Are you interested in learning about the benefits of spirulina? Like many other kinds of blue green algae, taking spirulina supplements can benefit your health in a variety of ways. Read on to learn more about how this microscopic aquatic vegetable can make your body stronger.
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a microscopic plant that lives in aquatic environments. It is part of a family of sea vegetables called blue green algae. While in general blue green algae is good for you, spirulina is particularly high in a series of compounds that your body needs to stay healthy. The most common species used for nutritional supplements are Spirulina maxima and Spirulina platensis.
What Are the Benefits of Spirulina?
What is it about spirulina that makes it so popular and good for you? Besides its signature blue green color, this little plant is packed with all sorts of nutrients:
- B1, B2, B6 and B12
- Pantothenic acid
- Folic acid
- Vitamin E
- Essential fatty acids
Spirulina also contains carotenoids, or precursors to other vitamins. In spirulina, these carotenoids are used to help your body to produce vitamin A:
Since vitamin A is usually derived from animals livers, vegans and vegetarians will be happy to know that spirulina is a good source of the nutrients your body needs to produce its own.
Chlorophyll in Algae
Algae contains chlorophyll, which is the pigment molecule that makes plants green. This compound is very good for you when taken as a dietary supplement. Chlorophyll can help to promote liver cell regeneration, prevent blood problems such as anemia and dilate blood vessels which improves circulation to your organs. This green substance can also ease digestive problems such as constipation and gastric ulcers.
Spirulina Is High in Amino Acids
Besides being packed with vitamins, spirulina also contains a good balance of all eight of the essential amino acids:
Spirulina also supplies 10 out of 12 nonessential amino acids, giving your body an extra boost in the protein department:
- Aspartic Acid
- Glutamic Acid
While your body can manufacture these nonessential amino acids, supplementing your diet with them will help to maintain your production of enzymes, proteins, hormones, brain chemicals and the other metabolic processes. Being a nearly complete protein, this makes spirulina a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who are trying to cut down on the amount of meat they eat.
Taking New Supplements
As always, you should consult your doctor or other health care provider before beginning any new dietary supplements or courses of treatment. If you have any questions, please make an appointment to weigh the pros and cons of starting supplemental therapy in your particular situation.
Learn More About Spirulina's Benefits
Do you want to know more about the benefits of spirulina? The Internet has a wealth of great resources for continuing your research on this very special nutritional supplement.
- The National Institutes of Health discusses spirulina and what sort of research has been used to prove its effectiveness.
- Spirulina has many uses, and you should be aware of them all, along with the risks of taking any supplement.
- Are there side effects to taking a spirulina supplement? MedicineNet.com has a great article on this topic.
- WebMD talks about how spirulina is growing in popularity because of its myriad health benefits.