5+ Spirulina Benefits, Nutrition, and Side Effects

by John Griffith

If you’ve been keeping up with the new health and lifestyle trends, you’ve probably heard of spirulina. So, if you’re wondering how spirulina benefits you, what you can use it for and what the big craze around it is, you’ve come to the right place! These green-blue algae are one of the oldest life forms on Earth. First used by the Aztecs, this superfood has various nutrients and antioxidants. For hundreds of years spirulina has been a source of food in many cultures around the globe. It is cultivated for use as a dietary supplement, a whole food and even for hair and skin care. Algae are having a rise in popularity, from spirulina to sea moss. Loaded with tons of good stuff, there is very little that algae doesn’t do. That is why in this article, we will explore the benefits and uses of spirulina.

These green-blue algae are one of the oldest life forms on Earth

what does spirulina taste like spirulina smoothie bowl

What is Spirulina?

This green-blue alga that has minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, protein, and carotenoids. It is an alga that grows naturally in both fresh and salt mineral-rich waters. However, spirulina is most typically grows in warm water climates. It is a type of cyanobacteria, which is a family of single-celled microbes that are green-blue algae. Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight thorough the process of photosynthesis.

You can find these algae on the market sold as a dark-green powder or pills

is spirulina good for you powder and pill spirulina

Spirulina is full with polyphenols and flavonoids. One of them being phycoyanin. It is one of the main things contributing to the high antioxidant amount. You can find these algae on the market sold as a dark-green powder or pills. There is also a blue form of spirulina, however there isn’t much difference between the two. Blue spirulina is made when phycocyanin, which is a water-soluble antioxidant, gets removed from the spirulina. Afterwards it turns into a blue powder. This antioxidant is found only is some green-blue algae, one of which spirulina. That is the main differences between other green foods like barley, chlorella, wheatgrass and spirulina.

There is green and blue spirulina 

spirulina powder benefits different types of spirulina spoons

What Does Spirulina Taste Like?

Spirulina definitely has a specific taste, some may find unattractive. While it does have more of a neutral taste, it also can have a “sea” or “lake water” vibe to it. Spirulina also may have an earthy taste with a slightly sulfuric edge. While it can certainly become an acquired, pleasant taste, most people initially wrinkle their noses to it. However, there are many ways to add spirulina to your food and make it taste pleasant. Add it into your breakfast smoothie, oatmeal or sprinkle it inside of your favorite soups and salads. There are plenty of ideas you can try out. You can also incorporate it into baked goods. Or just add it into your glass of water, smoothie, fresh and just drink it like that.

Spirulina benefits us in many ways 

blue spirulina smoothies

Spirulina Nutrition Facts

As we mentioned, spirulina has many healthy nutrients. The standard daily dose of spirulina is 1–3 grams. Some studies have shown that doses of up to 3,000 milligrams per day were safe and well tolerated for up to 12 months with no notable side effects. While manufacturer recommendations vary, as a general rule, it’s best to never exceed the dosage on the product label. Spirulina contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium, and manganese and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that you need for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Spirulina may be the single most nutritious food on the planet. In addition, a tablespoon of this alga holds only 20 calories. A single tablespoon of dried spirulina powder contains all of these recommended daily amounts of vitamins and nutrients:

  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Vitamin B1: 11%
  • Vitamin B2: 15%
  • Iron: 11%
  • Vitamin B3: 4%
  • Copper: 21%

Spirulina contains small amounts of almost every other nutrient needed for a balanced lifestyle

spirulina for skin spirulina natural form

Is Spirulina Good For You?

Okay, now that we have a basic idea of what spirulina is and where it comes from, let’s see what are all these benefits we keep mentioning.

Spirulina benefits are many 

what is spirulina made from algae

Immune Booster

As we already saw, spirulina is rich in a range of vitamins and minerals like vitamins E, C, and B6. They are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Research shows that this alga also boosts the production of white blood cells and antibodies that fight viruses and other bacteria that is found in the body. The compound phycocyanin we can find in spirulina is an antioxidant that helps fight off anything that could cause damage to your cells.

Research shows that this alga boosts the production of white blood cells

spirulina side effects happy woman immunie booster

Allergy Relief

If you suffer from allergic rhinitis, spirulina may help bring you some relief. A study found that only two grams a day are more than enough to help improve symptoms. Things like nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching are a part of the past. Spirulina helps top the release of histamines, which cause allergy symptoms. The anti-inflammatory effect caused by spirulina’s antioxidants may help people with allergies caused by pollen, animal hair, and dust.

Spirulina may help bring some relief to allergy symptoms 

spirulina benefits skin pollen flowers

Lowers Cholesterol

Studies have shown that taking spirulina may help to lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is the unhealthful fat found in a person’s blood. Spirulina significantly reduces the “bad” (low-density lipoprotein) type of cholesterol and while increasing the “good” (high-density lipoprotein) type of cholesterol. Researchers found that taking 1 g of spirulina every day reduced a participant’s total cholesterol after 3 months.

Spirulina may help to lower cholesterol levels

spirulina weight loss spirulina powder

Heart Health

No matter at what age, heart health is important. As we mentioned, spirulina can help reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol. This helps keep your arteries clear, reduces the strain on the heart that typically leads to heart disease and strokes. The protein in the alga also helps reduce the triglyceride levels. These are fats in your blood that can contribute to the hardening of arteries, increasing the risk of heart problems, diabetes, and pancreatitis. Spirulina also increases nitric oxide production in your body as well, which helps your blood vessels relax and widen, so blood can move through freely. Studies show that this can reduce your blood pressure, lowering your heart disease and reduces the chance of blood clots.

Heart health is important at any age

what is spirulina used for heart baloons


Spirulina may have a positive effect in protecting the body against cancer. Chronic inflammation contributes to cancer and other diseases. Phycocyanin, which is the pigment that gives spirulina its green-blue color, has been found to not only reduce inflammation in the body, but also block tumor growth and kill cancer cells. Other nutrients present in the alga such as chlorophyll and beta-carotene are also proven to fight cancer cells and protect vision from aging.

Spirulina reduceses inflammation in the body

spirulina nutrition facts spirulina smoothie

Helps Diabetes Management

Taking supplements with spirulina help improve glucose control, insulin resistance and as we mentioned reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. A small study found that spirulina may improve insulin sensitivity and lower total cholesterol levels in people with diabetes. High fasting blood sugar is a common problem in people with diabetes type 1 and 2. This suggests that spirulina supplements may help people control diabetes. Spirulina has at least four grams of protein  for each tablespoon. This makes it great for controling blood sugar and overall diabetes control.

Spirulina supplements may help people control diabetes

how to take spirulina powder diabetes circle

Metabolism Booster

Our metabolism plays an important part when it comes to losing, gaining or maintaining weight. Studies have shown that taking six grams of the alga each day can have a beneficial metabolic effect, aid with weight loss and create a better health-related quality of life. It can help a person have more energy consequently burning plenty of calories everday. Plus even though this alga is full of nutrients, it only has 20 calories per tablespoon. It also contains an amino acid called l-phenylalanin. This acid helps to suppress appetite.

This alga has a beneficial metabolic effect

spirulina benefits for hair woman

Mood Booster

Spirulina may play a potential benefit when it comes to helping with mood problems.


This alga is a source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid. Tryptophan helps support the production of serotonin or otherwise known as the hormone of happiness. If you suffer from depression, bipolar and eating disorders, anxiety and others, you most likely have reduced levels of serotonin. Taking such supplements will help to create a mental wellbeing.

Mood disorders can be treated with spirulina 

what does spirulina do moods


If you’re not interested in weightless, but rather in muscle gain, spirulina can help. When it comes to exercise and fitness benefits, spirulina can help enhance muscle strength, endurance, and performance. Studies have shown that men who took six grams of spirulina every day for four weeks had longer periods of exercising without feeling fatigue. This, once again, comes down to the better blood flow spirulina creates. However, reaping the rewards of all the nutrients, especially protein in this case, is quite the contributing factor as well.

Spirulina can help enhance muscle strength, endurance, and performance

danger of spirulina man lifting weights

Eye and Oral Health

Spirulina contains a lot of zeaxanthin. This is a plant pigment that may help reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related vision loss. The antibacterial properties found in zeaxanthin may also help promote good oral health. One study found that spirulina-enhanced mouthwash reduced dental plaque and the risk of gingivitis in participants. It also lowers the risk of oral cancer in people who chew tobacco.

The plant pigment may help reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related vision loss

blue spirulina benefits green eye

Flushes Out Toxins

Spirulina is amazing when it comes to helping our bodies flush out toxins! It’s even used as a natural water filter. This is because it contains protein and peptides that are particularly good at finding toxins and excreting them out of our bodies. That way, pollutants such as arsenic, fluoride, iron, lead, and mercury aren’t being absorbed into the bloodstream but are rather working their way out of our system.

Spirulina is amazing when it comes to helping our bodies flush out toxins

what is spirulina good for algae ocean

Women’s Health

This green little supplement is great for women’s reproductive organs. Just like how spirulina is a magnet for toxins such as heavy metals, it also helps to attract candida cells and can flush them out of the body. And the part is that it isn’t just bringing balance down below. The same course of action can happen in the gut, as well, to help bring balance there.

Spirulina is a magnet for toxins such as heavy metals and candida cells

when to take spirulina morning or night woman eating pizza


A process called oxidation can lead to ongoing inflammation and damage to cells. This over time can lead to chronic diseases and potentially cancer. Thankfully, spirulina is full of antioxidant compounds. One of which is phycocyanin. As we mentioned, this compound is responsible for spirulina’s dark green-blue colour . However, it also helps dampen oxidation and inhibit inflammation. Studies suggest phycocyanin has potential benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, oxidative stress protection and neuroprotective qualities. Antioxidants are super beneficial to our health.

Spirulina is packed with antioxidants 

what is spirulina spirulina

Spirulina Side Effects

Although spirulina is generally safe to use, some unwanted side effects may occur, that you need to be aware of. While it is tolerated well by most, in some people it may cause headaches, muscle pain, sweating and insomnia. If you have an allergy to seafood, seaweed, and other sea vegetables, there is a chance you may also be allergic to spirulina, as it is after all a sea alga. Other than that there are some situations in which spirulina can have a negative effect.

Pregnant women should avoid using spirulina 

what is blue spirulina pregnant woman black and white

Negative Effects

People with autoimmune diseases. Research shows that spirulina can support immune system function. However, this could worsen symptoms in people with auto-immune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, or arthritis. Always speak to your doctor before starting any types of supplements.

If you are taking immunosuppressive drugs or pills to treat diabetes, and blood thinners, it’s recommended to stay away from spirulina.

People with a disorder called phenylketonuria. This disorder makes the body unable to process certain amino acids. Spirulina is rich in amino acids.

Pregnant or nursing women. There is not enough research to suggest that spirulina is safe to use while pregnant. That is why it is best to avoid it.

Bleeding Disorders. Since spirulina can help reduce blood clotting, it may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with certain bleeding disorders.

People with B12 deficiency. Sometimes it’s hard for the body to absorb this vitamin. If you have a deficiency, most common in people with plant-based diets, it’s best to make sure you are supplementing this vitamin from another source. Spirulina has high levels of vitamin B 12.

Toxic spirulina. Spirulina that has been harvested in the wild may be contaminated with heavy metals and bacteria. In high amounts, some of these toxins may stress or damage your liver. Make sure to search for companies that are organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free. This will limit cross-contamination.

Algae that has been harvested in the wild may be contaminated with heavy metals and bacteria

how to use spirulina powder ground spirulina algae on a spoon royalty free image 1631638916

Spirulina Benefits Skin

Spirulina can boost the overall health and radiant appearance of your skin. Not only that but it can help prevent acne build up and swelling. Since spirulina is rich in nutrients, vitamins and both fatty and amino acids, it helps decreases inflammation, tones the skin and encourages cell turnover to promote a more youthful-looking complexion. It can also help people struggling with eczema and psoriasis. Algae face masks are super popular and beneficial.

Spirulina can help prevent acne build up and swelling

spirulina pregnancy glowy skin

DIY Face Mask

Here is a quick and easy DIY mask you can try out.


  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • half a tsp Spirulina Extract or 1 tbsp Spirulina Powder
  • 1 tsp Evening Primrose Oil


  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix them.
  2. Apply to clean, dry skin.
  3. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then wash off with a cleanser.
  4. Pat dry.

Make your very own mask 

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Spirulina Benefits For Hair

Whether you choose to take supplements, or hair care products with spirulina, there will be many benefits for the hair. This algae super food family purifies, cleanses, and moisturizes the scalp. It fights dandruff, promotes hair growth, treats hair loss, controls sebum production, slows down the appearance of gray and white hairs, and last but not least, helps the hair achieve a glossy and shiny look.

There will be many benefits for your hair

organic spirulina hair

John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.