Gram for gram, spirulina may literally be the single most nutritious food on the planet.
You may have never even heard of this nutrient-packed "powder house." But after today, you’ll know all about how beneficial spirulina can be to your health and exactly how you can incorporate it into your daily routine.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both fresh and salt water.
A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains:
Protein: 4 grams
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 11% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance
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 a good amount of magnesium, potassium and manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that our bodies need.
Even better, this is coming with only 20 calories, and 1.7 grams of digestible carbohydrates.
Spirulina is packed full of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.
The main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance is what gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.
Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signaling molecules. In other words, it can provide vital antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
The antioxidants in spirulina are also effective at reducing lipid peroxidation. This is known to be a key component of many serious diseases such as heart disease.
Spirulina is anti-cancer.
Current research points to spirulina containing anti-cancer properties.
One study looked at the effects of spirulina on 87 people from India with precancerous lesions called OSMF in the mouth.
After using 1 gram per day for 1 year, 45% of the spirulina group had a complete regression of lesions in the mouth, compared to only 7% in the control group (3).
When they stopped taking the spirulina, almost half of the responders developed these lesions again the following year.
In another study of 40 subjects with OSMF precancerous lesions, 1 gram of spirulina per day led to greater improvement in symptoms than the drug Pentoxifylline (4).
Spirulina lowers blood pressure.
Just yesterday, the National Institutes of Health came out with a study showing that participants with lower-than-recommended blood pressure levels lived longer and had fewer incidences of cardiovascular disease.
This is thought to be driven by an increased production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps the blood vessels relax and dilate.
This is an important aspect of spirulina, as high blood pressure is a key biomarker in of many killer diseases like heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.
So even if your blood pressure is on target (by current guidelines), the NIH findings may result in your doctor wanting you to lower your blood pressure even further. Spirulina may be able to help you do just that.
Use spirulina to control your blood sugar.
Controlling your blood sugar is very important to your health. Too high or too low can lead to serious health problems and leave you feeling less-than-optimal all day long.
Studies have shown that spirulina can significantly lower blood sugar levels.
In another study of 25 patients with Type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina led to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels (10).
HbA1c, a marker for long-term blood sugar levels, decreased from 9% to 8%, which is substantial. Studies estimate that a 1% reduction in this marker can lower the risk of diabetes-related death by 21% (11).
Here are a few more reasons why spirulina is considered a nutritional powerhouse …
It’s one of best known sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, an important fatty acid for heart and joints).
It contains other essential fatty acids, including sulfolipids, which may be protective against HIV infection of T-helper cells.
It has metallothionein compounds (proteins combined with metals that bind heavy radioactive isotopes).
Incredible protein content — it’s 50% to 70% protein by weight. (That’s even better than red meat, which is about 27% protein).
It also contains all of the essential amino acids and 10 of the 12 non-essential amino acids, along with a potent array of other beneficial nutrients.
Spirulina has about the same calcium, phosphorus and magnesium content as milk, a vitamin E (tocopherol) level comparable to wheat germ, and four times as much vitamin B12 as raw liver!
Spirulina has also been shown to benefit a wide range of conditions from arsenic poisoning to allergies. According to one study, patients treated with spirulina reported relief of symptoms commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, such as nasal discharge and congestion, sneezing and itching.
But like any natural remedy, discovering the best source of your spirulina is vital.(*)
There are many types of spirulina out there, so it is important to make sure you’re getting the best and purest form.
Since spirulina grown in an uncontrolled environment has the potential to become contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins, it’s important to choose organic spirulina from a reputable source.
Joseph Mercola, a natural-health expert, writes that "Spirulina comes in capsules, tablets, powders and flakes. The recommended daily dose is typically between three to five grams. You can spread the dose out to twice or three times a day if you like. It is safe to take higher doses, but this is a good place to start. Remember to increase your intake of spring or filtered water when taking spirulina to help it absorb into your system."
Our favorite source of spirulina comes from the company HealthForce.
HealthForce’s spirulina is grown in the U.S. without the use of pesticides. It’s processed at low temperatures to retain enzymes and other heat-sensitive elements.
Their spirulina is also 100% TruGanic™. TruGanic™ is a sourcing and production standard that goes beyond organic. In addition to no pesticides being used anywhere in the growing process, TruGanic™ includes authentic standards for production, non-toxic cleaning agents and pest control, electromagnetic radiation, processing agents additives, air quality, and actual verification of purity.
Now, I want to be clear that I’m not receiving any sort of compensation to mention this product. My research led me there, and I encourage you to do your own due diligence about spirulina, the possible pros and cons to adding it to your diet, and the many forms and brands that are available to you.
Happy and Healthy Investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily
P.S. I’d like to hear back from you if you already are taking spirulina yourself or if you decide to take some in the future. Your feedback helps us to deliver timely information about the conditions, remedies and other health challenges that you’re most interested in learning about.