The Benefits of Spirulina Explained

Spirulina is a species of blue-green algae that can be found in both fresh and saltwater. It has plant-like pigments which make it photosynthetic. This characteristic is why people mistook it for a plant in the past!

Centuries ago, the Aztecs found out about its health benefits. Ever since then, it has been a highly-rated supplement in everyday diet. Today more than ever we’ve become a lot more knowledgeable about these protein-rich algae. These days you can usually find spirulina in the form of powder, tablet, and pills. It has a strong bluish-green texture, so it is often a color additive in candy and various foods and drinks.

Medical experts consider spirulina to be an effective supplement. It has shown effectiveness in treating metabolic issues, diabetes, weight loss, and more. This article will look into the benefits of spirulina and why you should consider using it in your everyday diet.

What Does It Contain?

Spirulina has high nutritional values. Because of this, people often refer to it as a superfood. It is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects.

One tablespoon (7g) of spirulina powder contains:

  • 20 calories
  • 4g of proteins
  • 67g of carbohydrate
  • 54g of fat
  • 8mg of calcium
  • 14mg of magnesium
  • 9mg of phosphorus
  • 95mg of potassium
  • 73mg of sodium
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)

These substances are beneficial in treating not only physical conditions. Some experts say spirulina may help with emotional and mental disorders too.

What are the Benefits of Spirulina?

There are around 2000 scientific studies on the health benefits of spirulina. Different industries use spirulina’s enormous potential and people consume it to treat various conditions. Why is it so good? Here are some traits:

Reduces Cholesterol

Fat structures in your body can oxidize, which produces free radicals and creates oxidative stress. The oxidization of LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol) leads to artery and heart disease. Researchers found out that the antioxidant traits of this algae may lower this LDL cholesterol.

Reduces Blood Pressure

Unregulated high blood pressure can cause a lot of trouble. It is the main cause of serious heart conditions, kidney disease, strokes, and heart attacks. After consuming spirulina, your body produces nitric oxide, which regulates and relaxes your blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and prevents possible complications.

Managing Diabetes

High fasting blood sugar is a big problem for people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Spirulina shows some promises in lowering the levels of blood sugar and also increasing insulin sensitivity. Both of these traits are essential to controlling and managing diabetes and reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Cancer Prevention

The same oxidative damage that causes high cholesterol levels also damages your DNA and cells. These unhealthy cells are one of the causes of cancer. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of spirulina make your cells stronger and more resistant.

Improving Gut Health and Weight Loss

Because of its soft structure and fiber content, spirulina may preserve the healthy gut bacteria vis-a-vis the bad bacteria. This results in balanced gut flora which improves your digestive health.

Since it has high nutrient and low caloric values, you may add it to your weight loss diet. You can keep your nutrition intact while losing weight.

Containing Muscle Strength

Sports nutritionists often recommend spirulina because of its antioxidative properties. Excessive exercise may cause oxidative damage and inflammation. Spirulina’s counter properties may help athletes to prevent muscle fatigue.

If you consume spirulina while physically exerting yourself, you may notice that you have higher endurance. You may tire slower and have more strength.

Allergy Prevention

Some common allergy symptoms are a runny nose, sneezing, itching, tears in the eyes, etc. This happens if you are allergic to pollen, dust, or some other environmental particles. Studies have shown that spirulina may prevent these allergic reactions and the symptoms that come with them.

Mental Health Improvement

Recent studies have linked consuming spirulina to mental health. This alga contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that stimulates serotonin production. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter widely regarded as responsible for feeling happy and good in general. So, spirulina may be effective at treating depression and anxiety by maintaining a good amount of serotonin in your brain.

Detoxing Metals

Heavy metal pollution is a major environmental problem. There are parts of the world that suffer from polluted water and food caused by high levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals. These metals remain in the body and increase the risks of serious diseases. Spirulina’s detoxing properties may help with clearing your body of these metals.

Helps with Yeast Infections

The modern lifestyle of eating high sugar contents and unnatural ingredients and other factors has resulted in higher incidences of yeast infection. Candida and similar fungi have become resistant and hard to get rid of. Fortunately, spirulina has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. It may help with the prevention and treatment of yeast infection.

Protects the Neurons

Spirulina contains a pigment-protein c-phycocyanin. This pigment is responsible for the bluish-green color of the algae, but that is not its only purpose. It is also responsible for the protection and revitalization of neurons. This can be beneficial in preserving memory and focus, as well as preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

Can Spirulina Be Dangerous?

Usually, spirulina is completely safe, although there are things that you should look out for. If you don’t buy it from reputable drugstores or distributors, there might be risks involved. Heavy metals, bacteria, and other harmful substances can contaminate it. This can cause food poisoning, liver damage, nausea, and sometimes it can even be fatal.

Also, if you have an autoimmune disease, spirulina may worsen its symptoms, so you should consult your healthcare provider before taking. Some people who are allergic to seafood and vegetables may also be allergic to spirulina. So, before you introduce this superfood to your regular diet, make sure to consult a doctor.

Should We Use It?

Yes, definitely. It’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuro-preserving characteristics can benefit your health. Your brain may perform better, and the vitamins and nutritional values should keep you fresh, energetic, and fit.

There is a reason why people call it a superfood. Scientists are finding out something new every day about this miracle from the sea. In the future, new revelations may make spirulina even more useful all around, so it wouldn’t be bad to have some lying around.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12639401
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16615668
https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3340

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