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Spirulina Health Benefits and Side Effects

By Edited Jun 14, 2015 0 0

Spirulina
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is used as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, tablets, flakes and powder. It is a bluish green algae which contains multiple nutrients and health benefits regardless of its minute size. It contains proteins and one of the richest sources of beta carotene and vitamin B complex. Other than that, it contains all the essential amino acids, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, selenium and chlorophyll. The nutrients found in a gram of spirulina can be compared to nutrients of one kilo of vegetables. That’s the reason why it is considered to be an effective nutritional support.


Health Benefits

Don’t underestimate the health benefits of this small organism, since there are lots of known health benefits involved. Chlorophyll, one of the most abundant nutrients in spirulina, can actually boost the immune system, which would be best for immunocompromised patients. It is a natural detoxifier too and helps repair cells and tissues. Spirulina can also be helpful in reducing inflammation and allergy problems. Liver, kidneys, and the heart also benefit from this supplement since it supports the function of these organs by providing enough nutrients while building endurance and reducing fatigue at the same time.

Recently, there are many studies which support spirulina as an aid to liver diseases and sexually-transmitted diseases such as herpes, cytomegalovirus and even HIV but more studies are needed.

Are There Side Effects?

Though spirulina is very rich in nutrients and completely natural, there are still several reported side effects to one’s body. Being thirsty is the most common side effect since spirulina absorbs a lot of water in the body and a suggested half liter of water consumption must be done to compensate the amount of water lost by the body in the process. Dizziness is considered normal to those taking spirulina, but it is still tolerable. Another effect is fever, which can be due to high protein intake since excess proteins are burned by the body. Other reported side effects are gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and allergic reactions such as rashes after spirulina intake. Also, pregnant women are not recommended to take spirulina as it may affect the development of the baby.

Spirulina is packed with an unbelievable number of nutrients and health benefits with its small size but certain precautions must be observed first before buying supplements. Don’t take spirulina if you found a lake or pond near your area which may be contaminated with multiple bacteria and toxins. Some spirulina products can easily be contaminated with these bacteria and toxins, which can be harmful to one’s health resulting to more adverse effects after intake. It is advised to research well on the provider or pharmaceutical company before buying spirulina products from them. People who suffer from certain diseases must consult their attending physician first before taking supplements to avoid interaction of spirulina with their regular medications. If you’re already taking spirulina supplements, just remember to take reasonable doses and don’t overload the body with it to compensate for the nutrients you did not get from eating certain foods.

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