Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that people can take as a dietary supplement. People consider spirulina a superfood due to its excellent nutritional content and health benefits.
Spirulina has a high protein and vitamin content, which makes it an excellent dietary supplement for people on vegetarian or vegan diets.
This article discusses 11 potential health benefits people may get from adding spirulina to their diet.
Consuming spirulina is one way to supplement protein and vitamins in people's diets without notable side effects.
One tablespoon or 7 grams (g) of dried spirulina
- 20 calories
- 4.02 g of protein
- 1.67 g of carbohydrate
- 0.54 g of fat
- 8 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 2 mg of iron
- 14 mg of magnesium
- 8 mg of phosphorous
- 95 mg of potassium
- 73 mg of sodium
- 0.7 mg of vitamin C
It also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamins B-6, A, and K.
Taking spirulina, as part of a balanced diet, may help a person to stay well nourished.
People can usually lose weight if they eat fewer calories than they use. Spirulina is a high-nutrient, low-calorie food that contains a lot of nutrition in a small amount of powder. Introducing spirulina to the diet may help people lose weight without losing nutrition.
The results of a
Spirulina can be digested easily because of its structure where the cells do not have tough, fibrous walls. But can consuming it improve gut health?
More research on humans is needed, but animal studies indicate spirulina may support gut health as people age. A
Spirulina does not contain much fiber, so it is essential to include other gut-healthful, high-fiber foods in the diet.
Spirulina shows promise as a way to manage the symptoms of diabetes. But more research is needed before doctors can recommend it.
These results suggest that spirulina shows promise as a food to support type 2 diabetes management.
- lower blood sugar
- higher insulin levels
- improved liver enzyme markers
The researchers note that the antioxidant effect of spirulina may be helpful in treating type 1 diabetes.
A 2013 study also supports this health claim. Researchers found that taking 1 g of spirulina every day reduced participant's total cholesterol after 3 months.
As discussed above, spirulina may lower cholesterol, and there is also evidence that it could help control a person's blood pressure.
High blood pressure and cholesterol levels are both linked to heart disease. As spirulina may reduce both of these risk factors, is it possible that it could help prevent heart disease?
Taking spirulina may help boost a person's metabolism. A higher metabolic rate may make a person feel as if they have more energy. It may also increase the number of calories they burn each day, which may aid weight loss.
In a small-scale
The people in this study had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and so more research is needed to see if spirulina may boost metabolism in others without this condition.
When a person has allergies to pollen, dust, or pets, the inside of their nose may swell. This reaction is called allergic rhinitis. There is some evidence that spirulina could help improve the symptoms of this condition.
- runny nose
- nasal congestion
In certain parts of the world, people are at risk of poisoning from contaminated drinking water and other sources of pollutants.
A later 2016 review found that spirulina had antitoxic properties that could counteract pollutants in the body, including:
The authors of the review suggest that spirulina could be a useful substance to use alongside clinical treatment of pollutant poisoning.
A 2018 paper highlights the potential role that spirulina could play in treating mood disorders.
People with certain mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may have reduced levels of serotonin. Taking tryptophan supplements to maintain healthful serotonin levels may play a role in supporting mental wellbeing.
Researchers need to conduct more clinical trials before they know the true role of spirulina in supporting mental health.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate spirulina, but a
It is a good idea to check any drug interactions with a doctor before taking a new dietary supplement, including spirulina.
Spirulina is available in powder or tablet form.
As a powder, people can:
- add it to smoothies, which gives the drink a green color
- sprinkle spirulina powder on salads or in soups
- mix it into energy balls, along with other healthful ingredients
- stir a tablespoon into fruit or vegetable juices
People can also take spirulina as a dietary supplement in tablet form.
Initial research suggests taking spirulina may improve the following:
- weight loss
- gut health
- diabetes management
- blood pressure
- risk of heart disease
- metabolic rate
- allergy symptoms
- mental health
Alongside zinc, spirulina shows promise as a
More research is needed before doctors can recommend spirulina for the treatment of any health condition.