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Spirulina Health Benefits And Nutrition

Updated on April 5, 2015
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Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger, and content creator.

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What is Spirulina?

According the to the University of Maryland, spirulina is an algae that is blue-green in color. It is said that this algae is very rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and protein. It also contains antioxidants that help to protect our cells from damage; and it grows in warm climates in alkaline waters.

It is advised that you do not obtain your spirulina from just any source as algae can be very toxic and contain microcystins. They can absorb metals found in the water in which they grow and this can lead to serious side effects.


Here is what was discovered about this algea

Several studies were done on this blue-green stuff and the results were great! More studies are still being done to determine if these are effective on people. Some of the studies that were conducted were done in test tubes so no conclusive human tests were done as yet. However the results are quite promising.

  • Immune System Booster: Test done in the lab and on some animals showed that there was an increased production of antibodies and proteins that fight off infections. A study conducted on chlorella (another algea) did not have the same effect.
  • Anti-Histamine: The tests that were done on animals and in tubes showed that spirulina inhibits the release of histamines. Studies are still being conducted to ensure that they will be effective on humans.
  • Boost Production of good bacteria: Antibiotics not only destroy bad bacteria but also the good ones. One study showed that spirulina increases the production of probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria.
  • Protein Rich: Spirulina contains 62% amino acids.
  • May be able to treat Herpes, HIV and the Flu: Studies are still being done to prove whether or not this will be effective on humans.
  • May protect against liver damage and diseases: More research is being conducted to discover the extent of the treatment of these viruses.
  • Mouth cancer relief: A conclusive placebo study was done in people who chew tobacco. This study showed that the lesions caused from chewing tobacco had been affected by taking spirulina as opposed to the group who did not.


Nutrition Facts on Spirulina - Serving size 1 cup dried

Nutrient
Quantity
Daily Value
Vitamin A
638 IU
13%
Vitamin B6
0.4mg
20%
Vitamin C
11mg
19%
Vitamin E
6mg
28%
Vitamin K
29mcg
36%
Thiamin
3mg
178%
Riboflavin
4mg
242%
Niacin
14.4mg
72%
Folate
105mcg
26%
Pantothenic Acid
4mg
39%
Protein
64.4g
129%
Calories
325
16%
Carbohydrates
27g
9%
Dietary Fiber
4g
16%
Total Fat
8.6g
13%
Calcium
134mg
13%
Iron
32mg
177%
Magnesium
218mg
55%
Phosphorus
132mg
13%
Potassium
1527mg
44%
Sodium
1174mg
49%
Zinc
2.2mg
15%
Copper
6.8mg
342%
Manganese
2.1mg
106%
Selenium
8.1mcg
12%
 
 
 

Spirulina Side effects and Precautions

Even though spirulina is a natural product it may cause some side effects if taken in excess or for the first time.

Caution: Do not take spirulina if you have.....

  • a fever
  • hyperparathyroidism
  • phenylketonuria, a metabolic condition
  • multiple sclerosis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • lupus
  • or are allergic to seaweed


Spirulina may cause:

  • Itching or rash
  • Slight dizziness. If symptoms persist stop taking the product
  • Slight fever due to the body's need to burn the extra protein in the product.
  • Excessive thirst
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ache


How is spirulina taken

Spirulina is taken as a dietary supplement and comes in the form or tablets, powder or flakes. Please read the packaging carefully before purchasing the products and make sure you are aware of any contraindications before taking it.

According to the University of Maryland it is not recommended to give spirulina to children or persons under 18 without consulting your physician.

The recommended dose for adults would be 4 -6 tablets per day, however, you should consult your health care provider before starting any supplement regimen.

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    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Teaches, I haven't stopped by your hubs in a while but I promise I will soon. Just dealing with some stuff. Haven't been able to read much these days.

      I only just found out about spirulina myself, it seems that even though it's good it can have some serious effects as well.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Good information to know on spirulina . I have heard of it before and how well it benefits the body, but also knew of the precautions that come with it. Well done and researched. Voted up.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Hey Alexander. This algae seems to be a super supplement and I am glad I discovered it too. I am thinking of trying it myself. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great weekend.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Oh yes, this is good stuff. I drink Odwalla Superfood which contains 1000 mg of spirulina. My brother takes it in powder form. There is a noticeable change in how I feel (better), and especially my mental alertness improves when I take it, I can actually think a lot better. Same for my brother. Who would have thought some algae could do that? In any case, I didn't set out to obtain spirulina, I just stumbled on it - discovering the effects as I drank the Odwalla and later doing research to find out why. This stuff works!

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi James, good to see you. I haven't been around much either. I have been having some health issues and now a family crisis, but I am hanging in there. How have you been?

      I also found out about chlorella in the process. I don't know much about it but from what I gather spirulina is very good for a lot of stuff.

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 

      6 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Hey, Carolee, sorry I haven't been around much, barely communicating with anybody, unfortunately. I have been taking Chlorella because of a thyroid condition. There's two thyroid conditions and I never remember which I have. As you, I stumbled across it. As you said, this is also an algae, and is grown in the "pristine" waters of the Ishigaki-shi Islands of southern Japan. When I saw spirulina in your title I thought it might be what I am taking, which needs no prescription. But, yes, they are different.

      Good to see you, kid!

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      I haven't discovered where it is harvested as yet, Mjboomer, but I know I have some more research to do. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Hey Susan, I only just found out about it myself. When I discovered it I was very fascinated and thought I would share the info. Thanks for stopping by.

    • mjboomer profile image

      Mike Elzner 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      Blue-green algie is said to be very good for you. At one time it was harvested from Klamath Lake in Oregon where it is found in abundance.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'd never heard of this before either. Very interesting.

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