Spirulina: Nutrition Information, Potential Health Benefits of Spirulina & Potential Risks of Spirulina

An Internet search returns hundreds of suppliers from around the world promoting spirulina’s supposed health benefits. Spirulina is known as a nutrient-dense food as it is packed full of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins, as well as a whole host of minerals.

Spirulina Nutrition Information

One tablespoon of spirulina contains:

  • Calories: 20
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Spirulina is a good source of:

  • Thiamine ( v itamin B1)
  • Riboflavin ( v itamin B2)
  • Niacin ( v itamin B3)
  • Copper
  • Iron

Spirulina also contains magnesium. This mineral supports normal daily functions like muscle use and your heartbeat. It’s also responsible for producing protein and creating energy — but most people don’t get enough in their diet.

Spirulina Potential Health Benefits of Spirulina

Spirulina Health Benefits: Superfood Nutrition at Its Best - VeggieShake

Spirulina is a potent source of nutrients. It contains a powerful plant-based protein called phycocyanin. Research shows this may have antioxidant, pain-relief, anti-inflammatory, and brain-protective properties.

This antioxidant and other nutrients in spirulina are linked with several health benefits:

Spirulina Anti-Cancer Properties

Many antioxidants in spirulina have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Chronic inflammation contributes to cancer and other diseases.

Phycocyanin — the a plant pigment that gives spirulina its blue-green color — has been found to not only reduce inflammation in the body, but also block tumor growth and kill cancer cells. The immune-enhancing protein is being studied for its potential in cancer treatment.

Heart Health

Research has found that the protein in spirulina can reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol, lowering cholesterol levels. This helps keep your arteries clear, reducing strain on your heart that can lead to heart disease and stroke-causing blo od clots.

Its protein also reduces triglyceride levels. These are fats in your blood that can contribute to the hardening of arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis.

Spirulina increases nitric oxide production in your body as well, which helps your blood vessels relax. Studies show that this can reduce your blood pressure, lowering your heart disease risk.

Allergy Relief

The anti-inflammatory effect caused by spirulina’s antioxidants may help people with allergies caused by pollen, animal hair, and dust. One study found that symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and itching were reduced significantly in participants, suggesting that spirulina may be a good alternative to allergy medications.

Immune System Support

Spirulina is rich in a range of vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, like vitamins E, C, and B6. Research finds that spirulina also boosts the production of white blood cells and antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria in your body.

Laboratory studies show that spirulina can fight herpes, flu, and HIV — though much more research is needed to test these effects in humans.

May Maintain Eye and Oral Health

Spirulina is concentrated with zeaxanthin, a plant pigment that may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related vision loss.

Its antibacterial properties may also help promote good oral health. One study found that spirulina-enhanced mouthwash reduced dental plaque and the risk of gingivitis in participants. Another study showed it lowered the risk of oral cancer in people who chew tobacco.

Potential Risks of Spirulina

 

Because spirulina is high in nutrient activity, you should talk to your doctor before taking it or any other supplement. It may pose health risks for some people, including:

Toxins

Spirulina harvested in the wild may be contaminated with heavy metals and bacteria. In high amounts, some of these toxins may stress or damage your liver.

Pregnancy Concerns

There is not enough research to suggest blue-green algae is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Because of the toxin risk, doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid spirulina.

Bleeding Disorders

Because spirulina can help reduce blood clotting, it may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with certain bleeding conditions.

 

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