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Superfood Spirulina – Good or Bad?

What is spirulina?

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae also called cyanobacteria. It grows naturally in oceans and salty lakes basically in South and Middle America, Africa and Australia. Due to its high amount of chlorophyll a, it is able to photosynthesize and give off oxygen, just like plants. Mostly, it is grown in open pond systems. After harvesting, it is dried, powdered or pressed into tablets.
You can use the powder in your daily cereals or smoothies; it tastes a bit like Nori sheets known from sushi. As a recommendation, I wouldn’t use more than one tablespoon because it has a very intense flavor.

Some nutritional facts: 100 g dried spirulina contain:
– ca. 60-70 g protein (it contains all essential amino acids)
– ca. 20 g carbohydrate
– ca. 4 g fat
– ca. 5,5 g minerals

Furthermore, it contains significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, iron, and b vitamins such as B12.

Spirulina is available in a powdered and tablet form

What is Spirulina really good for?

Several surveys show that eating spirulina may have a positive impact on our health:
– positive impact on hyperlipidemia which is a very high concentration of cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins leading to diabetes.
– positive impact on malnutrition, obesity, diabetes, as well as on toxicity from heavy metals and on anemias.

Besides, there is evidence that spirulina could promote the antioxidant enzyme activity which prevents us from premature aging. Antioxidants such as spirulina help combat cell and DNA damage which may lead to cancer, heart disease, and lipoperoxidation. Lipoperoxidation is a process in which free radicals develop and lead to oxidative stress. Antioxidants inhibit the development of new free radicals and bind already existing free radicals. Due to its antioxidative effect, spirulina protects us from neurotoxins, and inflammation of the colon.

Scientists expect a lot of this superfood: The blue-green algae could be used to treat cardiovascular diseases, chronic bronchitis, and harmed skeletal muscles due to oxidative stress. Plus, it may come to an increased application in fighting immunodeficiency and inflammation.

Things certainly remain exciting but it is already clear that the positive effect of spirulina on our health combined with well-balanced, plant-based nutrition cannot be denied.

Did you ever try spirulina? Have you ever heard of it before? What is your personal experience?
EDIT: Many of you have asked me which ones I use – here are mine*.

Spirulina is a real superfood, isn't it? Here is everything you should know according to the scientific evidence and from my point of view as a plant-based nutritionist!
Here are the sources for this blogpost

Abdel-Daim, M. M./Abuzead, S. M./Halawa, S. M. 2013: Protective role of Spirulina platensis against acute deltamethrin-induced toxicity in rats, in: PLoS One, Vol 8, 2013, No. 9.

Abdel-Daim, M. M./Farouk, S. M./Madkour, F. F./Azab, S. S. 2015: Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of Spirulina platensis in comparison to Dunaliella salina in acetic acid-induced rat experimental colitis, in: Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, Vol. 37, 2015, No. 2, pp. 126-139.

Abdelkhalek, N. K./Ghazy, E. W./Abdel-Daim, M. M. 2015: Pharmacodynamic interaction of Spirulina platensis and deltamethrin in freshwater fish Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus: impact on lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress, in: Environmental Science and Pollution Reseach International, Vol. 22, 2015, No. 4, pp. 3023-3031.

Deng, R./Chow, T. J. 2010: Hypolipidemic, antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities of microalgae spirulina, in: Cardiovascular Therapeutics, Vol. 28, 2010, No. 4, pp. 33-45.

Hoseini, S. M./Khosravi-Darani, K./Mozafari, M. R. 2013. Nutritional and medical applications of spirulina microalgae, in: Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, Vol. 13, 2013, No. 8, pp. 1231–1237.

Kulshreshtha, A./Zacharia, A. J./Jarouliya, U./Bhadauriya, P./Prasad, G. B./Bisen, P.S. 2008: Spirulina in health care management, in: Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Vol. 9, 2008, No. 5, pp. 400-405.

Wu, Q./Liu, L./, Miron, A./Klímová, B./Wan, D./Kuca, K. 2016: The antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory activities of Spirulina: an overview, in: Activities of Toxicology, Vol. 90, 2016, No. 8, pp. 1817-1840.

Nutritional values:

*This is an affiliate link. If you buy something using this link, I get a small commission without you having to pay more. But I don’t promote anything I don’t believe in wholeheartedly.
I’m not a fan of Amazon but you can use it as a search engine and order at the seller directly!

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