Spirulina- Health Benefits And Side Effects

Spirulina is cyanobacterial biomass that both humans and animals can consume. Arthrospira platensis A, A fusiformis and A maxima are the three species of spirulina and it is cultivated across the world. Arthrospira is a nutritional supplement or whole food grown worldwide. Spirulina is a blue-green type of algae that people may take to complement their diets. Spirulina is considered beneficial because of its excellent food quality and health benefits. 

It has a high content of protein and vitamin, making it an ideal dietary addition for people on vegetarian or vegan diets. Research says that spirulina has antioxidant, inflammatory, and immune system regulation capabilities.

Health benefits of spirulina

Spirulina is said to possess several health-related benefits as it helps to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, viral infections, fatigue, triglycerides, keeps the immune system healthy, triggers weight loss, gives us energy, etc. the following are the benefits of spirulina in brief:

  • High Cholesterol

According to a report released in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, Spirulina provides such guarantees for lipid disorders such as high cholesterol or high triglycerides. In this study, the spirulina or placebo is taken in healthy, old adults. Spirulina resulted in substantially decreased cholesterol after four months of consumption.

  • Allergies

According to a review published in 2009, spirulina delivers such promises in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies). In fact, a previously published study stated that according to a research, it was found that people with allergic rhinitis found that using spirulina on a regular basis gave them some relief with nasal discharge, congestion, itching and sneezing.

  • Diabetes

In 2008,  according to research involving 37 patients with type 2 diabetes found that the levels of blood fat decreased significantly for those who had 12 weeks of spirulina supplementation. Spirulina also included decreased inflammation and a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol for certain people.

  • Oral Cancer

According to a small study conducted on 44  people who consumed tobacco on a regular basis were asked to include spirulina or placebo in their diet for twelve months. By the end of the report, 20 of 44 students who ingested spirulina had cleaned up the injuries (compared to three of the 43 participants who had been assigned to the placebo group).

  • Losing weight

The use of spirulina can increase the metabolism of an individual. A higher rate of metabolism can make a person feel more energetic. The number of calories they burn per day will also increase, which can help to weight loss. Spirulina is considered the best nutrient supplement for people who are on their weight loss journey, as they have a calorie deficit diet. Spirulina can be consumed in a powder form, in a small amount. It will provide all the necessary nutrients to the body and help you to remain healthy even while consuming less food than usual.

Spirulina

  • Improving gut health

Because of its composition, the cell walls are not strong fibrous walls therefore spirulina can be digested easily. More study is needed on human beings, however, according to the study conducted on animals, it suggested than spirulina can prove to be beneficial for humans as they age. Spirulina has no high fibre content, so other safe high-fibre foods must be taken into account in the diet.

  • Assist in controlling blood pressure

Spirulina may lower cholesterol, as discussed above, and there is evidence that it may also help to regulate blood pressure. According to a study in 2016, people who had overweight and hypertension were consistently eating spirulina for three months have shown positive results.

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease

Both high blood pressure and cholesterol are associated with heart disease. Since spirulina can reduce these two risk factors, can it possibly prevent heart disease as well?  An analysis conducted in 2013 shows that these blue-green algae may lead to heart disease prevention. This may be due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cholesterol reduction impact.

  • Reducing allergy symptoms

If a person has pollen, dust or animal allergy, the nose inside of the individual can swell. The reaction is known as rhinitis allergic. Some evidence suggests that the effects of this disorder can be relieved by spirulina. A study in 2013 found that spirulina can alleviate inflammation of the nose and reduce histamine in the body. In comparison with a placebo, allergic rhinitis symptoms may decrease, including:

  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • itching
  • sneezing
  • Antitoxic action

People are exposed to a number of risks due to toxicity and pollution from polluted drinking water and other pollutant sources in many areas of the world. Early studies indicate spirulina can provide a way to treat affected people. A study in later 2016 showed that spirulina had antitoxic effects, including that of the body:

  • arsenic
  • fluoride
  • iron
  • lead
  • mercury
  •  Supporting mental health

The role of spirulina in the treatment of mood disorders is illustrated in a 2018 article. Spirulina is a source of tryptophan, it is believed. Tryptophan is a serotonin-funding amino acid. The role of serotonin in mental health is important. Persons with such disorders of mental health such as depression and anxiety can have lower serotonin levels. Tryptophan supplements can play an important part in promoting mental well-being, to maintain healthy serotonin levels. Researchers must carry out further clinical trials before they know the true role of spirulina in mental health promotion.

Spirulina side effects

courtesy: healthline

While spirulina has little negative effects, it can in some cases lead to headaches, allergic reactions, muscle pain, sweating and insomnia. Spirulina should be avoided by people who are allergic to seafood, seaweed and other seafood. 

Spirulina may not be suitable for you if you have a thyroid disorder, autoimmune disorder, gout, kidney stones, or phenylketonuria, or if you are pregnant or nursing. Before taking your medicine you should check with your doctor. Spirulina produced in the wild may absorb water toxins such as microcystins which are known to cause serious liver damage. Spirulina have the following side effects:

  • May be contaminated with toxins
  • May worsen autoimmune conditions
  • May slow blood clotting
  • Other downsides

 Like all supplements, before using spirulina you need a consultation with your medical provider to determine if it’s suitable for you and if it can be eaten with other medicinal products and/or supplements.

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