Aside from being a beautiful shade of bluish-green, spirulina boasts an exciting number of potential health benefits. Algae is a popular dietary supplement, and it’s one of my favorite superfoods to recommend to my nutrition clients. Spirulina is packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as proteins and antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and aid in immune response.
Spirulina is often consumed in powdered form. It’s easy to mix with water or blend into lattes, smoothies, or protein shakes. Rather than taking spirulina on its own, many people choose to drink a greens powder beverage containing numerous superfoods for optimal nutrition. This way, they get the many health benefits associated with spirulina plus those from many other plant-based nutrient sources like wheatgrass, kale, spinach, dandelion, ginger, and more.
Spirulina is widely considered to be healthy and nutritious, though it’s always best to consult a doctor before trying a new supplement, especially if you are currently taking prescription medication.
In this article, I’ll discuss 11 reasons to consider adding spirulina to your diet, potential side effects, and how to easily incorporate spirulina and other plant-based superfoods into your diet.
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae. This superfood serves as a natural multivitamin as it contains a wide range of key vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6, C, and E. Due to its high protein content, it has the potential to help you meet your daily nutrient needs, along with providing fuel to help get you through your day.
Spirulina is harvested, freeze-dried, and ground into a powder. Depending on your health goals and concerns, you can consume spirulina on its own or as one ingredient in a blend of other superfoods. Because spirulina has a slightly bitter taste, people usually mix it into smoothies, juices, or yogurts to make consumption more palatable, though it can still be a little “grassy.”
My Favorite Potential Spirulina Power Benefits
Spirulina is one of my favorite superfoods because of the incredible range of potential health and nutrition benefits that have been linked to it. It truly is a “super” addition to your daily routine.
1. Spirulina is rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein
Spirulina is high in protein and low in calories. One tablespoon of spirulina contains approximately 20 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of protein.
Spirulina also contains several B vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, selenium, and an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid. Due to its iron content, this plant-based powder supplement is often sought-after by people with iron deficiency or anemia. Likewise, due to spirulina’s high selenium content, some people choose to add this superfood to their diet in an effort to support a positive mood
2. Spirulina may support sinus health
Some people choose to add spirulina to their diet to support healthy sinuses. Due to its purported anti-inflammatory properties, it may even be helpful for individuals with sensitivity to common allergens such as pollen, dust, or pet hair.
One research study even suggested that spirulina could help ease certain sinus symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. Following supplementation, participants noticed a decrease in nasal discharge, congestion, sneezing, and itching.
3. Spirulina may be a good choice for people with anemia
As mentioned above, spirulina is a plant-based source of iron, just like spinach and kale. Consuming 100 grams of spirulina delivers around 28.5 mg of iron, which is more than the recommended daily dose of iron. This is more than triple the amount of iron found in spinach and even more than the amount found in some meats. This means it could be a helpful choice for those with anemia.
Some people find that iron supplements can be quite hard on the digestive tract and may cause constipation. On the other hand, spirulina tends to be less harsh, which makes it attractive for people with sensitive stomachs looking to increase their iron levels.
4. Spirulina could help fuel your workouts and build stamina
The algae's high protein content provides a natural source of energy that could help you fuel your workouts, support muscle strength, and build stamina.
Instead of triple-shot coffees and energy drinks that can leave you feeling nauseous and jittery, vitamin-rich spirulina may help support healthy energy levels. Unlike caffeinated drinks, vitamins such as thiamin and B1 have been linked to helping people feel more energized without the inevitable crash that will leave you falling asleep at your desk.
5. Spirulina may help ease inflammation
Spirulina’s purported anti-inflammatory properties may be the superfood’s biggest claim to fame. Spirulina contains phycocyanin, a plant-based protein thought to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even pain-relieving properties.
By reducing inflammation, a spirulina-rich diet could be beneficial for your overall wellness, potentially helping you stay healthier and perform at your best.
6. Spirulina may contribute to healthier skin
Spirulina could be a natural way to contribute to skin health. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in spirulina are thought to play a key role in reducing swelling and may even help prevent breakouts. Even if you don’t struggle with acne, your skin may still benefit from the algae. Thanks to its high content of antioxidants, spirulina may help protect your skin from damage from free radicals and environmental factors.
7. Spirulina may support a healthy digestive system
Though more research is needed in this area, studies suggest that consuming spirulina may have a positive impact on gut health. A 2017 study found that spirulina may help maintain normal gut function during aging by contributing to a “healthy gastrointestinal microbial community." Many registered dietitian nutritionists endorse spirulina's prebiotic properties for supporting good bacteria in the gut.
8. Spirulina may provide immune system support
Spirulina contains many different vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E, C, and B6, which are widely considered important for maintaining immune resilience. Research has even suggested a connection between a spirulina-rich diet and a healthy white blood cell count, which is crucial for fighting viruses and bacteria in your body.
9. Spirulina may support a healthy metabolism and weight loss goals
Research has suggested that spirulina may help contribute to a healthy metabolism and energy balance, thus supporting individuals with their weight management goals. For example, a 2016 study suggested that regular consumption of spirulina was associated with a healthier body mass index in participants.
10. Spirulina may support a positive mood and mental health
Largely due to its high content of selenium, spirulina has been linked to supporting a positive mood. Spirulina also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. Because of this, spirulina is thought to be a good supplement for individuals looking for ways to support their mental health through nutrition.
11. Spirulina may contribute to eye and oral health
Zeaxanthin is a plant pigment found in spirulina that is packed with a group of phytonutrients called carotenoids. One Harvard University study suggested that carotenoids may be beneficial for both eye health and immune health. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the retina and are associated with a lessened risk of macular degeneration.
Spirulina’s antibacterial properties may also support oral health. One study found that mouthwash infused with spirulina was associated with less dental plaque and a lowered risk of gingivitis in participants.
What Are the Possible Side Effects Of Spirulina?
Like many other superfoods, spirulina can cause potential side effects for certain people. Therefore, it’s always wise to consult with a health professional and follow the recommended usage instructions to avoid negative side effects.
How to Use Spirulina
Spirulina can be consumed in many different ways, but powder and capsules are the most common. You can stir a small spoonful of spirulina powder into a glass of water or juice, or you can incorporate it into a smoothie. You could also sprinkle the powder into soups or salad dressings, or incorporate it as an ingredient in other dishes.
One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to incorporate spirulina into your daily life is with a supergreens powder that features a variety of superfoods to promote overall health and wellness.
How Live it Up Could Help
Super Greens is a powdered supergreens formula that was designed to contribute to digestive wellness, aid proper immune function, and support healthy energy levels. Made in the USA by Live it Up, this product provides a simple and easy way to incorporate superfoods into your diet. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan, meaning that it can be consumed by individuals with all sorts of dietary restrictions and preferences.
Spirulina is just one of the many superfoods included in Super Greens. Made with organic vegetables, this custom blend includes powerful superfoods designed to support health and wellness. Besides spirulina, some of my favorite ingredients in this powder are chlorella and dandelion powder. Additionally, Super Greens contains a blend of probiotics and digestive enzymes to support healthy digestion.
All you need to do to get your daily dose of supergreens is mix one serving into a glass of water, milk, or a smoothie before it’s ready to be consumed. There are no artificial sweeteners in Super Greens, yet it has a refreshing minty flavor thanks to the inclusion of peppermint and monk fruit.
Super Greens and other superfood blends are available for purchase online through the Live it Up website. Customers have the option to subscribe, which guarantees that they get their greens powder every month, as well as giving them a discount on the product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adding a new supplement to your diet can be a big step, even when it’s a popular one like spirulina, which is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some answers to some common questions about spirulina supplementation and incorporating it into your routine.
Is spirulina good for you?
Generally speaking, spirulina is considered to be a nutritious addition to most diets. That said, certain individuals should be cautious before ingesting this superfood. You should consult your doctor to learn more about is Spirulina is right for you to include in your diet.
How much spirulina should you take per day?
As a general guideline, don’t use more than what’s listed on your product’s label. As an over-the-counter supplement, there is no standardized “dose” for spirulina, but many products contain around 3 grams, though some people choose to take up to 8 grams per day.
What is spirulina good for?
Spirulina is a type of algae that has been linked with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-supporting properties. The superfood’s wide range of minerals and vitamins–like selenium, iron, vitamins C, E, B6, and more–may contribute to a healthy immune system. Spirulina has a similar protein content to eggs, making it popular among people who follow a plant-based diet, athletes, and those looking to build muscle and strength.
Are there any side effects of spirulina?
The most commonly reported spirulina side effects include headaches and nausea. However, most people who take a spirulina supplement from a reputable manufacturer and do not exceed 8 grams per day do not experience any side effects. Before starting spirulina, ensure that it does not interact with any of the medications you are currently taking.
Does spirulina heal the gut?
The health of your gut is incredibly important. The good bacteria in your gut are connected to your immune system, mental health, hormones, energy production, skin health, brain function, and more. While spirulina doesn’t “heal” the gut, it contains micronutrients that may play a role in digestion support.
Check out our blog to learn more about superfoods or to add Super Greens powder with spirulina to your health and wellness routine.