Written by Joe Leech, MS on October 5, 2018
Spirulina is among the world’s most popular supplements.
It is loaded with various nutrients and antioxidants that may benefit your body and brain.
Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of spirulina.
Spirulina is an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water.
It is a type of cyanobacteria, which is a family of single-celled microbes that are often referred to as blue-green algae.
Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis.
Spirulina was consumed by the ancient Aztecs but became popular again when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space for use by astronauts (1).
A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1–3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day have been used effectively.
This tiny alga is packed with nutrients. A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains (2Trusted Source):
- Protein: 4 grams
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the RDA
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 4% of the RDA
- Copper: 21% of the RDA
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that you need.
In addition, the same amount holds only 20 calories and 1.7 grams of digestible carbs.
Gram for gram, spirulina may be the single most nutritious food on the planet.
A tablespoon (7 grams) of spirulina provides a small amount of fat — around 1 gram — including both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in an approximately 1.5–1.0 ratio.
The quality of the protein in spirulina is considered excellent — comparable to eggs. It gives all the essential amino acids that you need.
SUMMARYSpirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salt and fresh water. It may be one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth.
Oxidative damage can harm your DNA and cells.
This damage can drive chronic inflammation, which contributes to cancer and other diseases (5).
Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.
Its main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.
Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signaling molecules, providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
SUMMARYPhycocyanin is the main active compound in spirulina. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death.
Many risk factors are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
As it turns out, spirulina positively impacts many of these factors. For example, it can lower total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising “good” HDL cholesterol.
In a study in 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina per day significantly improved these markers (9Trusted Source).
Another study in people with high cholesterol determined that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and “bad” LDL by 10.1% (10Trusted Source).
SUMMARYStudies indicate that spirulina can lower triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol and may simultaneously raise “good” HDL cholesterol.