I know the term “superfood” gets thrown around lightly a lot of the time, but spirulina is the real deal. If you’ve ever checked out its nutrition facts, it’s insane.
Just an ounce of spirulina has 39 grams of protein, 230mg of Omega-3 fatty acids, 85% of your copper intake, 44% of your iron intake, 27% of your manganese intake, 60% of your riboflavin intake, 44% of your thiamin intake, 18% of your niacin – the list goes on and on and on. (1)
Of course, an ounce of spirulina is actually a lot. And gram for gram it’s one of the most expensive nutrient sources out there.
Yes, there are drawbacks. But when you look at the list of benefits – you’ll see that spirulina can be a verifiable miracle food for lots of people.
What’s The Deal With Spirulina?
If you don’t know what spirulina is, you’re not alone. Outside of people who follow along with the latest health trends and supplement enthusiasts, there isn’t a ton of general knowledge about this plant.
Which is why lots of people get surprised when they find out that they do know what spirulina is – and hear it’s common name: pond scum.
Yes, spriulina is the same as the green algae that grows on top of ponds and has the name “pond scum” to a lot of people.
Don’t let that scare you off though – its health benefits and nutritional composition is off the charts.
Spirulina is a powder made of the algae that commonly grows on ponds. You can find ridiculous, and I do mean ridiculous levels of protein in it, as well as B-vitamins, antioxidants, and a ton of other nutrients.
Seriously though, it’s maybe the premier plant source of protein – and it also contains tons of iron for vegetarians looking to fill that nutritional niche. (2)
How Do You Take Spirulina?
Spriulina comes in a powder form. You can add it to water and drink it down, but be warned… it will taste like you’re drinking water out of a pond with scum on the top. Yuck.
That’s why lots of people prefer to take their spirulina in capsule form to avoid the scummy aftertaste.
When you’re looking for a source of spirulina, make sure you go organic. Non-organic sources of spirulina might be contaminated, or have additives in them that you don’t want in your body, like nitrate compounds.
Make sure to buy organic spirulina from a source you trust. You can find it on Amazon, I prefer the Nutrex Hawaii organic spirulina called Pure Hawaiian Spirulina.
The Top Benefits Of Spirulina
Spirulina has a host of amazing health benefits. Let’s go into them now.
1. Spirulina Can Help Lower Your Blood Pressure
Spriulina contains a pigment called phycocyanin, which has been linked by researchers to lowered blood pressure and increased cardiovascular health. (3)
If you’re suffering from high blood pressure you’re at increased risk of cardiovascular disease like heart attacks and strokes – so try taking spirulina to take your blood pressure down and improve your health naturally.
2. Spirulina Lowers Your Cholesterol
Keeping with the heart healthy theme, we can see that spirulina has been shown in research studies to help lower cholesterol and keep your heart even healthier.
One study using animal subjects found that spirulina significantly decreased cholesterol levels when added to the diet. Animals were put on a high cholesterol diet for a month, and then their diet was either modified to be 1% spirulina or 5% spirulina for another two months after that. (4)
What the scientists found was that those animals who were eating 1% spirulina had their bad cholesterol levels drop by more than 25%, and the animals eating 5% spirulina had their bad cholesterol levels drop by more than 40%!
More research needs to be done to hammer down the link between spirulina and cholesterol, but early results are incredibly promising.
3. Spirulina Can Help Get Rid Of Heavy Metals In Your Body
Spirulina is chock full of chlorophyll – the molecule that plants use to convert sunlight into fuel for their cells. The chlorophyll in spirulina can serve a different purpose in your body – helping to sweep toxins out of your blood stream and improve your immune system.
Indeed, spirulina does really well at removing all sorts of toxins from your body. It’s been shown to bind to heavy metals that can be in your body and safely remove them, and it also can bind to radioactive isotopes and get them out of your body before they cause any more damage. (5)
4. Spriulina Can Boost Your Endurance And Metabolism
Scientists have been looking at the applications of spirulina to exercise and found encouraging results.
When you take spirulina, you actually increase the amount of fat that you burn during exercise – boosting your metabolism and increasing your endurance.
In addition, spirulina has an incredible amount of antioxidants in it, helping to keep your blood highly oxygenated and keep your endurance up even while doing heavy exercise. (6)
5. Spirulina Is A Nutritional Powerhouse
We already covered this a little further up the page, but it’s worth revisiting again – the nutritional n umbers on spirulina are staggering.
Remember how it has 44% of your thiamin intake? Thiamin is also known as vitamin B1 – and it’s enormously important all over your body, from your brain, to your metabolism, to your nervous system, to your eye health – it’s got it all. (7)
We talked about how good the iron content and protein content is for vegetarians that are looking for complete protein sources. What we didn’t talk about was how good a source of calcium it is – containing more than 25 times the amount of calcium that you’ll find in milk.
Trust me on this one – spirulina has a mind boggling amount of nutrients in it. If you take it, it will make your body very very happy.
6. Spirulina Can Help Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Balanced
Spirulina is so good at blood sugar regulation that it’s even been researched as a possible alternative medicine for diabetes. (Always talk to your doctor about what medications are right for you, as spirulina has not been approved as a general medicine for diabetes).
The direct mechanism that allows spirulina to lower your blood sugar has not been nailed down, but if you suffer from high blood sugar it could be a good idea to take spirulina in order to help regulate it. (8)
7. Spirulina Helps Lower Allergic Reactions
What can’t spirulina do? There has been research suggesting that it helps people with allergies to have less severe allergice reactions and control their allergies much better.
Spirulina is an anti-inflammatory – which means that it helps slow down the inflammation that leads to nasal congestion and other negative symptoms of allergies. (9)
8. Spirulina Is Chock Full Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants serve so many important purposes in your body – but maybe the most important role that they play is sweeping up free radicals out of your body and getting them safely out of your system.
Free radicals cause oxidative stress to many systems and parts of your body, and can contribute to cellular damage and other things you don’t want. (10)
However, spirulina contains an enormous amount of antioxidants, some of which are truly super-efficient at getting rid of free radicals and keeping your body safe. Spirulina’s anti-oxidant effectiveness is more than 4 times blueberries – another food that is touted for its high amount of antioxidants.
9. Spirulina Has Tons Of Healthy Fatty Acids
Remember how spirulina contains a ridiculous amount of protein and healthy fats? A lot of that is gamma linolenic acid – which is a potent anti-inflammatory and a healthy omega-3 fatty acid. (11)
It’s tough to find food sources for gamma linolenic acid – which is what makes spirulina so special. In addition, spirulina has lots of other healthy omega-3 fatty acids to keep your brain and body functioning well.
Who Should Not Consume Spirulina?
People who have phenylketonuria, or pku, should not take spirulina because it contains the amino acid phenylalanine – which cannot be broken down by people with that condition.
Anyone with an autoimmune disease should be careful taking spirulina, as it can have adverse effects. In addition, anyone taking anti-coagulation medicine should not take spirulina unless specifically approved by their doctor. Pregnant and nursing women should talk to their doctor before considering taking spirulina.
In addition, if money is tight it’s not a good idea to use spirulina as a nutritional supplement. Per gram, it’s one of the most expensive foods out there today – and although its nutritional content is high, you pay dearly for that nutritional content on the price side of it.
The 9 Biggest Spirulina Benefits
- Spirulina can help lower your blood pressure
- Spirulina lowers your cholesterol
- Spirulina can help get rid of heavy metals in your body
- Spriulina can boost your endurance and metabolism
- Spirulina is a nutritional powerhouse
- Spirulina can help keep your blood sugar levels balanced
- Spirulina helps lower allergic reactions
- Spirulina is chock full of antioxidants
- Spirulina has tons of healthy fatty acids