Can Spirulina replace all other nutrients?
ver heard of algae being a potent nutrient hub? Introducing Spirulina, the blue-green algae that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, making it a popular dietary supplement. Spirulina grows naturally in mineral-rich alkaline lakes, found in every continent, often near volcanoes. It has been used from the age of the Aztecs but lost its importance soon after. After its re-discovery in the 1960s,
Spirulina has been extensively tested by scientists to understand its nutritional benefits. Research has shown that Spirulina is the most powerful and well-balanced source of nutrition. So, “Can Spirulina replace all other nutrients?”. The answer is complicated. I shall state the facts and leave you to be the judge.
Facts supporting Spirulina as a wholesome nutritional supplement:
- Spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants; and vitamin B, beta carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma-linoleic acid making it a wholesome nutritional supplement.
- There have been reports that people from around Lake Chad (where concentrations of Spirulina are found, harvested, and sold in the markets) survived solely on Spirulina in times of drought and famine for months together. All of them were healthy, without any nutritional deficiencies, again supporting the fact that Spirulina can replace all nutrients. 1
- Studies have shown that giving children Spirulina supplements have helped improve the nutritional status of those who are undernourished. 2This proves to say that Spirulina can help replenish the nutrients required by the body and no secondary supplement is required.
- Spirulina is safe for everyone. The above point proves that even children can be given Spirulina supplements, without having to worry about any side effects.
- Research on Spirulina for obese people as a weight regulator has shown that it has been effective in modulating body weight and appetite and partly modifies serum lipids. This can further confirm the efficacy of this herbal supplement in the control and prevention of obesity and obesity-related disorders. 3
Spirulina contains nearly all nutrients required by the body and can reduce the risk of many ailments. However, do consider the following points before opting it as your sole dietary supplement:
- The benefits of Spirulina are best seen if consumed for a maximum period of 3 months. Some may notice side-effects, such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, and dizziness. I noticed, do consult with your physician immediately.
- There isn't sufficient information available to know if it is safe to use during pregnancy or breast-feeding, as such it is better avoided during these times.
- People with autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, Pemphigus Vulgaris (a skin condition) should avoid the use of Spirulina, as it may worsen the symptoms of the said
A balanced diet is the best way for the body to receive nutrients. However, for those who have a very busy lifestyle and cannot depend on the food to replenish all the nutrients, Spirulina is a good choice to stay healthy. Also, it is important to note that Spirulina is a wholesome supplement only for those who are healthy. If you have any pre-existing ailments, do consult your doctor/physician before starting on a supplement of Spirulina.