Spirulina (Hawaiian): what it is, benefits and how to take it

For those who do not like to eat meat or follow a vegetarian diet, it is not always easy to get a protein option that is not of animal origin and meets all the needs of our body.

A plant used for many years in food has returned to the spotlight as an option rich in protein and vitamins : spirulina.

Due to its benefits, the plant has already been used as a source of food and supplement in NASA space programs, as it is easy to digest, promotes a feeling of satiety and has in its composition 18 of the 22 amino acids that our body needs.

Are you curious about this plant? Discover the benefits of Spirulina!

What is spirulina?

Spirulina ( Arthrospira platensis ) is a cyanobacterium, a type of microorganism that feeds through photosynthesis. It has been consumed for centuries due to its health benefits.

Its formation occurs naturally in lakes of the sweet, salty type and in the ocean, being recognized for being a type of aquatic blue-green plant that grows in places of subtropical climate. It is usually harvested in countries such as Mexico and in central-west Africa.

There are different species, but 3 of them are the most studied and used for the therapeutic and nutritional benefits they provide, they are: Spirulina platensis, Spirulina maxima and Spirulina fusiformis .

Spirulina is used as a type of source of protein, B vitamins and also iron. It is consumed as a supplement, in capsules or tablets, and in powder in food and beverages.

Among the benefits of consumption are the aid in weight loss, stress reduction , fatigue , premature aging and other problems.

It is used for the purpose of improving memory, generating energy for metabolism, healing wounds and injuries and improving digestion in some people.

What is it for?

Spirulina serves as a food supplement. Whether in the form of capsules or in powder, its consumption is indicated for being a good source of vitamins and protein.

Vegetarians, people who do a lot of physical activity and who seek weight loss make use of spirulina to help in health, as it has antioxidant properties, helps in strengthening immunity and in the production of new body cells.

Benefits of spirulina

Spirulina has many benefits, from the food part to the health of hair and nails:

Assists in glucose control

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that, by taking two pills a day of spirulina, patients were able to improve glycemic control (blood sugar level).

The study also showed that spirulina was effective in controlling cholesterol, demonstrating the beneficial effect of the substance in two cases.

Reduces anemia

About 40 elderly people participated in a study on anemia , in which spirulina was used to increase hemoglobin (protein) and patients’ immunity.

After the consumption of the substance, it was noted that there was improvement, this was due to the presence of iron in spirulina. With supplementation, an improvement in disposition, memory and appetite was also shown.

Improves muscle strength

Over time, our cells suffer from oxidation (aging), which causes fatigue, felt mainly after exercising.

Some foods have antioxidant properties that help to minimize this damage to cells.

Two studies have shown that spirulina is among the foods. By including it in the diet of athletes, it was possible to notice increased resistance and muscle strength.

Spirulina has high amounts of protein. As the product is easily digested, the nutrients are well used, making the protein quality also high.

Has anti-inflammatory properties

Spirulina has anti-inflammatory properties, which protect our body. When an infection, injury or inflammation occurs in our body, it is important that the immune system is strengthened.

In addition, these properties reduce the risks of developing diseases, such as arthritis , chronic inflammation, etc.

Prevents premature aging

Due to the presence of antioxidants, spirulina is powerful in combating free radicals, and ensures the health of cells.

One of the main components responsible for this is phycocyanin, a substance that helps to reduce free radicals, providing antioxidant (prevents aging) and anti-inflammatory effects to the body.

By consuming spirulina it is possible to prevent premature aging and decrease the risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer .

Good for hair, skin and nails

Spirulina started to be added to dermocosmetics (functional cosmetics) due to its hydration capacity and to stimulate collagen production, which promotes the regeneration of cells, giving shine and life to the skin, hair and nails.

What is the composition of spirulina?

Spirulina contains in its composition vitamins A, C, E and those of the B complex, such as B1, B2 and B3. It has important minerals for the functioning of the organism, such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, iodine and manganese. It also has phytonutrients, carbohydrate, fat, fiber and a large amount of protein (63.5g). Check out:

Amino acids

Amino acids are molecules that assist in the functioning of tendons, muscles, cartilage and hormones.

Consuming foods with amino acids is important because they assist in obtaining energy to perform exercises, stimulate the growth of muscle mass, assist immunity and regulate hormones.

Vitamin A

It assists in the development and maintenance of immunity and skin, improves vision and helps in the development of teeth.

The vitamin A also has an antioxidant action in the body, helping to combat the problems with acne .

Vitamin B

Vitamin B helps in the prevention of various diseases such as anemia, weakness, arthritis, helps with baldness problems, among others.

As it is not produced in large quantities by the body, it is necessary to consume foods that contain vitamin B to obtain the benefits for the health of the eyes, hair, nerves and skin.

C vitamin

The vitamin C is known to help in cases of colds and flu, but it is also great to assist in the formation of cells.

The vitamin still acts in the body as a powerful antioxidant, fighting premature aging.

Vitamin E

This vitamin, also known as tocopherol, needs to be ingested through food.

The substance participates in several functions in the body, such as protecting the brain, improving fertility and healing the skin, in addition to containing anti-inflammatory properties.

Minerals

Spirulina contains many minerals, such as iron, zinc, copper, selenium and manganese.

Minerals act in the body, maintaining the correct maintenance of the digestive, skeletal and nervous systems. In addition, they are responsible for the maintenance of tissues in the human body.

Beta carotene

Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, a kind of natural pigment found in plants and fruits.

When we consume a food containing beta-carotene, our organism converts it into vitamin A, which acts to protect the cells, helping the respiratory system, participating in the maintenance of the skin and the health of the eyes.

Does Spirulina lose weight?

No , spirulina assists in weight loss diets, but it alone does not have this power to make the individual lose weight.

The product is low in carbohydrates and is used in low-carb diets. In addition, because it has enough protein, it is an ally to bodybuilding .

Spirulina also provides the feeling of satiety, making the person not to feel hungry anytime soon. Therefore, together, these actions can be strong combined with weight loss, as long as they are associated with a balanced diet and physical activities.

What is the difference between spirulina and chlorella?

The difference between spirulina and chlorella are the properties and uses of each one.

Chlorella is indicated for detoxification in the body and increased immunity, while spirulina is rich in protein, being more suitable for supplementation and supplementation of the diet.

Is Hawaiian spirulina different from ordinary spirulina?

In parts, yes . Hawaiian-type spirulina (Arthrospira pacifica) is cleaner, free from contaminants and metals due to the place of cultivation, in the case of Hawaii. But the composition is the same as that of ordinary spirulina.

How to take spirulina?

Spirulina is a versatile substance that can be incorporated into foods and recipes or taken in the form of medications, such as capsules. Check out how to take spirulina:

Dust

It can be used as ingredients in recipes, from sweet to savory. There are several recipes that use the substance, it is also possible to mix the powder in drinks, such as fruit vitamins and smoothies.

Capsule or tablet

It can be taken in capsule or tablet, the recommendation is to consume a maximum of 4 capsules a day. In order to have a better absorption of nutrients, in general, it is recommended that consumption be made half an hour before the main meals, such as lunch and dinner.

Harm of taking spirulina

This product tends to grow in areas where it is possible to find a high concentration of mercury and lead, so, over time, the plant can absorb these metals.

Spirulina as a plant does not cause harm to health, what happens is that depending on the type of water in which it is grown it can become toxic and cause health problems.

A study published in 2013, in the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences , analyzed 25 commercial spirulina products and found concentrations of 6 heavy metals in them.

This plant is usually grown in Japan and China, and is then transported to other countries to become a capsule or powder for commercialization.

The problem is that the seas and lakes of these countries are the ones that have a high concentration of BMAA (toxin linked to neurodegenerative disease) and microcystins (toxin harmful to the liver).

What over consumption of spirulina can cause liver damage, nausea, vomiting, weakness, rapid heartbeat, shock, allergic reactions, among other complications depending on the person.

Therefore, it is recommended to use the supplement with nutritional and medical guidance, so that the specialist / health professional can monitor the case.

What are the side effects of spirulina?

In some people, spirulina can cause side effects, usually associated with misuse or overuse. In such cases, it is necessary to discontinue use. In general, digestive problems, liver changes, skin rashes and feeling unwell can occur. They can also manifest themselves:

  • Fever spikes;
  • Allergies;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Gases;
  • Constipation;
  • Nausea;
  • Weakness;
  • Vomiting;
  • Tachycardia (change in heart beat).

There is a contraindication: when not to consume spirulina?

Some people need to be careful with spirulina, including:

  • High blood pressure patients;
  • Diagnostics of phenylacetonuria;
  • Children under 12;
  • Pregnant or lactating women;
  • Allergy to shellfish or iodine;
  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • Use of anticoagulants;
  • Use of supplements.

Price and where to buy spirulina

Spirulina can be found in pharmacies, health food stores, organic fairs and on vegetarian food websites.

The capsule or tablet versions cost around R $ 19 to R $ 100, while the powder costs from R $ 16 to R $ 100.

At Consulta Remédios , online pharmacy price comparison website, you can find the best product offers, such as:

  • Spirulina Bionatus 380 Mg;
  • Spirulina + Psyllium + Chitosan Moov .

Spirulina recipes

Spirulina can be used as ingredients in some recipes, they are:

Smoothie de Spirulina

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of yogurt of your choice;
  • 1 glass of soy milk (or water, coconut water or fruit juice);
  • 1 papaya;
  • 1 peach;
  • 1 manga;
  • 1/2 cup of raspberry, blueberries or blackberries;
  • 2 teaspoons of spirulina.

Put all the ingredients in the blender and beat until it is a good thickness, similar to the ice cream dough. Take it out of the blender and consume it on the spot.

Oat pancakes with spirulina and honey

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs;
  • 1 cup of oat bran (200mL);
  • 2 tablespoons of brown flaxseed;
  • 1 tablespoon of spirulina;
  • 150 ml of milk;
  • Lemon zest,
  • Honey to taste.

Beat the eggs until they double in volume, add the lemon zest, the milk and beat slowly to mix. Gradually add oat bran, flaxseed and spirulina until they form a soft dough.

Heat a frying pan, grease with butter and place a shell of the soft dough, wait for it to form small bubbles and brown. Take a spatula, turn the pancake over and fry the other side, then remove and cook again until the dough is finished.

Put the filling of your choice, close the pancake, add a little honey and consume.


Spirulina is a microalgae with many health nutrients, which can help in different cases, but the ideal is to always use it with medical supervision.

Were you surprised by the benefits and uses of spirulina? Share this article with your friends, so they can also find out about it.

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