Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae thought to benefit various health conditions. It's packed with nutrients, including B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Spirulina is also high in protein and contains antioxidants, minerals, and chlorophyll.
Uses for Spirulina
Spirulina proponents claim the benefits of spirulina include treatment and/or prevention of the following health problems:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- High cholesterol
- Viral infections
- Stimulation of the immune system
Few human studies have explored spirulina's health benefits. However, test-tube studies and animal-based research suggest spirulina may help with the following conditions:
Spirulina holds some promise in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies), according to a research review published in 2009. Indeed, a previously published study of patients with allergic rhinitis found several benefits for spirulina consumption (including improvement in symptoms like nasal discharge, sneezing, congestion, and itching).
In a 2008 study involving 37 people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found those assigned to 12 weeks of spirulina supplementation experienced a significant reduction in blood-fat levels. Spirulina benefits also included a decrease in inflammation and, for some patients, a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol.
3) Oral Cancer
Spirulina may offer some protection against oral cancer, according to one small study of tobacco chewers with precancerous oral lesions. For 12 months, study members took either a daily dose of spirulina or a placebo. By the study's end, the lesions cleared up in 20 of the 44 participants who had consumed spirulina (compared to three of the 43 participants who'd been assigned to the placebo group).
Is Spirulina Safe?
Given the lack of science behind spirulina's benefits, anyone considering the use of spirulina in treatment of a health condition should make sure to consult his/her physician before taking a spirulina supplement.
As with all supplements, it's also important to consult your health-care provider before using spirulina in combination with other medications and/or supplements.
Spirulina is often sold in powder form, but it's also available in capsules, tablets, and other natural products (including juices).
Article courtesy of About.com/altmedicine, written by Cathy Wong, and found here.