- Spirulina is proposed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also is high in protein, providing 4 grams of protein per one tablespoon
- The current literature shows that doses 1-8 grams per day of spirulina could show some health benefits
- More research is needed to find an optimal daily dose of spirulina and to prove its health benefits, and it is always recommended to talk to your doctor before adding any new supplement to your diet
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green microalgae that is found throughout freshwater, saltwater, and lakes mostly throughout Mexico and Central Africa.
Spirulina has become an increasingly popular nutrition supplement over the years.
Though it has actually been around since the Aztec civilization to treat various conditions and boost energy.
Health Benefits Of Spirulina
Spirulina has been studied for a variety of different proposed health benefits.
It is also a vegan source of protein, providing 20 calories and 4 grams of protein in just one small tablespoon serving. It’s a good source of B vitamins as well as iron. It has been considered a “superfood” due to its high nutrient content.
One of the main attractive benefits of spirulina is that it is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chronic inflammation occurs when inflammatory markers in the body remain high when there is no longer an injury or infection to fight off.
It has also been shown to decrease cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglyceride levels.
Improving cholesterol and blood lipid profiles, if numbers are high, can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
There is some research that it can help with seasonal allergies, weight management, and blood sugar, and even have anticancer properties.
More research is needed, but a compound in spirulina called phycocyanin is biologically active and is being studied in vitro for its impact on cell cycle regulation and induce cancer cell death.
Phycocyanin, along with chlorophyll, help gives spirulina its beautiful bright blue-green color.
How Much Spirulina Per Day?
So now that we know some health benefits, what is the daily dose of spirulina needed to achieve some of these possible benefits?
Currently, there is no optimal daily dose or recommended intake for spirulina. There is some evidence that shows that different spirulina doses may be beneficial to achieve different goals.
The current literature shows that anywhere between 1-8 grams per day could be beneficial. To put that in perspective, one tablespoon of spirulina weighs about 7 grams.
When looking at the studies on spirulina improving inflammatory marker levels, one study showed improvement after 7.5 grams per day for eight weeks, but another study also showed similar benefits with 2 grams of spirulina per day for 12 weeks.
The wide range of 1-8 grams per day seems to provide some benefits for improved cholesterol and blood lipid profile.
Similarly, one study showed decreases in cholesterol with spirulina of 2 grams per day for two months, and the same study reviewed above showed that improved inflammatory markers also showed improvement in cholesterol and LDL with 7.5 grams of spirulina per day.
Doses that may impact blood glucose showed a small effect at 2 grams per day, and for weight management and endurance training, doses that range from 2-7.5 grams per day have been used.
Can You Have Too Much Spirulina?
Studies show that doses up to 8 grams daily appear safe for most people without serious side effects.
It appears that even 10-19 grams per day in the short term might even be safe, though more studies over a longer time period are needed. At high doses, minor side effects like nausea, headache, and diarrhea occur.
Since most of the literature looks at doses 8 grams or less, it is unknown whether doses above 8 grams provide any increased benefit. Consider starting supplementation at less than 8 grams before going any higher.
The main thing that is important regarding safety and consuming spirulina is that consumers want to be sure they are purchasing from a reputable supplier.
Spirulina harvested in the wild could pose health risks if contaminated with bacteria or pollutants in water. Microcystins are dangerous and could be toxic to the liver.
Most spirulina for consumption is grown in farms or greenhouses, so the risk of microcystin contamination is lower.
Consumers should research the company they are purchasing from to ensure there are quality assurance practices or third-party testing in place.
How Can You Incorporate Spirulina Into Your Diet?
There are a few ways spirulina can be incorporated into your diet.
First, spirulina is often in powder form or tablet form.
The spirulina powder can be mixed with water, juice, coconut water, or any desired beverage. It can even be blended into smoothies, giving it a pretty blue color.
If not a fan of the way spirulina tastes in drinks or smoothies, taking spirulina tablets is another option. Often, more than one tablet and taking tablets multiple times a day will be needed to meet the 1-8 gram range showing benefits.
Lastly, another way to add spirulina to your daily diet would be taking it in the form of greens powders.
Green powders often contain spirulina in their greens blend and other powdered vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and much more.
While green powders are not a substitute for a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, they can help support a healthy diet while also providing ingredients like spirulina which we cannot get from food sources.
Additional benefits of green powders include possible stress relief, better sleep, improved blood pressure, and boosted immunity.
Supergreen Tonik provides not just greens in their greens powder but also adaptogens like ashwagandha and rhodiola to help support the stress response and improve sleep. It also contains vitamins, minerals, and an immune-boosting blend.
There is 2 grams of spirulina in Supergreen Tonik, which falls right in line with the spirulina dosage range for its proposed health benefits reviewed in the research.
Supergreen Tonik is fully transparent to consumers on its label, disclosing exactly how much of each ingredient is in its product.
There are no proprietary blends, and consumers know exactly what they are getting in the greens blend, Nootropic blend, and immune blend in Supergreen Tonik.
Much more research on the optimal daily dose of spirulina and the duration it should be taken for to see benefits is needed.
So far, the research is exciting and promising for the future.
Whether you choose to take spirulina in powder form, tablets, or green powder is up to you – in the end, the best way to take spirulina is way you can stick with it and incorporate it into your daily routine.
Remember to chat with your doctor or dietitian before starting any nutrition supplement, as spirulina or other components in green powders may interact with medical conditions or medications that you are on.
Nicole is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist. She completed her bachelors degree in Food and Nutrition with a concentration in Dietetics. She is passionate about taking evidence-based nutrition research and transforming it into an easy to read format for everybody to understand.
She has experience working in a variety of different settings such as acute care, long term care, school nutrition education and community nutrition. Nicole has spent most of her career working as a Clinical Dietitian in hospitals, providing nutrition education to those managing chronic diseases.