14 Amazing Benefits Of Spirulina + Its Nutritional Profile

From reducing cancer risk to boosting brain health, this algae has a lot to offer.

Medically reviewed by Alexandra Dusenberry, MS, RDN Alexandra Dusenberry Alexandra DusenberryMS, RDN twitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Aparna Mallampalli BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Experience: 5 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Moksha Gandhi BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Experience: 2 years

Spirulina is a blue-green algae, which is a freshwater plant. It is one of the most researched plants in recent times. Renowned for its intense flavor, spirulina is gaining popularity as a nutritional supplement for its powerful nutrition profile and can offer benefits like boosting cardiovascular, digestive, and skin health. It is loaded with protein that is nearly equal to that in eggs and is ideal for vegans to bridge the protein gap. Read on to know more about the benefits of spirulina.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Spirulina

What Is It?
An antioxidant-rich, edible blue-green algae.

What Are Its Benefits?
May help prevent arsenic poisoning, reduce the risk of cancer, manage diabetes, and improve brain, heart, and digestive health. May also delay skin aging and improve hair growth.

Who Can Use It?
Can be safely consumed by adults. However, it is better to consult a doctor before giving it to children or pregnant women.

How Often?
The recommended dosage is 6-10 tablets (adults) and 1-3 tablets (children) or ½ to 1 teaspoon every day.

Spirulina must be avoided by people who have phenylketonuria or any other autoimmune disorder.

What Is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae, gaining the attention of many for its impressive nutritional profile. It is loaded with many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that can promote overall health if included as a part of the diet. It is usually cultivated from lakes or farmed in ponds. It has a unique bitter taste and is generally mixed with other foods, like yogurt, for consumption. Spirulina was used as an energy booster by Aztecs and also used to treat many ailments. Recent research has also supported the proposed benefits of spirulina. Continue reading to know how spirulina benefits your health in multiple ways.

How Is Spirulina Good For You?

This blue-green algae has an intense earthy taste and smell, and it can be good for you in various ways.

Studies confirm that spirulina can activate macrophages, natural killer cells, and other B and T cells – all of which possess antioxidant properties. More interestingly, research shows that algae exert beneficial effects on the neurological health (1).

There also is evidence that shows how spirulina can help in the prevention of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and even asthma (2).

There is more you need to know. Just keep reading.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Spirulina?

1. Prevents Arsenic Poisoning

Chronic arsenic poisoning is a problem most countries face – especially the US in the west, and Bangladesh and India in the east. But studies showed how spirulina extracts helped reverse arsenic poisoning (3). And as per Bangladeshi researchers, a lack of specific treatment has lead to the evaluation of alternative treatments like blue-green algae.

In yet another study, patients affected by chronic arsenic poisoning saw a 47% decrease in the heavy metal in their body post the intake of spirulina.

2. Helps Battle Cancer

The antioxidants in spirulina prevent oxidative stressi  A state that occurs when there is an unbalanced ratio of antioxidants and free radicals in your body. , which is one primary cause of cancer. Even laboratory tests have shown that blue-green algae have the ability to prevent DNA mutations (4).

Further studies support the chemopreventive role of spirulina (5). Spirulina also increases the production of antibodies, certain infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and prevent cancer.

3. Spirulina Aids Diabetes Treatment

Spirulina aids diabetes treatment
Image: Shutterstock

There have been cases where spirulina had outperformed diabetes drugs like Metformin (6). In a study on 25 patients with type 2 diabetes, spirulina ingestion led to drastic improvements in the symptoms (7).

Other studies on diabetic animals showed that a combination of spirulina and other herbal extracts decreased the blood sugar and triglyceride levels. And not just that, spirulina was also found to be effective in improving the lipid profiles of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Did You Know?

The name spirulina is derived from the Latin word for ‘helix’ or ‘spiral’, and it denotes the physical structure of the organism.

4. Boosts Brain Health

Spirulina may help in improving brain health
Image: Shutterstock

Spirulina can decrease inflammation in the brain. This means that it can improve brain function and can be an effective complementary treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which is caused by swelling and inflammation in the brain. The blue-green algae can also prevent memory loss by reducing oxidative stress in the brain.

Spirulina has also been found to improve neuronal density through the formation of new neurons (the process is called neurogenesis). Some sources suggest that it can also aid the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

5. Enhances Heart Health

The blue-green algae can lower bad cholesterol levels, and this invariably improves heart health. At the same time, spirulina can also increase the good cholesterol, which is again required for a healthy heart. Studies showed that 4.5 grams of spirulina a day could lower blood pressure levels – which could be attributed to an increased production of nitric oxide that helps the blood vessels to relax and dilate (8).

Spirulina supplementation was also found to prevent atherosclerosis and the resultant stroke (9).

“Spirulina intake can cause the reduction of hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis, associated with a decrease in levels of serum total cholesterol, triglyceridesi  A type of fat in the blood, a high level of which indicates metabolic conditions like diabetes. , and bad cholesterol.”

– Cheong SH and Co., Department of Food and Nutrition, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea.

6. Strengthens The Immune System

Several animal studies have shown that spirulina can be an effective immunomodulatori  Any medication or substance that adjusts the immune system in a good way, helping the body fight infections and diseases. (10). It has a unique ability to fight infection and enhance cellular functioning.

7. Aids Weight Loss

Spirulina is dense in protein, and foods rich in this nutrient can promote weight loss through certain mechanisms. Consuming protein contributes to fat burning and the development of lean tissue. Protein also curbs hunger, which is another way one can aim to lose weight (11).

Spirulina is also low in calories, which is another plus for anyone looking to lose weight.

8. Improves Digestive Health

Spirulina improves digestive health
Image: Shutterstock

The protein in spirulina supports healthy digestion. The body reassembles the amino acids that spirulina provides into digestive enzymes, and this further helps digestion.

9. Spirulina Fights Inflammation

The main active component of spirulina is phycocyanin, which has been found to prevent the production of inflammatory signaling molecules – and this means the blue-green algae helps fight inflammation (12).

Spirulina is also a good source of GLA, or gamma-linolenic acid, which also contributes to the anti-inflammatory properties of the algae.

It was also found to be effective against arthritis. In one study, treatment with spirulina had protected against cartilage destruction and also reduced other inflammatory markers (13).

10. Might Help Deal With HIV

Studies show that spirulina supplementation can help deal with HIV symptoms (14). However, we need more research in this aspect.

11. Helps Treat Candida

There are several studies that show how spirulina can be an effective antimicrobial agent (15). Spirulina also encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, which can prevent candida from thriving. Its immune-boosting properties can also help the body eliminate candida.

12. Aids Acne Treatment

The antioxidants in spirulina help the body fight free radicals and flush out toxins, which can have a direct impact on skin health as well. The blue-green algae also improve skin metabolism. This promotes the quicker elimination of dead skin cells and the growth of new skin cells.

Faster skin metabolism can also prevent acne scarring.

Did You Know?

Spirulina is also called ‘food of the future’ for its ability to synthesize high-quality concentrated food better and more efficiently than any other algae.

13. Delays Skin Aging

Spirulina delays skin aging
Image: Shutterstock

Spirulina contains tyrosine, vitamin E or tocopherol, and selenium, all of which are known for their anti-aging effects. Tyrosine slows down the aging of the skin cells. The antioxidants present in it eliminate the free radicals that are responsible for skin aging.

Make a paste by mixing some spirulina with water and apply it on your face. Keep it on for 20 minutes and wash off. This will make your skin amazingly soft and smooth as well as prevent signs of aging like wrinkles. This mask can also aid skin lightening and help treat skin pigmentation.

14. Boosts Hair Growth

External use of spirulina can accelerate hair growth. Besides consumption, this algae is used as an ingredient in shampoos and conditioning treatments.

The proteins in spirulina can also reduce hair fall and hair thinning.

In addition, it may help promote energy levels. Petrena Schell, a YouTube vlogger, tried spirulina and noticed some improvements in her health. She noted that her energy levels were boosted. She says, “Always when I take my spirulina, I notice an energy boost. And, it’s one of those things that if I hit a wall in the afternoon, you know those times in the middle of the day where we kind of start to fade a little bit, and you need a pick me up. Sometimes I just take an extra dose of spirulina or another smoothie with another scoop of it in there. And it picks me up right again (i).”It also helped manage her allergies instantly and aids muscle recovery.

These are the benefits of spirulina. We spoke of a few nutrients in the algae. But it has got several more that you must know of.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Spirulina?

Spirulina(dried)Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
PrincipleNutrient Value
Energy1,213 kJ (290 kcal)
Carbohydrates23.9 g
Sugars3.1 g
Dietary fiber3.6 g
Fat7.72 g
saturated2.65 g
monounsaturated0.675 g
polyunsaturated2.08 g
Protein57.47 g
Tryptophan0.929 g
Threonine2.97 g
Isoleucine3.209 g
Leucine4.947 g
Lysine3.025 g
Methionine1.149 g
Cystine0.662 g
Phenylalanine2.777 g
Tyrosine2.584 g
Valine3.512 g
Arginine4.147 g
Histidine1.085 g
Alanine4.515 g
Aspartic acid5.793 g
Glutamic acid8.386 g
Glycine3.099 g
Proline2.382 g
Serine2.998 g
Water4.68 g
Vitamin equiv.29 μg (4%)
beta-carotene342 μg (3%)
lutein and zeaxanthin0 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)2.38 mg (207%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)3.67 mg (306%)
Niacin (vit. B3)12.82 mg (85%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)3.48 mg (70%)
Vitamin B60.364 mg (28%)
Folate (vit. B9)94 μg (24%)
Vitamin B120 μg (0%)
Choline66 mg (13%)
Vitamin C10.1 mg (12%)
Vitamin D0 IU (0%)
Vitamin E5 mg (33%)
Vitamin K25.5 μg (24%)
Calcium120 mg (12%)
Iron28.5 mg (219%)
Magnesium195 mg (55%)
Manganese1.9 mg (90%)
Phosphorus118 mg (17%)
Potassium1363 mg (29%)
Sodium1048 mg (70%)
Zinc2 mg (21%)

All good. But how can you consume spirulina?

How To Consume Spirulina

You can either take the tablets or the powder. Here, we have discussed the dosage and the method of consumption for each.

Spirulina Tablets

For adults, the dosage is 6 to 10 tablets a day. And for children, it is 1 to 3 tablets a day.

  • Start with 1 tablet a day for the first 2 days. Then, take 2 tablets a day for the next 2 days. Continue with 3 tablets a day for the next 2 days, etc. – until you reach your ideal dosage.
  • Take the tablets with water, just before you have your meals.
  • You can take the dose all at once or split it across the day. Just ensure not take any in the evenings as you might feel active in the night and not fall asleep.

Spirulina Powder

The dosage of the powder is half to 1 teaspoon daily. This can equate to 1.8 to 3 grams of the powder.

Similar to the tablets, if you are just starting to take spirulina, start with a pinch and gradually build-up to the right dose.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can add a tablespoon of spirulina powder to your favorite energy drink, fruit juice, or vegetable juice, blend it into smoothies, or sprinkle it over salads or soups.


  • Do not take spirulina if you have phenylketonuria (a condition where one cannot process the amino acid phenylalanine) and autoimmune diseases (15).
  • If you find any kind of discomfort or wheezing after taking spirulina, discontinue usage and consult your doctor without any delay.
  • Spirulina should not be given to children unless medically advised.
  • Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid the consumption of spirulina as there is no quality research on the safety of spirulina in this regard.

What Are The Side Effects Of Spirulina?

Dizziness as a side effect of consuming spirulina
Image: Shutterstock

Although spirulina is generally safe for consumption, some side effects are observed in a few individuals following the consumption of spirulina. They include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Allergic reactions

If you observe any of these side effects after the consumption of spirulina, stop intake and consult your doctor.

How To Store Spirulina

  • Spirulina should be stored in an airtight container and can be used for six months.
  • It should be kept away from direct sunlight and moisture.
  • It can be preserved in a freezer for one year.
  • If you observe a strong odor, it indicates the spirulina has expired and should be discarded.

Just like spirulina, chlorella is another supplement that has gained popularity due to its strong nutritional profile. Check out the next section to understand which one is better for you.

Spirulina Vs. Chlorella

Organism TypeBlue-green algaeGreen algae
ColorIntense green or blue-greenDark green
Nutrient ProfileRich in protein, vitamins, and mineralsAbundant in chlorophyll and iron
Protein ContentHigh protein content, typically 60-70%Lower protein content, around 50%
DigestibilityEasily digestible due to lack of cellulose cell wallsHard to digest due to tough cell walls
TasteMild, slightly seaweed-like tasteEarthy, often described as grassy or fishy
Nutrient AbsorptionNutrients are readily absorbedRequires mechanical processing to enhance absorption
Health BenefitsSupports immune system, boosts energy, and may help in weight managementMay help with detoxification, removes heavy metal, and boosts digestive health
CultivationTypically cultivated in open pondsRequires controlled conditions, such as closed bioreactors
protip_icon Quick Tip
If spirulina is hard to come by at the store, you can try wheatgrass as an alternative.

Infographic: Top 6 Health Benefits Of Spirulina

Spirulina has been gaining immense popularity lately, all thanks to its innumerable health benefits that cater to various problems. From reducing the risk of cancer to aiding in weight loss, it offers many benefits. Check out the infographic below and incorporate this blue-green algae into your diet.

top 6 health benefits of spirulina (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Spirulina is a blue-green alga, a freshwater plant, known for its rich nutrition profile. Known for its intense earthy taste and flavor, the benefits of spirulina are what make it one of the most researched superfoods. It not only helps strengthen your immune system but also improves your cardiac and brain health. It is rich in essential minerals and replete with antioxidants and is known to help treat diabetes and cancer as well as promote longevity. Phycocyanin, the main active plant compound in spirulina, is known to help fight inflammation and infections. You can either take spirulina tablets or half to one teaspoon of spirulina powder per day to include its many benefits in your health and wellness routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does spirulina contain probiotics?

Fermented spirulina contains probiotics.

Where to buy spirulina?

You can get it from your nearest health store. Or you can also purchase it online at Amazon or Walmart.

What does spirulina do to the body?

Spirulina is loaded with many beneficial nutrients and improves overall health. It exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antimicrobial properties.

Is spirulina the same as chlorella?

No spirulina and chlorella are not the same. However, both are algae and are consumed as supplements worldwide.

What antioxidants does spirulina have?

Spirulina is loaded with antioxidants that help promote overall health. Phycocyanin is the major antioxidant in spirulina that is attributed to the array of health benefits it offers.

When to take spirulina morning or night?

It is generally advised to take spirulina in the morning. If you take it before bed, you may feel active and there could be a disturbed sleep. However, if you want to take it during the night, have it at least 3 hours before going to bed.

Does spirulina block B12 absorption?

Spirulina contains B12 analogues (pseudo B12) that may bind to B12 transporters and prevent the absorption of vitamin B12 (16).

Does spirulina detox the body?

Spirulina may help with the detoxification process in the body. One study suggests that it may help reverse arsenic poisoning (3).

Is it okay to drink spirulina on an empty stomach?

You may take it on an empty stomach for better absorption of its nutrients. However, it isn’t necessary to do so. You may take it any time during the day before a meal.

Does spirulina have Omega 3?

Spirulina, in the form of supplements, contains low and variable quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, depending on where it is produced (17).

Key Takeaways

  • Spirulina can help reduce acne by removing toxins from the body.
  • It is beneficial in supporting the digestive system and improving digestion.
  • It is high in protein that can help burn fat, thereby aiding in weight loss.
  • Spirulina can help support hair growth and is also a common ingredient in shampoos and conditioning treatments.
Benefits Of Spirulina

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Algae that has amazing health benefits, Spirulina is one of a kind. However, if you need to boost your immune system, it is time to explore the top reasons why this superfood should be a part of your daily routine by checking out the video below.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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  2. “Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight…”. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences.
  3. “Efficacy of spirulina extract…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  4. “Blue-green algae”. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
  5. “Anti-cancer effects of blue-green…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  6. “Antidiabetic potential of…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  7. “Role of spirulina in the…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  8. “The hypolipidaemic effects of…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  9. “Spirulina prevents atherosclerosis…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  10. “UC Davis study shows spirulina…”. UCDAVIS Health.
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  12. Anti-inflammatory and…”. US National Library of Medicine.
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  14. “Impact of daily supplementation of…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  15. Engineering Spirulina for Enhanced Medicinal Application” National Library of Medicine.
  16. Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians..” Nutrients, MDPI.
  17. Fatty Acid Profile of Spirulina platensis…” ResearchGate.
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Alexandra Dusenberry is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a certified personal trainer based in San Diego, California. She has 6 years of experience and works with clients around the world to help them reach their health and fitness goals. She believes that food is medicine and proper nutrition is healing and essential for wellbeing and quality of life. Alexandra enjoys...read full bio

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