Spirulina is a blue green algae that's existed on earth for over three billion years. Scientists believe that spirulina was among the life forms that filled Earth's atmosphere with oxygen and paved the way for the evolution of modern life forms. Spirulina is now used as a nutritional supplement. Its antioxidant effects boost immune function, prevent cancer, support digestion and improve athletic endurance.
Health Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina supplements have a number of health benefits. They support digestion by suppressing harmful bacteria and nurturing the growth of beneficial yeasts in the intestinal tract. Spirulina also helps your body absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
Spirulina can protect cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. It also contains a number of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and E, beta carotene, manganese, copper, zinc, chromium, iron and selenium. These antioxidants boost immune function and can help prevent some types of cancer.
Spirulina contains a lot of vegetable protein. A single dose of spirulina is made up of more than 60% protein; that makes it higher in protein than chicken, fish or beef. Spirulina's vegetable protein is easier to digest than animal protein, and since it's a water soluble protein, it doesn't contribute to weight gain.
Spirulina for Athletes
Athletes often use spirulina supplements to boost their performance. Spirulina can help protect athletes from the symptoms of overtraining by supporting the immune system. Spirulina can also help to improve athletic endurance.
Studies have shown that spirulina boosts the metabolism and helps the body burn fat rather than carbohydrates when exercising. Spirulina supplementation also reduces the amount of oxidative stress sustained during athletic training, and helps increase antioxidant activity within the body in the period immediately following a workout or training session. By boosting the metabolism and protecting against oxidative stress, spirulina supplements can increase athletic endurance.
Spirulina boosts endurance by helping the body to metabolize fat. This reduces the body's dependence on carbs for energy, which helps to keep energy levels higher throughout the duration of the workout and can contribute to increased athletic endurance. Spirulina's high levels of antioxidants prevent the accumulation of toxic free radicals in your muscles during exercise; accumulation of toxins in the muscles is one of the primary causes of muscle fatigue during exercise and training.
Who Should Take Spirulina
Spirulina is a safe and appropriate nutritional supplement for people of all ages. It doesn't contain any essential nutrients that you can't get from other dietary sources, but its high concentration of vitamins, minerals and protein makes it one of the so-called superfoods. While there are no discernible side effects of spirulina, some people have problems digesting it and may feel bloated after taking spirulina. Spirulina may cause blood sugar drops in hypoglycemics.
If you're allergic to seafood, avoid spirulina. If you have a fever, don't use a spirulina supplement until it's passed. If you suffer from hyperparathyroidism, avoid spirulina.