Spirulina may help lower cholesterol
By Cathy Wong Updated on October 15, 2021
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that contains a number of nutrients, including B vitamins, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Spirulina also contains antioxidants, minerals, chlorophyll, and phycocyanobilin and is commonly used as a source of vegan protein.
What Is Spirulina Used For?
Among proponents, spirulina has been used to support a number of health conditions, including fatigue, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and viral infections.
Purported spirulina benefits also include weight loss, increased energy, and stimulation of the immune system.
To date, few human studies have explored spirulina’s health benefits. However, preliminary studies suggest that spirulina may hold promise for the following conditions.
Spirulina holds some promise for lipid disorders such as high cholesterol or high triglycerides, according to a study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. For the study, healthy, older adults consumed spirulina or a placebo. After four months, spirulina was associated with significant reductions in cholesterol.1
Spirulina holds some promise in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies), according to a review published in 2009.2 Indeed, a previously published study of people with allergic rhinitis found several benefits for spirulina consumption, including improvement in symptoms like nasal discharge, sneezing, congestion, and itching.3
In a 2008 study involving 37 people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that those assigned to 12 weeks of spirulina supplementation experienced a significant reduction in blood-fat levels. Spirulina benefits also included a decrease in inflammation and, for some people, a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol.4
In another small study, 15 people diagnosed with diabetes who were not using insulin took 2 grams of spirulina a day in supplement form for two months.5 They didn’t change any other factors of their diet or lifestyle. At the end of the study period, the participants saw a reduction in blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.