What happens if you take spirulina every day?

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that has been consumed as a food source for centuries. In recent years, spirulina has gained popularity as a dietary supplement due to its high nutrient content and potential health benefits. But what really happens when you take spirulina every day? Here is an in-depth look at the effects of daily spirulina consumption.

Nutritional profile of spirulina

First, it helps to understand the nutritional makeup of spirulina. Spirulina is incredibly nutritious, which is one of the main reasons it is touted as a superfood. Some of the key nutrients found in spirulina include:

  • Protein – Spirulina contains up to 70% high-quality protein, making it one of the richest natural sources of plant-based protein.
  • Vitamins – It is loaded with various B vitamins, vitamin K, and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.
  • Minerals – Spirulina provides minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
  • Antioxidants – It contains antioxidants like phycocyanin, which provides anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Carbohydrates – It provides carbohydrates in the form of rhamnose sugars.

This impressive nutrient profile gives spirulina significant potential therapeutic applications.

Weight loss effects

Several studies have examined the effects of spirulina supplementation on weight loss and fat burning. The results have been promising:

  • In one study, people who took spirulina daily for 12 weeks lost significantly more body fat than those who took a placebo. The spirulina group also had lower triglyceride levels.
  • Animal studies have found that spirulina reduces accumulation of fat tissue by suppressing fat absorption during digestion.
  • The protein in spirulina enhances satiety, which can reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss over time.

The combined effects of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in spirulina may all contribute to its ability to support weight management.

Effects on blood sugar and diabetes

There is also evidence that spirulina may have beneficial effects on blood sugar regulation, which could have implications for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

  • In one 12-week study in people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina per day led to significantly lower blood sugar levels compared to a placebo.
  • Animal studies have shown spirulina reduces blood sugar levels by enhancing glucose uptake in muscle and liver tissue.
  • The antioxidant phycocyanin in spirulina has been shown to mimic the effects of insulin, further aiding blood sugar control.

More research is needed, but the current evidence indicates spirulina supplements may aid blood sugar regulation in people with diabetes.

Effects on cholesterol and heart health

Several studies have found favourable effects of spirulina on cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors:

  • Daily spirulina intake for 3 months reduced LDL and triglyceride levels while raising HDL levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Animal studies have shown reductions in LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol from taking spirulina.
  • The antioxidants in spirulina, especially phycocyanin, can help relax blood vessels and improve blood pressure.

Through these mechanisms, spirulina shows promise for supporting heart health by improving cholesterol and lowering cardiovascular disease risk.

Effects on exercise performance

A few studies have examined whether spirulina can enhance exercise performance and endurance:

  • Trained male runners showed significantly increased exercise time until exhaustion after taking spirulina for 4 weeks compared to a placebo.
  • Other studies found enhanced endurance, increased muscle strength and reduced fatigue from spirulina supplementation.
  • Spirulina’s effects on energy levels may be due to its ability to raise red blood cell counts and hemoglobin levels.

While more research is needed, current evidence suggests spirulina may be beneficial for boosting exercise performance and endurance.

Effects on the immune system

Spirulina is often claimed to support immune function. So far, scientific studies indicate spirulina may:

  • Increase the activity of various immune cells like macrophages, T cells and natural killer cells.
  • Enhance the immune system’s ability to fight infections from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.
  • Reduce risk of certain cancers by exerting antiviral and anticancer effects.

The unique combination of nutrients like protein, iron, zinc and antioxidants likely contributes to spirulina’s ability to support a healthy, well-functioning immune system.

Effects on allergies

Spirulina shows promise for treating some allergy symptoms:

  • Studies indicate it inhibits the release of histamine, which causes allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, itching and runny nose.
  • In one study, people with allergic rhinitis showed significantly reduced symptoms after taking spirulina daily for 6 weeks.
  • Animal studies have demonstrated spirulina suppresses allergic reactions by preventing mast cell activation.

More research is needed, but spirulina may be helpful for alleviating sneezing, congestion and other symptoms caused by environmental allergies.

Effects on anxiety and depression

Limited evidence suggests spirulina may benefit people with mood disorders like anxiety and depression:

  • Elderly participants reported significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety disorder after taking spirulina supplements for 16 weeks.
  • Reductions in depression symptoms have been seen in people with chronic fatigue syndrome after spirulina treatment.
  • Animal studies indicate antidepressant-like effects from taking spirulina supplements.

The mechanisms are unclear, but the nutrients and antioxidant effects of spirulina may favorably influence brain neurotransmitters.

Other potential benefits

Here are a few more ways that daily spirulina intake may benefit health:

  • Detoxification – Spirulina assists with heavy metal detoxification and prevents their absorption.
  • Oral health – It reduces plaque, gingivitis and periodontal inflammation to support dental health.
  • Liver health – Animal studies indicate spirulina protects the liver and kidneys from damage and toxins.
  • Gut health – It may alleviate symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, such as bloating and diarrhea.
  • Skin health – When applied topically, spirulina benefits skin hydration, elasticity and antioxidant protection against damage.

Is spirulina safe?

For most people, spirulina is very safe with minimal side effects. Some people report:

  • Upset stomach or nausea when taking spirulina, especially in larger doses.
  • Allergic reactions in sensitive people, which may manifest as hives, itching or difficulty breathing.
  • Contamination and purity issues in certain spirulina supplements linked to adverse effects.

Additionally, spirulina may interact with certain medications like immunosuppressants, anticoagulants and phenylbutazone. People with certain medical conditions should avoid it, including:

  • Phenylketonuria – Spirulina contains the amino acid phenylalanine.
  • Autoimmune diseases – It stimulates the immune system, which could exacerbate disease activity.
  • Liver or kidney issues – The high protein content could further stress impaired organs.

When taken in recommended amounts, spirulina is generally well-tolerated by most healthy people. As with any supplement, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before starting.

Recommended dosage

Most studies examining spirulina’s health benefits used doses between 1-8 grams per day. The optimal dosage depends on factors like age, health status and conditions being treated.

For general wellness, most experts recommend 1-3 grams per day. Start with a lower dose and slowly increase to gauge tolerance. Take spirulina with meals to minimize any stomach discomfort.

Spirulina powder can be added to smoothies, juices, energy bars, soups and dressings. There are also spirulina tablets and capsules for greater convenience.


Daily spirulina intake boasts an impressive range of health benefits, from weight loss and diabetes management to enhanced immunity and heart health. It’s also well-tolerated by most people.

While more research is still needed, the current evidence indicates spirulina is a nutritious supplement worthy of including in a healthy, balanced diet. Incorporating a few grams per day may help support overall well-being.

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