Spirulina is filamentous cyanobacteria often referred to as blue-green algae; that is incredibly healthy. Spirulina is dried and prepared as a food or food additive. The high protein and vitamin content of spirulina makes it an excellent dietary supplement for those who are on vegetarian or vegan diets.
Research suggests that spirulina has antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties, as well as the ability to help regulate the immune system.
Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of spirulina.
1. Excellent Nutritional Profile
One tablespoon or 7 grams of dried spirulina contains:
- 20 calories
- 4.02 g of protein
- 1.67 g of carbohydrate
- 0.54 g of fat
- 8 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 2 mg of iron
- 14 mg of magnesium
- 8 mg of phosphorous
- 95 mg of potassium
- 73 mg of sodium
- 0.7 mg of vitamin C
- It also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamins B-6, A, and K.
Taking spirulina, as part of a balanced diet, may help a person to stay well nourished.
2. Losing Weight
Spirulina is a low-calorie, and high-nutrient food. Introducing spirulina to the diet may help people lose weight without losing nutrition because of low-calories.
According to a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, spirulina may aid in weight management. People included in the study who were overweight and regularly ate spirulina for 3 months showed improved BMI.
3. Improving Gut Health
Spirulina can be digested easily because these bacterial cells do not have tough or fibrous walls. A recent study suggests that spirulina may preserve healthy gut bacteria during the aging process.
4. Managing Diabetes
Spirulina shows promise as a way to manage the symptoms of diabetes. According to a review study, spirulina supplementation showed a significant drop in people’s fasting blood glucose levels. This study indicates that spirulina as a food supports type 2 diabetes management.
In a study, researchers gave spirulina extract orally for mice with type 1 diabetes. The mice showed:
- lowered blood sugar
- elevated insulin levels
- improved liver enzyme markers
The antioxidant effect of spirulina may help treat type 1 diabetes according to the researchers.
5. Lowering Cholesterol
Research shows spirulina supplements can reduce total cholesterol. A systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that taking spirulina supplements may have a positive impact on blood lipids. Spirulina was found to significantly lower total cholesterol and lower LDL levels while increasing HDL levels cholesterol.
6. Reducing Blood Pressure
A higher dose of spirulina such as 4.5 grams/day may lead to lower blood pressure levels. A small-scale study found that eating spirulina regularly for three months reduced BP in people with obesity and hypertension.
7. Preventing Heart Disease
Spirulina reduces the major risk factors for heart disease viz. cholesterol and high BP thereby help to prevent heart disease.
A review suggests that spirulina may play a role in preventing heart disease which might be due to their anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, and antioxidative effects.
8. Anti-Cancer Properties
Spirulina is loaded with anti-cancer properties and appears especially effective against a type of precancerous lesion of the mouth called oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF).
9. Reducing Allergy Symptoms
The evidence-based study shows that spirulina could help improve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
A recent study shows that spirulina is good at relieving nasal inflammation and reducing histamine in the body. when compared to a placebo, it may reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as:
- runny nose
- nasal congestion
10. Antitoxic Action
Few people are at risk of poisoning from contaminated drinking water and other sources of pollutants. Spirulina may offer a way to treat those affected. A review found that spirulina had antitoxic properties that could counteract pollutants in the body, including: