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4 Health Benefits of Spirulina, The “Little Spiral’ Supplement

by Victoria Marian Belmis / Apr 18, 2022 02:02 PM EDT

Naturally, Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae growing naturally in alkaline waters. Its cells form the shape of a coiled spring; thus the name Spirulina, which means "little spiral." As vegetable plankton, it has the highest conversion rate of sunlight (8%) as compared to other plants (3%-5%), hence, it is also referred to as "Food from Sunlight". 

Believed to be one of the oldest life forms on Earth, Spirulina is considered a superfood, first used by the Aztecs as an endurance booster. Since then, it's been used as a traditional food ingredient by people of various cultures all over the world, such as in America, Africa, and Asia.

Here are some evidence-based health benefits of Spirulina:

Extremely High in Many Nutrients

Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria that grows in both fresh and saltwater. Just like plants do, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight via photosynthesis.

A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains 4 grams of protein, Vitamin B1 or thiamine (11% of the RDA), Vitamin B2 or riboflavin (15% of the RDA), Vitamin B3 or niacin (4% of the RDA), Copper (21% of the RDA), and Iron (11% of the RDA).

It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium, manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that you need.

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Oxidative damage is known to harm your DNA and cells which can drive chronic inflammation, which contributes to cancer and other diseases.

Spirulina contains an excellent source of antioxidants to protect against oxidative damage. Its main active component is called phycocyanin, an antioxidant substance that also gives it its unique blue-green color.

Phycocyanin works by fighting free radicals and inhibits the production of inflammatory signaling molecules, providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

May Lower "Bad" LDL and Triglyceride Levels

Heart disease remains the world's leading cause of death, its increased risk is linked to multiple risk factors.

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 one study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina per day significantly improved these aspects.

A different study on people with high cholesterol determined that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and "bad" LDL by 10.1% 

Protects "Bad" LDL Cholesterol From Oxidation

The stored fatty structures in your body are also prone to oxidative damage. This development is called lipid peroxidation, a key driver of many serious diseases

The antioxidants in spirulina appear to be particularly effective at reducing lipid peroxidation in both humans and animals

For a particular study of 37 people with type 2 diabetes, it showed that 8 grams of spirulina per day significantly reduced markers of oxidative damage as well as increased levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood.

While it has a bitter taste, many people often mix Spirulina with yogurts, juices, and smoothies to improve its flavor. Spirulina is also commonly available as a supplement at various health food stores. KPTown currently offers a pack of Hawaiian Spirulina at 17% off. It helps increase immunity, reduce weight, and improve malnutrition and is also very helpful for alopecia and stress relief.

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