A staple food to the Aztecs, the wonder algae was actually called the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. There are various species of spirulina out there, but all tend to have the same properties, with no notable differences.
The weight loss protocol is very simple: just consume the algae as directed, on a daily basis, respecting the doctor’s or manufacturer’s dosage, regardless of its form or packaging. This is a well researched supplement, frequently found in smoothies and sold as powder, pill or capsule. It is available over the counter, since no prescription is required.
Note that, when you take spirulina, it is very hard to overdose on it. You’d have to eat too big amounts to gain any weight from spirulina or to cause any harm. Plus, some people find its taste very displeasing and thus they need to mix it into sweet fruit juice or add honey. One would normally take it in capsule form, which definitely cancels the taste.
Spirulina nutrient profile
Let’s go straight into the most important matter: the nutrient profile. You will understand why NASA scientists chose it as main food for cosmonauts during space missions. Spirulina has an amazing chemical composition:
- approximately 60% protein
- Iron (more than spinach)
- Vitamin A, B12, K1, K2
- carotenoids and especially beta-carotene (more than carrots)
Also, it’s got the following important nutrients per ounce:
- 39 g protein
- 80 calories
- 1 g fiber
- <1 g sugar
- 350 mg Omega-6 fatty acids
- 230 mg Omega-3 fatty acids
If your regular diet does not provide you with enough vital elements (and deficiencies are very likely nowadays), then you probably feel the constant or at least frequent need to purchase various supplements.
Spirulina can successfully replace such products – even multimineral and vitamin formulations. It will also help remove some of the noxious elements previously ingested from bad foods and stored in your tissues (the detox effect).
The health benefits of Spirulina supplementation
While most people take spirulina as a weight loss supplement, its short and long term use can have a whole series of beneficial effects on one’s health. When taken daily, it can fully revitalize you. It works as a harmless energy booster, giving you the will and power to cope with the daily tasks. Also, spirulina has ensured toxic metal detoxification in numerous cases.
In addition, it strengthens the immune system and also helps eliminate candida when it’s overgrown. Besides, looks like it has just what it takes to fight and prevent cancer, as informed by countless research groups around the world. Spirulina also reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, protecting you from cardiovascular disease.
The more interesting part for fitness enthusiasts and overweight people is that it goes into the complex hormonal mechanisms. It influences the so-called happiness hormones and neurotransmitters. Spirulina delivers tryptophan, which improves the mood and promotes a good sleep, as well as phenylalanine, to send early signals to the brain that the stomach is full.
Through tyrosine, it boosts the production of dopamine, an essential feel-good hormone. By improving one’s mood, spirulina supplementation makes ‘comfort eating’ stop. Binge eating and unhealthy cravings often come from a bad mood, which people are trying to medicate through food, by satisfying their hunger.
Once the dark cloud is gone, one no longer feels much of a need to go to comfort foods. Plus, since such neurotransmitters and hormones are balanced, the bodily functions become more balanced – including the metabolism.
Because its action is truly complex, we are going to list the main benefits below:
- Immunity enhancer
- Oxidation prevention (antioxidant), thus preventing aging from oxidative stress
- Anti-tumoral effects (anti-cancer)
- Reduces anemia
- Stimulates cell growth
- Rejuvenates the skin
- Antibiotic action
- Hormone regulator
- Heavy metal detoxification
- Improves teeth and gums by remineralizing
Apart from all these benefits, spirulina contains an important amount of protein. This is easier to assimilate than protein that comes from animals. It fares better also when compared to regular vegetable protein. Thus, it is easier on the digestive tract and gets absorbed more efficiently. When protein is present in the body in sufficient amounts, it boosts the muscular mass, helping burn more lipids but first of all, it promotes satiety.
How spirulina helps you lose weight ?
A study carried out by the Polish University of Medical Sciences in Poznan confirmed that supplementing with this potent algae can indeed improve the body mass index or BMI and one’s body weight. How it achieves this is rather complex, as spirulina doesn’t act on one system or parameter alone, but on many. Overall, it empowers your body to function as it was designed to and make the needed changes.
Once it gets on the right track, your weight will follow. Supplementation with a nutrient-dense superfood can prove to be more efficient than simply reducing the calorie intake. It is also stress-free and therefore easier to do. From a nutritional point of view, it is a welcome addition, since it supplies with protein instead of lipids and carbohydrates. It can thus improve the nutrient profile of your diet.
Note that protein in itself is harder to digest than other nutrients and thus makes your body spend more energy in the process. Here is one way in which you can burn fat. Additionally, spirulina allows you to lose weight by boosting your energy, thus making you more apt for exercise and a healthier lifestyle overall. It reduces hunger, even in people who have a serious weight issue, such as the overweight and obese.
It is truly famed for its appetite suppressing abilities along with its blood sugar balancing quality, all essential in combating weight gain. It’s best to have it in the morning, noon or afternoon, when the body is most able to absorb the nutrients properly.
Ideal dosage for weight loss?
Since this wonder algae is packed with nutrients, it can obviously be too much at some point. Therefore, you are required to feed yourself wisely. Spirulina is a food and, like any other food, it can be bad in excess.
In this case, it’s not exactly ‘bad’ or noxious, but too much of the same nutrients may eventually lead to weight gain and that is the opposite of what you want to happen.
Experts recommend the ideal doses for people who want to lose weight with spirulina:
- Individuals of 150 lbs must take 10-11 grams daily;
- Individuals weighing 200 lbs should take between 14 and 15 grams;
- People of 250 lbs must take 18-18.5 grams.
This represents the medical standard but in certain cases the dosage can be altered. This is because of the varying factors that affect everyone. What you must understand is that taking higher doses isn’t necessary advantageous. When it deals with an excess of nutrients, no matter how good, the body can choose either to eliminate these or to store them as fat, for later use.
Ideally, one should take between 5 and 8 doses of spirulina per day in order to trigger weight loss. Don’t forget to take this before meals, about 30 minutes prior to these. If you want maximized results, then focus on the first part of the day, especially early morning. That is when the body is most able to absorb nutrients and to allow these to improve its processes.
Spirulina side effects
This is a very important topic to discuss. When it comes to spirulina, no one ever talks about side effects, yet there are some very specific warnings. It is mainly about the quality of the final product. Its quality depends on the waters the algae were taken from. Since ocean and sea pollution is a major issue nowadays, spirulina is also at risk. Algae can be contaminated with pollutants, including heavy metals.
For this reason, each harvest needs to be tested and approved. In case you’re having a contaminated product, you can experience stomach pain and nausea, quicker heartbeat, weakness etc. With time, it can result in liver damage. In very rare cases, contamination is so bad that the consumer goes into shock. Severe toxicity may also cause death.
The side effects should not scare you when you are using spirulina from a reputed brand, which performs regular and thorough testing on its supplements. Even when overdosed, it is never supposed to be toxic. Therefore, spirulina supplement safety is all about purity and quality. In itself, it is known to cause no harm. Children should not take any algae, however. Also, pregnant women should stay away from such supplements.
How about the weight gain effects of spirulina?
It is true, this food/superfood/supplement, whatever you like to call it, can lead to weight gain. This happen only in certain conditions, though. There is no reason to be worried. The ones who put on weight during and after spirulina supplementation are those who are underweight. It is a solution for people who don’t get enough from what they normally eat.
Those who fail to thrive on their regular diets or who have been ill and therefore lost weight can add it back and get healthy through the use of spirulina. Since it has such a rich nutrient profile, it rebalances the body, adding pounds where these are lacking and removing fat when weight is excessive. If your starting eight is indeed below the normal limits, then you can indeed get heavier.
In case you are still confused or afraid about the effect it may have on you, consider this: experts as well as consumers have figured out that timing plays a huge role in the outcome. Thus, if you take spirulina before meals, on an empty stomach, it can act before the food does. It therefore decreases your appetite and brings satiety early on. On the other hand, if you choose to take it after meals, it acts as a nutrient addition and not an appetite suppressant. The latter method is the one that leads to weight gain.
Which form should you take?
In health stores, you will find spirulina in many forms. It is often incorporated to protein bars and other such snacks. As a supplement, it can be purchased as pills or capsules – it’s the easy way to go and you don’t have to deal with the taste (which is nice to some and unpleasant to others). However, the most popular option seems to be the powder form.
The amount is relatively easy to control; plus, powder can be easily added to drinks and smoothies, as well as to foods. It can be a bit messy, though. Note that spirulina has a deep green color and is highly pigmented. Therefore, it can easily stain objects around, which makes its powder form more difficult to handle.
This suprising one-cell organism growing in warm waters seems to be “the food of the future”. Spirulina as a natural dietary supplement is excellent for health, does not cause any harm and can be used regardless of the weight issue you may have. When employed correctly, it can trigger significant weight loss. Its main action is that of nourishing and rebalancing the body with its countless mechanisms and processes. Make sure to check the source from which you want to buy. To avoid all risks, purchase pure spirulina, free from additives or pollutants. Do a little research in terms of sources and manufacturers.