If you’re looking for the best spirulina supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Spirulina Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Spirulina Supplements
|#1||Now Foods Certified Organic Spirulina||More Info|
|#2||Dr. Mercola Spiru-Blue||More Info|
|#3||Triquetra Health Organic Spirulina Tablets||More Info|
|#4||Swanson Organic Spirulina||More Info|
|#5||Healthforce Spirulina Manna||More Info|
|#6||Source Naturals Organic Spirulina||More Info|
|#7||Doctor’s Best Spirulina||More Info|
|#8||Solaray Spirulina||More Info|
|#9||GNC Superfoods Spirulina||More Info|
|#10||SoTru Organic Spirulina||More Info|
Spirulina is a popular superfood and supplement. It is a blue-green alga similar to chlorella. Spirulina is often added to smoothies, energy bars or taken in tablet form. It has been cultivated since ancient times as a food source. It is high in many beneficial vitamins and minerals. Spirulina is an antioxidant and immune booster. It also detoxifies the body and increases energy. It is generally considered vegan- and vegetarian-friendly.
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a one-celled blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. It is a species of Arthrospira bacteria. It can be consumed by humans and animals, including fish. There are other forms of cyanobacteria that are toxic to humans and animals. Spirulina is most often consumed as a dietary supplement in powder or tablet form. It is also used in the cattle, poultry and aquaculture industries as a feed. Cattle given up to 10 percent spirulina feed yielded richer milk.
Spirulina occurs naturally in subtropical and tropical climates, especially in lakes with a high PH. It is cultivated for commercial use in ponds and lakes. It needs virtually no maintenance to grow as it feeds itself from nutrients in the water. The largest producers are the United States, Thailand, India, Taiwan and China. Hawaii, although not a top producer by volume, is prized for its extremely high-quality spirulina.
Spirulina has been documented as being used as a food source by Mesoamericans and the Aztecs. It was harvested from Lake Texcoco and sold in cake form. Cortez documented its use in the 16th century. Spirulina was re-discovered in that same area in the 1950s by European scientists. They began to study spirulina for its health properties. One of the first large industrial spirulina plants started in the same region. Its use was also documented in Lake Chad in Africa, where it was used by the local peoples since the 9th century.
It is considered by the World Health Organization to be a useful food for malnutrition as it is high in iron and protein. NASA has also proposed it be used as a primary food during space missions.
Benefits of Spirulina
The composition of spirulina is roughly as follows. It consists of 50 to 70 percent protein. It contains around 6 percent fatty acids and 14 percent carbohydrates. Spirulina is considered a complete protein as it contains some amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Roughly 2 percent of the carbohydrates are polysaccharides, which help boost the immune system. Its fatty acid content is primarily gamma-linolenic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
One tablespoon of spirulina contains four grams of protein, 22 percent of the RDA of copper, 11 percent of the RDA of iron and 15 percent of the RDA of riboflavin. Gram for gram it is one of the densest foods on the planet.
Spirulina has shown positive results in reducing liver fat, promoting heart health and aiding in neurological disorders. It is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. It has been studied a lot in recent years and has shown hopeful evidence in support of its powerful benefits.
The primary active ingredient in spirulina is its C-phycocyanin proteins, which account for around 20 percent of its dry weight. The phycocyanin also gives spirulina its vibrant green color. One of C-phycocyanin’s smaller proteins, phycocyanobilin, mimics bilirubin. Bilirubin is tetrapyrrole pigment and is naturally found in the human bloodstream. Bilirubin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been shown to reduce heart disease, type II diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Due to this bilirubin mimicking effect, phycocyanin helps reduce inflammation and fights free radicals. It aids the body in fighting oxidation damage, which helps prevent chronic ailments. Spirulina essentially raises the levels of antioxidants in the blood available to fight off free radicals.
The antioxidant properties of the phycocyanin also help prevent certain forms of cancer and ward off cognitive decline. One study, pertaining to oral cancer, showed positive results in oral submucous fibrosis. Oral submucous fibrosis is caused by chewing areca nut, similar to chewing tobacco. It is a form of precancerous lesion. In the group studied, 45 percent of the participants showed a regression of the lesions. Meanwhile, only 7 percent showed a decrease in the trial group. When the participants stopped taking spirulina, the lesions returned in close to half of the participants.
It also seems to be helpful in preventing and lessening the effects of strokes. One study showed infarct size was cut in half after taking spirulina for one week. Further human evidence is needed, but it also appears to be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Spirulina is high in several important vitamins and minerals. It does contain B-12. However, studies suggest it is not a well-absorbed form of B-12 and should not be consumed for its B-12 content. Many plants contain B-12, but it is a pseudo-vitamin form and not absorbed by humans. It also contains iron, manganese and other B vitamins. Its iron content is 3,900 percent higher than that of spinach. It is also high in copper, beta-carotene and vitamin K1.
Spirulina has been shown to reduce heavy metals in the body, especially arsenic. For this reason, it is believed to be beneficial to detoxify the system. Most studies suggest it is as effective or more effective than other supplements and drugs in heavy metal reduction. It also helps to eliminate candida from the body due to its anti-microbial properties.
Studies suggest that it also helps reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. Rats who were given a high-cholesterol diet had a 20 percent increase in fecal cholesterol excretion when given spirulina. Spirulina appears to stop cholesterol’s absorption in the intestines, allowing it to pass through the system unabsorbed. In another study, systolic and diastolic blood pressures showed a decrease of 8 and 6 percent respectively.
Essentially, spirulina should not be taken for its B-12 content. It is useful as a protein source and can even be used as a primary food source. Primarily, it is taken for its phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Are There Any Side Effects?
A few reports of allergic reactions have been documented. However, it is unusual. Always check with your doctor if you are taking any prescription medicine. Spirulina may decrease or increase the body’s absorption of some prescription or over the counter drugs. There can be potential contaminations from heavy metals or other forms of algae. Some side effects of contaminated spirulina can be liver damage, stomach discomfort, rapid heartbeat and weakness. Generally, spirulina is considered safe when not contaminated.
How to Take Spirulina
Spirulina is most often found in tablets and powder. The powdered form is the most effective means of taking this vitamin. Spirulina can be easily added to a smoothie, fruit juice or water. However, if you do not like powders, tablets work just as well.
Most studies use amounts ranging from 1 to 8 grams of spirulina per day. Most daily doses range from one to three grams. However, up to 10 grams can be taken. One tablespoon is approximately seven grams. It is commonly taken daily, although that is not required. Increased benefits are seen from regular use, some of those benefits are lost when spirulina is stopped.
Smoothies are the most common way to take spirulina as a supplement. Spirulina does have a slightly grassy taste but the flavor is not very strong. The other ingredients in the smoothie will mask any taste it might have. It is also added to other tablet or capsule energy blends and detox blends. It is also added to energy bars, protein powders and other food items.
What to Look for in a Good Spirulina Product
A good spirulina is deep or bright green and too gray. As it oxidizes, it will turn gray and lose potency. Since spirulina is a dietary supplement, there are not standardized regulations regarding is production and cultivation. Most supplement powders are pure spirulina. Some tablets are pure and some have other ingredients such as a coating or binders. Always read the ingredients to be sure you are getting the purest product possible.
There is the potential for contamination from microcystins and other cyanobacteria that can cause gastrointestinal issues and liver damage. Care must be taken to ensure that the spirulina is not contaminated. It is advisable to be careful when giving spirulina to children or those with weakened immune systems in case of contamination.
There is also the possibility of contamination from heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Also, like all foods that contain protein, it contains the amino acid phenylalanine, which should be avoided by those who have phenylketonuria.
Quality spirulina is grown in all countries. Likewise, spirulina from any country can be contaminated. To ensure the quality of spirulina, look for a brand that has third party testing to ensure it is safe. Most companies will test for heavy metals and contaminates. It is better to buy a slightly more expensive brand and be sure it is clean than to buy a cheaper brand and risk contamination. Spirulina is a great superfood to add to a healthy diet, just ensure it is a reputable brand.