Health benefits of spirulina

Published August 4, 2014

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Spirulina is a type of microscopic blue‐green algae in the shape of a spiral coil that flourishes in warm alkaline waters of the world.1 It’s been used since the 16th century as a source of food and nutrients.1 Spirulina is believed to have a number of important health benefits which are thought to be due to its naturally rich nutritional content, including:

  • High in protein – Spirulina contains up to 70% protein, which is essential for the growth and repair of the body’s tissues and for the maintenance of good health. The protein value of spirulina is greater than many other plant sources including wheat, rice and legumes.
  • Source of B‐complex vitamins – Spirulina is a source of various B vitamins, which are important for the synthesis of several enzymes and co‐enzymes that are involved in numerous metabolic reactions in the body including energy production.
  • Contains more betacarotene than carrots – Spirulina contains notable amounts of betacarotene, even more than carrots.1 Betacarotene is an antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A in the body.
  • Natural source of minerals – Spirulina contains varying amounts of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese,1 which are required for a number of body functions.
  • Rich in chlorophyll – Chlorophyll is one of the pigments that gives spirulina its colour and has antioxidant properties.
  • Contains essential fatty acids – Spirulina is a source of essential fatty acids including gammalinolenic acid (GLA) which are essential to good health.
  • Phycocyanin ‐ A beneficial plant nutrient, phycocyanin are responsible for the blue colour of spirulina and are potent free radical scavengers that may help protect cells from damage.

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