Spirulina is a type of algae associated with many health benefits, thanks to its nutrient profile and powerful antioxidant properties.
It is loaded with various nutrients and antioxidants that may benefit your body and brain.
Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of spirulina.
Spirulina is an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water (
Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis.
A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1–3 grams (g), but doses of up to 10 g per day have been used effectively (
This tiny alga is packed with nutrients. A single tablespoon (tbsp.), or 7 g, of dried spirulina powder contains (
- Protein: 4 g
- Thiamin: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Riboflavin: 20% of the DV
- Niacin: 6% of the DV
- Copper: 47% of the DV
- Iron: 11% of the DV
It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
In addition, the same amount contains only 20 calories and less than 2 g of carbohydrates.
Spirulina also provides a small amount of fat — around 1 g per tbsp. (7 g) — including both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in an approximately 1.5–1.0 ratio.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salt and fresh water. It is highly nutritious and a great source of protein, copper, and B vitamins.
Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage (
Phycocyanin is the main active compound in spirulina. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death (
Many risk factors are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
As it turns out, spirulina positively impacts many of these factors. For example, it can lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides, while also increasing HDL (good) cholesterol (
According to one review, spirulina was able to significantly improve these markers in people with metabolic syndrome and related disorders (
Studies indicate that spirulina can lower triglycerides and improve cholesterol levels, which may support heart health.
For example, one of the key steps in the development of heart disease is the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (
In fact, one small study showed that spirulina supplementation was able to reduce exercise-induced lipid peroxidation, inflammation, and muscle damage in 17 rugby players (
Fatty structures in your body can become oxidized, driving the progression of many diseases. Some research suggests that the antioxidants in spirulina may help prevent this.
While more studies are needed, some evidence suggests that spirulina has anti-cancer properties.
Spirulina’s effects on oral cancer — or cancer of the mouth — have been particularly well studied.
In another 2013 study of 40 individuals with OSMF lesions, 1 g of spirulina per day led to greater improvement in OSMF symptoms than pentoxifylline, a medication used to promote blood flow (
Spirulina may have anti-cancer properties and appears especially effective against certain types of precancerous lesions of the mouth. However, more research is needed.
One review of five studies found that taking 1-8 g of spirulina per day could significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially for people with high blood pressure levels (
Spirulina may increase production of nitric oxide and reduce blood pressure levels, a major risk factor for many chronic conditions.
Allergic rhinitis is characterized by inflammation in your nasal passageways.
Spirulina is a popular alternative treatment for symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and there is evidence that it can be effective (29).
For instance, one study found that spirulina was more effective than cetirizine, an antihistamine used to treat allergies, for improving symptoms of allergic rhinitis and decreasing inflammation (
However, more research is needed.
Spirulina supplements may be effective against allergic rhinitis, but more research is needed.
Anemia is a condition characterized by a reduction in hemoglobin or red blood cells in your blood (
In one 2011 study in 40 older people with a history of anemia, spirulina supplements increased the hemoglobin content of red blood cells and improved immune function (
However, more high-quality, recent studies in humans are still needed.
One study suggests that spirulina can reduce anemia in older adults. Some animal studies have also found that spirulina could be beneficial for anemia, but more research is needed.
Certain plant foods have antioxidant properties that can help athletes and people who are physically active individuals minimize this damage.
Spirulina appears beneficial, as some studies pointed to improved muscle strength and endurance (
In one study, spirulina supplementation was able to improve oxygen uptake during an arm cycling exercise, with researchers noting that it could act as ergogenic aid to enhance athletic performance (
Spirulina may provide multiple exercise benefits, including enhanced endurance and increased muscle strength.
There is also some evidence that spirulina can support healthy blood sugar levels in humans.
According to one review of eight studies, spirulina supplementation in doses ranging from 0.8-8 g daily could significantly reduce fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (
Therefore, more research is needed.
Some evidence suggests that spirulina may benefit people with type 2 diabetes by significantly reducing fasting blood sugar levels. Still, more studies are needed.
Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria — often referred to as blue-green algae — that is highly nutritious.
Studies show that it may improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, suppress oxidation, reduce blood pressure, and lower fasting blood sugar levels.
While more research is needed before any strong claims can be made, spirulina may be one of the few superfoods worthy of the title.
If you want to give this supplement a try, it’s widely available in stores and online.