Article at a glance:
- Spirulina is a cyanobacteria superfood that grows naturally in freshwater and saltwater bodies worldwide.
- Thanks to its long list of nutrients, spirulina carries many health benefits. One such benefit is keeping our arteries and other blood vessels healthy.
- Backed by studies, spirulina may help unclog arteries and reduce arterial stiffness.
When it comes to supplementation, spirulina is one of the most popular superfoods available in the market. But what exactly is it?
It’s a type of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria that naturally grows in bodies of water, both freshwater and salt water. It’s mainly used as a supplement because of its rich nutritional profile and many health benefits.
If you take spirulina regularly, you can easily enjoy the benefits it offers. It supports specific organs in the body and your overall health. Additionally, the benefits of spirulina aren’t mere hearsay, as it’s backed by science.
Spirulina’s Nutritional Profile
Spirulina carries a long list of nutrients that our bodies can benefit from—from antioxidants to minerals and vitamins that support our health.
As per the US Department of Agriculture, some of the healthy nutrients spirulina carries are:
- Calcium: 8.4 mg
- Copper: 0.427 mg
- Iron: 2 mg
- Magnesium: 13.6 mg
- Niacin: 6% of daily recommended value
- Essential Fatty Acids: around 1 g
- Phosphorus: 8.26 mg
- Potassium: 95.2 mg
- Protein: 4 g
- Riboflavin: 20% of daily recommended value
- Thiamin: 14% of daily recommended value
Is spirulina good for arteries? Given this incredible microalgae’s benefits, you might want to know if this is one of them. And the short answer is yes!
Spirulina carries many nutrients that positively affect the different parts of your body. Some of its most well-known benefits involve the cardiovascular system, including your arteries.
But how does it do this, exactly? How can spirulina help keep our arteries healthy? Learn more about how spirulina affects your arteries and overall health below.
What Are the Arteries For?
Arteries are a vital component of the circulatory system, serving several critical functions in the human body. These flexible, strong blood vessels transport oxygen-rich blood from the heart and distribute it to different body tissues and organs. Here are some key functions of arteries:
- Transporting Oxygen and Nutrients: Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood that has been pumped out of the heart’s left ventricle. This oxygenated blood is essential for the survival of all cells and tissues in the body. Arteries also transport essential nutrients, such as glucose and amino acids, to cells for energy production and growth.
- Distributing Blood: Arteries form an extensive network that branches out into smaller vessels, ensuring that oxygen and nutrients are delivered to even the most remote areas of the body.
- Maintaining Blood Pressure: With each heartbeat, the heart pushes blood into the arteries. This creates pressure that propels blood throughout the circulatory system. Arterial walls are elastic and can expand and contract to help maintain steady blood pressure.
- Removing Waste Products: Arteries also carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and metabolic byproducts. These waste materials are transported in the bloodstream to be eliminated from the body through the lungs, kidneys, and other excretory organs.
- Regulating Blood Flow: Arteries can constrict (narrow) or dilate (widen) in response to various signals from the body. This allows for the precise control of blood flow to different organs and tissues based on their current needs.
- Providing Structural Support: Arteries have thick walls with smooth muscle fibers and elastic tissue. This structural design helps them withstand the pressure generated by the heart’s contractions and maintain their shape, even when exposed to fluctuating blood pressures.
- Contributing to Homeostasis: Arteries, along with other circulatory system components, help regulate body temperature and maintain the body’s internal environment (homeostasis) by adjusting blood flow to the skin and other temperature-sensitive tissues.
What Can Happen If the Arteries Are Stiff or Clogged?
When arteries become stiff or clogged, it can lead to several serious health issues, including cardiovascular diseases and related complications. Here’s an overview of what happens if arteries lose their elasticity or become blocked:
- Reduced Blood Flow: Stiff arteries, caused by plaque buildup (atherosclerosis), lose their flexibility and restrict the ability of the arteries to expand and contract properly, resulting in reduced blood flow to the body’s organs and tissues.
- Increased Blood Pressure: Stiff arteries can contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension) because the heart has to work harder to pump blood through narrowed and less compliant vessels.
- Heart Disease: Atherosclerosis narrows the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, potentially causing chest pain (angina) or, in severe cases, heart attacks.
- Stroke: Arterial stiffness and plaque buildup can increase the risk of blood clots forming in the arteries. If a clot blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain, it can result in a stroke, which may lead to neurological deficits or even death.
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Stiff or clogged arteries can reduce blood flow to the limbs, causing symptoms like leg pain, cramping, and impaired wound healing.
- Kidney Problems: The arteries that supply blood to the kidneys can also become narrowed or blocked, leading to kidney damage or dysfunction. This can result in high blood pressure and problems with fluid and electrolyte balance.
- Aneurysm Formation: Weakened arterial walls, often associated with atherosclerosis, can lead to the formation of aneurysms. These bulging areas in the artery can rupture, causing severe internal bleeding and potentially life-threatening complications.
- Reduced Organ Function: Insufficient blood supply to vital organs and tissues can impair function. For example, inadequate blood flow to the brain can lead to cognitive decline or dementia.
- Sexual Dysfunction: Arterial problems can reduce blood flow to the genital area, contributing to sexual dysfunction in both men and women.
- Complications in Diabetes: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis, which can exacerbate their diabetes-related complications, such as diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy.
Benefits of Spirulina for Arteries
How can spirulina help improve the condition of your arteries?
1. Spirulina Helps With Arterial Stiffness
Is spirulina a vasodilator?
Spirulina helps our blood vessels relax and reduce arterial stiffness. It’s how this superfood helps lower blood pressure.
Nitric oxide is an integral compound our body needs to reduce arterial stiffness. The less nitric oxide we have in our bodies, the more stiff our arteries become. With this, the more your blood pressure shoots up. Luckily, through spirulina supplementation, you can help your body produce nitric oxide. In turn, your arteries tend to be less stiff and more relaxed.
Stiff arteries can cause many health issues, especially for our cardiovascular system. For one, this makes every blood circulation cycle faster. Spirulina helps relax arteries, making our blood vessels more flexible. With this, spirulina also helps reduce blood pressure and keep it healthy.
2. Spirulina for Clogged Arteries
Is spirulina good for clogged arteries?
High cholesterol levels contribute to a host of cardiovascular risk factors and issues. One of them is the buildup of plaque.
When cholesterol plaque accumulates in the blood vessels, it increases your blood pressure and the risk factors of suffering a blockage. This is where spirulina consumption can help.
Some say that spirulina clears artery walls, but that’s not the case. Instead of removing the plaque, spirulina stops it from forming in the first place, thanks to its cholesterol-lowering effect.
In 2014, a clinical trial was conducted, observing 52 middle-aged individuals. These participants had their full lipid profiles taken before and after spirulina supplementation. They were asked to take a gram of spirulina supplements daily for 12 weeks.
Comparing their liquid profiles before and after the trial showed that spirulina helped achieve a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels (16.3%), and LDL cholesterol levels (10.1%).
Given this, taking spirulina as a dietary supplement helps reduce one’s risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Spirulina
Here are the other benefits of spirulina for your heart health:
Spirulina Helps Minimize Lipid Peroxidation
Fatty structures like cholesterol are prone to oxidative damage. This is one of the most prominent ways our cells get damaged, particularly through lipid peroxidation. Through this damage, a develops a higher risk of suffering different health concerns, including cardiovascular disease.
Spirulina is jam-packed with antioxidants. The antioxidant properties of spirulina help neutralize free radicals and minimize oxidative damage.
When a person has uncontrolled high blood glucose concentrations caused by diabetes and lower insulin sensitivity, they are more at risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health issues. However, taking spirulina can help control a person’s blood sugar levels.
In 2018, a review of clinical trials indicated that spirulina may help reduce fasting blood glucose levels. Another study also showed that those with type 2 diabetes experienced an improvement in their symptoms.
Other Health Benefits of Spirulina
Apart from maintaining your heart health and keeping your blood vessels in tip-top shape, spirulina can also aid in other health concerns.
Here are just some of spirulina’s other health benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory Properties: Spirulina has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. As a supplement, it helps reduce the body’s response to inflammation. With this, spirulina is also a good supplement to take if you have allergic rhinitis.
- Anti-microbial Properties: This superfood also helps fight against harmful bacteria and other organisms that may cause health issues.
- Anti-cancer Properties: Studies have found that spirulina may help protect a person from cancer.
- Boosts Immune System Function: Spirulina has been shown to help increase the production of white blood cells and antibodies, helping reinforce a person’s immune response.
- Helps With Weight Loss and Overall Fitness: If you’re having trouble achieving optimal body weight or body mass index, spirulina may be a good supplement to try.
- Helps With Anemia: Spirulina carries a decent amount of iron, which may help those suffering from iron-deficiency anemia.
How to Take Spirulina for Artery Health
Planning to take spirulina for your arteries? It’s quite easy to find as many health food stores and online retailers sell it. Usually, you can find spirulina in tablet form or powder form.
Tablets are simple to take. You take the recommended dose with water. On the other hand, spirulina powder can be used to mix into both food and drinks. Experts recommend a daily dose of 3 to 3.5 grams for spirulina. This goes for both tablets and powders.
Generally, spirulina is safe to consume, and depending on a target health concern, an individual may take up to 19 grams of this superfood. If you want to take spirulina for a specific health issue, consult your healthcare provider for a more targeted dose.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can Dissolve Clogged Arteries?
What supplement removes plaque from arteries? Is there a supplement to remove plaque from arteries? Unfortunately, once plaque has formed in an artery, there’s no supplement or medicine that can dissolve it fully. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and dietary supplements like microalgae spirulina can help shrink and stabilize it by reducing cholesterol inside the plaque. This helps reduce the risk of plaque and buildup blocking arteries fully and causing even more harm.
Other supplements that may help similarly lower cholesterol are chlorella, niacin, fish oil, omega-3, and more. On top of this, such supplements, including spirulina, help stop plaque from forming in the first place by keeping a person’s cholesterol levels healthy.
Is Spirulina a Blood Thinner?
Yes, spirulina may carry an anticoagulant effect. This means it can contribute to your blood taking longer to clot.
Who Should Avoid Spirulina?
Spirulina is a safe supplement to take. The only people who should avoid it are those with autoimmune diseases and those who are allergic to it.
Take Spirulina for Your Arteries
SUPERfood is definitely the best way to describe spirulina. Not only does it provide you with a long list of healthy nutrients, but it also brings in many health benefits that you can enjoy in the long run. Of course, one such benefit is improving your artery health as it helps keep them in tip-top shape.
If you need something to support your overall cardiovascular health, try incorporating spirulina into y our nutritional plan today!