Health : how does it work and is it effective?


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Health : how does it work and is it effective?


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Spirulina to lose weight? What are the benefits? Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that people can take as a dietary supplement. People consider spirulina a superfood because of its excellent nutritional content and its health benefits.

Spirulina has a high content of proteins and vitamins. This nutrient content makes it an excellent dietary supplement for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

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Research suggests that Spirulina has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to help regulate the immune system.

This article discusses 11 potential health benefits that people can gain from adding spirulina to lose weight in their diet.

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1. Excellent nutritional profile

Consuming spirulina for weight loss is a way to supplement protein and vitamins in the diet of people without significant side effects.

One tablespoon or 7 grams (g) of dried spirulina contains:

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20 calories
4.02 g protein
1.67 g of carbohydrates
0.54 g fat
8 milligrams (mg) of calcium

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2 mg iron
14 mg magnesium
8 mg phosphorus
95 mg potassium
73 mg sodium
0.7 mg of vitamin C.

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It also contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate and vitamins B-6, A and K.

Taking spirulina for weight loss as part of a balanced diet can help a person stay well nourished.

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2. Lose weight

People can usually lose weight if they eat fewer calories than they consume. Spirulina is a nutrient-rich food. It is low in calories. At the same time, it contains a lot of nutrients in a small amount of powder. Introducing spirulina for weight loss can help people lose weight without losing nutrition.

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Results from a 2016 double-blind placebo-controlled trial suggest that spirulina may help weight management. In the study, people who were overweight and who regularly ate spirulina to lose weight for 3 months showed an improved body mass index or BMI.

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3. Improve intestinal health

Spirulina for weight loss can be easily digested due to its structure. Indeed, its structure is such that it has cells that do not have hard fibrous walls. But can its consumption improve intestinal health?

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Much more research on humans is needed to indicate the benefits of spirulina on them. However, animal studies indicate that spirulina can promote gut health as people age. A 2017 study of older mice suggests that spirulina can preserve healthy gut bacteria during the aging process.

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Spirulina does not contain a lot of fiber, so it is essential to include other foods rich in fiber and intestinal healthy in the diet.

4. Managing diabetes

Spirulina for weight loss shows promise as a way to manage the symptoms of diabetes. But more research is needed before doctors can recommend it.

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A 2018 study found that supplementing with Spirulina dramatically reduces fasting blood sugar levels in people. High fasting blood sugar is a common problem in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This suggests that spirulina supplements can help people control diabetes.

These results suggest that spirulina shows promise as a food to support the management of type 2 diabetes.

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An animal study done in 2017 supports the idea that spirulina can help manage diabetes. In this study, the researchers orally administered mice with type 1 diabetes to spirulina. As a result, the mice showed:

  • lower blood sugar
  • higher insulin levels
  • improved markers of liver enzymes

Researchers note that the antioxidant effect of spirulina may be useful in the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

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5. Reduce cholesterol

Taking spirulina extract can help lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is an unhealthy fat in the blood of a person that medical experts associate with heart disease.

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A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that taking spirulina supplements can have a positive impact on blood lipids, which are fats in the blood. In the study, spirulina was found to significantly reduce total cholesterol. It seems to lower the “bad” cholesterol while increasing the “good” HDL cholesterol.

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A 2013 study also supports this health claim. The researchers found that taking 1g of spirulina per day reduced participants' total cholesterol after 3 months.

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6. Reduce blood pressure

As noted above, spirulina can lower cholesterol, and there is also evidence that it could help control a person's blood pressure.

A small-scale study from 2016 found that regular consumption of spirulina for 3 months reduced the blood pressure of overweight people with hypertension.

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7. Prevent heart disease

High blood pressure¹ and cholesterol levels are both linked to heart disease. Since spirulina can reduce these two risk factors, is it possible that it can help prevent heart disease?

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A 2013 review suggests that these blue-green algae may play a role in preventing heart disease. This could be due to their cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

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8. Boost metabolism

Taking spirulina can help boost a person's metabolism. A higher metabolic rate can give the impression that a person has more energy. It can also increase the number of calories they burn each day, which can help lose weight.

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In a 2014 small-scale study, people who took 6 g of spirulina per day experienced beneficial metabolic effects. These people have experienced weight loss and a better quality of life linked to health.

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The people in this study had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. However, more research was needed to see if spirulina could boost metabolism in other people without this specific condition.

9. Reduce symptoms of allergies

When a person is allergic to pollen, dust, or pets, the inside of their nose can swell. This reaction is called allergic rhinitis². There is evidence that spirulina could help improve the symptoms of this disease.

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A 2013 study indicates that spirulina can relieve nasal inflammation and reduce histamine in the body. Compared to a placebo, it can reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including:

  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • nasal congestion
  • itching

A 2011 review notes that there is a fair amount of evidence for the positive effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis, but that more trials are needed before researchers know the real impact.

10. Antitoxic action

In some parts of the world, people are threatened with poisoning by contaminated drinking water and other sources of pollutants. Early research suggests that spirulina may offer a way to treat those affected.

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A subsequent review in 2016 found that Spirulina had anti-toxic properties that could counter pollutants in the body, including:

  • arsenic
  • fluoride
  • iron
  • lead
  • mercury

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The review authors suggest that spirulina may be a useful substance for use in conjunction with the clinical treatment of pollutant poisoning.

11. Support mental health

A 2018 article highlights the potential role that spirulina could play in the treatment of mood disorders.

The theory is that spirulina is a source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that supports the production of serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in mental health.

People with certain mental health issues, such as depression andanxiety³, may have reduced serotonin levels. Taking tryptophan supplements to maintain healthy serotonin levels can play a role in supporting mental well-being.

Researchers need to do more clinical trials before they know the true role of spirulina in supporting mental health.

Are there interactions or risks?

The Food and Drug Administration of the United States does not regulate spirulina, but a 2014 review noted that spirulina is well tolerated by most people, so does not cause any significant side effects.

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It is a good idea to check all drug interactions with a doctor before taking a new dietary supplement, including spirulina.

How to include spirulina in the diet and healthy?

Spirulina is available in powder or tablet form.

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In powder, people can:

  • add it to smoothies, which gives the drink a green color
  • sprinkle powdered spirulina over salads or soups
  • mix it in energy balls, with other healthy ingredients
  • stir in a tablespoon of fruit or vegetable juice

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People can also take spirulina as a dietary supplement in tablet form.

Summary

Initial research suggests that taking Spirulina may improve the following:

  • weightloss
  • intestinal health
  • diabetes management
  • arterial pressure
  • cholesterol

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  • risk of heart disease
  • metabolic rate
  • allergy symptoms
  • Mental Health

In addition to zinc, spirulina holds promise as a treatment for chronic arsenic poisoning.

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More research is needed before doctors recommend spirulina for the treatment of any health problem.

Definitions

¹ What you need to know about high blood pressure :

When doctors take a person's blood pressure, they measure the force that blood exerts on the walls of the arteries as it flows through them.

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Hypertension

If the blood pressure is too high for too long, it can seriously damage the blood vessels.

This damage can lead to a range of complications, some of which can be life threatening. They include heart failure, vision loss, stroke, kidney disease and other health problems.

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There are ways to manage high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure often does not cause symptoms, but regular testing can help a person know if they should take preventive measures.

Doctors measure blood pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

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Systolic pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and is the highest number on a blood pressure reading. Diastolic, which is the lowest number, represents blood pressure when the heart is resting between beats.

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Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg)

Normal less than 120 less than 80
High (hypertension) 120–129 less than 80
Stage 1 hypertension 130–139 80–90
Stage 2 hypertension 140 or more 90 or more
Hypertensive crisis Over 180 Over 120

If the blood pressure is high, doctors will recommend medication.

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Allergic rhinitis

² Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a common condition with symptoms similar to those of a cold. There may be sneezing, congestion, a runny nose, and sinus pressure.

It is caused by an allergic response to airborne substances, such as pollen. The time of year it happens depends on the substance or allergen the person is reacting to.

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Despite its name, hay fever does not mean that the person is allergic to hay and has a fever. Hay is almost never an allergen and fever is not a symptom.

Anxiety

³ Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly experiences disproportionate levels of anxiety, it can become a medical condition.

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Anxiety disorders are a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension and worry.

Although a number of different diagnoses are anxiety disorders, symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder often include the following:

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  • restlessness and feeling of being "at the end"
  • uncontrollable feelings of anxiety
  • increased irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  • sleeping difficulties, such as problems falling asleep or staying asleep

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While these symptoms may be normal for everyday life, people with generalized anxiety disorder will experience them at persistent or extreme levels.

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