Spirulina is a nontoxic blue-green algae (technically a species of Anthrospira bacteria) that’s easily grown in labs. Early research hints that it’s a potent tool for reducing liver fat and protecting the brain. But more research is needed. Scientists suspect that phycocyanobilin, an active compound in spirulina, helps inhibit an enzyme complex in the body, which in turn, shuts down the inflammatory response.
“Spirulina contains essential amino acids, iron, protein, and vitamins B, C, D, and E,” says Chris Niedzinski, owner of InnerLink Chiropractic in Wixom, Michigan. “It might be one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.”
Niedzinski offers it to patients as a general immune-boosting agent that helps fight infections, lower blood pressure, cut cholesterol, and reduce inflammation. And early evidence seems to back him up: Animal studies suggest that spirulina works as well as medications to treat neurological disorders, and human evidence hints that it improves lipid and glucose metabolism, protects the heart, and reduces liver fat.
Spirulina is between 55 and 80 percent protein, and some manufacturers tout it as an excellent source of vitamin B12. But that’s not entirely true. Yeah, the vitamin is there. But research shows that your body can’t absorb spirulina’s B12 well.
How to Use It
In tests, researchers generally look at dosages of 1 to 8 grams per day. For lowering blood pressure and treating fatty liver, 4.5 grams seems to make the biggest impact. “The easiest way to get this into your diet is to find a powder greens formula or supplement that contains it,” Niedzinski says. “Then drink it with water or add it to your smoothie.”
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