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Spirulina – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

Spirulina is a cynobacteria also known as blue-green algae.

It is widely known in the world for its health benefits and came in the lime light when it was first used by NASA as a dietary supplements for the astronauts.

It is an autotroph. It is often referred as “the miracle of the sea” due to abundance of nutrition in this tiny fella.

Many researches have been performed on the safety of spirulina and now it is listed in US Food and Drug Admininstration under GRAS (Gradually Recognized as Safe).

It is an excellent anti-oxidant  and anti-inflammatory supplement which supports the physical and mental health.


It is found in the oceans and salty lakes in subtropical climates.

  • Protein
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Copper
  • Iron

Health Benefits Of Spirulina:

  • The very first and important health benefit of spirulina is its nutritional value. It has unbelievably miraculous bunch of nutrients that work as supplements as an alternate in their absence. It is a fantastic dietary supplement for the vegans.
  • It is strongly proved that spirulina shows anti-inflammatory reaction as it inhibits the release of histamine (Infalmmatory chemical) from the mast cells.

  • It is a fruitful remedy against rhinitis (inflammation in nasal pathways) and allergy symptoms like:
    • Runny nose
    • Sneezing
    • Itching
    • Nasal congestion
    • Hypothermia
  • Recently a study was performed which showed that spirulina enhances the IgA production, improving mucosal immunity.
  • It shows Hypolipidemic effects. Since it has the ability to decrease LDL or total cholesterol levels, increase HDL level, it shows beneficial effects on preventing the cardiovascular disease.
  • Also it lowers the risk of Atheroseclorosis.
  • It improves your gut health. It is easy to digest since it has a very simple structure and do not have a tough covering.
Oxidative and Anti-inflammatory Proprties

Spirulina is an amazing source of antioxidants. Its active component is Phyocyanin, which prevents the oxidative damage to our DNA and can also reduce the risk of following diseases:

  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Atheroseclerosis
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Vascular dysfunction
  • Chronic inflammatory disease
  • Other Cardiovascular diseases
Anti-Viral Properties

According to a research, water extract of Spirulina inhibits the replication of various viruses in-vitro including Herpes-Simplex, Measles, Human Cytomegalovirus, Mumps virus, Influenza A and Human Immunodeficiency Virus- 1 (HIV1).

Anti-Cancer Effects

Some evidences suggest that spirulina possess anti-cancer properties too.

It has been suggested that the combined effect of immunomodulation and antioxidant activity can reduce the size of a tumor effectively.

Effects on Oral-Cancer

A study showed that, after consuming spirulina for 1 year the body of patient showed a complete regression of leukoplakia.

This study was performed on 77 patients and 45% of them reported this result.

Effects on Diabetes

Spirulina is said to reduce the high density lipoprotein cholesterol after 8-10 months of treatment with spirulina.

It may reduce blood pressure due to the production of nitric oxide (which helps the blood vessels dialate, hence lowering the blood pressure level).

Effects on Anemia

Spirulina may help in improving the health conditions of the patients with Anemia.

A study was performed in which spirulina was consumed by the volunteers for 12 weeks. At the end of this period, there was an increase in the number of mean corpuscular hemoglobin in the volunteers.

Effects on Chronic Arsenic Poisoning

Spirulina may be useful for the treatment of Arsenic Poisoning. A random study was performed on forty-one patients who were suffering from the Chronic Arsenic Poisoning, were randomly treated by either placebo (17 patients) or spirulina extract (250 mg) plus zinc (2 mg) (24 patients) twice daily for 16 weeks with arsenic-safe drinking water.

And its effectiveness was noticed by the skin manifestations and other means.

So we can say it can help with the Chronic Arsenic Poisoning.

Anti-toxic Actions

Due to the risk of contaminated water and other pollutants, there is a high risk of metal and other toxins poisonings like:

  • Fluoride poisoning
  • Lead poisoning
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Iron poisoning
Symptoms of menopause.

A study showed that taking spirulina by mouth lowers anxiety and depression in women suffering through menopause. However, it doesn’t reduce symptoms such as hot flashes.

Side Effects of Spirulina:

  • Some studies have shown that consuming spirulina by mouth can produce allergic symptoms in some of the consumers.
  • There are chances that it may be contaminated with some bacteria, harmful particles orsome heavy metals. So, it can be concluded to be not completely safe for health.
  • Spirulina supplements can lead to severe autoimmune responses affecting skin and muscles.
  • Spirulina can cause Acute Rhabdomylosis, a potentially life-threatening disorder.
  • Due to the anti-coagulant effect, it may slow down the process of blood cloating and may lead to excessive bleeding and bruising when there is any injury in your body.
Other side effects:
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Shock
  • Liver damage
  • The safety of spirulina consumption is not accurately known in the pregnant women, lactating women and in case of liver diseases. So, it would be safe to not consume spirulina if you are suffering from these diseases.
  • Its consumption in kidney diseases and gout should be avoided. Because after metabolization, it produces Uric acid which can lead to severe gout attacks.

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