When you heard about this blue-green algae for the first time, did you right away say yum? Well, probably not. Yet spirulina is often praised as a superfood for its powerful health benefits, like its close relative, chlorella. For example, spirulina contains copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and potassium, among other minerals. It also contains a healthy dose of vitamins and disease-fighting antioxidants. With all these positives, spirulina benefits include the ability to help the body detox, boost energy, lower blood pressure, eliminate candida, and more.

But please be sure to always purchase a high-quality product. Unfortunately, you may get some unwanted side effects from a low-quality product.

Spirulina Benefits

1. Detoxes Heavy Metals

First and foremost, spirulina benefits the body by promoting heavy metal detox. For example, one study on patients with chronic arsenic poisoning found that spirulina extract decreased the arsenic in the patients’ bodies by 47%. But how do we get arsenic in our tissues in the first place? Well, unfortunately your drinking water can be contaminated with arsenic. Research suggests that adding spirulina to your diet can help rid the body of harmful toxins, including heavy metals. (1)

2. Eliminates Candida

In another kind of detoxification, spirulina can eliminate candida from the body. Although candida, a fungus, naturally occurs in a balanced gut, candida overgrowth leads to a disorder called candidiasis. You see, it’s all about balance. Both leaky gut and improper digestion can lead to an imbalance of yeast and bacteria in the body. The nutrients in spirulina prevent candida overgrowth and bring balance to your gut microbes. (2)

3. Improves HIV/AIDS

In addition, research has shown that spirulina benefits include the ability to improve HIV and AIDS symptoms. Specifically, in a three-month trial, researchers found that HIV patients who took five grams of spirulina and brown seaweed each day saw improvements in CD4 cells. Yes, you guessed it. Those CD4 cells are T-helper white blood cells that help fight infection, including HIV. (3)

Spirulina benefits

4. Helps Prevent Cancer

In several studies looking at spirulina and different cancers, researchers found that spirulina increases the production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that strengthen the immune system and fight chronic illnesses, including cancer. Specifically, the powerful antioxidants in spirulina have anti-cancer properties that can control the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Research further suggests that spirulina may work as a natural treatment for other forms of cancer as well. (4, 5)

5. Lowers Blood Pressure

Another of its benefits, spirulina can to lower blood pressure. First, it contains a pigment called phycocyanin that has natural antihypertensive effects. And therefore, by lowering blood pressure levels, spirulina can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. (6)

6. Reduces Cholesterol

Along the same lines, spirulina benefits include the ability to naturally reduce cholesterol, as well. The antioxidants in this blue-green algae work to boost heart health and prevent atherosclerosis by reducing both serum triglycerides and total cholesterol levels. In fact, to quote the researchers, “spirulina supplementation has favorable effect on select cardiovascular and metabolic” health. (7)

7. Lowers Chance of Stroke

In addition to improving cholesterol levels, studies have also shown that supplementing with spirulina can help prevent atherosclerosis and stroke. You see, this superfood is extremely nutrient-dense food, so including spirulina in your diet can even help reverse heart damage caused by eating a high cholesterol diet. (8)

Spirulina benefits

8. Boosts Energy

Who couldn’t use more energy these days? Fortunately, spirulina offers a unique plant-based energy source. You see, unlike its cousin chlorella, spirulina has no cell wall. Therefore, it’s much easier for your body to access and use the energy from this food. Simply, it gives the body a natural energy boost. Just mix spirulina powder with fresh lime juice to help boost your metabolism and give you a steady stream of energy. (9)

9. Speeds Up Weight Loss

And what goes well with more energy? Well, weight loss, of course! Spirulina benefits include the ability to aid in weight loss. How? Because it’s packed with nutrients, this superfood helps the body maintain lean tissue and burn fat and improve metabolism. Additionally, as a protein-rich food, spirulina can also help promote satiety to reduce overeating. (10)

10. Alleviates Sinus Issues

So in 2008, researchers had already discovered that spirulina improves allergic rhinitis. Translation? Less sneezing, runny nose, and coughs. But the research doesn’t stop there. In 2020, research has extended those benefits to include the ability to fight sinus infection symptoms. The antioxidants in spirulina help reduce inflammation to fight congestion, sneezing, and other irritating symptoms. (11, 12)

The Bonus Plan

With concerns around natural viruses, you may like to know that spirulina has your back here, too. In fact, one compound found in spirulina prevents viruses from penetrating cells. And if a virus can’t get into a cell, then it can’t replicate and spread throughout your body. Good news! (13)

Spirulina Side Effects

OK, let’s make this clear. Yes, spirulina supplementation carries some side effects, but this may occur only if the algae is contaminated. In other words, the environment the spirulina is grown in and how it’s harvested may create a product with heavy metals or toxins in it already. (14)

So when purchasing, it’s important to make sure you’re buying a high-quality product, to avoid potential spirulina side effects. Also, some research suggests that children and pregnant women should not consume algae. Spirulina side effects may include:

  • Liver damage
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shock and death