Spirulina: What It’s Good For, 5 Benefits and How to Take It

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Especially in the world of sports, the use of nutritional supplements and vitamins has become common, although in recent years it has gained greater acceptance in all types of people. Thanks to these, a considerable improvement in health is achieved. Among these, spirulina stands out.

In this article we will point out what exactly spirulina is, how to use it and what are the benefits of doing so. We will also see some risks related to its consumption.

Nutritional value per 100 g

Carbohydrates23.9 g
Fat5.38 g
– Saturated fat2.65 g
– monounsaturated0.675 g
– polyunsaturated2.08 g
Proteins57.47 g
Water4.68 g
Retinol (vit. A)29 μg (3%)
– β-carotene342 μg (3%)
Thiamine (vit.B1)2.38 mg (183%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)3.67 mg (245%)
Niacin (vit. B3)12.82 mg (85%)
Pantothenic Acid (vit. B5)3.48 mg (70%)
Vitamin B60.364 mg (28%)
Vitamin E5 mg (33%)
Calcium120 mg (12%)
Iron28.5 mg (228%)
Magnesium195 mg (53%)
Manganese1.900 mg (95%)
Phosphorus118 mg (17%)
Potassium1363 mg (29%)
Sodium1048 mg (70%)
Zinc2 mg (20%)

What is spirulina?

Spirulina is an alga with many nutritional properties. Although there is evidence that it was used hundreds of years ago, especially in Mexican territory, it was not until the 80’s when its existence became famous, when it was used as part of astronauts’ food.

The dietician and pharmacist Alfredo Carpintero Angulo, a graduate of the International University of Catalonia, points out that the Aztec culture was one of the first to make use of spirulina. He mentions that these algae possesses polyphosphate, glycogen and cyanoficin

After different investigations, it was determined that these elements are of great nutritional value. It provides to a great extent the nutrients necessary for life. Among the elements that can be obtained by consuming spirulina are sodium, potassium, vitamins A and D, iron and calcium.

These results obtained are also endorsed by Tatiana Zanin, who is a nutritionist graduated from the Catholic University of Santos. This food supplement is obtained by drying Arthrospira cyanobacteria.

What is spirulina used for?

Due to its high content of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, it has been used for decades in food. For its consumption, it can be used in different presentations, mainly in tablets or powder. That is why it has come to be called a superfood.

However, nutrition experts point out that good nutrition, whether the person is looking to lose weight or not, only depends on the right combination of different foods and not just one, not even if it is spirulina. At the same time, they point out that there is no problem in including it in the daily diet.

Some people use it to increase energy, especially if they are athletes or sportsmen. On the other hand, those who want to lose weight have found in spirulina an ally. Particularly because one of its properties is to provide a feeling of fullness. These are just some of the uses that allow to take advantage of all its properties.

Benefits of spirulina

The benefits of spirulina include providing a complete nutrition. This is due to the many nutrients it contains. In addition, it protects the body from harmful elements. Several renowned nutritionists in Europe highlight the following.

Protects the cardiovascular system

Omega 6 is one of the elements indicated to keep cholesterol and triglycerides at the right levels. Since spirulina has a good amount of this component, it helps to maintain a good functioning of the entire cardiovascular system.

Protects the skin

Adequate consumption of spirulina increases the amount of beta-carotene in the body. This element is responsible for the secretion of melanin. And this in turn fulfills the function of keeping the skin protected from exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Helps to lose weight

Spirulina contains phenylalanine. This element is one of the most effective in causing appetite loss in the body. In other words, it causes a feeling of fullness. That is why it allows reducing the amount of calories ingested daily, resulting in a gradual weight loss.

Improves eyesight

Although we must recognize that many studies are still needed to confirm this fact, the WHO has included spirulina among the foods that improve visual health, particularly at night. This benefit is due to its high vitamin A content, which has been proven to be one of the best aids for eyesight.

How to take spirulina?

There are different ways to use spirulina. Depending on the objective you are looking for, you can follow one of the following methods

  • In tablets. This presentation helps to strengthen the body’s defenses. It should be combined with food. The amount of these should not vary.
  • In powder form. Its powder presentation allows it to be used in a variety of foods. Besides giving it a touch of flavor, it also helps to cleanse the body.

The amount to be consumed daily will depend on several factors. Nutritionists recommend the following as basic daily amounts.

  • To supplement the diet. Only 1 gram.
  • To lose weight. Up to 3 grams.
  • To regulate the amount of cholesterol. Maximum 8 grams. In this case, the doctor will decide the exact amount.
  • To increase muscle mass. Up to a maximum of 7 and a half grams.
  • Improve blood pressure. Up to 4 and a half grams.

As a general rule, when it comes to improving the health condition, a prior medical evaluation is necessary. This way, the health expert will be able to determine the right amount for each person.

Risks of spirulina

One of the biggest precautions when using spirulina is to know its contents well. For example, it contains an element similar to vitamin B12, but it does not affect the body in any way. In case this vitamin is required, another means should be used.

In addition, although it is a food, some people may experience side effects. This happens, especially when spirulina is consumed for the first few times. These are some of the symptoms that may appear.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The National Library of Medicine of the United States, points out the following contraindications for the consumption of spirulina.

  • Allergy sufferers. People who are allergic to spirulina or any of its components should not take it
  • Pregnant women. Neither during pregnancy nor during lactation.
  • Children under 18 years old. Studies are still pending to determine the effects on minors. For the moment, nutritionists advise against its use in them.

Thanks to the many properties of spirulina, many benefits can be obtained. However, its consumption should not be abused.

Amparo Miralles Lobato
Amparo Miralles Lobatohttps://www.google.com/search?kgmid=/g/11rcn5dql6
M.D. from Stanford Medicine, M.D. from the University of Cambridge. Ph.D. from The University of Warwick. Committed to Human Health. ISI: 0000000503892961

Aunque pueda contener afirmaciones, datos o apuntes procedentes de instituciones o profesionales sanitarios y la información contenida en PharmaSalud esté redactada por profesionales en medicina, recomendamos al lector que cualquier duda relacionada con la salud sea consultada con un profesional del ámbito sanitario.

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