Spirulina — the superfood you may or may not have heard of — comes from a blue-green algae plant found in oceans and salty lakes. Lauded for centuries for its high nutritional value and health benefits, it’s not just a passing health fad. Spirulina is typically sold as a powder or tablet and has more iron than raw spinach and more beta-carotene than carrots. Other health benefits of spirulina include:
- Most Nutrient Dense Food On the Planet: The concentration of protein and vitamins in Spirulina has led many to classify it as the “most nutrient dense food on the planet.” Compared to other foods gram for gram, it lives up to this reputation and is a great source of:
- Protein: It is considered a complete source of high-quality protein and is often compared to eggs for the amount of protein per gram. The protein in Spirulina is highly usable and has a net protein utilization rate of between 50-61%
- Vitamin B1: Also called Thiamin, this vitamin is necessary for the digestion of fats and proteins. It is often taken for increased energy, eye health, brain function and for improving nerve functioning.
- Iron: Spirulina is a favorite food for vegetarians and vegans because it is one of the best plant sources of iron. Even for those who consume meat, it has a highly absorbable form of iron that is gentle on the digestive system.
- Calcium: Spirulina is also incredibly high in calcium with over 26 times the calcium in milk.
- Contains Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) & Omega-3s: Spirulina is 65% protein and amino acids including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which has gotten a lot of attention for its anti-inflammatory properties, especially when taken with other quality Omega-3 supplements.
- May Help Balance Blood Sugar: Studies show that spirulina may be especially helpful in balancing blood sugar, and may even be as effective as diabetes medication in some instances. Other studies show that it not only lowers blood sugar but may also lower HbA1c, which is a long term marker of blood sugar levels.
- Muscle and Endurance Benefits: Spirulina is known to increase fat burning during exercise. Its high antioxidant content makes it beneficial in reducing exercise induced oxidation which leads to muscle fatigue and inability to gain muscle.
- Helps Remove Heavy Metals: Spirulina can bind with heavy metals in the body and help remove them. It is also extremely high in Chlorophyll, which helps remove toxins from the blood and boost the immune system. In fact, one study found that 500 milligrams of spirulina daily combined with zinc supplementation was enough to reduce arsenic toxicity by almost half!
- Powerful Antioxidants: Antioxidants are powerful substances that protect our cells from damage. Thanks to decades of research, many of us understand the importance of consuming enough antioxidants from natural sources, and spirulina is a great choice.