What are the benefits of Spirulina? Spirulina is highly researched with over 1,300 published studies. Spirulina benefits have been studied to range from use as a powerful anti-inflammatory, potent antioxidant, fights bad cholesterol, can help regulate blood pressure, and research even shows spirulina can be a cancer fighter.
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16 Incredible Spirulina Benefits
Spirulina in now widely considered to be the most nutrient dense food on the planet, the new king of superfoods. As of 2016 there are over 1,300 published studies that contain spirulina.1 The benefits of spirulina keep coming as the research continues. To give you an example of the vast benefits of spirulina, an article in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology exclaims:
“Spirulina exhibits therapeutic functions such as antioxidant, anti- bacterial, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and anti-diabetic and plethora of beneficial functions. Spirulina consumption appears to promote the growth of intestinal micro flora as well.”2
In our opinion, here are the top 16 spirulina benefits:
1) Potent Source of Nutrients- According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Spirulina “is RICH in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).”3
Spirulina is arguably the most nutrient dense food available to man. It contains an abundance of diverse nutrients that can be readily used by the body. The nutritional value of spirulina is so great NASA has used it to nourish astronauts on missions.
2) Increases Energy- Many Americans are missing key nutrients in their diet and are consequently suffering from lack of energy. Because spirulina contains a vast array of nutrients that the body can easily use, it acts as a potent energy booster. Give it a try for yourself and feel the difference.
3) Anticancer- An article in Nutrition and Cancer details a study that showed spirulina is very effective in reducing or completely eliminating precancerous lesions in the mouth.
In the study 44 patients with precancerous oral lesions were given 1g of spirulina per day for 12 months, and a control group of 43 patients was given placebo. In the patient group that received spirulina every day for 12 months, 45% of the patients had their precancerous lesion COMPLETELY disappear. In the placebo group only 7% of patients had a regression of their lesion.4
This is an amazing result, especially considering the patients in the spirulina group only took spirulina, they didn’t radically change their diet, detox, and do the plethora of other natural things shown to reverse cancers.
There are many other studies that document the anticancer properties of spirulina, including a 2014 study that showed spirulina and its tetrapyrrolic components “substantially decreased the proliferation of experimental pancreatic cancer,” arguably the most deadly cancer known to man.5
4) Complete Protein- Proteins are composed of chains of molecules called amino acids. Some amino acids the human body can synthesize some it cannot. The amino acids the body cannot synthesize are called essential amino acids and must be obtained through the diet. There are 9 essential amino acids.
Complete proteins are proteins that contain all 9 essential amino acids in sufficient proportions.6
Spirulina is one of the few superfoods that contains ALL 9 essential amino acids in ideal proportions. On top of that spirulina is 65-71% protein.
5) Bioavailable Iron- Many people throughout the world are iron deficient. The goto recommendation from most physicians is an iron supplement. The problem with iron supplements is that they readily cause constipation. If you have ever taken an iron supplement for a prolonged period you almost certainly have suffered in this manner to some degree.
Fortunately, spirulina is a great natural source of iron that is easily absorbed by the body and does NOT cause constipation.
Spirulina is a superfood that almost everyone should add to their diet, especially those with iron deficiency.
6) Immune Booster- Studies have documented that spirulina has a powerful effect on the immune system, increasing the action of immune cells and promoting the production of immune stimulating chemical messengers called cytokines.7
7) Antiviral- Viral infections are a huge problem throughout the world and scientists are constantly looking for better methods to combat the vast array of viruses.
Studies have found that spirulina shows great promise in treating a variety of viruses including HIV, with participants reporting NO adverse effects!7
A 2012 article in BMC Gastroenterology notes that natural substances from spirulina have been found to be “POTENT INHIBITORS against several enveloped viruses.” In the article the authors note that spirulina exhibits its antiviral action through several different mechanisms, including blocking virus penetration into cells and by inhibiting viral replication.8
Truly, the amazing benefits of spirulina continue to mount.
8) Heavy Metal Detoxification- Heavy metal poisoning is a huge problem throughout the world. The difficulty with most heavy metals is that they can be extremely hard for the body to eliminate.
This has led to researchers trying to figure out natural ways for the body to detoxify itself from harmful heavy metals. One of the natural superfoods that is showing great promise in heavy metal detoxification is spirulina.
An article in Clinical Toxicology details a placebo-controlled double-blind study showing how spirulina extract with zinc can drastically help eliminate arsenic from the body.9
9) Decreases Triglycerides and Bad Cholesterol (LDL)- Heart attacks are a major health problem in western society compliments of our poor diet. Two of the major risk factors for having a heart attack are high triglyceride and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
To treat high LDL and triglyceride levels, physicians commonly prescribe statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Crestor. Statins are synthetic pharmaceutical drugs designed to lower LDL and triglyceride levels. Unfortunately, statins often don’t work very well and can have undesirable side effects. This has led researchers to look for natural alternatives that can lower triglyceride and LDL levels.
One natural option that is proving to be very effective is spirulina. A 2014 article in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, documents a study showing Spirulina can lower LDL AND triglyceride levels.
In the study 52 patients were given spirulina everyday for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 weeks the patients had lowered LDL AND triglyceride levels!10
The amazing thing is that spirulina did this in only 12 weeks and WITHOUT the patients altering their diets! INCREDIBLE!
10) Anti-Inflammatory- Eliminating chronic inflammation is critical to maintaining health because chronic inflammation is known to be a major causative factor in the development of many chronic diseases, including: type II diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and autoimmune disorders.
There are many natural substances that are anti-inflammatory, including spirulina.
A 2012 article in PLoS One notes that spirulina can potentially decrease the risk of developing Parkinson's disease due to its “anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant properties,” which are believed to help protect the brain.11
Another article that documents spirulina’s anti-inflammatory action is seen in the Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. In the article the researchers document an experiment that showed spirulina was able to significantly decrease inflammation in animals with arthritis. Amazingly, after ONLY 8 DAYS of spirulina supplementation the arthritic animals inflammatory markers were near normal.12
Once again, spirulina keeps blowing us away as the research comes in!
11) Antioxidant- Antioxidants are molecules that prevent the oxidation of other molecules. This is important because when a molecule is oxidized it releases free radicals that can lead to cellular damage. This process of free radical induced cellular damage is believed to be a major contributing factor in the development of numerous chronic and age related diseases. Many studies in the research literature document that spirulina is a potent antioxidant.
12) Eye Protection- Zeaxanthin is a molecule found in human eyes that is believed to help prevent the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
A great source for zeaxanthin is spirulina. A 2012 article in The British Journal of Nutrition notes that A SINGLE DOSE of spirulina increases zeaxanthin levels in humans. Just a single dose!
The authors proclaim that “spirulina can serve as a rich source of dietary zeaxanthin in humans.”13
Help keep your eyes healthy with spirulina!
13) Anti-Allergy- Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction that causes symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, red eyes, itching, and so on. It is typically triggered by pollen, dust, and pet hair. Hay fever is so common just about everyone has experienced it at some point in their life.
There is a host of synthetic pharmaceutical drugs to treat hay fever, but many are lacking in their effectiveness and can have bad side effects.
Thankfully there are natural options for hay fever. One that is proving to be very beneficial is spirulina.
A 2008 article in the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology details a double blind placebo controlled study that compared treating hay fever with spirulina and placebo. The study found that spirulina was far more effective in treating hay fever compared to placebo. Spirulina DRASTICALLY decreased physical findings, “including nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching.”14
These impressive results once again show that ailments common to man can often be treated with natural means instead of pharmaceuticals.
14) Antifungal- Fungal infections, typically Candida, are a huge problem and can be very difficult to treat. Unfortunately many prescription antifungal medications are ineffective in treating candida infections, leading to the search for other options.
A completely natural antifungal agent that is very promising is spirulina. Multiple animal studies have found that spirulina is effective against candidiasis.15,16
This is great news for the countless people suffering with fungal infections.
15) Antitoxic- Multiple studies have shown that spirulina protects organisms against a variety of toxins.
A 2015 article in Pharmaceutical Biology documents that spirulina and its isolated compounds have been found to be protective against a wide variety of experimental poisonings, including: “arsenic, cadmium, carbon tetrachloride, deltamethrin, fluoride, hexachlorocyclohexane, iron, lead, lindane, and mercury.”17
To paraphrase…. Studies have shown that spirulina and its isolated compounds were protective against 10 different experimental poisonings!
16) Lowers Blood Pressure- Phycocyanin, a naturally occurring pigment found in spirulina, acts as an antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering) agent.18
The scientific proof on the benefits of Spirulina continue to build. So no matter your reason for using this amazing superfood you can rest assured that science has proven that Spirulina is a superfood worth regularly adding to your diet.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to provide treatment recommendations, medical advice, diagnosis, or any other information relating to the prevention or treatment of disease. Consult with your physician prior to starting any conventional or natural treatment. Spirulina benefits mentioned is not in direct relation nor referring to any BioOptimal products. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BioOptimal.
2. Kulshreshtha A, Zacharia AJ, Jarouliya U, Bhadauriya P, Prasad GB, Bisen PS. Spirulina in health care management. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2008 Oct;9(5):400-5.
4. Mathew B, Sankaranarayanan R, Nair PP, Varghese C, Somanathan T, Amma BP, Amma NS, Nair MK. Evaluation of chemoprevention of oral cancer with Spirulina fusiformis. Nutr Cancer. 1995;24(2):197-202.
5. Koníčková R, Vaňková K, Vaníková J, Váňová K, Muchová L, Subhanová I, Zadinová M, Zelenka J, Dvořák A, Kolář M, Strnad H, Rimpelová S, Ruml T, J Wong R, Vítek L. Anti-cancer effects of blue-green alga Spirulina platensis, a natural source of bilirubin-like tetrapyrrolic compounds. Ann Hepatol. 2014 Mar-Apr;13(2):273-83.
7. Teas J, Irhimeh MR. Dietary algae and HIV/AIDS: proof of concept clinical data. J Appl Phycol. 2012 Jun;24(3):575-582. Epub 2011 Dec 29.
8. Yakoot M, Salem A. Spirulina platensis versus silymarin in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. A pilot randomized, comparative clinical trial. BMC Gastroenterol. 2012 Apr 12;12:32.
9. Misbahuddin M, Islam AZ, Khandker S, Ifthaker-A-Mahmud, Islam N, Anjumanara. Efficacy of spirulina extract plus zinc in patients of chronic arsenic poisoning: a randomized placebo-controlled study. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2006;44(2):135-41.
10. Mazokopakis EE, Starakis IK, Papadomanolaki MG, Mavroeidi NG, Ganotakis ES. The hypolipidaemic effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) supplementation in a Cretan population: a prospective study. J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Feb;94(3):432-7. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6261. Epub 2013 Jul 10.
11. Pabon MM, Jernberg JN, Morganti J, Contreras J, Hudson CE, Klein RL, Bickford PC. A spirulina-enhanced diet provides neuroprotection in an α-synuclein model of Parkinson's disease. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45256.
12. Rasool M, Sabina EP, Lavanya B. Anti-inflammatory effect of Spirulina fusiformis on adjuvant-induced arthritis in mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Dec;29(12):2483-7.
13. Yu B, Wang J, Suter PM, Russell RM, Grusak MA, Wang Y, Wang Z, Yin S, Tang G. Spirulina is an effective dietary source of zeaxanthin to humans. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108(4):611-9.
14. Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23.
15. Soltani M, Khosravi AR, Asadi F, Shokri H. Evaluation of protective efficacy of Spirulina platensis in Balb/C mice with candidiasis. J Mycol Med. 2012 Dec;22(4):329-34.
16. El-Sheekh MM, Mahmoud YA, Abo-Shady AM, Hamza W. Efficacy of Rhodotorula glutinis and Spirulina platensis carotenoids in immunopotentiation of mice infected with Candida albicans SC5314 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa 35. Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2010 Jan;55(1):61-7.
17. Martínez-Galero E, Pérez-Pastén R, Perez-Juarez A, Fabila-Castillo L, Gutiérrez-Salmeán G, Chamorro G. Preclinical antitoxic properties of Spirulina (Arthrospira). Pharm Biol. 2015 Oct 6:1-9.
18. Ichimura M, Kato S, Tsuneyama K, Matsutake S, Kamogawa M, Hirao E, Miyata A, Mori S, Yamaguchi N, Suruga K, Omagari K. Phycocyanin prevents hypertension and low serum adiponectin level in a rat model of metabolic syndrome. Nutr Res. 2013 May;33(5):397-405.
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*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.