells so it does not get stored as fat." He recommends combining 1 tsp of spirulina powder with 12 oz of lime juice and freezing in ice cube trays. Add 2 of these cubes to your water or juice daily to help boost metabolic energy.
If you don't like the taste of spirulina powder, you can take spirulina supplements daily instead.
6. Spirulina for Allergies
Do you suffer from the tell-tale signs of allergies? Runny nose and sneezing? Itchy, watery eyes and nasal congestion? If you're allergic to dust, pollen or pet dander you may have a condition called allergic rhinitis, which is basically an inflammation of the nasal passageways.
Research suggests that spirulina can alleviate some of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as nasal inflammation and can reduce histamine (chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose) production in the body.
A 2013 study concluded that spirulina consumption "significantly improved the symptoms and physical findings, including nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching, compared with placebo," in patients with allergic rhinitis.
If you suffer from allergic rhinitis, spirulina supplements can help to alleviate your symptoms and provide relief.
7. Spirulina for Muscle Strength
Want to build endurance and muscle strength? Spirulina can help.
A 2010 study revealed that the antioxidant properties of spirulina "induced a significant increase in exercise performance," and notably increased the "time to fatigue" for participants.
Another study also showcased spirulina's ability to prevent skeletal muscle damage and postpone "time of exhaustion" caused by exercise.
This is mainly attributed to the high antioxidant concentrations in spirulina which are effective in minimizing exercise-induced oxidative stress that can lead to muscle damage and fatigue.
8. Spirulina for Anemia
Although there are many different types of anemia, one of the most common forms of the condition is a low count of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood, which leads to low oxygen flow to the vital organs of the body.
Anemia affects more than 3 million people in the USA alone and symptoms include lightheadedness, fatigue, weakness, fast heartbeat and shortness of breath.
Spirulina has shown potential in increasing the hemoglobin concentration of red blood cells and also enhanced immune function in senior citizens.
Although more studies are needed, this particular study has shown promising results suggesting the use of spirulina for combating anemia.
9. Spirulina for Candida
Did you know that Candida is one of the most common forms of fungal infections? Candida occurs when the levels of healthy bacteria or microflora in the body are imbalanced or compromised.
There are many causes of candida or a yeast infection, including consuming a diet rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates, high levels of stress or a weak immune system to name a few.
Animal studies have shown that spirulina can "enhance the human immune response against microbial infection," particularly against a Candida albicans infection.
If you're on a diet or protocol to eliminate candida from your body, the antimicrobial and immune-enhancing properties of spirulina supplements can help.
10. Spirulina for Diabetes
Research has shown promising results when it comes to spirulina reducing blood sugar levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
In a study that spanned 8 weeks, 25 participants with type 2 diabetes were administered 2 grams of spirulina per day. The findings suggested that spirulina supplementation has a beneficial effect in "controlling blood glucose levels and in improving the lipid profile of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus."
Another 2018 study showed that supplementing with spirulina lowered fasting blood sugar levels in participants' considerably. The findings provided " substantial evidence that spirulina supplementation has favorable effect on select cardiovascular and metabolic biomarkers in humans, including lipid, glucose" and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) management.
Although more studies are necessary for health care practitioners to recommend spirulina, there is significant evidence to show that spirulina can reduce fasting blood glucose levels and significantly benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
11. Spirulina for Reducing Cholesterol
It goes without saying that cardiovascular disease is one of the world's leading causes of death.
Supplementing with spirulina has shown to impact many of the factors associated with an increased risk of heart disease. It has shown promising results when it comes to lowering cholesterol (waxy fatty deposit in blood vessels) and has the ability to reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol and raise HDL "good" cholesterol.
A 2016 study documented the "effect of Spirulina supplementation on plasma lipid concentration," and showed that spirulina was significantly able to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising good cholesterol (HDL). The results showed "a significant effect of supplementation with Spirulina in reducing plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides and elevating those of HDL-C."
Another study supports this claim by concluding that participants that consumed 1 gram of spirulina daily for 12 weeks saw a significant decrease in their cholesterol levels. At the end of the study, triglyceride levels dropped by 16.3% and "bad" low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL) dropped by 10.1%.
12. Spirulina for Lowering Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the major underlying causes of serious illnesses including strokes and cardiovascular disease.
Just like spirulina has shown potential in lowering cholesterol in the blood, there's also evidence to show that it could help reduce blood pressure. Phycocyanin, the pigment found in spirulina is also known to be "antihypertensive," meaning it can lower blood pressure.
A 2016 study found that consuming spirulina orally for 3 months reduced blood pressure in overweight individuals with hypertension.
When it comes to blood pressure control a higher daily dose of spirulina between 3.5 grams to 4.5 grams has shown to be more effective. Research showed that at that dose supplementing with spirulina was able to significantly reduce "systolic and diastolic blood pressure."
13. Spirulina for Detoxifying Heavy Metals
Heavy metal detoxification is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and important organs in the body. At toxic levels, heavy metals can lower energy levels and cause damage to the brain, liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs.
Spirulina has shown promising results in eliminating heavy metal toxins such as arsenic and mercury and even radioactive materials from the body.
A 2016 research study documented that spirulina "could be a useful coadjuvant agent within clinical practice" for the treatment of toxic pollutants such as "arsenic, cadmium, carbon tetrachloride, deltamethrin, fluoride, hexachlorocyclohexane, iron, lead, lindane, and mercury."
Another study in 2006 showed that 250 mg of spirulina extract and 2 mg of zinc twice a day for 4 months is highly effective in treating chronic arsenic poisoning, reducing toxicity by almost 47% in the body.
If you're looking to detoxify your body from the harmful effects of heavy metals, give spirulina a try.
14. Spirulina for Controlling Oxidative Damage
Fatty deposits in the form of "bad" LDL cholesterol are prone to oxidative damage that is the basis for many serious illnesses including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
The antioxidants in spirulina have shown to protect fatty LDL structures from oxidation, thereby preventing the progression of many illnesses.
A 2015 study concluded that through an 8-week supplementation of spirulina on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients, "oxidative stress is shown to be reduced as a result of spirulina intervention."
In another study, 8 grams of spirulina supplementation daily on patients with type 2 diabetes showed beneficial effects on blood lipids and increased levels of antioxidant capacity in the blood along with improving inflammatory response.
15. Spirulina for Mental Health
Spirulina has shown potential in its ability to treat mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders.
Being high in protein, spirulina is an excellent source of the amino acid tryptophan, responsible for increasing the synthesis of serotonin (the happy chemical) in the brain.
Therefore, as per research done in 2018, supplementing with spirulina may help alleviate the symptoms and control and prevent a variety of mental illnesses such as "depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism, and substance use disorder."
Research conducted in 2012 has also shown that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of spirulina may help reverse the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and help to boost memory.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a mental health condition, regularly incorporating spirulina in your diet can help support mental wellbeing.
16. Spirulina for Cancer
There is increasing evidence to show that spirulina has anti-cancer properties and that supplementing with spirulina can be a potential natural cancer treatment.
Spirulina has shown incredible results in treating precancerous lesions in the mouth called oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF).
When administered at only 1 gram a day for 12 months, 45% of patients reported a complete "regression of lesions" as compared to only 7% in the placebo group. In fact, within a year of "discontinuing supplements, 9 of 20 (45%)" of the patients "developed recurrent lesions."
According to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, "spirulina increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses, such as cancer."
Animal studies have also demonstrated the use of spirulina in the chemoprevention of cancer.
Regular doses of spirulina are 1-3 grams a day but doses of up 10 grams a day are also not unheard of and have been used successfully.
According to Examine.com, doses can be adjusted based on the condition you need it to work for:
Cholesterol control — 1-8 g daily
Blood glucose control — 2 g daily
Blood pressure control — 3.5-4.5 g daily
Muscle performance — 2-7.5 g daily
Fatty liver — 4.5 g daily
How to Buy Spirulina
There are many different ways you can incorporate spirulina into your daily diet. One way is to use it in powder form and blend it into your juices or smoothies. You can also top it onto your salad or soup, mix it into your sandwich or wrap spreads, add it to your yogurt or sprinkle it onto your breakfast cereal.
Although spirulina powder is a less expensive way to add spirulina to your diet, it has a strong, intense flavor that most people do not easily get accustomed to. It can also leave your teeth with a nasty green stain.
That is why most people find that taking spirulina capsules is a much better way to incorporate spirulina into their diet — without the unpleasant taste and staining.
At GoodlifeProvision we've encapsulated your daily dose of fresh organic spirulina powder into an easy to swallow vegetarian capsule.
Our spirulina capsules are:
- 100% pure organic spirulina
- Non-GMO, Gluten-Free
- Easy to Take & No Aftertaste
- Manufactured at an FDA-approved and GMP-certified facility in the USA
- Vegetarian Safe
- Safety Sealed for Your Protection
Comes in 1000MG FORMULA & 3 MONTH SUPPLY (180 spirulina capsules)
Our all natural organic SPIRULINA powder caps allow you to choose the best dosage for you – 500 mg, 1000 mg, 2000mg or 3000 mg.
If you prefer to double the dosage, simply take 2 tablets a day or more! But be conscious, talk to a physician about the right dosage for you.
- Spirulina is a blue-green alga and is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet
- With 60-70% protein by weight, spirulina is a rich source of highly usable protein
- Spirulina is abundant with antioxidants, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and minerals such as iron and copper
- It is also one of the few plant-based foods that contain a high concentration of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) or Omega-6 fatty acids essential to fight inflammation and boost immunity
- Spirulina contains high concentrations of zeaxanthin and protects the eyes from UV damage and macular degeneration
- It improves gut health, helps in weight loss, increases muscle endurance, and boosts energy
- This nutrient-dense superfood has shown promising results for controlling diabetes, reducing cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure
- Spirulina is available in powder form and can be added to smoothies and meals, but has a strong taste that takes getting used to
- Supplementing with spirulina capsules is an easy way to incorporate the nutritional benefits of spirulina into your diet, without the unpleasant taste and staining