Spirulina Algae: Properties, Benefits, And Contraindications

All the information on this particular type of seaweed, which, according to some, would offer a valid help in the slimming process. Spirulina algae, unicellular blue algae that live in lakes with alkaline waters and are warm, have many nutritional and therapeutic properties thanks to the substances contained in them. According to many, moreover, it would offer a valid help in the weight loss process.

What is spirulina algae for?

Spirulina algae, thanks to the characteristics of the water in which it grows, has a high content of non-animal origin, essential amino acids, and lipids. It also contains minerals (such as iron, copper, manganese, and magnesium) and vitamins, including tocopherol, some carotenoids (or provitamins A), inositol, and many B vitamins vitamin B12, in forms however biologically not active. For this reason, the spirulina algae should not be considered a supplement or a functional food useful for preventing or filling the deficiency of this vitamin in the diet.

Spirulina algae have been the subject of numerous scientific studies to evaluate its usefulness as a treatment for aesthetic appearance, arsenic poisoning, hay fever and allergic rhinitis, arthritis, hyperlipoproteinemia in hypertension, and as a means of improving exercise tolerance. These studies, however, are still considered preliminary, and according to the National Institutes of Health, there is still too little scientific evidence to recommend a spirulina supplement for any human condition. To clarify its benefits, therefore, more research is needed.

The Benefits Of Spirulina Algae

The following are the main benefits derived from taking spirulina algae:

  1. antioxidant action: thanks to the presence of vitamins, phycobilins, and other pigments, including chlorophyll, spirulina has strong antioxidant properties, promoting memory and concentration, fighting free radicals, and protecting the body from the damage that these can cause, such as premature aging, neurodegenerative diseases, some cancers, and atherosclerotic disease;
  2. prevention of cardiovascular diseases: thanks to the presence of omega-6 and gamma-linolenic acid, spirulina algae helps to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, normalize blood pressure, participate in the formation of myelin sheaths that line the nerves, and improve the function of the immune system;
  3. nutritional support in vegan and vegetarian diets;
  4. support in the state of health of athletes subjected to intense training;
  5. protection of the organism from damage induced by oxidative stress and excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Does Spirulina Algae Make You Lose Weight?

There is currently no scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of spirulina in the weight loss process. However, its high protein content may be useful for those who need to supplement certain minerals (particularly iron) or those who need an additional protein source. 

Spirulina Recipes

Spirulina algae can be used in cooking in the form of powder or dry extract. Here are some suggestions:

  1. you can prepare an energizing and refreshing juice by adding dry spirulina extract to ginger, lemon, and carrot;
  2. add the dry extract of spirulina algae to the dough of fresh pasta or homemade bread, using wholemeal flours, preferably with a low gluten content; 
  3. add spirulina to sea salt and sesame to flavor vegetable side dishes, first and second courses, and cold dishes, salads, soups, and soups.

Spirulina Algae, Contraindications, And Side Effects

If contaminated with microcystins or anatoxins, Spirulina algae can cause gastrointestinal disturbances (stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting), weakness, thirst, rapid heartbeat, shock, and, in the long term and severe cases, liver cancer, and death. Spirulina algae can also absorb heavy metals: it is necessary to buy only safe products.

Before starting the intake of products based on spirulina algae, it is also always necessary to seek the advice of an expert: in case of thyroid problems, autoimmune diseases, kidney stones, pregnancy or breastfeeding, or gout, spirulina algae must be avoided, just as it should not be taken by patients suffering from phenylketonuria or who are following anticoagulant treatments.


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