Spirulina is a great antioxidant, improves fatigue, and boosts immunity. Not only is it a good food supplement, but it can be used to help treat disorders as well. To start cooking with the healthiest foods on the planet try the Lectin Avoidance Diet Cookbook, it contains a ton of fun and easy to make recipes that make eating healthy a breeze.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae and is a cyanobacterium that belongs to the Oscillatoraceae family (R).
Some studies have revealed its potential properties: anti-carcinogenic, immunostimulants, antigenotoxic, anti-hepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and antihypertensive (R).
In general, it can protect cells from death via its anti-oxidative properties.
Health Benefits of Spirulina
1) Spirulina Consumption Protects the Heart
In mice, when supplementation was used in a high fat and cholesterol diet, it was shown that there was a significant reduction in total blood cholesterol (R).
Total cholesterol and LDL increase with aging, which may be a cause of heart disease (R).
Spirulina intake reduces blood cholesterol and LDL significantly in elderly populations (R).
In rats, the supplement also protects heart cells against oxidation and cell damage (R).
2) Spirulina Is Protective In Diabetes
Spirulina reduces the blood glucose level (R).
A study conducted with type II diabetic people showed that 2g daily for 2 months decreases blood glucose (R).
Also, the supplement has a greater chance of improving insulin sensitivity (R).
3) Spirulina Exerts Anti-inflammatory Effects
It also reverses the age-related increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines in the brain of aged male rats (R).
4) Spirulina Works As an Antioxidant
Spirulina treatment protects the activity of cellular antioxidant enzymes that have a role in oxidative damage of cells (R).
The algae contain PCB, which has the ability to inhibit this enzyme. PCB leads to potent inhibition of NADPH via antioxidant activity (R).
5) Spirulina Fights Against Cancer
It was shown that when spirulina is given to mice that had been injected with liver tumor cells, their survival rate increased. Also, lymphocyte activity of those mice significantly become higher than normal, which corresponds to its immune system effects (R).
Daily ingestion of this supplement maintains or accelerates normal cell function to prevent cancer or to inhibit cancer growth (R).
6) Spirulina Intake Can Relieve Fatigue
After one week of spirulina intake, the participants had an increase in exercise output. A survey for a sense of physical and mental fatigue showed improvement within 4 hours of the first supplementation (R).
7) Spirulina Protects the Brain
Spirulina appears to be neuroprotective against excitotoxicity, which is when neurons are damaged or killed by overactivation of receptors. Certain dosages significantly reduce dopaminergic losses in response to toxins (R).
Also, it non-significantly increases neuronal density, which indicates neurogenesis, or the formation of new neurons. It protects stem cells in the brain from having their growth being reduced by inflammation (R).
8) Spirulina Reduces Allergies
Allergic rhinitis can cause stuffy noses, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and other similar symptoms. Spirulina is shown to be effective in treating all of these symptoms (R).
The supplement was also shown to suppress secretion of inflammatory cytokines that contributed to allergies (R).
9) Spirulina Improves Kidney Function
Blood urea nitrogen and blood creatinine levels are indicators of kidney disease. The addition of spirulina in the diet significantly decreases the blood urea nitrogen and blood creatinine levels (R).
10) Spirulina Protects the Liver
The vitamins and phenolic compounds found in spirulina can act together and help protect the liver (R).
People with fatty liver who took 4.5g daily for six months had improved liver function (R).
11) Spirulina Rids the Body of Arsenic
In rats, the hexane extract can help remove 90% of arsenic found in the liver (R).
- Treatment protects the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPX), selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase (GPX-Se) and oxidized glutathione reductase (GR) (R).
- Extract dramatically inhibits the production of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), such as malondialdehyde (MDA) (R).
- Extract significantly reduces the levels of MDA and 4-HNE and increases the reduced content of glutathione (R).
- It increases the synthesis and release of nitric oxide but inhibits the synthesis and release of a cyclooxygenase-dependent vasoconstrictor metabolite of arachidonic acid (R).
- Reverses age-related increase in proinflammatory cytokines in the cerebellum, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) and TNFβ.
- Inhibits the NADPH complex and reduces the production of the NADPH complex by the reduction of p22phox subunit of NADPH oxidase (R).
- It also may increase the activity of the CX3CR1 receptor (R).
- Mechanisms of immune potentiation are mediated through TLR2 receptors (R).
- Decreases the blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine, and activation of urinary excretion of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and glutamic oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT) which are indicators of acute nephritis and renal function (R).
- Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid and it is a precursor for the body’s prostaglandins (R).
- Sulfolipid is one of the components that are remarkably effective against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) (R).
- Iron is the most common mineral deficiency in the world and these algae contain a high amount of iron (R).
There might be some algae products that contain contaminants that can cause allergic reactions or digestive problems.
This particular species of algae also contains phenylalanine, which can cause problems for people who have phenylketonuria.
Many studies examined the effects of spirulina in a variety of dosages. 1-8 g per day has some effect on patients. The specific dose depends on the condition.