Is Spirulina Good For Bowel Movement?

is spirulina good for bowel movement

Article at a glance:

  • Spirulina is rich in micronutrients that play important roles in maintaining digestive wellness.
  • Although spirulina is not classified as a laxative, supplementing with blue-green algae has demonstrated promising results in promoting healthier bowel movements.
  • Bioactive compounds in spirulina have anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties that exhibit benefits for intestinal and colonic health.

 

Many of us have associated green supplements as natural remedies to improve digestion. So it only makes sense to wonder, “is spirulina good for bowel movement? ”

If you’re looking for answers on how taking spirulina for constipation and other bowel movement concerns may be beneficial, then you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll look into how spirulina may support healthy digestion.

 

What Is Spirulina?

 

While often referred to as a plant-based food, more technically, spirulina is a blue-green algae. Researchers have paid close attention to spirulina’s promising health benefits over the past decades, mainly due to its abundant nutritional profile.

Spirulina is a fantastic source of plant-based protein and contains vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, pigments, and carotenoids with powerful antioxidant properties.

Apart from earning the superfood title, spirulina’s rich nutritional composition has been recognized for its potential to aid in addressing malnutrition and as an excellent dietary supplement for astronauts in space.

Although spirulina is currently only approved as a dietary supplement, the blue-green algae has exhibited various health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes and liver disease. Spirulina may also lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and control body weight.

Is spirulina good for bowel movement, too? While human studies and clinical trials are still limited, preliminary evidence from animal research indicates there may be benefits in supplementing spirulina for constipation.

 

Spirulina Benefits for Bowel Movement

 

Spirulina Benefits for Bowel Movement

 

How can taking spirulina improve your bowel movement?

 

1. Rich Dietary Source of Essential Nutrients

 

How does spirulina help bowel movements?

Spirulina is widely known for having a long list of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and other micronutrients, making it a powerhouse supplement. But when it comes to the benefits of spirulina for constipation, you should pay closer attention to certain micronutrients in the blue-green algae.

Amino Acids

Spirulina is famous for its high protein content, but it’s also worth noting that the blue-green algae is a great source of non-essential and essential amino acids.  Aside from their key roles of being building blocks of protein, amino acids also play significant functions in metabolism. Animal studies found that amino acids, especially arginine, glutamine, glycine, cysteine, and proline, help regulate intestinal microbiota.

Magnesium

Various analyses of spirulina biomass noted that magnesium is one of the richest minerals in the blue-green algae. Data from the USDA indicates 195 mg of magnesium in every 100 g of spirulina.

How does this make spirulina good for constipation? Magnesium is known for having a laxative effect because it helps increase the amount of water in the intestines, promoting digestive motility.

Chlorophyll

Although chlorophyll is not the most abundant pigment in spirulina, the blue-green algae still contains a good amount of this green pigment. An analysis of spirulina samples revealed that 1 g of spirulina contains 11 mg of chlorophyll.

Is spirulina good for constipation? Some evidence suggests that supplements with chlorophyll and chlorophyll derivatives (like chlorophyllin) may have positive effects on gut microbiota, which could promote a healthier digestive system.

 

2. Prebiotic Potential

 

Probiotics and prebiotics play very important yet distinct roles in regulating gut health. Probiotics refer to foods that contain good bacteria to maintain healthy microflora. Prebiotics, conversely, are dietary sources that serve as food for microorganisms in the microbiota.

Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria, but it’s not classified as a prebiotic. However, research found that certain spirulina bioactive compounds led to increased gut microorganisms, suggesting spirulina may have prebiotic properties.

Does spirulina help you poop? A 2019 study on the polysaccharides from Spirulina platensis extract provides a promising answer: is spirulina good for bowel movement?

The results from the said study revealed that supplementing diets with polysaccharides from spirulina increased bowel movements in constipated mice models. It also increases the amounts of good bacteria while reducing harmful microorganisms in the gut microbiota.

 

3. Anti-Inflammatory Effect

 

Inflammation is a critical part of the body’s overall immune system response, although it’s commonly only associated with being sick and having injuries. For example, bacteria and other harmful substances can enter an open wound. There may be swelling, pain, or even leaking fluids at the injured area of your skin. These are indications that the inflammatory cells are at work to start the healing process.

Experts suggest that disrupted immune responses, leading to chronic inflammation in the digestive tract, may lead to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Spirulina demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in various studies. While spirulina’s effect in modulating inflammatory responses is mostly from animal studies, the findings are encouraging.

In one study, spirulina supplementation for suckling piglets increased the expression of Interleukin 8 cytokines while reducing incidents of loose stools by 50%.

A more recent study also found that spirulina platensis boosted the immune system in animal subjects, as evidenced by improved vaccine response and higher Immunoglobulin A levels. Spirulina also ameliorated gut microbiota conditions compared to the control group.

 

4. Antioxidant Properties

 

Dietary antioxidants provide substantial health benefits by fighting free radicals that could cause oxidative damage, which has been linked to chronic diseases. The effect of antioxidants on bowel movement is yet to be fully understood. Still, one study suggests there may be a link between an antioxidant-rich diet and increased stool output.

A 2010 study with 19 human subjects found that a diet with high total antioxidant capacity improved bowel movement in 48 hours.

In most spirulina studies, the health benefits of this blue-green algae are associated with its potent antioxidant properties. Phycocyanin, the most abundant pigment in spirulina, demonstrated promising antioxidant activities in various studies.

Spirulina also contains vitamin E and carotenoids like beta-carotene, some of the best dietary sources of antioxidants.

 

Is Spirulina IBS Friendly?

 

Is Spirulina Good for the Colon?

 

It may be easy to confuse IBD with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS because they tend to share similar symptoms. However, they are entirely different digestive disorders that may also require specific treatments.

IBD is a classification of diseases linked to intestinal inflammation. Meanwhile, IBS primarily affects the intestines and the colon, causing long-term bowel disruptions like chronic constipation and/or chronic diarrhea.

There are conventional treatments and medications used to manage IBS. While spirulina is not approved for the same purpose, researchers have noted that its detoxifying effect may be beneficial for intestinal health and may relieve constipation.

A 2020 study with rat models found that spirulina supplementation combined with strength training reduced abnormal intestinal contraction, which may be experienced by patients with IBS.

Another recent animal study also found Spirulina platensis extract increased bowel movements in mice models, providing evidence of its potential in managing chronic constipation.

 

Is Spirulina Good for the Colon?

 

spirulina for a healthy tummy

 

In addition to scientific evidence indicating spirulina may improve bowel movement, the blue-green algae showed promising effects in protecting the colon from more severe illnesses.

In vitro and in vivo studies suggest spirulina polysaccharides may lower the risks of colon cancer. Findings from a 2022 animal study also revealed that Spirulina platensis reduced colon damage in colon cancer rat models.

 

Can Spirulina Cause Digestive Problems?

 

Spirulina supplements are recognized as safe for human consumption, especially when taken at the appropriate daily dose. Most manufacturers of spirulina products recommend taking 3 to 5 g daily. Additionally, many preclinical trials administering spirulina supplements to human subjects used 1 to 8 g daily doses.

What happens if you take too much spirulina? Taking higher doses of spirulina supplements might increase the possibility of experiencing its mild side effects.

Does spirulina make you bloated? Can spirulina cause constipation? Can spirulina cause loose stools? All these digestive issues are some of the common mild side effects that may occur from taking spirulina.

Does spirulina make you poop green? Stool discoloration is another possible side effect of spirulina, but it can also happen when taking other supplements and foods rich in chlorophyll, like leafy green vegetables.

There’s no conclusive research yet on how prevalent these side effects are. While it’s possible to experience them, it doesn’t necessarily mean taking spirulina will always cause digestive discomfort. Side effects that may cause digestive issues also typically go away after a few days or weeks of consuming spirulina. There’s also no evidence to suggest that these mild side effects may progress to irritable bowel syndrome.

Aside from taking just the right amount of spirulina doses daily, there may be more ways to minimize the possibility of experiencing side effects. For instance, you can slowly start taking spirulina at a lower dose to introduce the green supplement to your system.

It’s also essential to purchase spirulina products from trusted brands and health stores that follow good manufacturing practices. This will minimize the risks of taking spirulina products that may have toxins contaminating them during cultivation and processing.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is It Better to Take Spirulina in the Morning or at Night?

 

Spirulina supplements can be taken any time of the day, although they’re commonly incorporated in morning meals because of their high protein content.

There’s no established evidence yet that taking spirulina at night may negatively affect sleep. However, some have reported feeling energized a few hours after taking spirulina.

 

How Long Does It Take for Spirulina to Start Working?

 

Different health benefits of spirulina may be observed at varying durations and can also differ from one person to another. In most cases, as also evidenced in several preclinical trials, spirulina’s positive effects may occur in a few weeks.

 

Does Spirulina Get Rid of Bloating?

 

While bloating and upset stomach are potential side effects of spirulina, the green supplement has also demonstrated benefits for digestive health. The positive effects of spirulina that may improve bowel movement provide relief from bloating as well.

 

Can You Take Spirulina for Hemorrhoids?

 

Hemorrhoids result from swollen veins in the rectum or anus that other medical conditions and symptoms of IBS may cause. Other risk factors of hemorrhoids include low fiber intake, obesity, and prolonged sitting.

You’ll find plenty of claims about spirulina’s benefits for hemorrhoids, although scientific research to back them is scarce.

However, the benefits of spirulina in promoting regular bowel movements may provide relief from hemorrhoids. For the best results, you should consult a healthcare professional about taking spirulina tablets for hemorrhoids.

 

Benefits of Spirulina for Bowel Movement

 

With the list of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and rich protein content, spirulina provides a natural option to supplement your diet for healthier digestive functions. Aside from its nutrient-dense profile, spirulina also exhibits a prebiotic potential to promote gut health. Spirulina has also shown amazing anti-inflammatory properties that may improve bowel movement and overall digestive functions.

Adding spirulina to your routine can be quickly done since you can choose from a tablet, capsule, or powder. You’ll have several options when taking spirulina powder, such as adding it to your morning smoothies or soup. It also goes well in refreshing green juices and healthy salads.

Another thing to remember is that spirulina serves as a powerhouse dietary supplement. It means to enjoy the optimal health benefits from the blue-green algae. It shouldn’t be considered a replacement for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

 

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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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