21 Health Benefits Of Spirulina Backed By Science

benefits of spirulina

Article at a glance:

  • Spirulina is a popular superfood supplement that is grown and harvested in freshwater or saltwater bodies.
  • This superfood has a dense nutritional profile as it’s a good source of antioxidants, protein, omega fatty acids, and many other nutrients.
  • Spirulina has many health benefits for humans – from helping improve allergy symptoms to supporting mental health.

 

Ever wondered why spirulina is loved by many as the ultimate superfood? We’re here to explain the wonders it brings. Spirulina brings in a long list of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that aid in reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, supporting organ health, and more. It’s also rich in phycocyanin, a strong antioxidant that helps fight free radicals.

The nutritional benefit of spirulina is unquestionable, but what exactly can it do for your overall health? Discover the incredible benefits of spirulina below!

What Is Spirulina?

 

Spirulina is a blue-green alga that grows in both freshwater and saltwater bodies. However, consuming spirulina grown in seawater is not recommended due to its high iodine content. It is a cyanobacterium that contains chlorophyll and other beneficial nutrients. Thanks to these, it has been dubbed a superfood.

Given its nutrition profile, this superfood benefits many living organisms, not just humans. In fact, did you know that there are spirulina benefits for dogs, too? But that’s a topic for another blog post.

Due to its nutrient-dense nature, many people take spirulina as a supplement to reap its many potential health benefits.

 

What Are the Benefits of Spirulina?

 

Many call it a superfood, but what happens to your body when you start taking spirulina? Here’s a list of the many health benefits of spirulina.

 

1. Benefits of Spirulina for Overall Nutrition

Is spirulina good for you? 

One of the main reasons spirulina has been considered a superfood is its dense nutritional value. Typically, the standard spirulina dose a person takes daily is around 1 to 3 grams, but some have taken 10-gram doses daily successfully.

A small dose of this superfood brings a lot of nutrients to the table. As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others, 1 tablespoon or 7 grams of this blue-green algae supplement already brings with it:

  • 4 grams of Protein
  • 8.4 milligrams of Calcium
  • 2 milligrams of Iron
  • 13.6 milligrams of Magnesium
  • 8.26 milligrams of Phosphorus
  • 0.427 milligrams of Copper
  • 95.2 milligrams of Potassium

The protein you can get from spirulina is considered to be complete. As such, it provides the body with the essential amino acids needed to maintain good health.

On top of this, it provides:

  • 14% of the recommended daily value of Thiamin
  • 20% of the recommended daily value of Riboflavin
  • 6% of the recommended daily value of Niacin

Additionally, the same dose of spirulina only has 20 calories, under 2 grams of carbohydrates, and around 1 gram of fat, including omega-3 and omega-6.

 

2. Benefits of Spirulina for Cardiovascular Health

Is spirulina good for the heart? Can spirulina lower high blood pressure?

Having high blood pressure increases a person’s risk of developing various diseases, including cardiovascular disease and possibly kidney disease. Spirulina increases the production of nitric oxide in the body. This compound helps a person’s blood vessels relax. As such, spirulina may lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Several peer-reviewed studies have backed up this claim. One paper reviewed five studies examining the effects of supplementing spirulina daily in doses between 1-8 grams. The review showed that this superfood may help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially among people with high blood pressure.

 

3. Benefits of Spirulina for Cholesterol Control

Can spirulina lower cholesterol levels?

Apart from lowering blood pressure, spirulina also supports cardiovascular health by helping lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the body. It also has the potential to increase HDL (good) cholesterol. In a 2014 study, it was found that 1 gram of spirulina a day managed to help lower triglyceride levels by 16.3% while also reducing bad cholesterol by 10.1%.

Spirulina’s possible effects on cholesterol don’t stop here. Fatty structures in the body are prone to oxidative damage, which may lead to many diseases. When lipids incur damage, it’s called lipid peroxidation, which may lead to many diseases and is a known stage in developing heart disease.

As it turns out, though, studies have found that spirulina may help avoid this, thanks to its antioxidant properties. Another study even reported that spirulina helped reduce lipid peroxidation that happens due to exercise, along with inflammation and muscle damage.

 

4. Benefits of Spirulina Against Allergies

women sneezing surrounded by flowers

Does spirulina help with allergies?

Nasal airway allergies are commonly caused by environmental factors such as pollen and dust particles in the air. But did you know people who suffer from hay fever or allergic rhinitis may find spirulina supplementation beneficial?

Studies have found that this superfood may help lessen the nasal airway inflammation that people suffer due to respiratory allergies by helping block the histamines that cause it. One study found that spirulina may help improve hay fever symptoms or allergic rhinitis, including sneezing and congestion. Some even suggest that supplementing with spirulina may be a decent alternative to allergy medication.

However, experts admit that more studies going into this are needed as prior research about spirulina’s effects on allergies is only limited to small-scale human trials or animal trials.

 

5. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Spirulina

Is spirulina anti-inflammatory?

It seems the anti-inflammatory effects of spirulina are not limited to allergic rhinitis and hay fever. It may also keep chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis at bay. Oxidation in the body can cause long-term inflammation and damage to most of the body. As such, if not neutralized, this can cause more serious diseases in our bodies.

Luckily, spirulina is rich in an antioxidant called phycocyanin. This anti-oxidant is what causes the superfood’s striking blue-green color. As an antioxidant, phycocyanin may help mitigate and possibly protect our cells from oxidative damage that may cause inflammation by neutralizing free radicals. It helps block the formation and propagation of free radicals that damage cells and cause inflammations by stealing electrons.

 

6. Antioxidant Benefits of Spirulina

Does spirulina detox you?

Thanks to its rich antioxidant content, spirulina may help detox your body. However, its cousin, chlorella, may work even better.  Nevertheless, spirulina is known for its potent, anti-toxic properties, too.

Spirulina also helps free our bodies from many toxins we might be exposed to. Studies have shown that spirulina can help absorb heavy metals and contaminants in the body. A 2016 review found that this superfood may help support treatment in dealing with dangerous compounds, including arsenic, fluoride, lead, and mercury.

One research reported that a 500-milligram dose of spirulina per day and a zinc supplement were enough to lower arsenic toxicity by almost 50%.  However, do note that, for its anti-toxic properties, spirulina should only be considered a supporting supplement.

 

7. Antimicrobial Benefits of Spirulina

Is spirulina antimicrobial?

Did you know that spirulina may have antimicrobial properties? Most prescription antibiotics and other antimicrobial meds effectively kill unwanted bacteria that cause infections in the body. However, such medicines also kill off “good” bacteria or probiotics from which our bodies can benefit from.

Test tube studies have found promising results, indicating that spirulina has biocidal activities against numerous unwanted germs in the body. Biocidal refers to a biological or chemical product that can control the growth of or kill organisms. This means the superfood may help destroy harmful organisms, including wound bacteria, herpes, flu virus, and even HIV.

 

8. Benefits of Spirulina for Cancer Prevention

Is spirulina good for cancer?

Spirulina is abundant in phycocyanin, an antioxidant that helps fight chronic inflammation. Many cancers and other diseases result from chronic inflammation. Studies found that spirulina supplementation may help reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer.

There have been animal studies that have reported spirulina’s anti-cancer properties, showing its promise. Since this has been observed in animal trials, more research is needed to determine whether it could help humans reduce the risk of having cancer. Spirulina may help with this thanks to its rich antioxidant content. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, which damage and alter cell components, including DNA, that can potentially lead to cancer.

Although, spirulina’s potential in fighting one type of cancer – oral cancer, in particular – has been well observed among humans. Several scientific papers have reported that spirulina supplementation may aid in managing a precancerous oral lesion called oral submucous fibrosis or OSMF.

One such study, conducted in 2013, observed 40 people with OSMF. This study showed that a 1-gram daily dose of spirulina helped improve symptoms of OSMF better than pentoxifylline, the drug traditionally used to manage such lesions by promoting blood flow.

 

9. Benefits of Spirulina for Fitness

benefits of spirulina for exercise

What are the benefits of spirulina for exercise?

Another one of the many spirulina benefits for men and women involves exercise. Did you know that spirulina may also help improve your muscle strength and improve endurance?

When you exercise, oxidative stress contributes to the development of muscle fatigue. As such, substances that can protect and avoid this damage, specifically antioxidants, can slow down muscle fatigue. Spirulina is chock full of antioxidants, thanks to phycocyanin. This plays a major role in helping athletes perform longer exercise sessions and maximize the benefits they get from it.

One study found that consuming spirulina supplements could help improve subjects’ oxygen uptake while exercising. The researchers mentioned that spirulina might help improve endurance, stamina, and recovery. Another study mentioned that spirulina may help increase muscle strength and improve oxygen uptake. 

 

10. Benefits of Spirulina for Weight Management

Can spirulina reduce belly fat? Is spirulina good for weight loss?

A 2020 review found that this superfood can lower a person’s body mass index, reduce belly fat, and reduce waist circumference.

Spirulina doesn’t contain many calories, carbohydrates, or fats so it won’t contribute to any weight gain. Also, this superfood is chock full of protein. Protein is known to minimize hunger and cravings that a person may feel. Fewer hunger pangs may contribute to weight loss.

Another factor that explains how spirulina helps in weight management is its potential to boost metabolism. This has been observed in a small-scale 2014 study that reported spirulina supplementation’s metabolic benefits. The higher your metabolism, the more you can burn calories, contributing to weight loss.

 

11. Benefits of Spirulina for Glucose Management

Can spirulina lower blood sugar?

If you’re suffering from insulin resistance or diabetes, supplementing with spirulina may be worthwhile. Several studies on spirulina reported its potential to help manage a person’s blood sugar levels. In 2018, a review mentioned that this superfood managed to help lower fasting blood sugar levels significantly (−17.88 mg/dl).

Similarly, cases have been reported in which the supplement managed to outperform medicine used to manage diabetes, such as Metformin. Another study involving 25 subjects with type 2 diabetes found that taking spirulina can significantly improve symptoms like fatigue, unwanted weight loss, increased thirst and urination, vision complications, and slow wound healing.

One animal study conducted on mice in 2017 found that spirulina extract helped lower blood sugar, increase insulin levels, and improve liver enzyme markers.

All these studies back spirulina’s potential to help manage blood glucose levels.

 

12. Benefits of Spirulina Against Anemia

Can spirulina help with anemia?

Another health disorder that spirulina may help with is anemia. It’s a condition in which the red blood cells of a person drop to critical levels. There are many types of anemia, but iron deficiency anemia is the most common type. Several reasons may cause the different types, but the result is the same – critically low levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

Spirulina has shown promise in managing anemia. Per a 2011 study, the superfood helped reduce symptoms among “senior citizens.” Another study found that it may also help with anemia during pregnancy. These studies and spirulina’s abundant iron content show its promise in helping patients with anemia.

 

13. Benefits of Spirulina for the Immune System

Is spirulina good for the immune response?

Spirulina is undoubtedly one of the most nutrient-dense foods or supplements you can find. It carries with it a wide array of vitamins and minerals, many of which help boost the immune system. Apart from this, test tube studies and animal studies have also suggested the likelihood of spirulina helping boost a person’s immunity.

Numerous studies indicated that spirulina may work as a potent immunomodulator, a substance that can help regulate the body’s immune cells. Studies have shown that spirulina helps boost white blood cell and antibody production. This would help ready the body to fight off many infections and viral diseases.

 

14. Benefits of Spirulina for Eye Health

benefits of spirulina for eye health

Is spirulina good for the eyes?

Among spirulina’s other health benefits, it also helps support one’s eye health. This superfood is rich in carotenoids, including beta carotene, which significantly helps keep your eyes healthy. It’s also a good dietary source of zeaxanthin, a nutrient that may help promote eye health.

On top of eye-friendly nutrients, animal studies have shown proof of spirulina’s potential positive effects against macular degeneration. A scientific paper published in 2019 examined mice with spirulina making up 20% of their diet for four weeks. The researchers then left their subjects in darkness and exposed them to white light for an hour.

The study showed that the eyes of the mice who consumed spirulina had better protection and less serious damage to their retinas and protoreceptors. Based on this, researchers suggest that it may also support eye health among humans.

 

15. Benefits of Spirulina for Oral Health

Is spirulina good for the gums?

Spirulina has shown great promise in helping improve a person’s oral health. For one, studies showed that spirulina helps lessen symptoms of pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth. Apart from this, spirulina may also support dental health.

A study in 2013 observed spirulina’s benefits that may help treat or avoid gum disease. Spirulina gel was applied to 33 of 64 gum disease sites after scaling and root planing. The scientists conducting the study reported that gum pocket depth in all 64 sites improved. However, they observed that the sites with the spirulina gel fared exponentially better.

Another study tested spirulina as an additive in mouthwash. The spirulina-laced mouthwash helped significantly reduce the occurrence of dental plaque and gum disease. 

 

16. Benefits of Spirulina for Liver Health

Does spirulina help the liver?

The main factor that makes spirulina supplementation fantastic for keeping the liver healthy is its antioxidant content. Thanks to its antioxidants, spirulina may help detoxify, improve liver function, and protect against liver damage.

In connection to this, one of the potential benefits of spirulina for women involves keeping hormonal balance. What many don’t know is that the liver helps regulate sex hormones. This organ helps in removing or breaking down the extra hormones in our body. As such, having a healthy, well-functioning liver may help reduce the risk of an imbalance.

Other than this, spirulina may also help manage chronic liver damage. A review published in 2022 examined two studies to see spirulina’s effects in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NFLD. The review found that, in both instances, spirulina supplementation possibly helped in lowering the severity of the condition.

 

17. Benefits of Spirulina for Gut Health

Does spirulina heal the gut?

Spirulina can also support your gut health. It contains probiotics that may help regulate the bacterial community in your gut. It is promising as a 2017 study observed this superfood’s potential to preserve healthy gut bacteria. The said study was conducted on mice. It suggests that spirulina preserves good bacteria in the gut and helps maintain gut health as the aging process goes on.

 

18. Benefits of Spirulina for Brain Health

Is spirulina good for the brain?

It may support brain health by providing much-needed omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Besides the many benefits these nutrients provide to the body, it promotes healthy neuron regeneration. One preliminary study has even affirmed spirulina’s potential neuroprotective benefits. As such, it may help slow brain degeneration and maintain a good memory.

In 2012, scientists examined rats given a diet rich in spirulina. The study reported the possibility of the superfood helping protect the brain against Parkinson’s disease.

Another animal study in 2015 observed spirulina’s effects on mice in connection to memory and oxidative damage. The study suggests that spirulina may help avert memory loss and oxidative damage.

 

19. Benefits of Spirulina for Mental Health

man in a good mood, spirulina benefits for mood

Can spirulina help with mood issues?

Not only does spirulina show potential in managing brain health, but it may also help treat or manage mood disorders. A 2018 research paper indicated that spirulina may play a role in treating clinical mental health issues. The paper theorized that spirulina could help manage mood disorders since it is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan helps with serotonin production, and serotonin plays a crucial role in managing mental health.

Although, more research regarding the link between spirulina and mental health still needs to be done.

 

20. Benefits of Spirulina for Hair and Skin Health

Does spirulina build collagen?

Did you know that this superfood can also help you achieve gorgeous skin? Don’t underestimate the benefits of a spirulina face mask.

Spirulina helps in collagen production, especially for maturing skin. In a 2019 study, spirulina can potentially increase growth factors within fibroblast cells in the skin. The said cells play a huge role in skin health as it is where collagen is produced.

Spirulina is chock full of antioxidants thanks to its high phytocyanin content. These antioxidants play an important role in protecting our bodies – including our skin – from free radical damage. As such, spirulina may help slow down skin aging thanks to this property.

The superfood can also help treat acne and skin sensitivity thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. In fact, a 2020 study suggests that spirulina skincare products may be a better option than antibiotic treatments. And it doesn’t contribute to antibiotic resistance compared to the latter.

Are there spirulina benefits for hair health?

Yes, using spirulina also provides benefits to your beautiful locks.

Spirulina is a good source of protein, omega-3, omega-6, and iron. These nutrients help promote healthy hair growth. In addition to that, the antioxidants found in spirulina may also help support hair health since they fight oxidative stress that contributes to hair aging and hair loss.

 

21. Benefits of Spirulina on the Kidneys

Is spirulina good for the kidneys?

Did you know that spirulina may also help avoid kidney damage and slow the progression of chronic kidney disease?

Spirulina helps by supporting cardiovascular health. High blood pressure damages blood vessels, including ones in the kidneys. Because spirulina may help lower blood pressure, it may also help reduce kidney damage.

Additionally, the phycocyanin found in spirulina has been observed in a few animal studies to have halted the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease among rats.

With this study and its potential contribution to cardiovascular health, spirulina is believed to have positive benefits for kidney health.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What Happens When You Take Spirulina Everyday?

When you take spirulina properly every day, you get all the nutrition it provides and enjoy its many health benefits. Its benefits range from helping lower blood pressure to improving eye health.

Spirulina supplements are safe to take every day. While the recommended dose is not yet set in stone, experts suggest a maximum of 8 grams per day is optimal and safe. Some spirulina products are also not meant to be taken long-term.

For best results, make sure to follow the suggestion indicated in your supplement’s label.

 

What Organs Does Spirulina Help?

Given its rich nutritional profile, spirulina helps many organs in our body. Just to name a few, spirulina brings benefits that can support heart health, brain function, and liver function.

 

Does Spirulina Help With Sleep?

Yes, it can. According to one study in 2021, spirulina may help reduce sleep disturbances at a significant level. Many believe this is due to spirulina being a source of L-tryptophan, an amino acid that helps our body produce melatonin.

 

Does Spirulina Give You Energy? 

In a sense, it does. Spirulina helps increase the number of healthy lactobacilli in the digestive tract, particularly in the intestines. This promotes vitamin B6 production in the body, which aids in energy release.

 

How to Reap the Benefits of Spirulina Supplements

Given its list of health benefits, it’s no wonder many people add spirulina to their nutrition lineup. Although, do remember that even though this blue-green algae superfood works wonders, it’s only designed to be a dietary supplement. It doesn’t replace any treatment or medication plan your doctor or healthcare provider has given you.

Spirulina should be part of a healthy diet and a regular fitness regimen to reap most of its benefits. It supports the body by providing the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients needed to maintain a healthy state.

If you plan on taking spirulina tablet supplements to aid with nutrition, try introducing them slowly. Most suggested doses sit between 1 and 3 grams per day but give your body time to get used to it and start with the smaller doses.

Consider consulting with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider to find out how to best incorporate this into your diet.

Also, remember that, like many other supplements, some of spirulina’s health benefits may appear a few days from when you start taking it. However, you will likely notice many of them after months of supplementation.

Spirulina brings a lot of positive effects that support our health. If you want a boost or terrific support for your overall health, don’t hesitate to try and reap the benefits spirulina may provide.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
John Riedl

Simply put that’s why I’ve gone down the health journey of research and creating health brands.

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