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9 Health Benefits of Spirulina

Spirulina is a trendy health supplement. It contains a lot of antioxidants and nutrients that may be beneficial to your brain and body.

Spirulina is a cyanobacteria. It is commonly referred to as blue-green algae.

Spirulina is enriched with nutrients. As a result, it improves the level of lipids in the blood, reduces blood pressure, suppresses oxidation, and lowers the level of sugar in your blood.

Yes, there’s a need for further studies concerning its health benefits, but in the meantime, spirulina is one superfood that is worth considering.

In this article, we will discuss the top 9 health benefits of spirulina.


1. Spirulina is rich in various nutrients

Spirulina is an organism present both in salt and fresh water.

Spirulina is a cyanobacterium, a family of unicellular microbes usually known as blue-green algae.

Cyanobacteria, like plants, can produce energy from sunlight through photosynthesis.

Ancient Aztecs consumed spirulina. Its popularity increased when NASA suggested that it could be cultivated in space by astronauts.

Spirulina has a standard dose of 1–3 grams daily. It is loaded with nutrients. A tablespoon of dried spirulina powder contains the following nutrients:

· 4 grams of protein

· Thiamine: 11% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

· Riboflavin: 15% of the recommended dietary allowance

· Copper: 21% of the recommended dietary allowance

· Niacin: 4% of the recommended dietary allowance

· 11% of the recommended dietary allowance of iron

There’s also plenty of potassium, magnesium, and manganese in spirulina, as well as small amounts of other nutrients.

It is also important to note that a tablespoon of dried spirulina powder contains roughly 1.7 grams of carbs and just 20 calories. In addition, a tablespoon of spirulina provides a small amount of fat — roughly a gram — including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Its protein is of excellent quality — almost the same as that of eggs. So you can get all the essential amino acids you need.


2. It has very potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Oxidative damage is injurious to your DNA and body cells. Oxidative damage can trigger chronic inflammation, which causes cancer and other chronic diseases.

It is also a great source of antioxidants, and antioxidants offer a great deal of protection against oxidative damage. The most active component of spirulina is phycocyanin. It is responsible for the unique blue-green color of spirulina.

Phycocyanin fights free radicals. It has an inhibitory effect on the production of inflammatory signaling molecules.


3. It lowers triglyceride and LDL levels

Heart disease is the major cause of death in the world. Several factors increase the risk of heart disease.

The good news is that spirulina has a positive impact on most of these factors. For instance, it can lower triglyceride and total cholesterol levels while raising the level of HDL cholesterol.

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that intake of 2 grams of spirulina daily caused a significant improvement in markers of type 2 diabetes.

Another study involving high cholesterol levels found that a gram of spirulina taken each day reduced triglyceride levels by 16.3%. It also reduced LDL level by 10.1%


4. Spirulina prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol

Fats and fatty substances in our bodies have a high susceptibility to oxidative damage. This susceptibility is known as lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation triggers many chronic diseases.

For instance, oxidation of LDL cholesterol is highly involved in the onset of heart disease. However, it is refreshing to note that the antioxidants present in spirulina are very effective at reducing lipid peroxidation both in animals and in humans.

A study involving 37 type-2 diabetic patients found that daily intake of 8 grams of spirulina caused a significant reduction in markers of oxidative damage. It also increased blood levels of antioxidant enzymes.


5. Anticancer properties

There are indications that spirulina may have anticancer effects.

Results from animal studies have shown that spirulina reduces the occurrence of cancer and the tumor size.

In-depth research has been done on the effects of spirulina on oral cancer. Oral cancer is another name for cancer of the mouth.

An Indian study involving 87 people with oral submucous fibrosis (precancerous lesions) found that 1 gram of spirulina taken daily for a year resolved the condition in 45% of the patients.


6. Blood pressure-lowering effects

High blood pressure is a primary trigger of many chronic diseases, such as strokes, chronic kidney disease, and heart attacks.

Studies have shown that 4.5 grams of spirulina administered daily reduces blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure.

This blood pressure-reducing effect is driven by the production of excessive production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that promotes the relaxation and dilation of blood vessels.


7. It improves allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis presents with inflammation in the nasal passageways.

Allergic rhinitis is triggered by pollen, wheat dust, animal hair, and other environmental allergens.

Spirulina helps in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. In addition, studies have shown that it can be effective against the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

In a study involving 127 allergic rhinitis patients, it was found that a daily dose of 2 grams of spirulina drastically reduced sneezing, itching, congestion, nasal discharge, and other symptoms.


8. It may have anti-anemic effects

There are many forms of anemia.

The commonest form of anemia is characterized by low red blood cell count or reduced hemoglobin.

Anemia is more common in the elderly, resulting in prolonged feelings of fatigue and weakness.

A study published in the journal Cellular & Molecular Immunology found that spirulina supplements increased hemoglobin concentration in red blood cells. It also improved immunity.


9. Improves endurance and muscle strength

Sometimes, exercise may induce oxidative damage. This damage contributes to muscle fatigue.

Some plant foods have plenty of antioxidant properties that can minimize oxidative damage to inactive individuals.

Some studies have shown that spirulina may be beneficial in this aspect (improving endurance and muscle strength).

Some studies showed that spirulina caused significant improvements in endurance, increasing the time it took for participants to become fatigued.


References

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Volume 49, Issue 11, 2010, Pages 1603-1616, ISSN 0891-5849, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.09.006(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584910005381) Abstract: Extensive research during the past 2 decades has revealed the mechanism by which continued oxidative stress can lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn could mediate most chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular, neurological, and pulmonary diseases. Oxidative stress can activate a variety of transcription factors including NF-κB, AP-1, p53, HIF-1α, PPAR-γ, β-catenin/Wnt, and Nrf2. Activation of these transcription factors can lead to the expression of over 500 different genes, including those for growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, cell cycle regulatory molecules, and anti-inflammatory molecules. How oxidative stress activates inflammatory pathways leading to transformation of a normal cell to tumor cell, tumor cell survival, proliferation, chemoresistance, radioresistance, invasion, angiogenesis, and stem cell survival is the focus of this review. Overall, observations to date suggest that oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and cancer are closely linked. Keywords: Oxidative stress; Inflammation; Cancer; Pro-oxidants; Antioxidants; NF-κB; Free radicals

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