The benefits of spirulina

Spirulina is mostly composed of proteins – containing all of the amino acids that are essential to our body. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and active compounds with beneficial effects on our health.

Spirulina is primarily composed of proteins – including all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need. It is also very rich in vitamins, minerals, and active compounds that have beneficial effects on our health.

1. Spirulina and energy boosts [1]

Thanks to its high concentration of vitamins and minerals, spirulina helps combat the deficiencies that are frequently observed as a result of our often unbalancedmodern-day diets.

The suggested daily dose of 5g includes a good portion of the recommended daily intake of iron (37%), vitamin A (74%, in the form of its precursor), and vitamin B12 (21%). This helps stimulate concentration, increase energy, and promote the enzymatic reactions that make our bodies function. Spirulina’s richness in other vitamins, minerals, and pigments also contributes to boosting one’s energy – phycocyanin, for example, improves both athletic performance and recovery.

2. Spirulina and the immune system [2]

The immune system is our bodies’ defense mechanism against attacks from all sorts of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and other parasites, as well as against cancerous cells and anything else that it identifies as foreign.

A balanced diet is one of the keys to effective immune function – and nutritional deficiencies thus significantly diminish our immune defense capacity.

Spirulina activates the immune system when a foreign attack is identified. As an antiviral agent, it targets the uptake, penetration, and multiplication of viruses in the bodies’ cells – inhibiting viruses at every step.

3. Spirulina and allergies [3]

La spiruline est capable de faire varier les performances du système immunitaire en permettant de réguler sa réponse, elle est immunomodulatrice. Elle limite ou inhibe les réactions lors de phénomènes allergiques. Une cure au printemps permet d’atténuer les crises d’allergies pour les personnes atteintes de rhume des foins.

As an immunomodulator, Spirulina is capable of altering the immune system’s performance by regulating its response. It is capable of limiting or inhibiting reactions to allergic events – taking it in the springtime can even alleviate allergy attacks in those who suffer from hay fever.

4. Spirulina and cancer [4]

Nutrition plays a role in more than 1/3 of all cancer-related deaths. A varied, balanced diet provides many nutrients with protective properties that can help render conventional cancer therapies more effective, while also reducing their side effects. The antioxidants (such as β-carotene and vitamins C and E)foundin fruits and vegetables protect against the damage linked to cellular aging that is caused by free radicals – referred to as “oxidative stress” in physiological terms. Insufficient antioxidants in a person’s diet can cause this stress to become too great and eventually pathological, at which point there is a risk of cancerous cells multiplying. Spirulina’s anti-cancer capabilities have been attested to by numerous studies, thanks to the antioxidant effects of the β-carotene, zeaxanthin, phycocyanin, and enzymes (such as superoxide dismutase) that it contains. Spirulina can be used both in the prevention and treatment of cancers (of the colon, pancreas, liver, etc.) and even as anti-melanogenic protection (against the damaging effects of UV-b rays).

With its antioxidant effects, Spirulina also helps protect the eyes (against cataracts, etc.) – and even offers protection against neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.), reducing memory loss.

5. Spirulina and viruses (HIV [5], Herpes)

As discussed above, spirulina is capable of modulating the immune system. There have been many studies done on HIV patients, and spirulina seems to offer many benefits for them. It helps increase the quantity of certain immune system cells, as well as reduce the amount of the virus circulating after 6 months. It also helps delay the appearance of cardiovascular or diabetic diseases. Spirulina thus acts both on the virus itself and on the patient’s susceptibility to the infections, viruses, and diseases that are linked to it.

6. Spirulina and heavy metals [6]

Numerous studies have shown that spirulina may be useful in the treatment of intoxication from heavy metals (such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.)

7. Spirulina and the digestive system [7]

Spirulina has probiotic effects, having been observed promoting the growth of intestinal microflora in rats.

8. Spirulina, diabetes, obesity and hypertension

A soluble dose of spirulina has been demonstrated to help lower fasting blood sugar levels, and an insoluble dose to lower blood sugar levels after glucose consumption. Spirulina also helps prevent the kidney damage that can be observed in diabetes sufferers, and limits related diseases by limiting weight gain.

9. Spirulina and cholesterol [8]

The majority of deaths worldwide are caused by cardiovascular diseases. Our cardiovascular health is influenced by our diet, particularly reflecting our blood lipid levels.

Spirulina’s effects on the prevention of dyslipidemia have been demonstrated. It is hypolipidemic and hypocholesterolemic, and thus helps modulate one’s body weight and appetite through partial changes in seric lipid levels. When suffering from a cardiovascular disease, supplementing an appropriate diet with spirulina can help to normalize blood lipid levels.

Spirulina improves BMI, body weight, blood pressure, and blood vessel function in patients who suffer from hypertension but without evidence of cardiovascular disease. Some studies have even suggested that spirulina helps prevent thrombosis.

10. Spirulina and athletic performance [9]

Spirulina has anti-inflammatory effects thanks to a mechanism that is often used by certain allopathic anti-inflammatories, quickly and significantly reducing chronic pain – it is thus ideal for use after athletic activity, which generates many micro-inflammations. As mentioned above, spirulina boosts athletes’ performance and recovery as a result of its capacity to release erythropoietin (EPO), which naturally aids in the formation of red blood cells.

11. Spirulina and hair

Spirulina contains vitamins A, B5, and B8, β-carotene, manganese, and zinc. These all have properties known to restore damaged hair and promote regrowth, as well as to limit hair loss and white hairs. They also make hair smoother and shinier. Spirulina thus contributes to both the health and beauty of one’s hair, and can even help limit the development of baldness.

12. Spirulina and radiation protection [10]

Spirulina has been found to helpsignificantly mitigate the effects of gamma rays on the nuclei of the bone marrow cells of mice. The same protective effect was observed whether the dose was applied before or after exposure to the radiation. The authors of the study concluded that the spirulina compound probably acts as a stabilizing factor for DNA. This property has also enabled radiation-exposed people in Chernobyl to normalize blood markers containing evidence of increased radiation.

Sources

[1] Kalafati M. & al. : Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jan;42(1):142-51. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ac7a45.

[2] Capelli B. & al. (2010). Potential health benefits of spirulina microalgae. Nutrafoods. 9. 10.1007/BF03223332.

[3] Hyung-Min K. & al. : Inhibitory Effect of Mast Cell-Mediated Immediate-Type Allergic Reactions in Rats by Spirulina, Biochemical Pharmacology, Volume 55, Issue 7, 1998, 1071-1076.
 
[4] Ismail MF. & al. : Chemoprevention of rat liver toxicity and carcinogenesis by Spirulina. International Journal of Biological Sciences. 2009;5(4):377-387.
 
[5] Ngo-Matip M-E. & al. : Impact of daily supplementation of Spirulina platensis on the immune system of naïve HIV-1 patients in Cameroon: a 12-months single blind, randomized, multicenter trial. Nutrition Journal. 2015;14:70. doi:10.1186/s12937-015-0058-4.

[6] Martínez-Galero E. & al. : Preclinical antitoxic properties of Spirulina (Arthrospira). Pharm Biol. 2016 Aug;54(8):1345-53. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2015.1077464.

[7] Kulshreshtha A. & Al. : Spirulina in health care management. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2008 Oct;9(5):400-5.

[8] Miczke M. & al. (2016). Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function in overweight hypertensive Caucasians: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 2016; 20 : 150-156.

[9] Braakhuis AJ. & al. : Impact of Dietary Antioxidants on Sport Performance: A Review. Sports Med. 2015 Jul;45(7):939-55. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0323-x.

[10] Qishen P. & al. : Radioprotective effect of extract from Spirulina platensis in mouse bone marrow cells studied by using the micronucleus test. Toxicol Lett. 1989 Aug;48(2):165-9.

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