Spirulina Health Benefits

Published 5/16/13

What Is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae type of cyanobacterium that can be consumed by humans and animals. Blue-green algae are typically found in tropical or subtropical waters that have high salt level. The name “blue-green algae” comes from the dark-green appearance of the body of water where the algae is grown. Spirulina is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants.

Spirulina Nutrition

Spirulina contains a beneficial array of B vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid. Spirulina contains 2,300% more iron than spinach, 3,900% more beta-carotene than carrots, 300% more calcium than whole milk, and 375% more protein than tofu.

Spirulina Benefits

Spirulina is known to increase the number of antibodies, proteins that fight infections, and other proactive human body cells that boost immune system ability and fight off infections or chronic diseases. Spirulina is roughly 60% amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), which makes spirulina an excellent source of protein and aids muscle health and growth. Spirulina can also stop the release of histamines, a major factor that stimulate allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy skin, rashes, and watery eyes. Recent studies are also beginning to suggest that spirulina is able to protect the liver against permanent damage and possible liver failure, known as cirrhosis.

Spirulina Side Effects

Side effects stemming from spirulina typically occur when the spirulina is contaminated with bacteria, toxins or metals. Possible side effects of contaminated spirulina include permanent liver damage, vomiting, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat, stomach pain, and possibly death. 

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