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What is Spirulina

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Author : Joe Huang
Update time : 2022-03-16 10:05:00
                                                                           What is Spirulina
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in nutrients, including B vitamins, beta carotene, and vitamin E. It is cultivated for use both as a dietary supplement and as a whole food. Spirulina is a good source of vegan protein and is thought to have other health benefits, some of which have been proven and others that have not.

Beyond its nutritional value, spirulina is used in complementary and alternative medicine to treat a number of health conditions. Spirulina contains certain compounds that may benefit your overall health, including antioxidants, minerals, chlorophyll, and phycocyanin.

These and other compounds are believed by some to prevent or treat a variety of medical conditions, including:allergies,diabetes,fatigue,hyperlipidemia,viral infections,certain cancers.


To date, there are few studies that strongly support these claims. With that said, there is some evidence of spirulina's health benefits.

Hyperlipidemia
Spirulina shows some promise in treating high cholesterol and high triglycerides, according to a study in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism.

For this study, 78 healthy older adults were given either a spirulina supplement or an inactive placebo. After four months, the adults given spirulina had greater reductions in cholesterol than those given the placebo.
The researchers believe that antioxidants found in spirulina, including phycocyanin, were responsible for this effect.  

Allergies

Spirulina may help relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), according to a small study conducted at Eskisehir Osmangazi University in Turkey. When compared to participants who were given a placebo, those given spirulina were reported to have greater relief of sneezing, stuffy nose, nasal discharge, and itching.
Even so, the researchers were unable to say how spirulina was able to relieve these hay fever symptoms.

Diabetes
A small study published in Nutrition Research and Practice found that spirulina may improve insulin sensitivity and lower total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

After taking a daily spirulina supplement for 12 weeks, 37 adults with diabetes not only had improved glucose (blood sugar) control but also saw reductions in their cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. 

Oral Cancer
Some people believe that phycocyanin in spirulina has strong anti-cancer effects. As far-fetched as the claim may seem, there is some evidence of this effect in people with oral (mouth) cancer.

According to a small study published in Nutrition and Cancer, 44 tobacco chewers with precancerous oral lesions were given either a daily dose of spirulina or a placebo. After 12 months, 20 of the 44 participants given spirulina had a decrease in the size of their lesion, compared to three of the 43 participants who were given a placebo.

While the results seemed promising, a 2011 review in Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine said that the study was flawed and concluded that the findings "cannot be regarded as evidence of a positive effect."


Dosage and Preparation
There is no recommended effective dosage of spirulina.Some studies have shown that doses of up to 3,000 milligrams (mg) per day were safe and well tolerated for up to 12 months with no notable side effects.

Manufacturer recommendations vary but, as a general rule, never exceed the dosage on the product label.
Spirulina is often sold in powder form but is also available in capsules, tablets, and liquids. The powder is sometimes added to smoothies.

The appropriate dose can vary based on your age, sex, medical history, and other factors. Speak to your health provider for advice on the dose that's right for you.

Summary
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has some nutritional value but is also thought by some to have health benefits. This includes the prevention or treatment of allergies, diabetes, fatigue, high cholesterol, and even certain cancers.

While most of these claims are poorly supported by research, there is weak evidence that spirulina can help lower cholesterol or aid in the control of blood sugar.