Spirulina health benefits has been ranked by AARP as the number one superfood known for enhancing the lifespan. The United Nation has identified this superfood as the most prominent food that can help fight issues of malnutrition in the world. The high level of protein content in spirulina is about 70 percent by weight and it contains all the important amino acids.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina should be considered as a primarily sea vegetable like that of nori, kombu, dulse, kelp, arame, and wakame. This superfood is much more nutritious and it grows rapidly in the sweet water. It can be easily cultivated and harvested in several parts of the world. The commercial production of this superfood has been estimated about 220,000 tons by the end of 2020.
Historically, this superfood was mainly eaten by the Aztecs, and we know this primarily because there are recipes available in the Africa and Lake Chad. These recipes also include mention of chlorella, another important member of the blue-green family. Contrary to other bacteria, they contain chlorophyll and they use this chlorophyll as an important energy source.
Spirulina aids in detoxification and radiation?
The superfood has high amounts of natural iodine that aids in protecting the thyroid as well as the other glandular tissues within the body.
Spirulina contains high amounts of phytopigments that aids in decreasing the free radical damage caused as a result of radiation. Other reasons can be pollutants, environmental toxins, and other toxic drugs.
What are the health benefits?
Spirulina contains high levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that together promote healing, and they also help in strengthening the immunity of the body.
It also works like an incredible source of gamma-linoleic acid. It contains abundant of metallo-thionine compounds which heavily binds together the radioactive isotopes, and eliminates them from getting to the body.
The superfood has numerous blood-strengthening properties, and it also aids in protecting the kidneys, which are the first to get damaged due to radiation exposure.
Spirulina dangers and side effects
Although Spirulina is generally considered safe, it may have some side effects and disadvantages – especially for people with certain health conditions.
Here are some of the possible side effects and disadvantages of spirulina.
Spirulina can be contaminated with toxins.
Spirulina that is harvested in the wild poses a significant risk of contamination. The algae can contain toxins if they grow in water that is contaminated with heavy metals, bacteria or harmful particles called microcystins.
In fact, microcystins are produced by blue-green algae as a defence mechanism against predators. If they are consumed in large quantities, they are toxic for your liver.
Algae preparations contaminated with microcystin have been found in Italy, North America and China, and these compounds are a growing public health problem due to their liver effects.
Spirulina grown in a controlled environment is lower in microcystins because scientists have developed methods to remove this compound and limit its production.
May exacerbate autoimmune diseases.
Because spirulina strengthens your immune system, it can aggravate certain autoimmune diseases – such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis – where your immune system attacks your body.
It boosts your immune system by strengthening immune cells called Natural Killer (NK) cells, which attack perceived threats at the cellular level.
Animal and human studies show that this effect can slow down tumor growth, improve resistance to disease and reduce inflammation.
However, by strengthening NK cells in people with autoimmune diseases, these algae can make these diseases worse.
Spirulina supplements have also been associated with severe autoimmune reactions to skin and muscles, although this side effect is very rare.
If you have an autoimmune disease, you should avoid spirulina and other algae supplements.
May slow down blood clotting
Spirulina has an anticoagulant effect, which means it can thin your blood and prolong the time it takes for your blood to clot.
Clotting helps prevent excessive bleeding or bruising if you are injured.
For those who are taking blood thinners or have bleeding disorders, spirulina can be dangerous because it can reduce the clotting ability of the blood and cause more bruising and bleeding.
While some studies suggest that spirulina does not affect blood clotting time, little is known about its effects on people already taking blood thinners.
It can be contaminated with harmful compounds, dilute the blood and worsen autoimmune conditions. Some people may be allergic, and those with PKU should avoid this. So always ask your doctor, before taking Spirulina.
Can i take Spirulina in pregnancy?
In general, yes. With its high nutritional value, spirulina is nutritious for both the mother and her unborn child. It also provides the mother with extra protein and iron but without extra fat and carbohydrates.
Even though many doctors and gynaecologists might recommend Spirulina, we always advise you to discuss the use of it with your gynaecologist/family doctor. Becaus everyone’s medical history is different. Furthermore, pregnancy is a sensitive situation.
Is Spirulina good for you?
What is Spirulina good for?
There are many scientific studies on spirulina and its health effects. Due to its high content of protein, vitamins and minerals, it has been proven to be effective in the following areas:
- Anti-inflammatory reactions
Our cells need energy. The carbohydrates in spirulina are easily absorbed (just like protein) and help to provide your cells with the energy they need.
Spirulina also increases the number of healthy bacteria in the intestines, which in turn produces more vitamin B6 – for more energy. The high levels of B vitamins and iron can make a big difference for anyone suffering from weakness and fatigue due to anaemia.
Spirulina has been shown to prevent the release of histamine by our immune system – the reaction that causes allergies (especially nasal allergies). Some studies have shown the different ways that Spirulina can strengthen the immune system and prevent overreactions to allergens that occur more often when there is a deficiency of certain nutrients.
Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties, especially when combined with sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
Oxidation is a process that damages our cells, causing disease and aging over time. The high content of chlorophyll and phycocyanin in spirulina gives the supplement its green colour and they are proven to be very powerful antioxidants.
It is claimed that they can also prevent disease and stop viruses, but further studies are needed to prove this. The antioxidant properties of spirulina also make it a popular ingredient in cosmetic products.
Spirulina is good for you because to its nutritional profile, spirulina contributes to increased energy levels, helps support anti-inflammatory and immune responses, and is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect our cells.
Is Spirulina gluten free?
In general yes, but always read the product description to be shure.
Spirulina and weightloss
Can Spirulina help and accelerates weight loss?
A diet rich in nutrients and protein such as spirulina promotes weight loss and low-fat energy storage through a variety of mechanisms. Since more energy is required for metabolism, protein consumption, for example, helps maintain low-fat tissue and promotes fat burning.
In this way, the feeling of hunger can also be alleviated. Overweight people seem to benefit most from this. To get the most out of this beneficial property, try eating protein-rich spirulina in the morning or at lunchtime instead of at night.
How much Spirulina per day?
Research supports the use of three grams of spirulina per day for the general health of adults. Children, on the other hand, need only one to two grams per day, depending on their body weight.
Clinical trials have shown that a dose of spirulina of up to 10 grams a day does not cause any side effects, although many active people prefer a larger amount. Spirulina can be taken in tablet or powder form, as both are equally beneficial.
It can be taken either with or without food and once or several times a day. For most people, spirulina increases their energy levels, so it is best to take it four hours before bedtime.
As always, talk to your doctor for advise, before taking spirulina.
Is Spirulina good for dogs?
What is good for man must also be good for man’s best friend. This statement usually turns out to be wrong, for example with chocolate. But in this case it is actually true.
Spirulina has the same effect on the dog’s body as on the human body because of its valuable composition and good tolerability. So you can give your pet Spirulina without any concerns.
Award-winning Koi carps are given spirulina to improve their colour and health. Bird breeders enrich the bird food with spirulina to give the plumage more colour and shine.
Spirulina is also used extensively by aquaculture companies to promote greater disease resistance of various fish and crustaceans, and to enhance their overall quality and colour.
However, you should bear in mind that every quadruped has individual health requirements. Therefore it is always advisable – even with food supplements – to ask a veterinarian of your confidence for advice.
Spirulina how to eat
Spirulina can be taken all year round. However, if you wish to concentrate your intake for a few months, temporary cures of 1 to 3 months are possible. Some recommend 2 to 3 cures per year during an energy low or during major seasonal changes such as in autumn to prepare for winter and in spring.
Spirulina should ideally be taken in the morning so as not to forget to take it, preferably together with a source of vitamin C (such as fresh fruit juice), as this is not contained in spirulina, thus enhancing its beneficial properties. It is important that you take Spirulina daily and regularly, this will optimise its benefits.
You can also grind the tablets to mix them with your recipes. Granules or powder are good alternatives for preparations.
To get all the benefits of spirulina, it is important not to heat it.
Shall i take Spirulina with Chlorella?
Both algae are valuable foods. Where exactly they differ and which one could be better suited to your needs is explained here.
The first difference can already be seen in the colour: If you compare the powder forms, you will quickly see that chlorella is much darker than spirulina.
This can be attributed to the high chlorophyll content of chlorella. In fact, this blue-green alga contains the highest measured concentration of chlorophyll in the plant world! It is assumed that chlorophyll builds up the human immune system. However, there are not yet enough studies available.
Chlorella also contains the so-called chlorella growth factor. This guarantees the extremely fast cell reproduction rate of the algae and can support the healing of damaged nerves in humans.
In comparison, spirulina is richer in protein.
In addition, it contains significantly more essential fatty acids, which promote brain function and contribute to heart health.
Spirulina is also rich in phytonutrients, which have been shown in studies to protect the human body from cancer.
Ultimately, both Spirulina and Chlorella are true superfoods and contain such different nutrient profiles that it is recommended that you take both algae. This allows the optimal effect of both foods to fully unfold in your body.
Spirulina skin benefits
It is also often advertised as an anti-aging remedy. The antioxidants it contains are said to work against free radicals that damage the skin. In addition, the chlorophyll it contains causes more red blood cells to be produced, which in turn means that the body is better supplied with oxygen and the cells can regenerate faster – which has a positive effect on skin and hair!
Spirulina is also said to be a helper in the fight against allergies, as special substances contained in it are said to inhibit the production of histamine in the body. Thus, the alga is a natural remedy against numerous allergies and hay fever.
Spirulina Blue (Phycocyanine) is the only natural blue colorant for food. It is extracted from the spirulina algae (lat. Spirulina platensis). This is a microalgae. The chlorophyll, with which it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen, colours it blue-green.
The spirulina alga is called “superfood”. It is relatively neutral in taste. It is therefore considered ideal for use as a food colouring. The algae itself can be helpful for your immune system and detoxification. For this reason, it was proclaimed as the food of the future at the United Nations World Food Conference in 1974.
How does the extraction of spirulina blue work?
First of all, the spirulina algae is extracted from the plant by filtering. Then the blue dye is extracted from the wet biomass. This is possible in six different ways: chemical (organic and inorganic acid treatment), physical (freezing and thawing, sonication, homogenisation) and enzymatic (lysozyme treatment).
In particular, extraction using an ultrasonic bath in the presence of glass beads in the biomass is the most efficient method according to current research. This is because it has a 56% higher yield than the use of freezing and thawing.
On average, one gram of spirulina is needed to extract one gram. This is why the spirulina blue is so valuable.
Spirulina smoothie recipe
Spirulina scores for example with its high protein content. The vitamin B content is also impressive.
When buying spirulina, however, you should pay attention to the best quality. There are no quality standards for the micro algae.
In order to avoid contamination with heavy metals or other toxins, you should buy spirulina in a shop you trust and take advantage of organic offers.
As you already know, not everyone can tolerate spirulina. Some people have an allergy to the microalgae.
People with phenylketonuria should not consume spirulina. It is a congenital metabolic disease.
Spirulina contains phenylalanine. This ingredient can make phenylketonuria worse.
Green Smoothies with Spirulina – two simple recipes
For a mango-banana smoothie you need half a banana and half a mango. Mix the fruit together with a tablespoon of almond paste and 400 millilitres of water in a blender.
If you like, add a bunch of fresh mint. Then add four teaspoons of spirulina powder and mix again thoroughly.
To make an avocado smoothie with spirulina, put the flesh of a ripe avocado, a handful of well-washed baby spinach and four sticks of celery cut into pieces in the blender.
The pulp of a lemon provides freshness. Fill all ingredients with half a litre of water and mix.
Again, add the spirulina powder at the end. Two teaspoons of it are sufficient. Mix everything again briefly and the healthy smoothie is ready.