Spirulina: 11 Healthy Reasons to Consume it

Spirulina (Arthrospira plantensis) is a cyanobacterium that has a spiral shape (hence its name) and is greenish-blue due to the presence of chlorophyll that gives it the color green and phycocyanin, a pigment that gives it the bluish color.

Spirulina is a superfood that offers more digestible proteins than those of beef and contains a surprising variety of nutritional elements: vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, proteins, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), chlorophyll, and a wide range of phytochemicals.

 

What are the health benefits of spirulina?

Spirulina is a superfood with many properties and health benefits. Some of them are the following:

 

  1. Spirulina contains a large amount of protein

Spirulina contains a large percentage of proteins, for every 100 grams of spirulina, between 65% and 75% are proteins, which is very much. By having a reference, meat proteins are around 10% to 25%. For this reason, spirulina becomes an important supplementary tool for athletes that helps increase muscle mass. Also, if that were not enough, spirulina contains all the essential amino acids, which makes its proteins of high biological value. This is one of the characteristics that make it a superfood since it is highly valued by vegetarians and vegans, who highly value their proteins for being highly assimilable and being complete. [1]

 

  1. Consume spirulina to lose weight

One of the characteristics that have made spirulina popular is its ability to help you lose weight. This occurs because it has phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is an amino acid in the group of essentials that have been attributed to satiating or appetite-reducing properties. [2]

Any tricks to lose weight with spirulina? You can try to drink 250 to 750 milligrams of spirulina with a glass of water about 20 minutes before meals.

 

  1. Increase your body weight with spirulina in a healthy way

This might sound like a contradiction. Spirulina protein is special for people in states of malnutrition or with difficulty gaining muscle mass. Protein consumption is beneficial to increase the percentage of muscle mass is also beneficial in people who are convalescent or in the process of growth, in this case, it is due to the amount of protein, minerals, fatty acids, and other nutrients it contains in high quantity.

Another cause of weight gain in spirulina occurs when people follow a diet with plenty of carbohydrates (especially based on refined products and sugars). The reason is that by combining both carbohydrates with the high amount of spirulina proteins, the caloric intake is greater.

 

  1. Spirulina: The ideal food against anemia

Spirulina has 10 times more iron than spinach. Which, although it seems impressive, is a characteristic similar to that of some algae with iron or other nutrients. This makes spirulina a great natural food to help with iron deficiency anemia. Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells and is the main cause of anemia in people because it is difficult to assimilate in the intestine. However, spirulina iron is easily assimilated because it also has a ferredoxin protein. Several studies have shown that the combination of ferredoxin with iron increases absorption by 60% compared to other iron pharmaceuticals. [3]

 

  1. Strengthen the immune system with spirulina

One of the reactions produced by spirulina in the body is the stimulation of macrophages, which increase the creation of cytokines, which in turn activate other lymphoid cells. As a result, some organs such as the thymus and the spleen improve their immuno-stimulant functions.

One of the reasons why spirulina is so good at helping the immune system is because of the large number of enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and the good combination and amount of these. Some of them are:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12, although with the latter there is controversy. It is always advisable to supplement with Vitamin B12, both vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who are not.
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Maganese
  • Selenium
  • Phosphorus

On the other hand, the antioxidants it possesses make it the best ally of the immune system (Vitamin E, Phycocyanin, Beta-carotene). Amino acids (alanine and pantothenic acid) and polysaccharides also help.

 

  1. Improves brain and cardiovascular functions

By helping to manufacture acetylcholine, which is important in the health of myelin neurons, it allows us to improve the functioning of our brain. For its part, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides favors the proper functioning of our heart and the reduction of blood and arterial pressure.

 

  1. Contains Omega-3 fatty acids

Spirulina also contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for various brain and cardiovascular functions, in addition to helping against metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, cancer, menstrual cramps, fetal brain development, asthma, and improving the view The omega 3 fatty acids present in spirulina are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and if combined with flax oil they can replace fish.

 

  1. High chlorophyll content

Spirulina is a chlorophyll deposit, which favors peristaltic action by relieving constipation and normalizing the secretion of digestive acids by appeasing the digestive tract. Chlorophyll seems to favor the regeneration of liver cells and dilates blood vessels to increase the circulation of all organs. Phycocyanin, the bluish pigment, is important for healthy liver function and amino acid digestion. Chlorophyll also has detoxification properties, binds to toxins such as heavy metals and expels them from the body.

 

  1. Easy digestion

Spirulina lacks cellulose, which makes it easier to digest, even for people with poor intestinal absorption.

 

  • High mineral content

Spirulina can absorb and accumulate heavy metals from trace elements naturally. Some of these elements, such as selenium or zinc, are part of important biochemical functions in the conservation of nervous system structures.

 

  • Delays aging and improve hair growth

As a consequence of the nutrients we have seen before, spirulina helps delay aging. Some of them are antioxidants, such as vitamin E, beta-carotene and linoleic acids. Others are retinoids and a large amount of chlorophyll. For their hair, they contribute a large number of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that have their composition.

 

  • Other health benefits of spirulina

 

  • Improves eyesight because of the large amount of vitamin A.
  • It has a positive anti-inflammatory action, useful against arthritis.
  • Increases muscle mass, due to the large amount it contains proteins that all essential amino acids possess.
  • It is a potent antiviral.
  • Acts as a sexual toner.
  • Stimulates intellectual activity.
  • It is indicated in states of asthenia, chronic fatigue, and states of physical fatigue.
  • Thanks to its melatonin content, it is also used in people with insomnia problems.

 

Spirulina in tablets or powder?

If you plan to add spirulina daily to your diet (or occasionally) it is recommended that you do it using spirulina tablets or capsules. Because the spirulina seaweed does not have a very good taste, let alone, its texture makes the mission of mixing it with juices, juices or other liquids complicated. For its part, spirulina in capsules has hardly any flavor and can be easily consumed with liquids.

This simple way to consume it through a spirulina capsule greatly facilitates its consumption. This form is recommended to be able to consume spirulina regularly and to enjoy all its benefits. Spirulina powder or capsules have the same benefits.

 

How is the best way to consume spirulina?

In principle, the general rule is to consume 3 to 4 grams of spirulina a day. This, if taken in pills of 500 mg each, usually involves 6 to 8 pills a day. On the other hand, if it were pills of 250 mg each, you should take twice, or what is the same, 12 to 16 pills a day.

Also, it is usually recommended to divide the shot into 3 times a day, before meals. That is, take 2 or 3 500 mg tablets before each breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

However, if it is the first time you take spirulina, you can opt for a lower dose at the beginning. For example, you can take 500 mg to one gram before meals to see how you feel, and then increase the amount until you reach the recommended daily dose.

 

How to consume spirulina powder?

Spirulina powder can be drunk if dissolved in a glass of juice like orange juice, before or after meals, to facilitate digestion. It is advisable to consume it with a natural fruit juice, add spirulina powder and let it dissolve completely in the juice, it can take about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the juice so that it can dissolve easily.

Another simple way is through spirulina tablets or capsules, this way you can take the necessary dose much faster.

 

Precautions

Despite the beneficial properties it has, people included in the following points should avoid consuming spirulina:

  • Those who take medications that may increase the risk of bleeding or who are diagnosed with disorders of this type.
  • People who suffer from diabetes, have reduced blood glucose levels or take a product that alters glucose levels in any way.
  • People with hypotension
  • Pregnant women or breastfeeding children
  • People with low weight.
  • Those who suffer from some liver diseases, autoimmune, with disorders of the musculoskeletal system, nervous system. Or those diagnosed or having skin diseases and intestinal or stomach problems.
  • Also, it should be certified, before ingesting it, that you are not allergic to this alga.

- by Dr. Helcio Ferreira, MD

Helcio Ferreira 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907180/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8201963
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21278762

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