Packed with various nutrients and antioxidants, spirulina is one of the world’s most popular supplements. This algae powder has risen in popularity throughout the years because of its healing properties that may benefit your body and your brain.
That being said, what is spirulina and does it present any benefits with everyday use? We’ve discovered the ins and outs of this algae powder to provide you with its uses, benefits, and side effects. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of spirulina.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a popular supplement and ingredient made from blue-green algae belonging to the family of Oscillatoriaceae. The three species of this algae powder are Arthrospira platensis, A. fusiformis, and A. maxima.
While spirulina is usually described as a blue-green algae, it’s technically a cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are named after the bluish pigment phycocyanin, which they use to capture light for photosynthesis.
Furthermore, spirulina also is made up of chlorophyll. Spirulina also grows in both fresh and saltwater and can be consumed by both humans and animals.
This algae powder can be consumed orally or applied topically. With the consumption and application of spirulina comes several benefits if used properly. The benefits of spirulina range from reducing blood pressure, aiding in blood sugar control, and hydrates and brightens the skin.
What other benefits does spirulina have for your body? Some of the most common benefits include:
Benefits when taken orally:
- Boosts the immune system
- Improves kidney and liver function
- Improves symptoms of allergic rhinitis
- May be effective against anemia
- May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Benefits when taken topically:
- Decreases inflammation
- Tones the skin
- Promotes a youthful-looking complexion
- Detoxifies and encourages cell renewal
As with anything, spirulina has a few side effects to be aware of. Some of the minor side effects of spirulina may include nausea, insomnia, and headaches. Still, this supplement is widely considered safe, and most people experience no side effects. Other possible side effects include:
- Interference with blood clotting
- May worsen autoimmune conditions
- May be contaminated with toxins
How to take Spirulina
Spirulina can be taken in a variety of ways, making it an accessible supplement for anyone and everyone. Some methods to take spirulina include:
- Incorporate it into recipes
- Add it into your smoothies
- Mix it into your tea
- Take it in tablet form
This algae powder can also be applied topically in order to reap its benefits. The best way to use spirulina topically is to apply it as a face mask, as it is soothing, hydrating, and brightens the skin. Spirulina can also be applied topically through lotions, balms, and mixed into masks for your hair.
Typically, a standard daily dose of spirulina is 1-3 grams, but this nutrient-dense powder can be used up to 10 grams per day effectively. Be sure to limit your intake of spirulina to 10 grams or less, as it can cause health complications.
Before adding spirulina into your daily diet, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider to get personalized advice. The appropriate dose for you may depend on factors including your age, gender, and medical history.
Spirulina Nutrition Data
According to the USDA 7 grams (one tablespoon) of dried spirulina powder contains the following nutrients:
- Protein – 4.02 g
- Energy – 20.3 kcal
- Energy – 84.9 kJ
- Carbs – 1.67 g
- Fiber – 0.252 g
- Fat – 0.54 g
- Magnesium, Mg – 13.6 mg
- Potassium, K – 95.4 mg
- Iron, Fe – 2 mg
- Calcium (Ca) – 8.4 mg
All in all, adding spirulina to your daily routine can provide you with many benefits for your health.
If you are thinking about adding spirulina to your diet, you should consult with your doctor first. They will be able to provide more information on whether or not this algae powder would be a healthy addition to your diet.
Further, when purchasing products that contain spirulina, look to the packaging labels for more information. You may want to look out for the following:
- What, if any, government labels the package has to determine the level of regulation and testing the product underwent
- Other ingredients in the product that you could be sensitive to
Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.