10 Health Benefits of Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the most popular supplements in the world.

It is loaded with various nutrients and antioxidants that can benefit your body and brain.

Here are 10 health benefits based on evidence of spirulina.


1. Spirulina is extremely high in many nutrients

Spirulina is an organism that grows both in fresh water and in salt water.

It is a type of cyanobacteria, which is a family of unicellular microbes that are often called blue-green algae.

Like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight through a process called photosynthesis.

Spirulina was consumed by the ancient Aztecs, but it became popular again when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space to be used by astronauts (1).

A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1 to 3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day have been effectively used.

This small algae is full of nutrients. A single spoonful (7 grams) of dry spirulina powder contains (2):

  • Protein: 4 grams

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 11% of the RDA

  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the RDA

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin): 4% of the RDA

  • Copper: 21% of the RDA.

  • Iron: 11% of the RDA

  • It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese and small amounts of almost all the other nutrients you need.

In addition, the same amount contains only 20 calories and 1.7 grams of digestible carbohydrates.

Gram per gram, spirulina may be the most nutritious food on the planet.

One tablespoon (7 grams) of spirulina provides a small amount of fat (around 1 gram) that includes omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of approximately 1.5-1.0.

The quality of the protein in spirulina is considered excellent, comparable to eggs. Give all the essential amino acids you need.

Spirulina is often claimed to contain vitamin B12, but this is false. It has pseudovitamin B12, which has not been shown to be effective in humans (3, 4).

Summary Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salt water and fresh water. It can be one of the most nutrient-rich foods on earth.

2. Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

Oxidative damage can damage your DNA and your cells.

This damage can cause chronic inflammation, which contributes to cancer and other diseases (5).

Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.

Its main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.

Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit the production of inflammatory signaling molecules, providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (6, 7, 8).

Summary Phycocyanin is the main active compound of spirulina. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Can LDL and "bad" triglyceride levels decrease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world.

Many risk factors are related to an increased risk of heart disease.

As a result, spirulina has a positive impact on many of these factors. For example, it can reduce total cholesterol, "bad" LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, while increasing "good" HDL cholesterol.

In a study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina per day significantly improved these markers (9).

Another study in people with high cholesterol found that 1 gram of spirulina per day reduced triglycerides by 16.3% and "bad" LDL by 10.1% (10).

Several other studies have found favorable effects, although with higher doses of 4.5 to 8 grams per day (11, 12).

Summary Studies indicate that spirulina can lower triglycerides and "bad" LDL cholesterol and at the same time raise "good" HDL cholesterol.

4. Protects "bad" LDL cholesterol from oxidation

The fatty structures of your body are susceptible to oxidative damage.

This is known as lipid peroxidation, a key driver of many serious diseases (13, 14).

For example, one of the key steps in the development of heart disease is the oxidation of "bad" LDL cholesterol (15).

Interestingly, the antioxidants in spirulina appear to be particularly effective in reducing lipid peroxidation in both humans and animals (16, 17).

In a study of 37 people with type 2 diabetes, 8 grams of spirulina per day significantly reduced markers of oxidative damage. It also increased the levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood (18).

Summary The fatty structures of your body can become oxidized, which leads to the progression of many diseases. The antioxidants in spirulina can help prevent this.

5. May have anticancer properties

Some evidence suggests that spirulina has anticancer properties.

Research in animals indicates that it can reduce the appearance of cancer and the size of the tumor (19, 20).

The effects of spirulina on oral cancer or cancer of the mouth have been particularly well studied.

One study examined 87 people in India with precancerous lesions, called oral submucosal fibrosis (OSMF), in the mouth.

Among those who took 1 gram of spirulina per day for a year, 45% saw their injuries disappear, compared to only 7% in the control group (21).

When these people stopped taking spirulina, almost half of them developed injuries the following year.

In another study of 40 individuals with OSMF lesions, 1 gram of spirulina per day led to a greater improvement in OSMF symptoms than the drug Pentoxyfilline (22).

Summary Spirulina may have anticancer properties and seems especially effective against a type of precancerous lesion of the mouth called OSMF.

6. Can reduce blood pressure

High blood pressure is the main driver of many serious diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.

While 1 gram of spirulina is ineffective, it has been shown that a dose of 4.5 grams per day reduces blood pressure in people with normal levels (10, 11).

It is believed that this reduction is due to increased production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps relax and dilate blood vessels (23).

Summary A higher dose of spirulina can lead to lower levels of blood pressure, an important risk factor for many diseases.

7. It improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is characterized by inflammation in the nasal passages.

It is triggered by environmental allergens, such as pollen, animal hair or even wheat dust.

Spirulina is a popular alternative treatment for the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and there is evidence that it may be effective (24).

In a study of 127 people with allergic rhinitis, 2 grams per day drastically reduced symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching (25).

Summary Spirulina supplements are very effective against allergic rhinitis, reducing several symptoms.

8. It can be effective against anemia

There are many different forms of anemia.

The most common is characterized by a reduction in hemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood.

Anemia is quite common in older adults, which leads to prolonged feelings of weakness and fatigue (26).

In a study of 40 elderly people with a history of anemia, spirulina supplements increased the hemoglobin content of red blood cells and improved immune function (27).

Keep in mind that this is just a study. More research is needed before making any recommendation.

Summary A study suggests that spirulina can reduce anemia in older adults, although more research is needed.

9. Can improve muscle strength and endurance

The oxidative damage induced by exercise is an important contributor to muscle fatigue.

Certain plant foods have antioxidant properties that can help athletes and physically active people minimize this damage.

Spirulina seems to be beneficial, as some studies aimed to improve muscle strength and endurance.

In two studies, spirulina improved endurance, significantly increasing the time it took people to fatigue (28, 29).

Summary Spirulina can provide multiple benefits for exercise, including greater strength and greater muscle strength.

10. It can help control blood sugar

Animal studies link spirulina with significantly lower blood sugar levels.

In some cases, it has overtaken popular diabetes medications, including metformin (30, 31, 32).

There is also some evidence that spirulina can be effective in humans.

In a two-month study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina per day led to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels (9).

HbA1c, a marker for long-term blood sugar levels, decreased from 9% to 8%, which is substantial. Studies estimate that a 1% reduction in this marker can reduce the risk of death related to diabetes by 21% (33).

However, this study was small and of short duration. More studies are needed.

Summary Some evidence suggests that spirulina can benefit people with type 2 diabetes, significantly reducing fasting blood sugar levels.

The bottom line

Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria, often known as blue-green algae, which is incredibly healthy.

It can improve your blood lipid levels, suppress oxidation, lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar.

Although more research is needed before you can make strong claims, spirulina may be one of the few super foods worthy of this title.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-spirulina


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