Best Spirulina Supplements And Powder Reviews
Many things have been written about Spirulina, a super food that has even attracted the attention of Nasa and has been named as ‘food of the future.’
As with any super food, it is important to be well informed, so in this guide we will provide you with everything you need to know about Spirulina health benefits, side effects, contraindications, how much to take, how to choose the best Spirulina supplements and powder, and a lot more information that will help you get a good idea of some important aspects of this super food and whether it is good for you.
Of course, as with any health supplement, you should always consult your physician first before getting any dietary tablet supplement or powder since they are the ones that are aware of your medical record and will offer you some personalized advice.
What Is Spirulina?
To keep it simple, Spirulina is a blue/green algae that can be consumed by both animals and humans.
Taking spirulina daily can revitalize and significantly improve our body and health since it is nutrient rich and contains protein, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and chlorophyll.
Spirulina is actually best known as pond scum and is similar to Chlorella which is a green algae. When used for human consumption, Spirulina is dried into a powder and then either sold in powder form or put into capsules as a supplement.
The powder form of spirulina has an algae aroma and flavor which some people may find unpleasant. Nevertheless, there are ways to improve its flavor as we will see further on in this article to make it a lot more enjoyable.
How Is Spirulina Made?
Cultivation of spirulina takes place in large outdoor pools under controlled conditions while some companies produce it directly in natural lakes, using modern technological methods, but always in natural ways, meaning without the use of insecticides and fertilizers.
Spirulina is then harvested, dried or liquefied and packaged. In the market, you will find it in various forms, such as tablets, capsules and powder.
Nutrients of Spirulina
Spirulina is considered to be a complete nutritional supplement. It is a rich source of many important nutrients, including proteins, complex carbohydrates, iron and vitamins A, K and B.
It is also the richest food in Beta-Carotene containing a full range of ten carotenoids about half of which are orange carotenoids (alpha, beta and gamma) and the rest are yellow carotenoids. These types of carotenoids work together ideally in different parts of our body to enhance its antioxidant protection.
Also, this naturally-formed chemical complex of carotenoids is much more easily absorbable than the b-carotene of broccoli or carrot and 25 times richer than raw carrots.
In addition, spirulina is particularly rich in complete and high biological value proteins. For example, about 60% of the dried spirulina is protein, which is essential for the growth and regeneration of the body cells. Spirulina is a super food that can balance a diet that is rich in fat and cholesterol, and replace meat and dairy products to a certain extent in a person’s diet.
It is also a rich source of iron. Specifically, it is 58 times richer in iron than raw spinach and contains 28 times more iron than raw beef liver. Additionally, it is a three times richer source of vitamin E compared to wheat flour and its biological value is 49% higher than that of synthetic vitamin E.
Like all plants, this algae photosynthesizes and has a high content of chlorophyll, fat and nucleic acids as well as lipids.
At the same time, it is rich in Manganese, Potassium and Magnesium, thus covering all our daily needs in terms of nutritional value. It also contains phycocyanin which gives Spirulina its characteristic blue green color and powerful antioxidant properties.
Spirulina has 26 times more calcium than milk and is rich in gamma linolenic acid. 10 grams of spirulina can cover up to 70% a person’s minimum daily iron requirement, and about three to four times their minimum daily requirement for vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), B, D, and K.
What Is Spirulina Good For?
Spirulina is considered to be a great overall health supplement due to its high nutritional value. So, let’s see Spirulina health benefits in detail:
- Boosts the immune system and gives the body more energy during periods of intense fatigue or stress: If you look at the chemical composition of spirulina, you can understand why there are so many spirulina reviews by people who often consume spirulina and report increased levels of energy. Also, people review that they become more resistant to illness and recover faster as well as have improved physical and mental performance.
- Increases Endurance: Due to its high protein content, it helps build muscle mass, and weight lifters use it for faster muscle recovery as well.
- Helps with Weight Loss: Foods that are rich in protein such as spirulina can help accelerate metabolism and hence food burning. Because the body needs more energy to metabolize these foods, it burns more fat. For even better results, try to consume spirulina as part of your breakfast or before lunch. At the same time, spirulina can help reduce hunger cravings and especially those ones that are associated with high calorie carbohydrate foods, so it works indirectly as an effective way to maintain good body weight. In addition, when used for weight loss, Spirulina helps to balance blood sugar levels which many experts believe can be an aid in weight loss.
- Boosts Digestive Health and Detoxifies the Body from Heavy Metals: Another benefit of spirulina for our health is that it stimulates the function of the good bacteria in the body such as the ones in our digestive system, thus contributing to healthy digestion and good bowel function. It can also help detoxify the body by removing toxins or reducing the levels of mercury as well as other toxins which can enter our system through contaminated water or foods.
- Fights Free Radicals: A daily dose of spirulina can combat free radicals and greatly reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which lead to skin aging as well as other problematic skin issues.
- Improves Skin Health including Acne: Due to its ability to combat free radicals and its antioxidant potency, spirulina is good for general skin health as well as specific skin issues such as acne, skin aging and more. Spirulina also reduces bacteria and toxins both in the body and in the skin, and bacteria is considered to be one of the causes of acne. If you do have an acne breakout, Spirulina’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the redness and swelling that is part of acne. Spirulina powder, supplements and topical creams are all used to treat acne. When used for overall skin health, Spirulina can be taken internally or used topically. It is also a natural skin toner, tightening and brightening the skin as well as cleaning out the pores. According to people´s reviews, this algae helps them have a healthier skin as well as thicker hair. In some cases, it does also help eliminate dark circles under eyes.
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels in the Blood: Research has shown that daily consumption of spirulina helps prevent atherosclerosis and reduces cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Reduces the Chances of a Heart Attack: Since it helps to lower cholesterol and works against atherosclerosis, the chance of a heart attack is reduced in people who often consume spirulina.
- It Helps Fight Fungal Infections in the Body: A diet that is rich in sugar and other unhealthy ingredients makes the perfect environment for the development of fungal infections in the body. Fortunately, spirulina acts as an antimicrobial and anti-fungal. More specifically, it has been found that Spirulina promotes the development of healthy bacteria in the body which are the ones that effectively fight fungus and bacteria.
Spirulina Pros and Cons
NASA has called spirulina food of the future and the UN ideal food for mankind since it contains so many nutrients and in such high amounts that is a valuable food in cases of malnutrition. Spirulina is very rich in nutrients which are not present in any other plant food to such an extent or proportion.
What makes spirulina truly unique compared to other plants is that the nutritional ingredients this algae contains are absorbed by the human body at over 95%, unlike other foods that have an absorption rate of less than 15%.
In addition, Spirulina helps digestion and promotes intestinal functions while also increasing the absorption of nutrients from other foods. Due to its high content in beneficial ingredients, it helps prevent and treat various nutritional deficiencies and therefore nourish and keep our organism in a good condition.
Spirulina can easily be contaminated by infectious agents, toxic substances called microcystins and heavy metals from the environment. That is why it is very important to ensure that the whole procedure of growing, harvesting, creating the final product and packaging it is based on strict criteria that guarantee the total purity of the product.
The consumer should always check that they buy spirulina from well established reputable companies.
Another con of spirulina is that it has an intense taste and smell which a lot of people find unpleasant when they use spirulina in powder form. You can deal with this issue if you take spirulina capsules or if you mix the powder with other foods that improve its taste and make it easier to consume.
How to Take Spirulina
Spirulina can be bought in a powder form (Spirulina powder) that offers you the highest absorption or in capsules (Spirulina tablets) for easier consumption.
Is Spirulina Gluten Free?
Many people who have gluten sensitivities often ask if Spirulina is gluten free. While pure spirulina is organic, vegan and gluten free, when it is in a supplement, you need to check the ingredients on the bottles since many supplements contain fillers and some of those fillers may contain gluten.
However, people who suffer from celiac disease are advised to avoid Spirulina since it seems to have a negative effect on anyone who has an autoimmune disease.
For those people who have a slight gluten sensitivity instead of full blown celiac disease, consulting your doctor to determine if Spirulina is right for you is the best option.
Who Should Take Spirulina?
Spirulina is suitable for athletes, people who work long hours and, in general, for anyone who needs extra energy and wants to enrich their diet.
Especially for people who often get sick during winter, spirulina is great at stimulating their immune system and preventing diseases. It can also help people who follow a slimming diet as it provides them with nutritional elements that they probably do not get from the food they eat while at the same time enhancing the feeling of saturation.
Spirulina is also a valuable supplement for people who suffer from iron deficiency because it contains high absorption iron and vitamin B12.
Finally, it is suitable for vegetarians because it contains vitamin B12, iron and proteins, nutrients that cannot be found in a diet that is free of meat.
When is the Best Time to Take Spirulina?
This super food contains so many nutrients and during the procedure of absorbing and metabolizing them, the body has to decide which of those nutrients it needs to keep and in what amounts.
These procedures may create a state of alertness or over-excitement in the human body and that is why it is better that spirulina is not taken during your sleeping hours although this is a subjective factor because it may be different for each person.
The best time of taking spirulina is in between meals and 4 hours before bedtime. If you ask a pharmacist, they recommend that it is good to be taken in the morning or early in the afternoon because later than that it may cause insomnia due to the stimulating effect it has.
If your goal is to increase energy, then you should take spirulina along with meals or before doing the activity or sport for which you need more stimulation. Also, when you feel that your energy levels are low.
Another good time to take spirulina is after your workout as a post training drink that will replenish the nutrients you have lost and provide you with additional ones.
How Much Spirulina Should You Take?
Since Spirulina is a pure natural food that contains lots of different nutrients, a specific dosage is required to make each of these ingredients absorbable. Clinical Spirulina studies used dosages from 1 to 10 gram a day. However, 10 grams is considered to be an incredibly high dosage for most needs.
Manufacturers who make Spirulina supplements recommend taking 2 or 3 grams a day for adults. 3 grams equals 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder while the standard dose of spirulina tablets is 4-6 tablets of 500 mg per day.
The truth is that is difficult to take so many tablets each day but it is understood that anything less is almost non-absorbable.
Also, keep in mind that the dosages used to deal with medical problems are higher than the dosages used for nutritional use and, in this case, the best idea is to check with your physician to see if taking Spirulina is right for you, what dosage they recommend and for how long.
In addition, if it is the first time you are taking this algae, it may be better to start with lower dosages and gradually increase it.
Spirulina Powder vs Spirulina Tablets or Capsules
On the one hand, the advantage of taking spirulina powder instead of spirulina capsules is that it is of higher concentration and therefore for a normal use as a dietary supplement, one teaspoon of spirulina powder per day is considered to be adequate.
Also, spirulina powder is more easily absorbed and more stomach friendly since the tablets or capsules contain some extra ingredients which your stomach has to work more to dilute and digest.
On the other hand, if you take spirulina tablets, you avoid getting that unpleasant taste of powder as well as the after taste it leaves to your mouth. Also, if you get back home very late after work, tablets may be more suitable for your lifestyle, because they are easier to carry and consume.
Nevertheless, you need to remember to take 4-6 tablets of 500 mg per day, which may feel a bit inconvenient at times. The specific number of tablets is the standard dose of spirulina for adults, because tablets are not as concentrated as powder, although there are some brands that offer tablets with higher concentration spirulina.
Also, remember that whether you decide to take powder or tablets, you need to finish taking your daily spirulina at least four hours before bedtime.
Spirulina Side Effects
Spirulina appears to be safe even when taken in high dosages, but even the purest thing in the world can have side effects if the amount you take and how you take it is not closely monitored.
Despite all the benefits that Spirulina has for your health and skin, in rare cases, it has shown to have some side effects as headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating and rashes in the face. Let’s have a look at the side effects of this particular algae in detail:
- Allergic Reactions- Like any food or supplement, some people may have an allergic reaction to Spirulina.
- Headaches- Spirulina has the effect of dehydrating you which can cause headaches. If you are taking Spirulina and begin to experience headaches, then you may want to reduce the dosage you are taking and increase your water intake.
- Gas and Intestinal Difficulties- Some people who take Spirulina powder or supplements suffer from gas and intestinal difficulties possibly due to high nutrient content. This may be corrected by taking a smaller dosage until the body adjusts to this new supplement.
- Nausea and Fever- Some people also experience nausea and fever which can be due to the high nutrient content. You may be able to counteract this side effect by cutting back on your dosage and increasing your water intake as nausea and fever can also result in dehydration.
Spirulina should not be taken by anyone who suffers from an autoimmune condition and should not be taken by either children or those who are pregnant.
Contraindications for Spirulina
One important contraindication that we all have to keep in mind not only for spirulina but for all those vitamin supplements that stimulate our immune system is autoimmune diseases.
In this case, anything that stimulates, awakens or strengthens our immune system, may not be suitable for use by people who suffer from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and thyroid gland dysfunction such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
In addition, people with phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid taking spirulina. People who suffer from this rare condition cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine and Spirulina is a rich source of phenylalanine.
In very rare cases, Spirulina may cause allergic reactions. Also, uric acid increase and digestive disorder.
Finally, as it has already been mentioned, taking spirulina is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation period due to lack of sufficient data regarding these periods.
How To Enjoy Spirulina
For breakfast, you can enjoy spirulina powder in a freshly squeezed lime juice with some ice to maximize your energy. Research shows that spirulina and lime increase energy levels because they help release sugar from the cells. When combined with ice, they also boost our metabolism.
To make spirulina powder more enjoyable, you can add it to your natural smoothies. Use any fruit or vegetable that you like and mix your recommended spirulina powder dosage with half a bowl of natural yoghurt that is free of sugar. This will provide you with a powerful vitamin boost.
Some yummy fruits and vegetables you can use for your spirulina smoothie are strawberries, beetroots, apples, bananas, pineapple, melon and more. You can also add some honey or natural sweetener such as stevia to your smoothie.
If you prefer to take spirulina during your main meal, it can be nicely mixed with your pesto basil sauce or green veggie salad.
How to Choose the Best Spirulina Brand, Powder and Tablets
When looking for the best quality spirulina brand, there are a few things that can guarantee your product will be of the highest quality. First, look for brands that are certified organic and state that their product is free of GMOs, additives, preservatives, artificial colours and flavour.
If the product is not certified organic, you should make sure that spirulina has undergone all tests to guarantee a free of heavy metals or other contaminants product.
The reputation of a brand or company is another factor which you can check out more before buying spirulina as well as users’ reviews.
Based on the above criteria, let’s have a look at some of the best spirulina powder and best spirulina tablets reviews.
Pure Organic Spirulina Powder by Micro Ingredients
This is a USDA certified organic spirulina powder that is free of preservatives, gluten and soy. It is also vegan friendly and loaded with essential amino acids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Powder by Nutrex Hawaii
This is a very popular spirulina powder. It is vegan friendly and free of herbicides and pesticides, GMOs, gluten, lactose, soy and preservatives. This Hawaiian spirulina is grown, harvested and processed to high standards, being GMP third party certified.
Now Foods Organic Spirulina Tablets
These Spirulina Tablets are 100% organic, vegan and certified vegetarian by Naturland Association. They are non-irradiated as well as herbicide and pesticide free. In addition, they do not contain any traces of salt, sugar, starch, wheat, yeast, corn, gluten, milk, soy, egg or preservatives.
Organic Spirulina Tablets by Triquetra Health
Triquetra Health Organic Spirulina Tablets have four organic certifications. They are certified organic by USDA, Ecocert, Naturland and OCIA. This 100% contaminant free spirulina is also 100% vegan and vegetarian as well as free of binders, solvents, gelatin and soy.
All in all, learning more about how to choose the best spirulina supplements and powder as well as other facts regarding spirulina, its benefits for health and use is very important before adding this valuable supplement to your diet.