Microalgal food supplements are becoming increasingly popular due to their promising biological effects and high nutritional value. Spirulina has been termed a “magic agent” due to its utility in food, feed, cosmetics, and as an anticancer agent. Spirulina is considered a high-quality food supplement and one of the riches protein sources in the plant kingdom. The dry weight of Spirulina is ~70% protein (compared with ~22% in beef) . It also contains numerous essential vitamins, with cyanocobalamin the most abundant (2 mg*kg-1 of dried cells, 2 to 6 times richer than raw beef liver), 70% B1 (thiamine), 50% of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 12% of B3 (niacin), and significant quantities of tocopherol (vitamin E) . The health benefits associated with consumption of Spirulina include enhancement of the immune system, antioxidant activity, anticancer effects, antiviral effects. For example, Spirulina has been shown to be beneficial is the treatment of hepatitis C and HIV, control of hyperlipidemia and abnormal cholesterol, effects against hepatotoxicity, obesity, allergies, arthritis, immunomodulation, inflammation, and diabetes . Spirulina also confers protective effects against heavy metal intoxication , protects against radiation and malnutrition , as well as depression . One of the main factors inhibiting people from using Spirulina is a lack of awareness of the associated health benefits . For examples, iron in Spirulina is 60% better absorbed than ferrous sulfate and other complements. Consequently, it could represent a viable alternative to iron supplements for anemic and/or pregnant women. Some of the other benefits of this superfood could be:
Boosted energy prior to physical activity: Research shows that daily using of Spirulina significantly reduces muscle fatigue and postpones the point of exhaustion . Spirulina was also found to allow for increased fat loss in healthy adults. Taking a Spirulina prior to moderate cardiovascular exercise also decreased oxidative damage, decreased glucose oxidation, and increased the amount of fat being burned for fuel .
Cancer risk reduction: Spirulina contains a blue pigment, phycocyanin which is known to support a healthy inflammatory response and act as a free radical scavenger to facilitate its antioxidant properties. While spirulina may not be a “cure,” its anticancer properties are extremely promising . Research has been quite promising, showing phycocyanin (specifically from spirulina) could inhibit cancer growth .
Memory enhancement: Studies shows that besides preventing oxidative damage in the muscles, Spirulina can also prevent oxidative damage and reduce the levels of harmful proteins in the brain, suggesting that spirulina supplementation can help prevent memory loss . Inflammation is a major contributor to several major neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. To this end, scientists have shown that spirulina reduced neurotoxicity and inflammation in the brain .
Wight loss aid: Multiple studies demonstrate Spirulina’s ability to improve health markers in obese patients, including weight loss. Researchers in some studies found statistically significant reductions in body mass, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference. They also recorded lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, higher antioxidant levels, and better insulin sensitivity . Spirulina has been used in part as a treatment for hypoglycemia. Research shows that spirulina can reduce blood glucose and lipid profiles while offsetting the metabolic issues associated with excessive fructose intake .
Blood pressure regulation: Studies have shown that Spirulina is a potent remedy for cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis (plaque build-up within arteries) and endothelial dysfunction (poor circulation)  . Spirulina also helps to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure thereby making it a potent antihypertensive agent .
Heavy metals detoxification: The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat all contain unnaturally high levels of harmful substances which our body attempts to remove. Excessive pollution in our environment makes it vital that we support our body’s detox efforts. Arsenic is a heavy metal, a carcinogen, and a well documented poisonous substance. Long-term exposure to arsenic through drinking water may cause cancer of the: skin, lungs, urinary bladder, and kidneys. Some studies have linked arsenic to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Adding Spirulina to your diet along with zinc has been shown to effectively reduce arsenic levels . Moreover, Spirulina is an efficient chelating agent for toxins such as mercury, other heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, as well as radioactive substances which would facilitate removal from the body.
Blood sugar balance: Scientific studies have shown that Spirulina decreases blood sugar, total cholesterol, and triglycerides and increases blood HDL. Research evidence also suggests that Spirulina can help type 2 diabetes patients manage their blood sugar levels.
How to Know if Your Spirulina is High-Quality
Just like the other food you consume, not all Spirulina is created equally. Climate, growing conditions, and equipment are all important factors to considering when finding the highest quality Spirulina. One should consider both the way in which this compound is grown and the quality control checks in place to ensure a lack of external contaminants. The best way to verify the quality of any compound, including Spirulina is to ask for independent testing by a verified and neutral third party to ensure there are no heavy metals, pesticides, or additives in the products which you purchase.
Spirulina is a superfood like no other, it can be produced sustainably and has numerous health benefits, all of which will lead to it’s increased utilization in the food industry in the near future. AzmaBiotech Spirulina is the 100% additive-free way to add this organic superfood to your daily diet and will allow you to enjoy an unparalleled complement of health benefits.