Spirulina: Popular treatment for Allergic rhinitis, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and anemia

Health & Fitness Spirulina: Popular treatment for Allergic rhinitis, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and anemia

Spirulina is a type of algae that grows in fresh or salt water. It comes as a supplement, in tablet or powder form.

Spirulina is one of the world’s most popular supplements. It is made from an organism that grows in both fresh and saltwater.

One study by Karkos et al.(2011) explained that spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria , which is a family of single-celled microbes that are often referred to as blue-green algae. Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis.

Spirulina was consumed by the ancient Aztecs but became popular again when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space for use by astronauts( Karkos et al. 2011; Fais et al. 2022).

However, in recent times, many people also used spirulina for different reasons such as to boost the levels of nutrients and antioxidants in their bodies and could protect against various diseases.

Spirulina, science
The US Department of Agriculture revealed that spirulina has nutrients packed. A single tablespoon (tbsp), or 7 grams (g), of dried spirulina powder, has :

  • Protein: 4 g
  • Thiamin: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin: 20% of the DV
  • Niacin: 6% of the DV
  • Copper: 47% of the DV
  • Iron: 11% of the DV

It also has a few amounts of magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

In addition, the same amount contains only 20 calories and less than 2 g of carbohydrates.

Spirulina also provides a small amount of fat — around 1 g per tbsp (7 g) — including both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in an approximately 1.5 to 1 ratio.

Besides, the quality of the protein in spirulina is regarded as excellent and provides all of the essential amino acids that your body needs.

Though some claimed that spirulina has vitamin B12, Oever and Mayer(2022) found this to be false but rather pseudovitamin B12, and not effective in humans.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
The key ingredient in spirulina is called phycocyanin, an antioxidant that also provides a special blue color.

A study by Naeini et al.(2021; Grover et al. 2021)) found that Phycocyanin could wade off oxidative stress by preventing the production of molecules that promote inflammation and providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Serban et al.(2016) study found that Spirulina could reduce total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides, in addition to improving high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol, which are all risk factors for heart disease.

Hamedifard et al.(2019) review found that spirulina improves markers in people with metabolic syndrome and the accompanying disorders.

Protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation

Ito et al.(2019) found that lipid peroxidation is a major contributor to many diseases. They are fatty structures in the body that are susceptible to oxidative damage.

A previous study by Wu et al.(2016) found that the antioxidants in spirulina could decrease lipid peroxidation.

A more recent study by Chaouachi et al.(2022) found that spirulina supplements decrease exercise-induced lipid peroxidation, inflammation, and muscle damage in 17 rugby players.

Anti-cancer properties
Fais et al.(2022) animal study found that spirulina reduces cancer occurrence and tumor size in various cancers.

Blood pressure
Machowiec et al.(2021) review of five studies found that taking 1-8 g of spirulina per day could significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially for people with high blood pressure levels.

The decrease is engineered by an increased production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps the blood vessels relax and dilate( de Freitas Brito et al. 2019).

For instance, the Therapeutic Research, reports that there’s good evidence that spirulina can help regulate blood pressure and manage hypertension. For instance, a study looked at people diagnosed with hypertension and found that those who took 4.5 grams of spirulina daily for six weeks saw decreases in blood pressure. Another study found that supplementing with 2 grams (g) of spirulina for twelve weeks decreased systolic blood pressure by 7 mmHG and diastolic blood pressure by 6 mmHG.

Allergic rhinitis
Spirulina is a popular alternative treatment for symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and there is evidence that it can be effective.

For instance, Nourollahian et al.(2020) human study found that spirulina was more effective than cetirizine, an antihistamine used to treat allergies, in improving symptoms of allergic rhinitis and decreasing inflammation.

Dini Marlina and Fitri Nurhayati(2020) study found spirulina supplement to improve anemia in pregnant people during the second trimester. A previous study by Othoo et al.(2021) found spirulina to improve iron deficiency in young children.

Improve muscle strength and endurance
A study by Gurney and Spendiff O(2022) found that spirulina improved muscle strength and endurance.

A previous study by Gurney T and Spendiff O(2020) found that spirulina supplementation was able to improve oxygen uptake during an arm cycling exercise, with researchers noting that it could act as an ergogenic aid to enhance athletic performance.

Blood sugar control
Hannan et al.(2020) animal study found that spirulina could lower blood sugar levels.

one review of eight studies by Hatami E et al.(2021) on humans found spirulina supplement from 0.8-8 g daily could drastically reduce fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The same study found that there was no significant effect on blood sugar levels after eating or levels of hemoglobin A1c, which is used to measure long-term blood sugar control.

Weight loss
Spirulina may be beneficial for people with obesity. Moradi et al (2019) systemic review found that spirulina may reduce body fat percent and waist circumference in people who carry more weight.

However, this meta-analysis only included five studies, so more studies are needed to conclude how spirulina may help with weight loss.

Oral Health
There are some indications that spirulina can help your oral health. A study by Mahendra et al.(2013) found that spirulina gel applied to the gums can help with symptoms of periodontitis (gum disease).

There is also evidence(Kanjani et al. 2019) that spirulina can fight oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF), a condition that can lead to cancerous lesions in the mouth. However, more studies are needed.

Spirulina, warning
Spirulina is generally considered safe. The Dietary Supplements Information Expert Committee (DSI-EC) has said that it does not pose a major health risk. However, Finamore et al.(2017) study found some side effects such as difficulty sleeping and problems with digestion.

People taking certain blood-pressure-lowering, immunosuppressant, or cholesterol-lowering medications, may need to avoid spirulina due to the potential for interaction with certain chemicals in spirulina. Some products may be contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins or bacteria.

Gogna et al.(2023) study found that people can take spirulina up to 10 grams every day for up to 6 months.

Take Home
Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria —also known as blue-green algae is highly nutritious and improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels, suppresses oxidation, reduces blood pressure, and lowers fasting blood sugar levels.

The effects of supplements vary from person to person and depend on many variables, including type, dosage, frequency of use, and interactions with current medications. This is why it is important to speak to a qualified Naturopathic doctor in this area. Nyarkotey Herbal Pharma has qualified Naturopaths to help you make good decisions on your health on all Natural remedies. Call now