Spirulina is widely known for its health benefits. It is actually a cyanobacteria that exists in the oceans and salty lakes and it has the ability to convert light energy the same as plants and algae.
Its health benefits will be examined and reevaluated in the following text.
Source of protein, iron and Vitamin B12 – Spirulina has about 1.2 grams of protein per one tablespoon. Thus, it can be used as a source of protein. However, it must be noted that nuts, legumes and whole grains provide higher quantities of protein per portion and cost less money. Spirulina contains 28g of iron per 100g powder. However, it has a really strong taste. It can provide a source of vitamin B12. Bear in mind that vitamin B12 found in algae is not easily absorbable by the human body.
It can be used to fight chronic fatigue – Another benefit of spirulina seems to be in fighting chronic fatigue. However, one study showed that there is no difference between placebo and spirulina in fatigue scores.
It has the ability to cure allergies – If you experience symptoms of allergic rhinitis you can use 2g of spirulina on a daily basis for six months and the symptoms will be reduced.
Natural antiviral – According to studies, spirulina can stop spreading of viruses. It has been tested on herpes simplex type I virus, measles and mumps viruses, the influenza A virus and HIV.
It has the ability to lower cholesterol – If you take 2 – 4g of this supplement for a period of three months, levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL will be decreased and level of HDL will be increased.
It can also reduce blood pressure – It has been proven that a dose of 4.5 grams per day for a period of 6 weeks can reduce blood pressure in individuals with normal blood pressure levels.
It helps regulate blood sugar level – Spirulina as a supplement can reduce blood sugar levels. This has been proved in several animal studies. It seems that spirulina has an effect on insulin sensitivity. However, the effect on humans has to be researched more thoroughly.
Spirulina can be used as anti-cancer agent – Based on scientific research on animals, spirulina shows positive effects in cancer occurrence and reduction of the size of the tumor. However, there aren’t many human studies which can confirm the same. One study suggested that 1 g of spirulina a day during a period of four months had better effect in treatment of precancerous lesions than the drug Pentoxyfilline.
Poisoning with arsenic – Water in some countries like Bangladesh, India, Taiwan, or Chile contains high level of arsenic, so it is recommended to take 250mg Spirulina combined with 2mg zinc two times a day. This combination was used for 16 weeks in patients who were poisoned by arsenic.
Improves your performance during a workout – According to research, males who have moderate physical activity took 6 grams of spirulina daily during 4 weeks. The results showed that the time after they feel fatigue was increased. It can also reduce damage to the muscles which is caused by exercising. It can also help you increase muscle mass.
Improves your digestive system – It has a positive effect on your digestive system. It stimulates gut flora.
It helps you lose weight – Even though such claims exist, it has not been proved yet.
Has a positive effect on your skin – Even though it has been claimed that spirulina prevents growth of candida which is the reason of acne, it has not been proved yet.