Benefits of Spirulina

Spirulina often gets misclassified as an herb because of its amazing health promoting properties, but it's actually a bacteria, or a blue-green algae that's found in pristine freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. It is most commonly recognized as one of the world's most nutritionally complete superfoods, as it offers health benefits to practically every organ and bodily function.

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Spirulina Modulates the Immune Response
Spirulina has long been revered for its ability to strengthen the immune system. Because it actively promotes cell regeneration, it helps wounds heal quicker, and makes recovery from illnesses occur faster. Spirulina fortifies one's immune system, leaving the person less likely to experience colds, flus, and other contractible illnesses.

Spirulina Assists in Keeping Eyes Healthy
Spirulina is an excellent supplement for those looking to improve their eye health. This blue-green algae is very rich in vitamin A, and this vitamin is exceptionally important for healthy eyes. For this same reason, eating more carrots has long been recommended to those looking to improve their eye health, but spirulina actually has ten times the vitamin A concentration gram per gram of carrots.

Spirulina Reduces Inflammation and Eases PMS Symptoms
Spirulina is one of the leading sources of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents in nature. GLA is also particularly beneficial to women, as it can ease the symptoms of PMS. Gram per gram, it also has 26-times the calcium of milk, making it an excellent nutritional supplement for pregnant women.

Spirulina Helps Improve the Digestive System
Spirulina eases the passage of waste through the digestive system, thereby reducing stress on the entire system. It also promotes healthy bacteria in the digestive system, and helps to improve the absorption of dietary nutrients.

Spirulina Helps the Body Detox Naturally
Spirulina has a very high concentration of chlorophyll, one of nature's most powerful detoxifying agents. It has been shown to be effective at helping remove toxins from the blood, and it binds to heavy metals and radioactive isotopes, making it very beneficial for those undergoing radioactive therapy.

Additional Health Benefits of Spirulina
• Spirulina is very high in bio-available iron, making it beneficial to those with anemia or pregnancy, with reduced risk of constipation
• Spirulina is a good source of vitamins B-1(thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), B-12 (cobalamin), vitamin E, and vitamin K1 and K2
• It is also a source of potassium, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc
• It has four times the antioxidant ability of blueberries
• Spirulina is an goodsource of protein: gram per gram more so than beef, poultry, fish, and soybeans

https://www.nutrex-hawaii.com/blogs/learn/benefits-of-spirulina

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1. Spirulina Is Extremely High in Many Nutrients
Spirulina is an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water.

It is a type of bacteria called cyanobacterium, which is often referred to as blue-green algae.

Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy out of sunlight, via the process called photosynthesis.

Spirulina was consumed by the Aztecs back in the day, but became popular again when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space and used by astronauts (1).

A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1-3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day have been used effectively.

It is actually quite amazing how nutritious it is.

A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains (2):

Protein: 4 grams.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 11% of the RDA.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 4% of the RDA.
Copper: 21% of the RDA.
Iron: 11% of the RDA.
It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that we need.
This is coming with only 20 calories, and 1.7 grams of digestible carbohydrate.

Gram for gram, this means that spirulina may literally be the single most nutritious food on the planet.

A tablespoon of spirulina contains a small amount of fat (around 1 gram), including both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in about a 1.5:1 ratio.

The quality of the protein in spirulina is considered excellent, comparable to eggs. It contains all the essential amino acids that we need.

It is often claimed that spirulina contains vitamin B12, but this is false. It contains pseudovitamin B12, which has not been shown to be effective in humans (3, 4).

BOTTOM LINE:
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salty and fresh water. It may be the single most nutrient-dense food on earth.

2. Spirulina Has Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Oxidative damage can harm our DNA and cells.

This damage can drive chronic inflammation, which contributes to cancer and other diseases (5).

Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.

The main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.

Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signalling molecules, providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (6, 7, 8).

BOTTOM LINE:
Phocyanin is the main active compound in spirulina. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Spirulina Can Lower LDL and Triglyceride Levels
Heart disease is currently the world's biggest killer.

It is known that many measurable factors, termed risk factors, are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

As it turns out, spirulina has been shown to have beneficial effects on many of them.

For example, it can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the "good") cholesterol.

In a study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams per day of spirulina significantly improved these markers (9).

Another study in people with high cholesterol found that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and LDL by 10.1% (10).

Several other studies have shown favorable effects, but with higher doses of 4.5-8 grams of spirulina per day (11, 12).

BOTTOM LINE:
Studies have shown that spirulina can lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and sometimes may raise HDL (the "good") cholesterol.

4. Spirulina Protects LDL Cholesterol From Becoming Oxidized
Fatty structures in the body are susceptible to oxidative damage.

This is known as lipid peroxidation, which is known to be a key driver of many serious diseases (13, 14).

For example, one of the key steps in the pathway towards heart disease is LDL lipoproteins in the blood becoming oxidized (15).

Interestingly, the antioxidants in spirulina appear to be particularly effective at reducing lipid peroxidation. This has been shown numerous times, in both human and animal studies (16, 17).

In a study of 37 individuals with type 2 diabetes, 8 grams of spirulina per day significantly reduced markers of oxidative damage. It also increased levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood (18).

BOTTOM LINE:
Fatty structures in the body can become oxidized, which drives the progression of many diseases. The antioxidants in spirulina can help prevent this from happening.

5. Spirulina Appears to Have Anti-Cancer Properties, Especially Against Oral Cancer
Some evidence suggests that spirulina can have anti-cancer properties.

For example, some research in test animals shows that it can reduce cancer occurrence and tumor size (19, 20).

Spirulina has been particularly well studied with regard to oral cancer, which is cancer of the mouth.

One study looked at the effects of spirulina on 87 people from India with precancerous lesions called OSMF in the mouth.

After using 1 gram per day for 1 year, 45% of the spirulina group had a complete regression of lesions in the mouth, compared to only 7% in the control group (21).

When they stopped taking the spirulina, almost half of the responders developed these lesions again the following year.

In another study of 40 subjects with OSMF precancerous lesions, 1 gram of spirulina per day led to greater improvement in symptoms than the drug Pentoxyfilline (22).

BOTTOM LINE:
Spirulina may have some anti-cancer properties, especially against a type of precancerous lesion called OSMF (oral submucous fibrosis).

6. Studies Show That It May Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is an important driver of many killer diseases.

This includes heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.

While 1 gram of spirulina is ineffective, a dose of 4.5 grams per day has been shown to reduce blood pressure in individuals with normal blood pressure levels (10, 11).

This is thought to be driven by an increased production of nitric oxide, a signalling molecule that helps the blood vessels relax and dilate (23).

BOTTOM LINE:
In one study, a higher dose of spirulina has been shown to lead to lower blood pressure levels, a major risk factor for many diseases.

7. Spirulina Improves Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is characterized by inflammation in the nasal airways.

It is triggered by environmental allergens, such as pollen, animal hair or even wheat dust.

Spirulina is a popular alternative treatment for symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and there is evidence that it can be effective (24).

In one study of 127 people with allergic rhinitis, 2 grams per day dramatically reduced symptoms like nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching (25).

BOTTOM LINE:
Spirulina supplements have been shown to be very effective against allergic rhinitis, helping to reduce various symptoms.

8. Spirulina May Be Effective Against Anemia
There are many different forms of anemia.

The most common one is characterized by a reduction in hemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood.

Anemia is fairly common in the elderly, leading to prolonged feelings of weakness and fatigue (26).

In a study of 40 older people with a history of anemia, spirulina supplementation increased the hemoglobin content of red blood cells. Immune function also improved (27).

However, this is just one study, and more research is needed before any recommendations can be made.

BOTTOM LINE:
One study shows that spirulina may be effective against anemia in the elderly. More research is needed.

9. Muscle Strength and Endurance May Improve
Exercise-induced oxidative damage is a major contributor to muscle fatigue.

Certain plant foods have antioxidant properties that can help athletes and physically active individuals minimize this damage.

Spirulina appears to be beneficial, with some studies showing improved muscle strength and endurance.

In two studies, spirulina was shown to enhance endurance, significantly increasing the time it took for people to become fatigued (28, 29).

Another study in college athletes found that spirulina supplementation increased muscle strength, but did not have any effect on endurance (30).

BOTTOM LINE:
Some studies have shown that spirulina supplementation can enhance endurance, and one study shows that it can increase muscle strength.

10. Spirulina May Help With Blood Sugar Control
Animal studies have shown that spirulina can significantly lower blood sugar levels.

In some cases, it has outperformed popular diabetes drugs, including Metformin (31, 32, 33).

There is also some evidence that spirulina can be effective in humans.

In a study of 25 patients with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina led to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels (9).

HbA1c, a marker for long-term blood sugar levels, decreased from 9% to 8%, which is substantial. Studies estimate that a 1% reduction in this marker can lower the risk of diabetes-related death by 21% (34).

However, this study was small and only lasted for 2 months, so take this with a grain of salt.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-spirulina#section10

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1. Detoxes Heavy Metals (Especially Arsenic)
Affecting people all over the globe, chronic arsenic toxicity is a problem. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. is one of the countries affected by inorganic arsenic that is naturally present at high levels.

Arsenic toxicity is an even bigger problem in the Far East. In the words of Bangladeshi researchers, “Millions of people in Bangladesh, India, Taiwan and Chile are consuming a high concentration of arsenic through drinking water, and thousands of them have already developed chronic arsenic poisoning.” (3)

In fact, up to 3 percent of the entire nation of Bangladesh showed clinical signs of arsenic poisoning alone. (4) As Bangladeshi researchers pointed out, “there is no specific treatment” for arsenic poisoning, which is why they evaluated alternatives like blue-green algae.

After giving 24 patients affected by chronic arsenic poisoning spirulina extract (250 milligrams) plus zinc (2 milligrams) twice daily, they compared the results with 17 patients who took a placebo and found that the spirulina-zinc combination worked. Ultimately, the participants experienced a 47 percent decrease of arsenic in their body. Spirulina against arsenic? Spirulina wins! Make it part of your heavy metal detox.

2. Eliminates Candida
According to researchers, “Candida species belong to the normal microbiota of an individual’s mucosal oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract and vagina.” (5) What does that mean? Well, without a healthy microflora balance in our body, we are simply much more susceptible to sickness and disease.

In fact, leaky gut syndrome and improper digestion are directly connected to microfloral imbalance. Not only is invasive candidiasis the leading cause of mycosis-related death in the U.S., candida overgrowth has become the hallmark sign for most autoimmune diseases today. (6)

Because of our shift toward a diet rich in sugar and unnatural ingredients, antimicrobial resistance and ineffective antifungal drugs, we have seen a significant rise in yeast infections since the 1980s.

Thankfully, spirulina appears to be able to help. Several animal studies have shown that it’s an effective antimicrobial agent, particularly for candida. (7, 8, 9)

Specifically, spirulina benefits have been shown to promote the growth of healthy bacterial flora in the intestines, which in turn inhibits candida from thriving. Additionally, the immune-strengthening properties of spirulina will help the body eliminate candida cells. (10) Spirulina against candida? Spirulina wins!

3. Improves HIV/AIDS
Up until recently, epidemiologists have been puzzled trying to understand why people in Japan, Korea and Chad have relatively low HIV/AIDS rates. One possible explanation, revealed in a 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Phycology, may be the amount of algae people in these areas regularly consume!

When researchers took 11 HIV patients who have never taken antiretrovirals, they split the participants into three groups: one that was assigned to eat 5 grams of brown seaweed every day, one that was to eat 5 grams of spirulina, and one that ate a combination of both. (11) After the three-month trial period was complete, two key findings were discovered:

Absolutely no adverse effects were experienced from both seaweed varieties and the combination.
CD4 cells (T-helper white blood cells that fight infection and are used to stage HIV) and HIV-1 viral load (another HIV biomarker) remained stable.
The results were so promising that one participant volunteered to continue the study for an additional 10 months, and this participant actually benefited from “clinically significant improvement in CD4 and decreased HIV viral load.” Therefore, spirulina deserves a place in natural HIV treatment.

4. Helps Prevent Cancer
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “A number of animal and test tube studies suggest that 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.” (12)

This doesn’t come as a surprise as more than 70 peer-reviewed articles have been published in the scientific literature evaluating spirulina’s ability to affect cancer cells. (13)

In an article published this past April, Czech Republic scientists pointed out that, in addition to its ability to control blood cholesterol levels, “Spirulina is also rich in tetrapyrrolic compounds closely related to bilirubin molecule, a potent antioxidant and anti-proliferative agent.” (14)

When tested on human pancreatic cells, these researchers discovered that, “Compared to untreated cells, experimental therapeutics significantly decreased proliferation of human pancreatic cancer cell lines in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.” Essentially, this proves that consuming spirulina appears to be a potential natural cancer treatment.

5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Phycocyanin is a pigment found in the spirulina that scientists have discovered possesses antihypertensive effects (it lowers blood pressure). (15) Japanese researchers claim that this is because consuming the blue-green algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome.

I find this extremely promising for Americans because metabolic syndrome has rapidly become one of the main causes of preventable disease today, as it raises one’s risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. (16)

6. Reduces Cholesterol
Along those same lines, spirulina benefits have also been shown to prevent atherosclerosis and reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels.

A recent animal study published in The Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology took rabbits, fed them a high cholesterol diet (HCD) containing 0.5 percent cholesterol for four weeks, and then fed them a HCD with 1 percent or 5 percent spirulina for an additional eight weeks. (17)

After the eight-week trial was complete, LDL levels decreased by 26 percent in the group eating 1 percent of spirulina and 41 percent in the group eating 5 percent spirulina, which heavily suggests that the more we eat, the more benefits we will receive! Serum triglycerides and total cholesterol were also significantly reduced.

7. Lowers Chance of Stroke
In the study above, researchers also discovered that the spirulina supplementation lowered intimal aorta surface by 33 percent to 48 percent, which suggests that it can prevent atherosclerosis and subsequent stroke. (18)

It’s important to remember that this clinical trial was conducted on animals that were still eating a HCD, and it highlights that regular spirulina consumption may literally reverse some of the damage done by eating a poor diet. You can only imagine the heart health benefits that would be experienced in those individuals who have a balanced diet!

8. Boosts Energy
When you look at the chemical composition of spirulina, it’s no wonder that people who regularly consume it have an abundance of energy. Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends combining 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder with 12 ounces of lime juice and freezing the mixture in ice cube trays for a healthy boost.

According to Dr. Oz, spirulina and lime enhance energy performance because they unlock sugar from our cells and, when frozen, the cold from the ice boosts metabolic energy while giving our bodies a “wake-up call.” (19)

It’s important to note that this has not been studied in clinical trials, although there are many anecdotal reports that spirulina may boost energy levels.

9. Alleviates Sinus Issues
Known as allergic rhinitis, spirulina benefits the body by reducing the inflammation that causes people to experience sinus problems, according to numerous studies. (20) Compared to placebo trials, spirulina is effective at reducing itching, nasal discharge, nasal congestion and sneezing.

10. Offers Neuroprotection for Brain Disorders & Memory Boosting
In a 2012 study, a spirulina-enhanced diet given to rats provided neuroprotection in an α-synuclein model of Parkinson’s disease. This did not occur with the control diet. (21) In a 2015 study, the effects of spirulina on memory dysfunction, oxidative stress damage and antioxidant enzyme activity were examined with mice. It was found that Spirulina platensis may “prevent the loss of memory possibly by lessening Aβ protein accumulation, reducing oxidative damage and mainly augmenting the catalase activity.” (22)

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