With all the hype about dietary supplements, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from hype. Sometimes something is a fad for a few months and then disappears from public consciousness. And sometimes a supplement you thought was safe turns out not to be.
However, we do know that a diet rich in key nutrients and antioxidants can help reduce the risk of developing the three major diet-related diseases: cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Of course, the overall risk does not come from diet alone, but what we eat is one of the few things we can control over our health.
Supplements make it easier to include sufficient nutrients in the daily diet. One such supplement is spirulina, which is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Spirulina has long been known to be good for health. However, there are always risks associated with everything and it is not recommended for everyone. Here are some of the pros and cons of spirulina supplements.
Protection against diseases
Antioxidants protect cells and DNA against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Oxidative damage in turn causes chronic inflammation, creating an environment conducive to the spread of disease. Spirulina has many antioxidants to bind to free radicals and neutralize them before they cause this chronic inflammation.
The main antioxidant in spirulina is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant gives spirulina its unique blue-green color. Phycocyanin has been shown to fight free radicals and inhibit the production of certain molecules that signal the body to produce inflammation.
Lowers bad LDL and triglyceride levels
High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it is important to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It is also important to monitor triglycerides, which are dangerous fats found in the blood.
According to several studies on the effects of spirulina, it can reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increase good cholesterol (HDL). Some studies used only 1 to 2 grams of spirulina per day, while others used amounts of 4.5 to 8 grams per day. All of them showed good results on cholesterol levels.
Reduce the risk of cancer, especially oral cancer.
A diet rich in antioxidants, regardless of the source, always protects against cancer. But spirulina, in particular, maybe more than that. Studies have shown spirulina to be especially effective against oral cancer. In a study of people with precancerous lesions in the oral cavity, it was found that in 45% of the active group, the lesions disappeared after consuming just one gram of spirulina per day. In contrast, only 7% of the control group saw the lesions disappear. Interestingly, when those whose lesions disappeared stopped taking spirulina, about half of them reappeared within a year.
Spirulina may be better than drugs at erasing earlier stages of cancer. In one particular study, 1 gram of spirulina per day showed greater improvement than a drug more commonly used for precancerous lesions, called pentoxifylline.
No more environmental allergies
Environmental and seasonal allergies, technically known as allergic rhinitis, can make a person uncomfortable. Inflammation of the nasal cavity causes nasal congestion, breathing effects, and itching in the nose and throat. The most common triggers are pollen, pet hair, and dust, which can be difficult to avoid.
Over-the-counter allergy medications can help relieve symptoms, but they have side effects such as hot flashes, dry mouth, and headaches. If you have allergies, try spirulina. In a study of 127 people with allergic rhinitis, 2 grams a day significantly reduced overall symptoms of sneezing, congestion, itching, and runny nose.
Control of blood sugar levels
Type 2 diabetes is caused by wild fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Consuming too much sugar daily can trigger a series of events that can lead to a diabetes diagnosis, but many people are unaware that they have pre-diabetes. By including spirulina in your daily diet, you can help bring the balance back to a safer place.
In a study of people with type 2 diabetes, taking 2 grams of spirulina a day not only reduced blood sugar levels but also lowered HbA1c, a measure of the damage caused by persistently high blood sugar levels, by one point. That may not sound like much, but experts say it’s enough to reduce the risk of death from diabetes complications by 21%.
Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria, also appreciated as blue-green algae. You might think it is unhealthy, but it is. Just 1 to 2 grams of spirulina a day can increase blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also improves blood sugar control and reduces the risk of diabetes. Spirulina’s antioxidant properties also reduce the risk of cancer and help maintain stamina in daily life.
It is worth taking spirulina if you are not pregnant or breastfeeding and as long as it is from a reliable brand. Taking spirulina can give you great health benefits and you deserve it.