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3 Things You Didn’t Know About Spirulina

Healthy food comes in many forms. Fruits and vegetables get the most common vote. Then there’s whole grains, organic dairy, lean meats… 

And don’t forget about the additional things like supplements and… algae?

That’s right. What some may consider pond scum, this organism can actually be very good for you.

You may have heard about it, especially in the health supplement world. This green-blue powder is an algae that grows in both fresh and saltwater. It uses the power of the sun to produce energy through a process called photosynthesis. 

It’s believed to have been first discovered in Mexico during the 16th century. Dr. Darwin, a German scientist, observed the culture and noted how people often used it for food (1).

But what’s so special about this naturally growing algae? In this article, we’ll share 3 things you probably didn’t know about this wonder of nature called Spirulina. 

It’s Incredibly Nutritious

What does your body need to thrive? Some of the things are vitamins, proteins, good fats… all of which spirulina has. 

Let’s take a closer look at these important areas:

  • Vitamins: Spirulina has been shown to contain vitamin B1, B2, and B3. These particular vitamins help enzymes do a variety of different functions, like releasing energy from the carbohydrates you eat, to breaking down amino acids and transporting nutrients around the rest of your body (2).
  • Protein: Without protein, you wouldn’t be here. Literally every cell in your body is made up of protein – which is made from a chain of smaller particles called amino acids (3). These amino acids assist in the creation of new cells. A single tablespoon of spirulina gives you 4 grams of quality protein – similar to the protein you would find in eggs. 
  • Fats: Omega-3’s are healthy fats that help protect your cells, support eye health, keep your mood balanced, reduce inflammation and keep your heart healthy (4). Spirulina contains a small amount of these beneficial fats. 

It Could Stave Off Cancers and Heart Disease

Spirulina has some powerful antioxidant properties, making it great in the fight against chronic inflammation and disease. 

Some of the most prevalent diseases in America are cancer and heart disease. These conditions are often chronic, painful and unpleasant. So how can taking spirulina help?

  • Cancer: Spirulina has tetrapyrrole compounds that are very similar to an antioxidant called the bilirubin molecule. Studies have shown this to be a compelling way to reduce or prevent chemotherapy needs (5).
  • Heart Disease: There are many factors that contribute to the development of heart disease – poor diet, high blood pressure, a buildup of bad cholesterol, and chronic stress. Adding spirulina to a healthier lifestyle can help you lose weight and decrease blood pressure, according to one study (6).
  • It Can Help Support Your Immune System 

    As you get older, it’s harder for your body to keep up. This is also true when it comes to how well your immune system functions.

    Among the eldery community, conditions like anemia are common. A group of people participated in a study by taking spirulina daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, tests showed a steady increase in red blood cell count (7). Spirulina also seems to boost white blood cells in the body, which help you fight off infections. 

    Are There Any Risks?

    It’s true that spirulina is a natural substance. But as with anything, it’s important to remember that there could be potential health risks (8), such as:

    • Heavy metal toxicity: Depending on where your spirulina is grown and harvested, there is the potential for there to be heavy metals, bacteria or other dangers. 
    • Allergic reactions: Not everyone will be able to tolerate spirulina. If you develop headaches, vomiting, rashes or muscle pain, stop taking it and call your doctor immediately. You should probably avoid it if you’re also allergic to seafood. 
    • Pregnancy: There are some things that are simply not tested enough among the pregnant community to know whether it’s safe or not. One of those things is spirulina. If you’re pregnant or nursing, talk with your healthcare provider before adding it to your lifestyle. 

    Dosage

    So you’ve determined that spirulina is pretty cool and you’d like to add it to your regimen. How much can you take?

    According to some research (9), most people take between 1-3 grams per day. If you’d like to take more, you can safely take up to 8 grams per day.

    How to take: Spirulina powder can be added to smoothies or salads, or taken as tablets or capsules.

    In Summary 

    Spirulina is an organism that has lots of health potential. This algae had been consumed for hundreds of years, and it’s easy to see why.

    It has B vitamins, and is comparable in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s high antioxidant profile helps keep inflammation down. 

    You can buy this natural health food in powder, tablet or capsule form. If you don’t like the taste, you can try adding it to a shake or smoothie.

    What has your experience been with spirulina? Do you like it? Let us know!

    References & Disclaimers

    1.https://pharmascope.org/index.php/ijrps/article/view/1782/2634

    2.https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins/vitamin-b/

    1. https://www.nal.usda.gov/sites/default/files/fnic_uploads/energy_full_report.pdf

    4.https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/

    5.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24552870/

    6.https://openheart.bmj.com/content/7/1/e001003

    7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012879/

    8.https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-spirulina-89079

    9.https://examine.com/supplements/spirulina/

    Healthy food comes in many forms. Fruits and vegetables get the most common vote. Then there’s whole grains, organic dairy, lean meats… 

    And don’t forget about the additional things like supplements and… algae?

    That’s right. What some may consider pond scum, this organism can actually be very good for you.

    You may have heard about it, especially in the health supplement world. This green-blue powder is an algae that grows in both fresh and saltwater. It uses the power of the sun to produce energy through a process called photosynthesis. 

    It’s believed to have been first discovered in Mexico during the 16th century. Dr. Darwin, a German scientist, observed the culture and noted how people often used it for food (1).

    But what’s so special about this naturally growing algae? In this article, we’ll share 3 things you probably didn’t know about this wonder of nature called Spirulina. 

    It’s Incredibly Nutritious

    What does your body need to thrive? Some of the things are vitamins, proteins, good fats… all of which spirulina has. 

    Let’s take a closer look at these important areas:

    • Vitamins: Spirulina has been shown to contain vitamin B1, B2, and B3. These particular vitamins help enzymes do a variety of different functions, like releasing energy from the carbohydrates you eat, to breaking down amino acids and transporting nutrients around the rest of your body (2).
    • Protein: Without protein, you wouldn’t be here. Literally every cell in your body is made up of protein – which is made from a chain of smaller particles called amino acids (3). These amino acids assist in the creation of new cells. A single tablespoon of spirulina gives you 4 grams of quality protein – similar to the protein you would find in eggs. 
    • Fats: Omega-3’s are healthy fats that help protect your cells, support eye health, keep your mood balanced, reduce inflammation and keep your heart healthy (4). Spirulina contains a small amount of these beneficial fats. 

    It Could Stave Off Cancers and Heart Disease

    Spirulina has some powerful antioxidant properties, making it great in the fight against chronic inflammation and disease. 

    Some of the most prevalent diseases in America are cancer and heart disease. These conditions are often chronic, painful and unpleasant. So how can taking spirulina help?

  • Cancer: Spirulina has tetrapyrrole compounds that are very similar to an antioxidant called the bilirubin molecule. Studies have shown this to be a compelling way to reduce or prevent chemotherapy needs (5).
  • Heart Disease: There are many factors that contribute to the development of heart disease – poor diet, high blood pressure, a buildup of bad cholesterol, and chronic stress. Adding spirulina to a healthier lifestyle can help you lose weight and decrease blood pressure, according to one study (6).
  • It Can Help Support Your Immune System 

    As you get older, it’s harder for your body to keep up. This is also true when it comes to how well your immune system functions.

    Among the eldery community, conditions like anemia are common. A group of people participated in a study by taking spirulina daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, tests showed a steady increase in red blood cell count (7). Spirulina also seems to boost white blood cells in the body, which help you fight off infections. 

    Are There Any Risks?

    It’s true that spirulina is a natural substance. But as with anything, it’s important to remember that there could be potential health risks (8), such as:

    • Heavy metal toxicity: Depending on where your spirulina is grown and harvested, there is the potential for there to be heavy metals, bacteria or other dangers. 
    • Allergic reactions: Not everyone will be able to tolerate spirulina. If you develop headaches, vomiting, rashes or muscle pain, stop taking it and call your doctor immediately. You should probably avoid it if you’re also allergic to seafood. 
    • Pregnancy: There are some things that are simply not tested enough among the pregnant community to know whether it’s safe or not. One of those things is spirulina. If you’re pregnant or nursing, talk with your healthcare provider before adding it to your lifestyle. 

    Dosage

    So you’ve determined that spirulina is pretty cool and you’d like to add it to your regimen. How much can you take?

    According to some research (9), most people take between 1-3 grams per day. If you’d like to take more, you can safely take up to 8 grams per day.

    How to take: Spirulina powder can be added to smoothies or salads, or taken as tablets or capsules.

    In Summary 

    Spirulina is an organism that has lots of health potential. This algae had been consumed for hundreds of years, and it’s easy to see why.

    It has B vitamins, and is comparable in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s high antioxidant profile helps keep inflammation down. 

    You can buy this natural health food in powder, tablet or capsule form. If you don’t like the taste, you can try adding it to a shake or smoothie.

    What has your experience been with spirulina? Do you like it? Let us know!

    References & Disclaimers

    (1) https://pharmascope.org/index.php/ijrps/article/view/1782/2634

    (2) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins/vitamin-b/

    (3)https://www.nal.usda.gov/sites/default/files/fnic_uploads/energy_full_report.pdf

    (4) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/

    (5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24552870/

    (6) https://openheart.bmj.com/content/7/1/e001003

    (7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012879/

    (8) https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-spirulina-89079

    (9) https://examine.com/supplements/spirulina/

    ✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author

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