Spirulina Health Benefits, Dosing, and Side Effects

spirulina health benefits

Written: June 12, 2022 | Updated on June 14th, 2022 | Jun P. Espina

Spirulina Health Benefits Examined

spirulina health benefitsSpirulina health benefits are mind-blowing. This seaweed ranks superior among the superfoods. It belongs to a genus of blue-green algae or BGA. BGA are microscopic fresh-water organisms known as cyanobacteria. They are blue-green, the green representing pigments of chlorophyll; the blue, from the pigment-protein complex of phycocyanin. Spirulina health benefits are known for its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. All diseases start with inflammation. [1] From lots of clinical studies, Spirulina or Arthrospira proves to work with various health issues. NASA successfully used it as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions. [2]

A glimpse of the health-giving nutrients of Spirulina:

▸ Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium & Zinc.
▸ Vitamins: Vitamin A (beta-Carotene), Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Panthothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Folate (B9), Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, & Vitamin K.
▸ Protein: Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Cystine, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Valine, Arginine, Histidine, Alanine, Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, Glycine, Proline, & Serine.
▸ FAT: Saturated, Monounsaturated, & Polyunsaturated.
▸ Carbohydrates: Sugars & Dietary fiber.
Note: Spirulina does not contain Vitamin A (lutein zeaxanthin), Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D.

Spirulina is Safe for Consumption

spirulina health benefits

At Ain Shams University (Egypt), Hala G. EL-Tantawi and Faten S. Abozeid concluded a study that Spirulina exhibits substances that are anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, anticancer, and other nourishing and healthful benefits. They wrote:

“Spirulina is a rich source of phycocyanin, carotenoids, biliprotein pigment, proteins, phenolic acids, iodine, and vitamins[23]. Moreover, the high active ingredient of C-phycocyanin in spirulina makes it exhibit activities such as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant; immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, antigenotoxic, antitoxic, antihypertensive and anticancer.” (emphasis added) [3]

•  Spirulina: The Green Cake

The Aztecs, the Central Africans, the Chinese, and people groups in many parts of the globe consumed this photosynthetic bacteria for centuries. The women near Lake Chad, for example, formed this alga into a Spirulina paste, then dry it quickly in the sun to form a “crumbly green cake called ‘dihe’.” [4] Spirulina is safe for consumption. As a nutraceutical food supplement used worldwide, experts estimate the Spirulina market worth $629.6 Million by 2025. [5]

Roundup Spirulina health benefits spread out to various health issues. It contains vitamins, proteins, and other beneficial properties that one cannot get from the foods consumed daily. It is safe to use, and its array of beta carotene and other anti-inflammatory and anticancer attributes give the body an excellent anti-aging supplementation when taken regularly.

Read More: The Global Health Crisis of Communicable and NonInfectious Diseases

One of Spirulina’s Health Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory

Spirulina loads with antioxidants which explain the potency of its anti-inflammatory activities. Its beta carotene is ten times more concentrated than carrots, making this “free-floating filamentous microalgae” the richest beta carotene food known. The carotenoids in Spirulina include zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, myxoxanthophyll, and echinenone. These extracts are known to inhibit carcinogenesis. Study shows that Spirulina may help prevent the progression of liver disease to cirrhosis, and may reduce skin and stomach tumors. Carotenoid-rich Spirulina may also weaken the advancement of prostate cancer and reduce the incidence of lung cancer.

•  Beta Carotene

“Beta carotene,” a study proves, “is one of the most effective substances for deactivating free radicals, which damage cells, leading to cancer. Free radicals are molecular fragments from environmental pollution, toxic chemicals, drugs, and physical and emotional stress [32]. Beta carotene prevents free radicals from reacting, decreases the incidence of lung cancer, prevents chemically induced tumors in animals, prevents precancerous pre-chromosome damage, and enhances immunological resistance.” [6]

We are required to eat 4-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to have “natural carotene insurance.” Spirulina may fill this health need.

Smokers’ lung cancer issues may be traced to low beta carotene levels in the blood.

•  Phycocyanin

Phycocyanin is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant found in Spirulina, thus making this superfood exceptional to “green foods like chlorella, wheat grass and barley.” The Journal of Cancer (of the US National Institutes of Health) reported: “that phycocyanin has anti-oxidative function, anti-inflammatory activity, anti-cancer function, immune enhancement function, liver and kidney protection pharmacological effects.” [7]

It suppresses the progress of viral infection and inhibits the “development of some tumoral cell lines, showing potential anticancer activity against human” cancer cells (stomach, liver, lung, and breast). It also inhibits the growth of leukemia. [6]

•  Phycocyanin Activates the Immune System

Phycocyanin also protects the liver and kidneys during detoxification and activates the immune system. It exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, and has the ability to scavenge free radicals, including alkoxyl, hydroxyl, and peroxyl radicals, and the ability to decrease nitrite production, to suppress “inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, and inhibits liver microsomal lipidperoxidation.” [8]

Spirulina’s C-phycocyanin (C-PC) is one of the major biliprotein pigments it contains with antioxidant and radical scavenging properties.

Roundup To understand Spirulina’s health benefits from its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, we should inquire into its beta carotene, phycocyanin, and other microalgal bioactive substances. Given its pack of nutraceutical compounds, Spirulina also helps protect the liver, and kidneys, and boost the human immune system. As a food supplement, it should not replace your prescription and maintenance drugs.

Another Important Dimension of Spirulina Health Benefits: May Improve Cardiovascular Health

spirulina health benefits

Spirulina health benefits include support for our cardiovascular health. This superfood is known to have hypolipidemic (cholesterol-lowering), antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. PubMed reported that,

“Spirulina has become one of such nutraceutical food with diverse beneficial effects on an array of disease conditions. It has been reported that consumption of Spirulina as diet supplement has health benefits in preventing or managing hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycerolemia, certain inflammatory diseases, allergies, cancer, environmental toxicant- and drug-induced toxicities, viral infections, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other metabolic disease among others [5,6,10]. In this review, emphasis is given to the potential beneficial effects of Spirulina on cardiovascular diseases with highlights on Spirulina’s hypolipidemic, antioxidant and antiinflamatory activities in preclinical and clinical studies.” (emphasis added) [8]

•  Spirulina Helps Increase the Bioavailability of Nitric Oxide

Another study (Aline de Freitas Brito, et al.) published in Hindawi Journals, confirms Spirulina’s benefit for cardiovascular issues. The research shows the intervention of Spirulina provides “factors derived from vascular endothelium, increased bioavailability of NO, reduced lipid peroxidation, and increased antioxidant activity in both the plasma and aorta.” [9]

•  Lipid Peroxidation

Lipid peroxidation is the process caused by free radicals, which is the “stealing” of electrons from the lipids in cell membranes. A chain reaction of the abnormal cells (or atoms with unpaired electrons) “stealing” from its neighbors’ electrons is called the scavenging activities of free radicals, which bring about damage to cells, proteins, and DNA. Rich in antioxidant properties, Spirulina reduces lipid peroxidation. One key to maintaining cardiovascular health is the protection from the attacks of oxidative stress or free radicals. Spirulina helps shield the body from such attacks.

•  Vasodilator

Vasodilator. The increased bioavailability of NO (Nitric Oxide) is also Spirulina’s proven potential to support heart health. Spirulina, as proven in this study, is a vasodilator. It has the property to help expand the blood vessels through the increased bioavailability of nitric oxide in the body.

•  Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a “disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries.” PubMed reports that “Spirulina prevents atherosclerosis by reducing hypercholesterolemia. . .. These results suggest that spirulina intake can cause the reduction of hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis, associated with a decrease in levels of serum TC, TG and LDL-C, and an elevation of HDL-C level. Spirulina may, therefore, be beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.” [10]

•  Cholesterol

Cholesterol. Spirulina may lower your bad LDL-cholesterol levels and increase your cardio-friendly HDL cholesterol. PubMed said, “This meta-analysis showed a significant effect of supplementation with Spirulina in reducing plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides and elevating those of HDL-C.” [11]

•  The Big Food Industries Versus Your Health

While the good (HDL-C) cholesterol returns unused lipids (fats) to the liver, the bad (LDL) cholesterol moves the fats into the bloodstream causing atherosclerosis or plaque build-up inside the arteries. The fats to avoid to reduce LDL-cholesterol intake are trans and saturated fats. What is recommended is the unsaturated fats, which we can get from fish, plants, nuts, seeds, beans, and vegetable oils (not the solidified vegetable oils).

Examples of trans fats are butter, margarine, shortening, beef, or pork. Avoid Canola oil, Corn oil/Vegetable Oil, Cottonseed oil, Grapeseed oil, Rice bran oil, Safflower oil, Soy oil, and Sunflower oil. Replace them with Almond oil, Avocado oil, Butter, Cocoa butter, Coconut oil, Ghee, Macadamia nut oil, Olive oil, Peanut oil, Tallow, and lard. Just like the Big Pharma, Big Food is the problem with our longevity. Studies are mostly funded by the Global Elite. So follow the money to understand if foods in your grocery stores were manufactured to support your health.

The FDA includes crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies, and other baked goods as trans fats. It also listed (according to WebMD) snack foods (such as microwave popcorn), frozen pizza, fast food, coffee creamer, refrigerated dough products, and ready-to-use frostings. They should not be eaten often.

•  Spirulina Health Benefits May Include the Prevention of CVD in Humans

Research conducted by Haohai Huang, et al., also confirms the Spirulina health benefits in cardiovascular disease (CVD). It says, “The pooled results indicate clinically important improvements in CVD risk profile. Spirulina consumption may be considered as an adjunct to the prevention and treatment of CVD in humans.” [12]

Roundup There is sufficient clinical studies about Spirulina’s health benefits on cardiovascular health. It shows to lower LDL-C cholesterol and increase HDL-C cholesterol. The anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, vasodilation and antioxidant properties of Spirulina prove to help heart disease at a 4,000 mg dosage daily.

Equally Interesting Aspect of Spirulina Health Benefits: May Lower Blood Pressure

One study determines that Spirulina helps lower the systolic blood pressure of around 40 hypertensive Caucasians (without cardiovascular disease) after three months of intervention with a daily dose of 4000 mg. [13] A separate study in Italy reveals a molecule in Spirulina called SP6—which triggers a process called vasodilatory action—that shows to relax the blood artery by releasing the chemical known as nitric oxide.

This molecule is produced naturally by the body to increase blood circulation. Spirulina gets it up to do the work. Wrote Carmine Vecchione (author and professor): “We know that hypertensive patients often have a defect in the natural processes that, by the action of nitric oxide, regulate endothelium (the inner wall of blood vessels). The peptide we isolated in spirulina extract acts positively on this mechanism.” [14]

•  Hypolipidemic Effects

Already mentioned above, Spirulina has demonstrated “hypolipidemic, antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities” in various clinical studies. [8] Researchers noted these help improve cardiovascular health. The hypolipidemic effects observed by scientists in Spirulina supplementation also prove to lower blood pressure. It is the lowering of lipids (fats or cholesterol) in the blood, not to mention Spirulina’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits which are also a basic hypertension remedy. A PubMed report shows that “Some studies suggest that diets with high antioxidants content may reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular complications.” [15]

•  Inflammation and Hypertension

Inflammation and Hypertension. Spirulina’s health benefits consist of anti-inflammatory properties that help lower high blood pressure. Wrote Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., R.D.: “Research suggests that low-grade inflammation is a primary force behind the development and progression of hypertension, also known as chronic high blood pressure. Inflammation stemming from certain diet and lifestyle habits, like smoking and eating too much added sugar, creates a ‘pro-inflammatory environment’ that allows inflammation to not only stick around but also increase, leading to increased oxidative damage and stiffness in blood vessels, which, if persistent over time, can lead to hypertension.” [16]

Roundup Spirulina, being the queen of natural and plant-based supplements, supplies almost all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. The 4000 to 4500 mg daily dose is needed, based on a study, to impact blood pressure issues. Spirulina proves to work with the endothelial function. Endothelium, a “thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels,” releases substances to control vascular relaxation and contraction. Research finds Spirulina has a vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels) effect that is crucial in lowering the blood pressure.

Another Significant Study About Spirulina Health Benefits: May Lower Blood Sugar

spirulina health benefits

If your pancreas gets into trouble producing insulin caused by genetic or environmental factors such as viruses, you have type 1 diabetes. But if your symptoms stay on insulin resistance, it is type 2 diabetes. It is about excess sugar in the blood. Type 1 diabetes manifests its symptoms more quickly.

•  Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Mayo Clinic reported these symptoms of type 2 diabetes, which are: Increased thirst; Frequent urination; Extreme hunger; Unexplained weight loss; Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin); Fatigue; Irritability; Blurred vision; Slow-healing sores; Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections. [17]

If your body cannot produce or use insulin effectively, such a condition raises blood glucose levels known as hyperglycemia. Eventually, high glucose in the blood results in body damage and failure of various organs.

•  Help Reduce Blood Glucose Levels

In a study conducted by Parikh P., et al., they found spirulina supplementation to help reduce blood glucose levels at 4000 mg daily dosage for two months. They concluded that “Two-month supplementation with Spirulina resulted in an appreciable lowering of fasting blood glucose and postprandial blood glucose levels. A significant reduction in the HbA(1c) level was also observed, indicating improved long-term glucose regulation. . .. These findings suggest the beneficial effect of Spirulina supplementation in controlling blood glucose levels.” [18]

Another study by Ou Y., et al. reveals that the phycocyanin from Spirulina works to “decrease fasting blood glucose levels.” They found phycocyanin to help “promote liver glycogen synthesis” (storage of glucose molecules) which resulted in the lowering of blood sugar. [19]

Roundup PubMed and other medical research authorities have confirmed Spirulina’s benefit to help lower blood glucose levels. Given all these volumes of scientific evidence, we find no recommendation for replacing a prescribed drug with a Spirulina food supplement. A food supplement is not a drug. Consult your doctor if you are taking maintenance drugs.

A Part of Spirulina Health Benefits: May Have Anti-Cancer Bioactive Substances

Like other superfoods, Spirulina has anti-cancer bioactive substances. One research shows that Spirulina “significantly decreased proliferation of human pancreatic cancer cell lines.” [20] Second, Spirulina raises antitumor NK activation. [21]

•  Spirulina Health Benefits on Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer. Another study also reveals that Spirulina “exerts a cytotoxic and anti-proliferative effect” on lung cancer cells. It has the ability to inhibit cancer cell reproduction and cell cycle progression. It can also induce apoptosis (or cellular suicide). The researchers concluded that “the results obtained provide evidence of the anti-cancer activity of the commercial Spirulina product against lung cancer cells and strongly support the knowledge of the chemopreventive properties of Spirulina.” [22]

•  High Anti-cancer and Antioxidant Activity

Raghad Jasim Fayyad, et al. reported a study involving Spirulina platensis’ high anti-cancer activity on breast cancer adenocarcinoma cell line and mice intestine carcinoma cell line. “It can be concluded,” they noted, “from this study that S. platensis biomass showed considerable content of bioactive Compounds explaining the high anticancer and antioxidant capacity, in addition S. platensis water extracts showed antiproliferative properties against breast cancer adenocarcinoma cell line (MCF-7) and mice intestine carcinoma cell line (L20B) suggesting that new promising anticancer natural products from blue-green algae are possible.” [23]

Roundup Sarah Knapton wrote in 2016, “that cancer drugs are killing up to 50 per cent of patients in some hospitals.” It is by this urgency that the scientific community struggled to understand the anti-cancer bioactive compounds of superfoods like Spirulina. These available researched materials are enough confirmation of Spirulina’s anti-cancer properties we badly need so we could ward off the dangers of chemotherapy.

Spirulina Health Benefits in a Nutshell

Science confirms that Spirulina is a superfood. As such, Spirulina’s health benefits are heaps of nourishment to our cells. We need highly nutritious foods to keep ourselves active and healthy. Dependence on maintenance drugs is not a good option, although sometimes we really cannot avoid taking prescription drugs. As we have become aware of the adverse side effects of drugs, so we need to take a closer look at superfoods such as Moringa, and Spirulina, among other well-researched and highly nutritious food sources.

Here’s a good synopsis of Spirulina’s health benefits by Helen Brown of Well-Being Secrets: [24]

25 Health Benefits
1 Rich in Protein
2 Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
3 Antidote to Poisoning
4 Fights Allergies
5 Regulates Blood Pressure
6 Manages Cholesterol
7 Helps With Cancer, Especially Oral
8 Boosts Immunity
9 Improves Memory and Academic Performance
10 Protects the Brain
11 Powerful Antioxidants
12 Anti-Inflammatory Properties
13 Protects LDL Cholesterol From Becoming Oxidized
14 Effective Against Anemia
15 Improves Muscle Strength and Endurance
16 Helps with Regulating Sugar Levels
17 Helps Fight Liver Diseases
18 Helps with Weight Loss
19 Fights PMS Symptoms
20 Eliminates Candida
21 Helps Manage HIV/AIDS
22 Keeps Skin Healthy
23 May Treat Hepatitis C
24 Preserves Bone Health
25 Reduces Radiation Sickness

Spirulina Dosing and Side Effects

Wrote Dr. Cath of spirulinaacademy.com about a 10-gram daily dosage:

“Did you know that the findings of several scientific studies indicate that the administration of 10 grams of spirulina per day for at least 90 days tend to bring different parameters significantly towards normal levels (blood glucose, plasma insulin, serum C-peptide, and activities of the glucose metabolizing enzymes hexokinase and glucose-6-phosphatase). AND there is absolutely NO side effects to spirulina, it’s a completely natural food!” [25]

•  Dosing

Dosing. For a 500 mL tablet, 10 g/day dosage is 20 Spirulina tablets daily. Our understanding of dosage levels depends on the goal if it is used as a treatment or food supplementation. Second, the 1-10 grams daily dosage we find on the Internet proves the grade of Spirulina as a food and not a drug.

PubMed studies are usually placed in a two-gram daily dosage or eight 500 mL tablets. If used in a smoothie or as a salad ingredient, 10 grams is just the value of one and one-fourth, measured by a tablespoon.

•  Precautions & Side Effects

Precautions & Side Effects. Spirulina is safe to use, except for Phenylketonuria, a rare disease manifesting “intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral problems, and mental disorders.” Its reason is the presence of the essential amino acid phenylalanine in Spirulina. It is not substantiated, though.

The possibility of mercury and heavy metal contaminants in Spirulina are grounds to avoid it during pregnancy.

Like other food supplement products, the excellent growing, harvesting, and tableting of Spiriluna ensure product safety.

•  Review Recommended Brand

Review Recommended Brand. Spirulina is a part of the cyanobacteria family, and microcystins, among other cyanotoxins, may contaminate the food supplement product. Wikipedia said, “that Microcystins can cause gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea, flatulence, headache, muscle pain, facial flushing, and sweating.” In one study, Audrey Roy-Lachapelle, et al. reported that:

“Out of the 18 products analyzed, 8 contained some cyanotoxins at levels exceeding the tolerable daily intake values. The presence of cyanotoxins in these algal dietary supplements reinforces the need for a better quality control as well as consumer’s awareness on the potential risks associated with the consumption of these supplements. . ..the methods of cultivation in natural waters without appropriate quality controls allow contamination by toxin producer species present in the natural environment.” [26]


Final Roundup

Spirulina Health Benefits Have Caught the Attention of Scientists

Spirulina catches the interest of the medical science communities, from the World Health Organization to NASA, given its very high protein levels, “containing all the essential amino acids, rare essential lipids, numerous minerals” and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties. Often described as the most complete food source, Spirulina is known to have over 100 nutrients and “an impressive 60-70% protein content.” Various scientists from the medical societies took an interest in the Spirulina health benefits. Hence the floods of research on this superfood.

Spirulina contains more beta carotene compounds than most plants, and one tsp. or a supplement tablet of it is equivalent to eating two or more fruits in a day. If taken regularly, Spirulina boosts our immune system as it provides anti-inflammatory agents, antioxidants, and vitamin A. Spirulina also supports our cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and digestive health.

Spirulina Health Benefits are Considered Best for the Elderly

Degenerative diseases such as heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory or kidney disorders, etc. are the results of the aging process being worsened by our sedentary or less-active lifestyle; the food we ate; and the technology-challenged environment in which we live. Modern man’s food is drained of nutrition to increase its shelf life in the malls where it is stored and bought. All these contribute to our ever-decreasing lifespan. What we need most is regular exercise, a restful sleep, plenty of good (alkaline) water, a reduction of maintenance drugs, and a superfood such as Spirulina that will help provide us with our vitamin and mineral needs at the cellular level.


The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health.

Leave us a comment if you have something to say about Spirulina.

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[*** Note: Posted by the same author as “Spirulina Benefits Address Various Health Issues” with all.bythisverse.com]

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