First consumed by the Aztecs in the 14th century, Spirulina regained popularity when NASA proposed growing it in space for consumption by the astronauts.
This blue-green algae is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
One tablespoon of Spirulina packs a whopping 4g of protein, 2mg of Iron, 13.7mg of Magnesium, 95mg of Potassium, 0.4mg of Copper, Vitamin B1, B2 and B3. It also contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as traces of Zinc, Manganese, Selenium and Calcium.
Apart from its nutrient-rich profile, Spirulina boasts quite a few health benefits that might just change your life.
From its anti-inflammatory benefits, to its ability to fight anemia—this blue-green algae is a powerhouse superfood.
Whenever we sustain an injury or encounter allergies, our body releases a compound called histamine. It causes dilation of the capillaries, and contraction of the smooth muscles.
It's what’s responsible for the swelling associated with injuries. Once histamine is released into the affected area, it boosts blood flow and causes inflammation.
Spirulina contains C-phycocyanin (C-PC), a biliprotein that works to inhibit the release of histamine by mast cells—thus preventing inflammation altogether.
In addition, a study conducted in 2009 by the Chia-Yi Christian Hospital suggests C-PC has anti-hyperalgesic effects—meaning Spirulina may also help with the pain associated with inflammation.
2. Heart Healthy
One in every four Americans die of heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death in the United States and costing about $291 billion dollars per annum.
Heart disease is caused by a variety of factors that can include diet, exercise, lifestyle and even genetics.
Multiple studies have shown Spirulina to be effective in helping lower blood pressure, LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglyceride levels.
During these studies, volunteers were given 4.2g of Spirulina per day for 8 weeks. In addition to the effects mentioned above, higher HDL (good cholesterol) levels were recorded as well as decreased atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
3. Anemia Support
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 24% of the population is affected by Anemia.
Marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood—Anemia prevents oxygen from flowing efficiently to all the organs in the body.
This can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and even fast heartbeat.
A study conducted in 2011 at the University of California tested the effect of Spirulina on subjects older than 50 with a history of Anemia.
After 12 weeks of supplementing 3g of Spirulina per day, all participants reported steady increases in both red and white blood cell count, as well as higher hemoglobin levels.
They concluded that Spirulina may be effective in counteracting Anemia altogether.
4. Blood Sugar Support
A 2001 study conducted by the University of Baroda in India examined the effect of Spirulina on Type 2 diabetes patients. 25 subjects were given 2g of Spirulina per day for two months.
The results were astounding!
They recorded an appreciable decrease in both fasting blood glucose and postprandial blood glucose levels. In addition, a significant decrease in Hemoglobin A1c levels was noted—indicating an improvement in long-term glucose regulation.
Regular supplementation of Spirulina helps to support healthy blood sugar levels, as well as improve long-term glucose regulation.
There are quite a few other benefits of Spirulina, that we won't touch on in this article, however feel free to do your own research and leave some feedback in the comments below!
Also, stay tuned to our blog as I'll write more about emerging superfoods, and like always...back it up by science! 🙂
If you'd like to try our Sea Moss with Spirulina Capsules, please click here!
Karkos, P D, et al. “Spirulina in Clinical Practice: Evidence-Based Human Applications.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136577/.
Parikh, Panam, et al. “Role of Spirulina in the Control of Glycemia and Lipidemia in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” Journal of Medicinal Food, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12639401.
Selmi, Carlo, et al. “The Effects of Spirulina on Anemia and Immune Function in Senior Citizens.” Cellular & Molecular Immunology, Nature Publishing Group, May 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012879/.
Shih, Chao-Ming, et al. “Antiinflammatory and Antihyperalgesic Activity of C-Phycocyanin.” Anesthesia and Analgesia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19299804.
Torres-Duran, Patricia V, et al. “Antihyperlipemic and Antihypertensive Effects of Spirulina Maxima in an Open Sample of Mexican Population: a Preliminary Report.” Lipids in Health and Disease, BioMed Central, 26 Nov. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2211748/.