Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae used as a dietary supplement. Blue-green algae are high in protein, iron, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium, and vitamins A, C, E, and B.
The magnesium in spirulina may help you poop.
- Many adults are deficient in magnesium. Consuming foods such as spirulina that are high in magnesium can help with constipation in some cases.
- Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps draw water into the stool, making it easier to pass.
- However, for some people, spirulina can cause constipation.
What Are Health Benefits of Spirulina?
The main health benefit of spirulina is for treating high blood pressure. Some studies have shown it to be effective for this use.
Other health benefits of spirulina have not been conclusively proven, and more study is needed. Claims of benefits of spirulina include:
- Use as a protein supplement
- Helping with fatigue
- Improving mental alertness
- Reducing anxiety
- Stress reduction
- Treating high cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia)
- Some research has shown it may reduce cholesterol levels
- Managing diabetes
- May help manage blood sugar levels
- Weight loss
- Some studies have shown a small amount of weight loss but other studies have not
- Hay fever relief
- Athletic performance
- May improve endurance
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- When taken with a combination of other herbs, it may improve ADHD in otherwise untreated children
- Tics or twitching of the eyelids (blepharospasm)
- Menopause symptoms
- May reduce amenia
- To reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
What Are Side Effects of Spirulina?
Spirulina is considered a food and is generally well-tolerated, but it may have some side effects, such as:
Risks and precautions for spirulina include:
- It may be contaminated with other substances that may be toxic
- Look for a reputable brand of spirulina
- People who have an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus should avoid spirulina
- It has the potential to stimulate the immune system and worsen the condition
- People who phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid spirulina
- People with PKU are unable to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine contained in spirulina
- Interference with drugs that suppress the immune system
Tell your doctor before taking spirulina or any supplement because it may have unwanted side effects or interactions with medications you take.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Image source: iStock Images