15 Health Benefits Of
Backed By Science
Biohacking Your Nutrition
A Complete Guide To The Nutrients & Health Benefits
If there's one thing you probably know too well, it's that "miracle foods" can be overhyped and can come with a lot of spurious claims and spirulina is one of those foods that usually makes most superfood lists.
But what exactly is the truth about spirulina? As a biohacker, nutrition is a foundational element of my lifestyle and if spirulina is as powerful as they say it is, then how could I possibly leave a single stone unturned in the search for answers.
Research was needed
I went searching and researching all the positive benefits of spirulina that actually stand up to scrutiny and what I found were these 15 health benefits that make spirulina a pretty decent addition to a healthy diet.
To learn more about this pretty amazing nutritional food, please read on.
What Is Spirulina?
What Exactly Is Spirulina?
A Closer Look
What is spirulina and where does it come from?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that grows prodigiously in fresh water.
The nutritious algae can be harvested for consumption from non-contaminated water bodies or ponds but are most likely grown in farming set-ups involving cultivation for consistency.
Spirulina grows naturally in large bodies of water in subtropical and tropical climates. However, most of the spirulina consumed in the US is grown in laboratories.
In your food
Spirulina is also commonly used as an ingredient in energy bars, superfood beverages, and natural supplements.
You can find it available in dry powder form, including flakes, milled powders, or as a supplement in capsules and tablets.
It's popular, powerful, and pretty economical.
This helps eliminate the risk of contamination, which is actually pretty common with wild spirulina.
So what exactly is spirulina?
It's really a nutrient-dense edible freshwater algae that is mostly dried and used in powdered form.
What Is In Spirulina That Makes It A Health Food?
Nutrition in spirulina
Spirulina contains protein, fiber, and many nutrients that make it a nutritionally dense and valuable asset to almost any diet. It's one of the most complete protein sources, especially for a plant-based nutritional supplement as opposed to many other vegetarian protein sources that have an incomplete amino acid profile.
Compared to many other superfoods, spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods by weight, on the planet.
In the following segment, you will see highlighted the many benefits of spirulina and the nutritional power that has made it an increasingly popular health food.
So, is it really that healthy?
The following list of spirulina's health benefits would make it seems so.
1. Lowering Blood Pressure
Dread high blood pressure
One of the most significant contributors to lowered mortality rates is having a high (BP) blood pressure. As your blood pressure rises, the length of a given lifespan follows an inverse correlation. (1)
Knowing this, it makes sense to have your blood pressure monitored with reasonable frequency and to take lifestyle and dietary precautions in order to control your BP.
Spirulina contains a special pigment called phycocyanin which possesses anti-hypertensive properties that lower blood pressure.
The pigment may help to reverse some of the effects of endothelial dysfunction which is part of the metabolic syndrome. (2)
Metabolic syndrome may be one of the contributing causes of many incidents of stroke, heart disease, and even diabetes.
2. Removing Heavy Metals
Buffering The Bad Stuff
Countering environmental dangers
Depending on your occupation and geography, you may be exposed to many potentially toxic heavy metals in your lifetime.
The accumulation of metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic can all lead to measurable decreases in health and may create life-threatening dangers when experiencing exposure to undesirable amounts. (3)
Binding toxic metals
This freshwater plant may be able to bind with heavy metals and help to eliminate them from the body.
The binding enhances the removal of dangerous heavy metals from the body. (4)
Daily consumption of spirulina (5 grams) combined with zinc supplements can actually decrease toxicity due to the arsenic metal by a half.
Spirulina can also bind with other radioactive isotopes so it can be useful in controlling radioactivity. The algae also have a high chlorophyll content which boosts the immune system by removing toxins from the blood.
3. Accelerated Weight Loss
Biohacking Your Body Weight
It may accelerate weight loss in some individuals
There are several mechanisms offered by spirulina that may help to lower the amount of fat stored in the body.
This in turn helps to decrease body weight.
Spirulina has a high protein content which can contribute to key dietary requirements for amino acids that help preserve muscle mass and metabolic power.
A good example of one of the ways in which spirulina may assist in weight loss is by contributing to the burning of fats since protein requires more energy for its metabolism.
Spirulina can also curb hunger due to its high protein and fiber content. This benefits overweight people by preventing them from having cravings which may, in turn, prevent them from eating more food.
Spirulina also contains chromium which can help to regulate all-important insulin levels which can play a huge role in weight loss and maintenance. (5)
4. Fighting Anemia
Fighting against anemia
Spirulina is an effective natural supplement that may have the ability to help fight anemia.
Anemia is caused by either the destruction of red blood cells or a fundamentally compromised production of said red blood cells. Over 12% of women aged 12 to 49 suffer from anemia which can cause breathing difficulties, lethargy, and possibly even headaches. (6)
Boosting hemoglobin production
Adding spirulina to your diet on daily basis is known to help increase the hemoglobin content of red blood cells.
It is very good for people who are suffering from anemia as well as the elderly.
In a study on spirulina's effects on immune function and anemia, it was shown that subjects who had consumed spirulina had attenuated anemia and increased corpuscular hemoglobin concentrations. (7)
5. Beating Insomnia
Somnolence at last
A lack of sleep can be extremely detrimental to your health not to mention create a whole host of problems if it becomes chronic in nature.
People who have difficulty sleeping may benefit a lot from including spirulina in their daily diet.
Spriluna is known to be a rich source of a certain amino acid tryptophan that helps promote the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps promote better sleep.
The TSM cycle
Tryptophan can assist in the serotonin to melatonin production cycle that helps increase the potential for sleep.
In the comprehensive guide to biohacking your sleep, the tryptophan/serotonin/melatonin cycle was shown to be very powerful when it comes to facilitating sleep.
Spirulina contains significant amounts of tryptophan in addition to its many other healthful nutrients. (8)
Biohacking Your Energy Levels
The impressive and well-researched chemical composition of spirulina enables it to potentially avail a lot of energy to its consumers.
Nutritional compounds are vital for optimal energy production and metabolic efficiency. Without the necessary nutrition require to make many energy-inducing chemical processes occur, we simply can't function at our best and at worst can develop lethargy, tiredness, and much more serious maladies. (9)
The multivarious nutrients in spirulina may help boost energy production and aid in increasing overall vitality.
Not only contains iron, but also antioxidants and protein, it may have a beneficial effect, especially for those who find themselves iron deficient.
As evidenced in number 4 - Anemia, the iron and positive hemoglobin producing effects of spirulina may help to counter the energy loss suffered by those who may be lower in iron than the dietary recommendation.
Biohack your age
Spirulina has some really powerful antioxidants and anti-aging substances. Our ability to maintain cellular health and retain a youthful appearance may be heavily contingent on our body's ability to fight the devastating effects of free radical damage on our cells. (10)
A particular antioxidant found in spirulina may be of great assistance to anyone looking to fight the ravages of Father time and for those interested in biohacking their age.
The phycobiliprotein phycocyanin contained in spirulina is also a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. Its antioxidant properties may protect the body's cells from the type of above-mentioned free radical damage that can cause premature aging and skin cell deterioration. (11)
Oxidative damage can cause aging including wrinkly skin as well as contribute to the degradation of neural tissue, for this reason, brain foods such as spirulina are excellent for those who want to operate at peak physical and mental capacity.
8. Eye Health
Protecting eyes from damage
Research has shown that spirulina contains powerful compounds that may be particularly beneficial for the eyes.
Human eyes are high in a substance called zeaxanthin, a predominant xanthophyll that can play a role in the reduction of macular degeneration and cataracts. Spirulina is high in this beneficial compound which has the potential to prevent and treat several eye-related medical issues. (12)
It has been shown to be effective in treating eye diseases such as geriatric cataracts, diabetic retinal damage (retinitis), nephritic retinal damage, and hardening of retinal blood vessels (angiosclerosis).
This very specific xanthophyll found in spirulina could have massive implications in future naturopathic approaches to eye health, especially in the elderly.
9. Hair Health
Spirulina is known to have the ability to help fight dandruff because of its high concentration of quality B Vitamins. By consuming spirulina on a constant basis, the B Vitamins in association with the Vitamins K, D, C, E, and A may help to nourish the scalp and assist in the treatment and prevention of dandruff.
Not all hair loss is programmed by genetics. Many cases of hair loss are related to a compromised autoimmune function. The high nutritional density of foods such as spirulina can help to strengthen immunity and possibly play a role in the prevention of immunity-related hair loss.
Many natural formula shampoos and conditioners have taken to adding quantities of spirulina to their product because of the hair growth stimulating properties in the high nutritionally dense algae source. (13)
Spirulina may provide a cascade of vitamins and minerals that assist in hair growth and regrowth.
10. Gut Health
Adding Beneficial Bacteria To Your Digestive Track
Most of the foods that we consume do not promote the health of our digestive tract because of their overprocessed nature and outright sterility.
In addition, most of us at some point take antibiotics that can strip the stomach of beneficial bacteria, and in addition to this, it is also very popular to consume heavily processed grains.
Spirulina and prebiotic fiber
The negative factors above have been associated with serious gastrointestinal problems that affect a fairly large number of people. Prebiotic fiber is an excellent remedy to some stomach health issues, especially low fiber-related dietary complications. (15)
Adding regular spirulina to your diet which has good levels of healthy prebiotic fiber can help.
Promoting gut health
Prebiotic fiber is known to stimulate the growth as well as production of beneficial bacteria in your gut while controlling candida and other harmful bacteria at the same time. This helps promote the health of your gastric system which has a massive flow-on effect on your overall health. (15)
11. Dental Hygiene
Avoiding the artificial
Much criticism is leveled at toothpaste manufacturers for their fillers in products that go directly in the mouths of consumers (especially children) and the unhealthy nature of said fillers.
Dental hygiene is a billion-dollar industry but with so many shonky products on the market and a cultural proclivity towards the acquisition of white teeth often in place of healthier teeth, there are many dental-related issues arising from these cheap and nasty products.
Natural dental health
The natural movement is enormous and growing by the day. One of the most significant areas of dental health is not just dental care like toothpaste and flossing, but actual dental-enhancing nutrition.
Phosphorus is an incredibly important mineral for the strengthening and health of teeth and bones but one of the issues of the modern diet is that many foods containing phosphorus such as grains and seeds are in the phytic acid form which we can not break down, so it goes undigested and therefore unused. (16)
Spirulina has good levels of phosphorus which when consumed as part of a balanced diet and can not only help to strengthen teeth but also bones and cellular membranes.
Consuming regular spirulina may help play a significant role in strengthening teeth for those folks looking for in a natural approach to dental hygiene.
It's also a great all-round food to add to any diet that is lower in calcium
12. Brain Food
Assist Intelligence & Memory
As we age, certain lifestyle factors may impair memory and cognition but no matter what age we are, a poor diet devoid of adequate nutrition can seriously affect our brain chemistry and have a concomitant effect on all things cerebral in nature.
Spirulina contains a couple of nutrients that play a supportive role in cognitive function and mental acuity.
Spirulina is one of the only plant-based sources of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) & EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) omega-3 fatty acids. These beneficial dietary fats can help improve memory, cognition, and even mood.
Spirulina is a beneficial source of folate which is known to be involved in the regulation of several chemical reactions in the brain.
According to a 2002 study, folate can perform several necessary interactions in the brain's modulation which may affect mood, cognitive function, and many chemical neurological interchanges. (17)
Vitamin B 12 is essential to optimal cerebral function. In a study of B 12 on the hippocampal structure of subjects with levels of impaired cognition, B12 was found to correlate strongly with memory performance. (18)
The exceptional brain food spirulina has high-quality, bioavailable forms of both folate and B 12 making it an excellent tool for those wishing to biohacking their memory and intellectual capacity.
13. Allergy Control
Spirulina may help those with allergies
Some of the most frequent symptoms found with many allergies are the type of breathing problems which can be caused by nasal congestion.
According to some studies, the congestion which is caused by inflammation may be reduced by spirulina due to the anti-inflammatory properties of phycocyanin. (19)
Inflammatory responses affect many people with some needing constant medication which can decline in effectiveness or possibly come with a host of side effects.
Some people looking for both natural and effective allergy relief turn to spirulina due to its moderate anti-inflammatory properties which when consumed in addition to other natural anti-inflammatories like turmeric's curcumin, may be enough to provide adequate relief.
For allergy sufferers
For those people with dog allergies, food allergies, and the many people living with inflammation-related conditions, this could be of interest. However, more scientific research is needed to show definitive proof that spirulina specifically can solely alleviate symptoms of such allergies, but when consumed in tandem with other natural compounds might be part of a successful combination.
14. Protein Power
Plant-based alternative protein
One of the issues with many vegetable proteins is they are incomplete in that they may lack certain essential amino acids.
Spirulina is a very high plant-based protein. The protein it contains is high quality and is often compared to that found in eggs, which are a popular vegetarian protein alternative but can't be consumed by vegans.
The protein is also highly usable and boasts a remarkable utilization rate of 50-60 percent (high for plant-based proteins). Low bioavailability protein sources require a lot more in order to obtain the same net amino/imino utilization.
Complete protein source
Spirulina is also a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids. For vegans and vegetarians, spirulina can be a very important source of protein.
Because of its relatively neutral taste, it can be included in virtually any meal. You can always include spirulina in your diet plan as a rich source of protein by sprinkling it in powder form over your meal. In addition, you can take it in form of tablets.
15. Nutritional Support
As mentioned previously, spirulina offers some really powerfully supplemental nutritious support to our daily diets.
Spirulina is considered by many to be the most nutrient-concentrated food in the world.
It is a remarkable source of the following nutrients:
Spirulina may be the best plant-based source of iron making it an ideal option for vegetarian use.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
This vitamin is also called thiamine and is used in digesting proteins and fats. It is also used to improve brain and nerve functioning and it can be adequately provided by spirulina.
Thiamine may be of significant benefit in fighting stress because of its role in ATP production which may affect energy regulation's role in brain chemistry.
The blue-green algae contain more than 26 times the content (by weight) of calcium in milk.
For vegans, people with lactose intolerance, or other dairy allergies, calcium may be a genuine issue, and finding good sources of calcium is important to their diet.
The super=powered antioxidant zeaxanthin is not only good for eye health but has many potential benefits.
Spirulina also contains smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals such as chromium, potassium, vitamin c, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and manganese.
Getting The Best Spirulina
Optimizing The Benefits
Purchase and storage
Like many sources of nutrition, spirulina benefits greatly from being sealed in a light-free, tightly sealed container. The good news is that most purveyors of spirulina products have excellent packaging so that the nutrients of the product are protected.
As with most food products, the darker and more resistant to light the packaging is, the better the product quality will likely be by the time it reaches the consumer.
The FDA has a recommendation of 3 months for most products so, it's hard to consider such a blanket generalization as being very useful or science-based.
Well-sealed spirulina kept in a cool dry place could last significantly longer than the recommended 3 months.
It's becoming a popular food among "preppers" who store food in cases of emergencies. Because of its inherently nutritious properties, it may be an exceedingly good choice to store.
Outside of specialty stores, you'll rarely find fresh spirulina, but if you can it's a great choice being that fresh is invariably the best.
The good news is that most of the nutrients have decent longevity, so, if you buy the powdered or capsule form, you're not missing out on too much,
15 Health Benefits Of Spirulina
The final verdict
There we have it. 15 wonderfully beneficial uses for something as simple as spirulina.
Hopefully, you've taken a look at these 15 health benefits of spirulina and decided to add a little extra to your diet.
Things to remember
Spirulina is a great nutritional supplement to your diet and can add a little or a lot of protein depending on your needs. Regular consumption may help protect your eyes, reduce blood pressure, fight anemia, and even boost your IQ and memory.
The last word
If you're looking to enhance your diet with spirulina for its apparent healthful properties or just to improve nutritional dietary goals, then you can buy spirulina supplements that can simply be consumed at your convenience.
The information contained in this article is offered for informational purposes only. This information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or treating ailments and should you wish to seek such advice, please contact an appropriate medical professional.
15 Health Benefits Of Spirulina
Backed By Science
By AJ James
Biohacker & Founder
Recommended For You:
What Are Your Thoughts?
Subscribe To My Newsletter
Get new, fresh biohacks delivered straight to your email
Don't miss out on a single life-changing biohack ever again...