Your skin is home to a diverse array of bacteria and other microorganisms. Most of the bacteria that make up your skin microbiome are beneficial, though the presence of some may lead to acne and other skin problems.
To help keep the good bacteria thriving and the bad bacteria at bay, it’s widely recommended to care for your skin by eating a nutritious, balanced diet. You might also consider incorporating superfoods such as spirulina, a nutrient-rich alga, into your routine.
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. It's made up of approximately 70% protein and contains most of the essential amino acids that the human body needs. Spirulina is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and E, as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and selenium.
Among the many potential health benefits that have been linked with this superfood, spirulina may support healthy skin by helping to protect it from free radical damage. The micronutrients in spirulina may also help promote a hydrated and nourished appearance, and there is even evidence to suggest that it may be helpful for individuals with acne.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the top reasons to consider making spirulina part of a healthy skin care regimen and how you can easily incorporate this nutritious superfood into your daily routine.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Spirulina for your Skin?
1. Spirulina Is Rich in Nutrients Your Skin Needs
When you look at spirulina powder, it doesn't look like much. It's just a green powder with a slightly grassy taste. But don't let its unassuming appearance fool you—spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
Just one tablespoon (7 grams) of spirulina powder provides:
- 4 Grams of Protein: Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a role in supporting muscle strength, repairing tissue, and making enzymes and hormones.
- 11% of the RDA of Vitamin B1: Also known as thiamin, vitamin B1 is important for energy production and nerve function.
- 15% of the RDA of Vitamin B2: Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is important for growth, red blood cell production, and energy metabolism.
- 4% of the RDA of Vitamin B3: Also known as niacin, vitamin B3 is involved in DNA repair, energy metabolism, and nervous system function.
- 21% of the RDA of Copper: Copper is an important mineral for bone and connective tissue health, as well as energy production.
- 11% of the RDA of Iron: Iron is a mineral that's essential for red blood cell production and oxygen transport.
These are just a few of the many nutrients found in spirulina. It's also a good source of magnesium, potassium, and manganese and contains small amounts of many other nutrients your body needs to thrive. So this superfood really is super nutritious!
What does this mean for your skin? To remain healthy, your skin requires many of the vitamins and minerals that spirulina provides. For example, vitamin B2 is involved in the production of collagen and elastin. Copper is essential for creating melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. By consuming spirulina, you're helping to provide your skin with some of the key building blocks it needs to stay healthy and look great.
2. Spirulina Has Antioxidant Properties
Spirulina is rich in antioxidants, including phytonutrients that may help protect your cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. Some of the most important antioxidants in spirulina include beta-carotene, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and phycocyanin, which may help reduce inflammation and protect your cells from damage.
Research suggests that these antioxidants are good for more than just your skin. They may help support antibody production and immune function, along with aiding your body’s natural ability to fight inflammation.
The antioxidants in spirulina are thought to help protect your skin from environmental damage. Although they certainly shouldn’t replace sunscreen, spirulina supplements may help with skin moisture and elasticity while also playing a role in aiding skin aging.
3. Spirulina May Contribute to Your Skin's Healthy Appearance
In addition to antioxidants, spirulina contains certain compounds such as proteins (especially phycocyanin), fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, potassium carotenoids, and chlorophyll that may help improve the overall appearance of skin for some people, especially when applied topically. Research suggests that the compounds in spirulina could help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, blemishes, and sun damage.
For example, spirulina is a rich source of iron, which is essential for making red blood cells that are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Supplementing your diet with spirulina may help supply your body with more oxygen, which could help to improve mental performance and give your skin a healthier and more radiant look.
4. Spirulina May Reduce Skin Inflammation
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it's the first line of defense against toxins and other irritants. Spirulina is considered an excellent natural source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, which may help protect your skin from damage. It also contains high levels of essential fatty acids, which can help keep your skin feeling healthy and hydrated.
These properties make spirulina helpful in supporting the body as it fights various skin conditions. Some studies have found that it may even limit the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and age spots, in some people.
Finally, spirulina may provide a layer of defense against sun damage since it contains high levels of beta-carotene, which works to protect your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.
Possible Side Effects of Spirulina
Spirulina is generally considered safe, and side effects are rare. However, some people may experience mild side effects such as nausea, headache, muscle pain, and allergic reactions.
It’s recommended that people with seafood allergies should consider avoiding spirulina as it may cause an allergic reaction. People with a metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria should consider avoiding spirulina as it could worsen symptoms.
It's recommended that you consult your doctor before adding spirulina to your diet.
How to Use Spirulina
Spirulina has been used for centuries as a food source. This blue-green algae is high in protein and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Spirulina can be consumed in various forms, including powder, capsule, and tablet.
Here are some dietitian-recommended tips about using spirulina:
- Begin by purchasing a high-quality spirulina product that is free from heavy metals and other contaminants. Ideally, look for organic and non-GMO products.
- If using powder, follow the instructions on the package and mix one serving into 8 ounces of water or juice. You can also put the powder into smoothies, yogurt, and other food items.
- If using capsules or tablets, take one to three per day, depending on the serving size and your health goals.
- Spirulina can be safely taken at any time of the day, though many people choose to incorporate it into their morning routine. To reap the most benefits from spirulina, it's recommended that you take it daily. Additionally, if you are pregnant, nursing, or have any medical conditions, it is important to consult with your doctor before taking spirulina.
Why We Recommended Super Greens
Made with organic vegetables, Live it Up Super Greens contains high-quality spirulina powder and other potent superfoods that are widely considered beneficial for skin health, such as ginger, kale, alfalfa, and wheatgrass. Thanks to the fantastic vitamins, minerals, and probiotics in this greens powder, Live it Up Super Greens is an excellent supplement for people looking to support their overall well-being and intake specific nutrients that may benefit their skin health.
The Bottom Line: Why Spirulina Could Be a Great Choice for Your Skin
In addition to being an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, the blue-green algae spirulina is associated with antioxidant properties. Among other purported benefits, the antioxidants in spirulina may help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.
Furthermore, spirulina could help reduce inflammation, thus contributing to fewer incidents of red and irritated skin for some people. Finally, spirulina may help with hydrating and moisturizing the skin, which can help to keep it looking healthy and youthful.
If you're looking for a natural, nutrient-rich way to support your skin’s health, spirulina may be the ideal superfood for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Spirulina
Adding an unfamiliar supplement to your diet can feel like a big change. Here are some answers to common questions about incorporating spirulina into your routine.
What does spirulina do?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is highly nutritious and has a range of potential health benefits. It is a source of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It may help to support the immune system, digestive health, energy maintenance, and inflammation in some people.
What is spirulina used for?
People use spirulina in the hopes of achieving a wide range of potential health benefits, including supporting the immune system, contributing to normal digestive function, and reducing inflammation. Additionally, spirulina is often used as a dietary supplement to support the maintenance of healthy energy levels and provide essential vitamins and minerals. It can also be used as a natural food coloring in certain recipes.
Is spirulina good for you?
Spirulina is generally considered to be very good for you. It is a source of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. However, every person is different, and some side effects can occur.
How much spirulina should you take per day?
The recommended dosage for spirulina varies depending on individual needs and health goals. Generally speaking, it is recommended to take 1-3 grams of spirulina per day. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement and to ascertain the best dosage for you.