Among the various spirulina benefits, the most notable one is weight loss.
Spirulina is a highly nutritious plant. Spirulina powder nutrition is very impressive, one of the superfoods for weight loss.
We are listing several of the benefits related to Spirulina with some of the backing science studies. Blue-green algae like spirulina or its cousin chlorella have been studied for a variety of health benefits.
Broadly, they seem to exert an antimicrobial, antiallergic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even antitumor properties.
You may know that protein and fiber work hand in hand to reduce the appetite and recurrence of hunger.
Much to your benefit, spirulina is rich in both. Animal studies find long-term spirulina supplementation to be beneficial in reducing the appetite.
In addition, an early study supplemented 2.8 grams of spirulina 3 times a week for a month to a section of obese participants whereas the others were given a placebo.
At the end of the study, the researchers found a small but statistically significant reduction in the body weight of the obese individuals given spirulina.
1. EW Becker et al (1986). Clinical and biochemical evaluations of the alga spirulina with regard to its application in the treatment of obesity. A double-blind cross-over study. Nutrition Reports International, 33: 565-574.
2. M Kalafati et al (2010). Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42(1), 142-51.
3. M. Barrett and J. Udani (2011). A proprietary alpha-amylase inhibitor from white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): A review of clinical studies on weight loss and glycemic control. Nutrition Journal, 10:24.
Anti-allergic Effects of Spirulina
The Spirulina plant with its host of vitamins and antioxidants have shown to help with allergies. Yes, the same feeling when your nose becomes stuffy and eyes watery. Little do you know, spirulina’s health benefits include allergies too.
Studies on rats show that Spirulina benefits a specific type of allergy known as allergic rhinitis. When the rats were given spirulina, their allergy subsided to a great extent. According to the study, the modus operandi of Spirulina was to reduce histamine secretion which helped abate allergy symptoms.
Reduce High Blood Pressure Reading
Knowing the health benefits of Spirulina plant could even calm the most frayed minds. By that we mean spirulina benefits lowering of blood pressure too.
In a study, people aged 18 – 65 years were given 4.5 grams of spirulina to be consumed for 6 weeks. This seemed to reduce their systolic blood pressure (the higher reading) and even diastolic blood pressure (lower reading).
Elevated blood pressure is one of the risk factors for heart disease. Spirulina’s ability to reduce its benefits to heart health eventually.
However, a note of caution. By just consuming spirulina but having foods with high salt content is not going to help you in the blood pressure crusade.
So practice a healthy lifestyle and diet but supplement it with spirulina for best results.
Benefits Your Heart Health due to its Action on Cholesterol Levels
One of the most common causes of heart disease is the cardiovascular disease which is characterized by artery blockage. No points for guessing that excess fat ends up blocking the arteries.
Although dietary regulations and lifestyle amendments are key to preventing or managing heart disease, due to the health benefits of spirulina, it can be sneaked into the regime.
Research has found glorious results as well. Two grams of spirulina was given to patients with type 2 diabetes for 2 months seemed to significantly lower triglyceride concentrations, the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL C.
When the dosage was raised to 8 grams, the effects seemed to improve. Although these were experimental dosages, the fact that spirulina helps reduce triglyceride concentration can be used to good advantage.
And how does Spirulina do this? By reducing the secretion of an enzyme that helps make cholesterol in the body . So when the circulating levels of lipids are low, the chances of blockage also goes down.
But atherosclerosis is not just the result of the accumulation of lipids. It is also got to do with inflammation. Guess who helps control inflammation as well? Spirulina.
In conjunction with this, it also lowers blood pressure. Thus a seamless protection or prevention of heart disease by spirulina. Thus employ Spirulina’s benefits for good heart health.
Improves Workout Capacity and Muscle Endurance
Physical activity accounts for 30% of the share in the weight loss story but what if you get tired pretty soon? Good news is around. Studies have shown that spirulina helps to improve exercise ability and muscle endurance.
In this study, 9 men accustomed to training received a spirulina containing supplement for 4 weeks. They then had to exercise and the performance was noted.
This 4-week supplementation period was followed by a washout period wherein they didn’t take any supplement. Returning back, these men consumed the placebo (mock drug) for 4 weeks.
However, there was a difference! They could work out more and their exercise performance improved. It means their muscles didn’t tire out soon.
5 Probable Side-Effects of Spirulina
Spirulina plant may suffer from contamination
A lot of spirulina side effects depends on its cultivation. Freely cultivated spirulina such as those on unmonitored lakes is possibly contaminated with liver harming agents such as microcystins, toxic metals, and really harmful bacteria.
These can be dangerous if fed to children as they are far more sensitive than adults. The solution for this would be to read the labels to ensure that the spirulina powder you buy is cultivated under supervision such that it is safe for consumption.
Symptoms of consuming contaminated spirulina are a stomach ache, nausea, weakness, thirst, rapid heartbeat. Consult a doctor and/or nutritionist before you begin on a spirulina course.
Spirulina may affect pregnancy
There are not many studies about the use of spirulina or spirulina benefits during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Stay safe by avoiding use during that time.
You could alternatively check with your physician before starting on a course during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Spirulina may at times hamper the immune system
Spirulina is known to affect the immune system and make it active. While this is a positive if you are trying to avoid trivial infections, in the case of autoimmune conditions, it may be counterproductive.
Auto-immune conditions occur when the immune system turns on the organs and starts attacking them considering it be bacteria or foreign agent.
Hence spirulina is best avoided in auto-immune conditions like lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), pemphigus vulgaris (a skin condition), and even Type 1 diabetes.
Spirulina affects people suffering from phenylketonuria
Phenylketonuria is an inborn error of metabolism. Developed right at birth, some babies can’t digest a particular amino acid namely phenylalanine.
Spirulina contains this amino acid and hence best avoided by those suffering from phenylketonuria.
Spirulina influences medications and herbs
Spirulina’s effect on the immune system is well known and this turns into spirulina side effects for someone on immunosuppressants.
Similarly, spirulina may slow blood clotting and hence take it along with anticoagulants may increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Same for herbs that may alter the blood clotting time. It would be great if you could consult a physician before going on a spirulina regime.