Health & Nutritional Benefits of Spirulina and Its Side Effects
Spirulina is an algae which is bluish green in colour and possesses a surprisingly wide range of health and nutritional benefits. It is usually found on the surface of ponds and stagnant water bodies where the temperature is on the warmer end.
An Overview of Spirulina
As the name suggests, Spirulina, has a spiral shape and commonly occurs in the warmer zones of Africa and South America. One of the most distinguishing feature of spirulina is the deep blue green colour of it, which is contributed by the presence of a special pigment known as phycoyanin. The composition of spirulina makes it an extremely rich source of proteins. Apart from proteins, it is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Thus, making it a powerhouse food to boost strength and immunity.
Health Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina touch bases of almost all the common health concerns through the benefits it possesses. Though the list of health benefits is quite long, some such benefits have been enlisted below:
- Fights Allergies: Spirulina consumption prevents the secretion of histamines, which are responsible for allergic symptoms like watery eyes, stuffed nose, itching in the throat and nasal discharge.
- Health Benefit of Sirulina in Cancer Treatment: Consumption of spirulina has a cancer inhibiting effect on the body. It is known to help, especially with oral and pancreatic cancers.
- Antidote Effects of Spirulina: Spirulina is a known antidote for arsenic poisoning from drinking water. The large amounts of chlorophyll contained by it helps in the detoxification of the body. Studies suggest that when a combination of zinc and spirulina is administered on the affected patients, the improvement in their health was observed.
- Managing Cholesterol: Spirulina also helps in maintaining safe levels of cholesterol within the body. It also prevents the risk of atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks.
- Brain Health Benefits of Spirulina: Regular consumption of spirulina helps in improving the cognitive abilities as well as the brain health. The presence of antioxidants help in the prevention of memory loss and neuro-degenerative medical conditions such as Alzheimers's and Parkinson's.
- Health Benefit of Spirulina in Building Muscle Strength: The muscle fatigue occurring in the body is the result of oxidative damage occurring in the body. However, consumption of spirulina helps in enhancing muscle strength and endurance, owing to its antioxidant properties it possesses.
- Weight Loss Benefit of Spirulina: The high protein content present in spirulina helps satisfying hunger for a longer time and thus, prevents cravings. This directly helps in the management of the body weight.
- Fights Anemia: Spirulina helps in fighting anaemia by prevention of haemoglobin deficiency. Spirulina consumption helps in the enhanced synthesis of red blood cells and increasing the haemoglobin content in the blood.
- Liver Health Benefits of Spirulina: Medical conditions like liver failure, cirrhosis and damage can be prevented by consuming spirulina. The antioxidative properties of spirulina help in the elimination of free radicals that cause the damage of liver cells. It is known to help greatly in tetrachloride poisoning.
- Skin Health Benefits of Spirulina: The essential amino acids present in spirulina help in glowing of skin by increasing the skin's metabolism. The antioxidants helps in eliminating the free radicals that are responsible for causing skin aging.
- For Bone Health: Spirulina also contains great amounts of calcium, that helps in maintaining the bone strength and health. The calcium content in spirulina is at par with the calcium content found in the dairy products.
- For Premenstrual Syndrome: Premenstrual symptoms like cramps, mood swings, bloating and fatigue can be controlled greatly by consumption of spirulina on a regular basis.
- Management of Sugar Levels: Regular consumption of spirulina helps in managing type 2 diabetes significantly, leaving behind the diabetic medications like Metformin. Thus, preventing death due to diabetes to a large extent.
- Candidiasis: The microflora imbalance of the guts causes diseases like candidiasis and leaky gut syndrome, which can also cause deaths. Spirulina acts an antimicrobial agent for such microbes and aids in growth of gut friendly bacteria.
Nutritional Benefits of Spirulina
The nutrition profile of Spirulina is quite rich as it constitutes a great variety of nutrients:
- Proteins: Proteins constitute over fifty percent of physical weight of spirulina. It contains almost all essential amino acids.
- Vitamins: Spirulina is rich in vitamins like Vitamin B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin K.
- Minerals: The minerals that are commonly found in spirulina are potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
- Antioxidants: Spirulina boosts immunity with the help of phycocyanin, which is a great source of antioxidants. It helps in the growth and development of white blood cell within the body as well as to prevent the oxidative damage to the body.
- Anti-Inflammation: Phycocyanin also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It prevents the production of the inflammation causing agents.
Possible Side Effects of Spirulina Intake
The possible side effects that need to acknowledge while consuming spirulina are:
- Aggravates seafood allergies
- Toxic if taken in large quantities
- Excess consumption can also cause stomach upset.
Spirulina, is no less than a superfood, due to the rich nutrition profile that it possesses. It is a great source of proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It provides a wide variety of health benefits, when consumed regularly, but it should be kept in mind that the dosage should be taken under supervision as it also has potential side effects, when consumed in greater quantities.