Spirulina: Nutritional facts, Health Benefits and Side Effects
by Jayesh Patel on Dec 14, 2021
Spirulina is a well-known food supplement that has gained popularity all over the world as a ‘superfood’. This is because Spirulina being the best natural multivitamin and nutrition supplement available today. Read on to know the complete details about Spirulina.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is an alga of perfectly spiral shape (hence its name) that occurs naturally in the warm lakes of Africa, and Central and South America. This cyanobacterium (or algae) is dried and used as a food supplement rich in an entire range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritive elements.
Initially native to these places mentioned above, today Spirulina is cultivated all over the world because of its demand and rich dietary value. Spirulina is now available commercially in the form of tablets, capsules, or powders under a variety of brand names.
Nutritive Value of Spirulina
Spirulina is rich n carbohydrates, contains a moderate amount of fats, and then a wide assortment of proteins and amino acids. Roughly 18 of the 22 essential amino acids are found in Spirulina.
Spirulina is also rich in all types of vitamin B (except vitamin B12 and vitamin D). Vitamins C, E and K are also found in Spirulina. Minerals like phosphorus, iron, calcium, sodium, and potassium also make up a significant part of Spirulina.
This is why it is no surprise that Spirulina is considered to be a ‘superfood’, as it is highly rich in almost all essential nutrients.
Health Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina has numerous health benefits. Besides being rich in nutritive value, it is also rich in antioxidants that help to detox the body and promote healing. Spirulina helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
Being easily digestible puts no strain on the digestive system and helps the metabolic functions to take place smoothly. Spirulina enhances the red cell count and remains beneficial for anemics.
Being an excellent anti-inflammatory, it helps reduce inflammation in the body and promotes healing and regeneration.
Spirulina is an excellent immunomodulator. It helps enhance and boost the immune system and fight auto-immune disorders as well.
Chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis may be benefitted by regular intake of Spirulina, and it has also shown positive effects in people suffering from bronchial asthma. Therefore, the health benefits of Spirulina are numerous, and the benefits are unquestionable.
Side Effects of Spirulina
One only needs to be careful that the product is natural and the supplement that one is taking is not synthetic or chemical-based. Always select a brand that manufactures Spirulina tablets or capsules from genuine natural raw material.
Side effects are barely noted with Spirulina use. Even prolonged intake of the tablets has no detrimental impact on the health, rather, it helps boost immunity and the general health status of the person. Not many contra-indications are noted with Spirulina.
In rare cases, someone may turn out to be allergic to Spirulina. They may simply discontinue use. Pregnant and lactating women, the elderly, and those on chronic allopathic medications may need to consult their doctor before beginning Spirulina intake.
In today’s era, the use of health and nutrition supplements has become somewhat of a fad. People find it easier to pop a few pills or capsules rather than modify their diet or lifestyle. This is however a cause of concern.
Supplements should be considered just what they are – they cannot take the place of the actual food source. It is imperative to understand that a healthy diet and an active lifestyle has far more long-term benefits than relying on health supplements to fulfil our deficiencies.
Only begin nutrient supplementation when you are unable to fulfil your daily requirements through your diet. A balanced and nutritious diet should always be encouraged, for people of all ages.
Today as Spirulina becomes even more popular, many brands and manufacturers bring forth their own products that claim to be natural or organic Spirulina.
Be sure to check for genuine products that are free of contamination and will cause no adverse effects in the long run. It is best to purchase brands that produce their own Spirulina in well-regulated ponds.
The right product can make a major difference in the positive effects of a health supplement.