What are the Health Benefits of Spirulina?

Spirulina a blue-algae that is frequently consumed as a dietary supplement.
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  • Written By: A. B. Kelsey
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2014
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Spirulina is a blue-green, one-celled form of algae that thrives in warm, alkaline fresh bodies of water such as lakes and ponds. It has a long history of being used for human consumption for its many health benefits. Over the years, spirulina has nourished the citizens of Africa, Asia, and South America. The Mayas and the Aztecs used the algae as a central part of their diet. Today, spirulina is consumed by health conscious people all over the world.

Spirulina is popular with health buffs because it packs such a potent nutritional punch. This algae weighs in with an impressive 60% all-vegetable protein, and also contains a powerful combination of important vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin E, zinc, B-complex, copper, calcium, and magnesium. It is also a rich source of the antioxidant beta-carotene and the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). In other words, spirulina is one heck of an algae.

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This "super" algae is a deep blue-green color because of the chlorophyll and phycocyanin. The green pigment is caused by chlorophyll, which is sometimes called “green blood" because it is so similar to hemoglobin. Chlorophyll is thought to soothe inflammation and normalize the secretion of digestive acids. The pigment that gives spirulina its blue cast is phycocyanin, which is related to the human pigment bilirubin. Bilirubin is important to healthy liver function and the digestion of amino acids. These natural pigments are both easy-to-digest, so the human body can absorb the nutrients quickly. Spirulina is gaining in popularity with environmentalists because this aquatic plant can be grown efficiently without destroying valuable resources.

Spirulina can produce 20 times more protein per area than soybeans, 40 times more than corn, and 200 times more protein per area than beef cattle. It also uses less water per area of protein than other foods. In fact, spirulina growers claim the only significant water loss is through evaporation. In addition, since algae production expands using non-fertile land and brackish water, spirulina farming does not cause soil erosion. There are many people who think farming spirulina is one of the simple ways we can “regreen” our planet.

It’s hard to believe that a concentrated source of nutrients such as spirulina isn’t full of calories, fats, and starches. Amazingly, it is only seven percent fat, and most of that is in the form of essential fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help break up cholesterol in the bloodstream and affect the health of hair, skin, and nails.

Spirulina also contains very little calories, sugar, or starch. The average 500 mg tablet of spirulina contains only one to two calories. It does offer some carbohydrates in the form of rhamnose and glycogen, both of which are easily absorbed by the human body. Thus, the sugars found in spirulina can provide a quick, healthy energy boost.

Spirulina is easy to find in pill or powder form. Although there are no known toxicities associated with spirulina, it is always best and safest to talk with a health care provider before taking any nutritional supplement.

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anon339566
Post 11

This is an amazing blog! I love Spirulina powder and strongly recommend it to all my loved ones for its health benefits! Good work!

anon320837
Post 9

Spirulina truly is one of the worlds most potent superfoods. I've been taking it for a couple years now and feel great from it. I just did an experiment where for five days I only ate a mixture of spirulina, chia seeds, cacao and honey and I felt amazing from it and lost about five pounds that stayed off.

I've now actually grown my own spirulina at home because of the potential issues of heavy metals and toxicity with untrusted sources. I found a kit online and I can harvest about 10 grams of this fresh green goodness every day. And it tastes, well, doesn't really have any taste at all. I can just eat it right out of the harvest cloth.

anon256211
Post 8

I have been taking Spirulina daily for 40 years. I am very healthy and active. It's not like a super-energy supplement (actually it's a food), but if I don't take it for about five days, I start to feel draggy and drained. At first, I don't relate it to not taking Spirulina, but then I remember that I haven't taken it. After resuming taking it for a day or so, I get back to having lasting energy and stamina.

I usually take six tabs in the morning and four in the late afternoon. It cured me of chronic stomach problems, and intestinal irritations and 24/7 allergies. I only experience allergies a few days a year and I can eat anything. I highly recommend it. I use NOW Spirulina, organic.

anon163959
Post 7

I truly feel that if it wasn't for Marcus Rohrer Spirulina, I might not be alive today. It helped me fight the consequences of a 10 year drug addiction to heroin and meth, and the resulting infections and infestations of parasites I was left with. It gave me the strength to fight for my life!

anon139652
Post 6

I read something about how Spirulina and Chlorella can help with energy levels, so I decided to give it a shot. I found a product called Perfect Aquatic Greens - picked it because it 100 percent certified Organic and Fair Trade. These are both very important to me. I have been using it for just over a week and it has been incredible! I hope this lasts, if so I will never need to drink coffee again!

anon134161
Post 5

For my high output and rigorous job, I sprinkle a bit of Spirulina on two eggs for breakfast, chased with pineapple juice-- a power packed start! This keeps me going well all morning long and into the afternoon.

anon123405
Post 4

I take Spirulina every day. I know I don't get enough vitamins and minerals and with spirulina i get the full spectrum. I take SoTru Organic Spirulina. Not only is it organic (so you know there are no additives), but it is fair trade certified as well. I recommend it for everyone.

anon122215
Post 3

Spirulina sounds almost too good to be true but it seems to be confirmed by many sites and health experts as well. Thanks for the info mate.

anon91337
Post 2

I am wondering if I can still take a daily multivitamin while taking spirulina.

anon84681
Post 1

I am one skeptical person when it comes to health giving supplements. I can attest how Spirulina worked wonders in me, especially in my line of work as a call center agent working graveyard shifts. Anybody knows the detriment of the job. Through Spirulina, i get to earn money without compromising my health.

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