1. Source of antioxidants
A process called oxidation can lead to ongoing inflammation and damage to cells, which may over time lead to chronic disease and potentially cancer. Spirulina is packed with antioxidant compounds, one of which, phycocyanin, is responsible for spirulina’s dark blue-green colour – it also helps dampen oxidation and inhibit inflammation. Studies suggest phycocyanin has potential benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, oxidative stress protection and neuroprotective qualities.
2. May reduce high blood pressure
A study examining the effects of a daily dose of 4.5g of spirulina for six weeks reported reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
3. May help in the management of cholesterol
Rich in compounds that have antioxidant properties, spirulina helps prevent damage to fatty compounds like cholesterol. It also appears to help manage total cholesterol, lowering the so-called ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and elevating ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
4. May have cancer protective properties
Animal studies suggest supplementation with spirulina may have value in protecting against cancer. The mechanism by which it does this may be by activating immune cells called natural killer cells, which help our defence against tumours. More human trials are needed, but of those conducted, results look encouraging.
5. May alleviate hay fever
Spirulina appears to reduce the inflammation of nasal airways, which is a classical symptom of allergic rhinitis or hay-fever. In one study, it was seen to significantly improve symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion and itching.