The Health Benefits Of Spirulina


The health benefits of spirulina

Spirulina, an alga, is a concentrate of nutrients, which could confer certain virtues. But is spirulina really a "superfood" with many health benefits? Yumy Vitamins offers you to go through the question.

What is spirulina?

Spirulina is a freshwater micro-algae that belongs to the family of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae. Its Latin name is Arthrospira platensis. Spirulina is a microorganism that has existed on Earth for 3.5 billion years. It grows naturally in the warm waters of lakes in India, Chad and Mexico.

How to consume spirulina?

Spirulina is consumed in dried form. It is commercially available in the form of powder to be added to food (in beverages or foods), capsules, twigs or tablets. It can also be spirulina in the form of dietary supplements. In this case, as in capsules or tablets, spirulina will be taken orally.

In powder or twigs, it can be used in food recipes or beauty for hair, for example.

Spirulina tastes like seaweed, quite salty, but it can also be found as a vase or mushroom.

How to buy spirulina?

In the United States, the cultivation and production of spirulina have been regulated since 2016. When you want to buy spirulina, remember to check several things:

  • Choose preferably a spirulina that bears the Origin United States or grown in United States.
  • Read the composition and take a spirulina without urea, which is often used as fertilizer by producers;
  • Avoid buying your spirulina on the internet because it will be difficult to verify the previous points with certainty.

Spirulina, a superfood? What does it contain?

With 390 calories per 100 g (19% of energy), spirulina is a nutrient concentrate. It contains 60% protein, 10% fat and 7% carbohydrates, and contains virtually everything except vitamin C and omega 3. Spirulina contains:

  • Vitamin A is essential to the skin, mucous membranes, vision, but also to iron metablosm and the functioning of the immune system.
  • Vitamin B1, for energy metabolism and the functioning of the nervous system and the heart.
  • Vitamin B2, for the functioning of the nervous system, iron metabolism. It also plays a role in vision and skin, while protecting it and reducing fatigue in general.
  • Vitamin B3, for the maintenance of psychological functions, in addition to the energetic metabolism and the functioning of the nervous system.
  • Vitamin B6, for energy metabolism, proper functioning of the nervous system, psychological functions, immune system... It also regulates hormonal activity and fatigue.
  • Vitamin B12, useful for the functioning of the nervous system and for the formation of red blood cells among others; but also for the immune system and to fight against fatigue.
  • Vitamin E, to fight oxidative stress.
  • Iron, which is essential for the formation of red blood cells, hemoglobin, the transport of oxygen in the blood, the proper functioning of the immune system and cognitive development.
  • Magnesium for neuromuscular function.
  • Manganese, to protect cells from oxidative stress and help in the formation of connective tissue, maintenance of good bone structure and energy metabolism.
  • Phosphorus, because the body needs it for teeth and bones.
  • Potassium, finally, for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, but also for maintaining normal blood pressure.
Spirulina also contains chlorophyll and phycocyanin, a pigment with antioxidant properties.

What are the health benefits of spirulina?

Spirulina has many health benefits. The consumption of spirulina reduces fatigue, it boosts the immune system, it gives more vitality and tone, therefore. Spirulina would also have the power to strengthen nails and hair.

Spirulina, an alga that supports immune defenses

The consumption of spirulina, with the various nutrients it contains, is a major factor in boosting the immune system.

Spirulina helps maintain or even lose weight

This super food contains 60% protein, which is more satisfying than meat protein and better digestible. If it does not allow to lose weight, spirulina is a weight ally to maintain it!

Spirulina promotes hair and nail growth

The proteins contained in spirulina stimulate the production of keratin, the main component of hair and nails. Spirulina helps protect and promote hair and nail growth.

Spirulina reduces fatigue

Vitamins B and E, minerals such as magnesium and iron in spirulina help fight fatigue.

Does spirulina reduce cholesterol? 

Rich in vitamins and minerals, spirulina is one of the "superfoods". Several studies1 have shown that spirulina reduces total cholesterol and LDL "bad cholesterol". In addition, an increase in "good cholesterol", HDL was observed. 

What are the real advantages of spirulina?

Spirulina is a natural product. It may therefore be thought that the vitamins and minerals it contains have a better availability than chemical dietary supplements. Its richness in beta-carotene, for example, can be interesting for those who lack vitamin A.

 To whom is spirulina recommended?

This dietary supplement is suitable for many people to stay in good shape.
  • For athletes: spirulina allows them to increase their energy intake before a physical effort, it also promotes muscle recovery, especially thanks to magnesium.
  • For people in need of vitamins: in addition to a dietary rebalancing, spirulina can come as a supplement to improve vitamin and mineral intakes.
  • For vegetarians and vegans: because of its high protein to compensate for the meat they do not eat.
  • In pregnant or lactating women, spirulina provides the pregnant woman with all the nutrients she and her fetus need during pregnancy, such as iron, vitamin B12… The medication should be taken on the advice of a doctor or midwife.
  • For the elderly: they may be protein deficient and are more frail and tired. Spirulina can be a good dietary supplement, to give them all the vitamins and elements their body needs.
  • For children: Spirulina can be given to children from the age of six. But before you start any treatment, it’s best to talk to your doctor.

How to take spirulina?

Spirulina should be taken in the form of cures for several weeks. It is possible to do it several times a year, in the spring, for example, and then another one at the beginning of the school year, around October or later, at the beginning of the winter in December, for example.

The daily intake of spirulina should not exceed 3 grams per day and can be up to 10 grams for great sportsmen or vegetarians or vegans, for their protein intake.

Is spirulina safe?

Spirulina does not appear to pose a health risk at low doses, up to several grams per day according to the National Food Safety Agency (Anses), which simply recommends to be wary of heavy metals that the seaweed may contain. L'Anses recommends to "favor the supply channels best controlled by the public authorities". In any case, before starting a cure, it is best to discuss it with your doctor.

Who shouldn’t take spirulina?

'Pregnant and lactating women will have to comply with their doctor’s advice.

However, people who have gout should not consume it, spirulina is contraindicated. Spirulina is also not recommended for those who suffer from phenylketonuria.

People with too high a level of ferritin or allergic terrain should avoid the consumption of spirulina.
Finally, be careful, spirulina can have undesirable effects, especially nausea, so it is advisable for those who want to consume it to increase the amounts ingested gradually.

Side effects and spirulina

Anses reported in 2017 that it had received 49 reports of adverse reactions likely to be related to the consumption of dietary supplements containing spirulina. 

After studying the product "preclinical data showed no spirulina toxicity at high doses (for doses administered up to 30 g/Kg/d, see ad libitum in mice)" indicates the health authority.
Among the many clinical studies conducted at doses up to 19g/d of dry spirulina, digestive disorders and headaches related to spirulina consumption have been reported. Nevertheless, for Anses, "the numbers of these studies are too small to highlight rare effects such as individual susceptibility/hypersensitivity."
The adverse effects already reported following consumption of spirulina are: stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and liquid stool in addition to one case of allergy, identified in 2014.

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