What are spirulina's main benefits and potential side effects?

There are many benefits of Spirulina, as it contains a high concentration of therapeutic nutrients, more so than most other herbal supplements.

Some of the many nutrients this blue-green algae contains include a large percentage of digestible protein, Vitamin B-12, beta carotene, iron and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid.

Due to this content it offers many health benefits, as outlined below:

Benefits of Spirulina

  1. With ten times more beta carotene than carrots, spirulina is an excellent source of disease fighting antioxidants.

  2. An excellent source of vegetable protein with all of the amino acids to build muscle.

  3. Spirulina contains a high concentration of B Vitamins, important for maintaining cardiovascular health as well as breaking down carbs and lipids.

  4. One of the few sources of GLA, Spirulina is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can benefit arthritis sufferers as well as prevent heart disease among other benefits.

Is there any danger of Spirulina?

When taken in recommended dosages (less than 50 grams/day), it is considered to be relatively safe with few side effects.

As with many other supplements, the danger of Spirulina exists when taking an exceedingly large dose. This is due to the algae's high nucleic acid content, which leads to increased uric acid. This could cause kidney problems.

Another possible danger of Spirulina is impaired liver function, which could occur with high dosages of minerals and vitamins.

However, it remains a very popular supplement, especially in Japan, where users tout the many health benefits of Spirulina.

So what's the bottom line?

With its unique blend of so many important nutrients, Spirulina may provide a number of therapeutic benefits, although clinical studies are rare.

Critics point to the potential for kidney or liver problems, but this danger most likely occurs only with excessive dosages. The same can be said for Vitamin C and a host of other supplements.

If you are thinking about supplementing Spirulina, make sure you consult your physician and always adhere to recommended dosages to avoid adverse reactions.

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