Spirulina is a non-toxic cyanobacteria that improves fatigue, supercharges the immune system and is a potent antioxidant. Cyanobacteria is a family of single-celled microbes that are often referred to as blue-green algae.
Referred to as “Tecuitlatl,” spirulina was a primary source of protein for the Aztecs for several hundred years, and Lake Texcoco remains an abundant fountainhead of this Superfood still today (1).
Athletic Greens is also packed with 8 minerals, 11 vitamins, 4g of protein, 4.8g of carbs, and 1.9g of dietary fiber. When you add the herbs, digestive enzymes, adaptogens, probiotics, raw greens, and antioxidants, including organic spirulina, you get 12g of nutrients in each serving.
It’s great for the immune system, nervous system, energy, gut, and liver health, and provides lots of antioxidants that fight free radicals. It contains no gluten, dairy, GMO, wheat, chemicals, artificial flavors, or animal products.
2Patriot Power Greens
With this powerful blend of 40 fruits and vegetables (667mg of organic fruits and vegetables and 1067mg of greens and sea vegetables), you get a lot more than just a spirulina supplement. Patriot Power Greens also contains 6 digestive enzymes and 10 probiotics that work together to improve your gut health.
Apart from reducing inflammation and increasing energy, this supplement’s minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients also reduce joint pain and fatigue. There isn’t anything artificial to worry about, which is another bonus.
3Viva Naturals Spirulina Powder
Apart from 3g of spirulina per serving , Viva Naturals contains minerals (1.9mg of iron and 20mg of sodium), 3456mcg of vitamin A, 2g of protein, 0.5g of phycocyanin, 30mg of chlorophyll, 3.4mg of zeaxanthin, and 45.3g of GLA. It’s fully organic, gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO. It’s a very strong spirulina supplement that’s 100% pure.
Some people find the taste unpleasant, but it’s more than worth it if you want an effective supplement like this one.
4Legion Athletics Genesis
This all-natural superfood supplement is packed with over 120g of minerals, various vitamins including vitamin A and vitamin C, herbs such as astragalus and maca, and phytonutrients, including 5g of spirulina per serving, moringa, reishi mushroom, and other clinically effective ingredients.
It reduces stress, anxiety, sluggishness, and fatigue, increases energy levels and longevity, improves mood, and boosts the immune system. It doesn’t contain anything artificial, but there’s an allergen warning on the label, so be sure to check it out before purchasing.
5Nested Naturals Super Algae
With organic certified Nested Natural Super Algae vegan capsules, you get a nice blend of green superfoods including 250mg of spirulina and chlorella. This provides lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins naturally found in the two algae.
The capsules are great for convince and traveling. Although due to the low dosage, you may need to take a few of them.
If you’re looking for a cheap and effective supplement to detoxify your body, this one is your way to go. It will free your body of heavy metal toxins, but also boost your immunity and energy. What’s more, it’s perfect for relieving seasonal allergies.
NOW Foods offers two spirulina supplements: powder and tablets. Regardless of what you choose, you’ll get a certified organic spirulina supplement that’s 100% pure and superfood-rich. In one serving of 3.3g, you get 2g of protein, 35mg of sodium, 5mg of calcium, 1.6mg of iron, 56mg of potassium, and 1g of carbs.
NOW Spirulina is vegan and non-GMO and contains no heavy metals or artificial ingredients. Rich in nutrients, it boosts immunity, energy, and mood, and frees your body of toxins.
7Nutrex Pure Hawaiian Spirulina
One of the most popular spirulina supplements right now, Nutrex Pure Hawaiian Spirulina does wonders for the immune system, cellular health, eyesight, energy levels, and cardiovascular health.
It contains up to 70% complete protein, 10 vitamins, 12 minerals, carotenoids and phytonutrients, such as 282mg of phycocyanin, 33mg of GLA, 4mg of zeaxanthin, and 24mg of chlorophyll. It’s completely free of heavy metals, lactose, gluten, preservatives, GMO, animal products, and harmful bacteria. The only downside may be a small dosage, which requires multiple servings.
8MAJU’s Spirulina Powder
MAJU Superfoods offers a vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and completely non-irradiated spirulina powder with a huge amount of iron and B12. In one serving of 3g, you get 1.7g of iron, 2g of protein, 3g of spirulina, 12mg of total carotenoids, 160% of vitamin A, 258mg of phycocyanin, and other nutrients.
There are no harmful chemicals whatsoever, and you get a lot of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for extra energy, cellular health, and better immunity.
The powder has a very mild smell, and the taste is clean and fresh. Its price is very competitive, so that’s another plus.
9Perfect Aquatic Greens
This supplement is a 50/50 blend of pure organic spirulina and chlorella, so it’s perfect for cleansing your body of heavy metal toxins. Each capsule contains 350mg of spirulina and 350mg of chlorella. They also come with plenty of minerals, vitamins, protein, and fatty acids, all naturally found in these algae, and contain absolutely no additives, artificial ingredients, gluten, GMO, or animal products.
Among many health benefits, Perfect Aquatic Greens boosts immunity and liver health, prevents anemia, and maintains healthy blood sugar levels.
It does, however, contain a smaller spirulina dosage than other similar supplements, so you’ll need to take multiple servings per day.
10Micro Ingredients Pure Organic Spirulina Powder
Micro Ingredients offers an incredibly pure organic spirulina supplement that’s rich in minerals including iron and sodium, phytonutrients, vitamins, and protein, all of which give an excellent health boost. It’s completely free of gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, yeast, corn, preservatives, additives, and GMO, and it’s vegan-friendly.
It comes in a nice resealable bag that provides UV protection. Its taste and smell are a bit stronger than other spirulina supplements, but it has the lowest calories, so it’s great for a restrictive diet.
How We Rank
When looking for the best spirulina supplements on the market, we first focused on the purity. We dropped any product that didn’t contain pure spirulina, like Neotea Spirulina Powder, despite it’s popularity. We allowed some leniency with products that included spirulina as a main ingredient, rather than the sole ingredient – as long as the other ingredients were all-natural and nutritional. We also gave bonus points to products that were completely free of additives and artificial ingredients.
Spirulina comes in two main forms: capsule based and powder based. When ranking capsule-based supplements, we made sure the capsules were made using plant-based compounds, such as chlorella. Chlorella packs a huge nutrient punch, which is why Perfect Aquatic Greens and Nested Naturals made our top 10. We also considered the amount of dosage per capsule, as well as the amount of spirulina per bottle, so that you can know which products can provide you with the most value.
When looking at spirulina powders, we first considered the amount of spirulina per bag or tub. We proffered companies that provided at least 3g of spirulina per serving, and ideally 5g like Legion Athletics Genesis, as research shows this is a good amount. We also considered usability, as it may be a bit challenging to scoop the powder out of a resealable bag. This is why Ingredients Pure Organic Spirulina Powder, was ranked a little lower.
Last but not least, we considered the price but made sure the quality was the number one priority. After all, you can’t put a price tag on health. Nonetheless, we looked for a perfect balance of reasonable price and remarkable quality.This is a reason Nested Naturals Super Algae ranked higher than Perfect Aquatic Greens. Despite the price, we ranked Athletic Greens first because it packs the greatest nutritional punch per serving while maintaining great taste.
After all this, we determined the top 10 best spirulina supplements on the market.
1Spirulina can lower bad LDL cholesterol. One 2014 study found that people with high cholesterol determined that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and “bad” LDL by 10.1% (2).
It was concluded that “Spirulina supplementation at a dose of 1 g daily has powerful hypolipidaemic effects, especially on the triglyceride concentration in dyslipidaemic Cretan outpatients.”
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that 2g of spirulina per day improved heart disease markers including lipid profiles (3).
Another 2008 study involving 78 individuals showed that higher doses of spirulina (between 4-8g) had favorable effects on lipid profiles, immune variables, and antioxidant capacity in healthy, elderly male and female subjects and is suitable as a functional food (4).
2Spirulina fights off lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is a key component of many diseases (5).
In a study in 37 people with type 2 diabetes, 8 grams of spirulina per day significantly reduced markers of oxidative damage. It also increased levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood (6).
3Spirulina has anti-cancer benefits. A 1995 study involving 87 people investigated the effects of spirulina treatment for oral cancer. Over the course of a year, the patients who supplemented with 1g of spirulina per day saw a 45% reduction in cancer-related lesions.
What even more shocking is that when they stopped the supplementation, 50% of them redeveloped the lesions (9).
Research shows that spirulina has the potential to increase anti-tumor natural killer cells via oral administration (10).
In 2009, a study explored spirulina’s anti-cancer effects. In this animal study, it was found to be a plausible treatment strategy for cancer. However, more human and clinical studies are needed to solidify and support this evidence (11).
In a precancerous condition called oral submucous fibrosis, 1 gram of spirulina a day showed greater improvements than other drugs, such as pentoxifylline (12).
4Spirulina can fight off fatigue. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition showed that spirulina supplementation decreased the perception of physical and mental fatigue within 4 hours of supplementation (13).
5Spirulina can protect the brain. A 2011 study out of Tokyo concluded that “spirulina prevents the loss of memory possibly by lessening Aβ protein accumulation, reducing oxidative damage and mainly augmenting the catalase activity ” (14).
Senior individuals with a history of anemia participated in a 12-week trial. After 12 weeks, tests showed improved in the average mass of their red blood cells. Researchers considered this encouraging and also noted an increase in their white blood cell count. In fact, spirulina may not only help in anemia cases, but also help improve overall immune function (15).
6Spirulina helps to protect the liver. A 2016 review showed that spirulina supplementation decreased oxidative stress and helped to normalize enzyme levels (16).
People with fatty liver who took 4.5g daily for six months had reduced fatty liver build-up as induced by the diet. Spirulina appears to be quite potent at doing so independent of lifestyle changes (17).
In fact, spirulina, when combined with zinc, is thought to help treat arsenic poisoning. It was found to remove arsenic from the liver and other parts of the body – aiding in decreased negative effects (28).
7Spirulina may reduce blood pressure. A 2007 study showed that supplementing with 4.5g of spirulina per day reduced blood pressure (18).
Another study showed that spirulina contains Phycocyanin, a pigment that lowers blood pressure. In fact, Japanese researchers believe the blue-green algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome (19).
8Spirulina can improve allergy symptoms. A study involving 127 people showed that 2g per day of spirulina was effective in treating stuffy noses, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and other allergic rhinitis symptoms (20).
The supplement was also shown to suppress the secretion of inflammatory cytokines that contributed to allergies (15).
In fact, the supplement is a popular alternative medicine option to treat this particular allergy. Studies have noted a high degree of improvement in those that take spirulina for Allergic Rhinitis (16).
9Spirulina can help with anemia. Anemia is often characterized by a reduction in hemoglobin or red blood cells in your blood. In a study of 40 older people with a history of anemia, spirulina supplements increased the hemoglobin content of red blood cells and improved immune function (17).
10Spirulina can help with diabetes and blood sugar control. In 2001, researchers conducted a study where they gave the experiment group, who had diabetes mellitus, 2 grams of spirulina every day. The results suggested that spirulina could help control blood sugar levels, as well as improve their lipid profiles (18).
A 2012 study looked at the oral administration of spirulina in mice. The results indicated its use in preventing diabetes as it improved key markers that frequently lead to the disease (19).
In fact, some studies suggest that spirulina has the potential to perform better than some traditional diabetic medication. However, it is important to always check with your doctor and follow your specific healthcare professionals advice (20, 21, 22).
11Spirulina can detox heavy metals from the body. According to the World Health Organization, chronic arsenic toxicity is a problem. In humans, spirulina extract combined with zinc helped treat symptoms of arsenic poisoning and reduce the amount of arsenic found in the body.
After giving 24 patients affected by chronic arsenic poisoning spirulina extract (250 milligrams) plus zinc (2 milligrams) twice daily, they compared the results with 17 patients who took a placebo and found that the spirulina-zinc combination worked. Ultimately, the participants experienced a 47 percent decrease of arsenic in their body (23).
13Spirulina can eliminate candida. Spirulina benefits have been shown to promote the growth of healthy bacterial flora in the intestines, which in turn inhibits candida from thriving. Additionally, the immune-strengthening properties of spirulina will help the body eliminate candida cells (26).
14Spirulina can reduce the chance of stroke. Researchers have discovered that the spirulina supplementation lowered intimal aorta surface by 33 percent to 48 percent, which suggests that it can prevent atherosclerosis and subsequent stroke (30).
15Spirulina can help build muscle. A 2008 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that spirulina rats had more hypertrophy effects due to increased protein synthesis compared to casein protein fed rats (31).
A 2006 study indicated that spirulina may reduce skeletal muscle damage. Researchers inferred that this postponed exhaustion, ultimately increasing their endurance (32).
A 2010 study examined similar properties in spirulina. Participants were given a placebo or 6 grams of spirulina on a daily basis. With spirulina supplementation, individuals experienced increased time to fatigue. In turn, scientists concluded that the supplement increased muscle performance, fat oxidation, and glutathione concentration (33).
16Spirulina itself has powerful antioxidant effects. Many animal and in vitro studies have shown its antioxidant properties. It reduces oxidative stress which leads to various life-threatening diseases. However, varying dosages have been explored, and more human studies would help determine exact effects and benefits (34).
17Spirulina may reduce inflammation. The supplement’s effects show a high degree of promise when it comes to decreasing inflammation that leads to many diseases, such as cancer, allergies, diabetes, and infections (35).
In one study, researchers found spirulina to increase the powerful antioxidant, glutathione. Consequently, it had a significant impact in reducing inflammation caused by oxidative stress throughout the body – specifically in animal studies (36).
In human clinical studies, it was found to reduce the level of blood cytokines. Cytokines are part of the immune system and the inflammatory response. Thus, researchers inferred that inflammation levels also decreased (37).
18Spirulina can improve gut health. As it helps maintain healthy bacteria in the gut, spirulina can lead to much better gut health. A 2017 study published in Nutrients showed that spirulina can be especially effective when it’s part of a healthy diet rich in fiber and other foods that feed healthy bacteria (38).
19Spirulina may help reduce arthritis pain. A 2015 study published in PLoS One showed that spirulina may help people with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. This is because this biomass of cyanobacteria has anti-inflammatory properties due to all the antioxidants it contains, and particularly thanks to its biliprotein called phycocyanin that combats free radicals (39).
20Spirulina may alleviate PMS symptoms. This benefit of spirulina is also thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can soothe menstrual cramps completely naturally while reducing water retention and bloating at the same time. It may also help women feel significantly less tired and fatigued during their period. There haven’t been enough studies to prove this effect, but some users have reported feeling much better during their PMS.
21Spirulina can improve skin health. A 2015 study published in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics showed that spirulina can help you maintain healthy, young-looking skin. This is because it is rich in nutrients, fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins. What’s more, since it reduces inflammation and rids the body of toxins, it can improve various skin conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis (40).
22Spirulina can reduce the risk of heart disease. As spirulina lowers bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol levels, as well as reduces blood pressure, it can greatly lower the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that spirulina can help prevent cardiovascular disease, as well as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (41).
23Spirulina can improve mental well-being. Apart from reducing oxidative damage and preventing memory loss, spirulina can also improve your mood and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, improving your overall mental well-being, thanks to its ability to increase serotonin levels. A 2018 study published in the Global Journal of Medicine and Public Health found that tryptophan in spirulina is what boosts serotonin levels and improves mental health (42).
24Spirulina may be good for treating chronic arsenic poisoning. This is because spirulina helps free the body of heavy metal toxins. It can serve as an antitoxic agent to cleanse the body of mercury, lead, and arsenic, among others. A 2006 study published in Clinical Toxicology showed that taking spirulina supplements lead to a dramatic drop in arsenic levels (43).
25Spirulina may directly combat viral infections. Studies are currently underway to prove the effects of spirulina when it comes to fighting viral infections. However, it does show a high level of promise precisely because of its anti-inflammatory properties, the ability to increase white blood sugar levels, and immunity-boosting effects.
1Some spirulina may be contaminated with heavy metals. It’s possible that spirulina grown in the wild can absorb toxins from water, such as microcystins (known to cause severe liver damage), pollutants, and heavy metals. Most spirulina sold in the United States is grown in laboratories.
2Spirulina may cause an allergic reaction. One case study has documented an allergic reaction to spirulina believed to be owed to its C-Phycocyanin component. The allergic reaction began within six hours of consuming 2.5 grams of spirulina, in a 14-year-old adolescent (44).
3Spirulina may cause nausea, headaches, and insomnia. However, these potential side effects have been reported by users only when they exceeded the recommended dosage. When the dosage was strictly followed, no user has ever experienced these side effects of spirulina. On the other hand, they may take place if a spirulina supplement is not completely pure. If it is contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic ingredients, it may cause nausea, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
4Spirulina may worsen autoimmune diseases. Although there are some studies showing that spirulina can reduce arthritis pain, it may potentially make it worse. It may also exacerbate the symptoms of other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and lupus, as it boosts the immune system.
In extremely rare cases, it may negatively affect muscle and skin due to a severe autoimmune response. All of this is why spirulina supplements (or any algae supplements, for that matter) may not be a wise choice for people with any autoimmune disorder (45).
5Spirulina may worsen phenylketonuria. People with this metabolic disorder, commonly known as its abbreviation PKU, should avoid spirulina. PKU causes a deficiency of the enzyme that can metabolize phenylalanine. As spirulina can contain this amino acid, it may worsen the condition (46).
In general, 1-8 g per day of spirulina has been shown to have some effect. Further research is needed to determine whether spirulina should be taken once a day, or in smaller doses, multiple times per day.
The specific doses depend on the condition it’s being used for. For cholesterol, doses in the range of 1-8 g per day may be impactful. For muscle performance, doses of 2-7.5 g per day have been used. For blood glucose control, very mild effects have been seen with 2 g per day. Blood pressure may be affected at doses of 3.5-4.5 g per day. Effects for fatty liver have been seen at doses of 4.5 g per day.
What are the side effects of spirulina? Although few adverse effects are associated with the use of spirulina, consuming spirulina may cause headaches, allergic reactions, muscle pain, sweating, and insomnia in some cases. People with allergies to seafood, seaweed, and other sea vegetables should avoid spirulina.
How does Spirulina help you lose weight? Balancing your blood sugar levels is essential for healthy weight loss. Spirulina is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and GLA. GLA helps regulate your blood sugar and control insulin levels, which can, in turn, minimize carbohydrate binging and help you lose weight.
How much Spirulina should I take daily? A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1–3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day have been used effectively.
Is spirulina good for eyesight? Spirulina contains both vitamin A and C. As an antioxidant, vitamin E has similar effects as vitamin C. There is evidence that the combined use of vitamins C and E can delay the onset and progression of degenerative eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Is spirulina good for hair growth? Spirulina possesses remarkable nutritional value that results in incredible health benefits and is loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals, fatty and amino acids which benefit skin and hair.
Does Spirulina smell bad? While good spirulina certainly does feature its own particular smell, it should not be an unpleasant one. A very strong odor indicates a high rate of oxidation, and thus a damaged product.
Does Spirulina reduce appetite? When you take poor-quality foods, your brain will trigger your appetite in an effort to find what it needs. Taking Spirulina will increase the concentration of nutrients in your body and may reduce hunger and cravings in the process.
Should I take spirulina before or after meals? You can take spirulina whenever you like; with, before, or between meals; before or after working out; or whenever your energy is low.
What’s the difference between spirulina and chlorella? Spirulina contains more essential amino acids, iron, protein, B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E. With that said, chlorella still holds an abundance of health benefits.
What nutrients does spirulina contain? Spirulina contains a great amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamins, niacin, protein, essential amino acids, and carbohydrates. This is why it is considered a superfood and why it provides an array of health benefits.
How much protein is there in spirulina? Spirulina is very rich in protein, which is surprising for a green superfood. It boasts a whopping 60% protein content, which makes it a much greater protein source than most vegetables.
How to use spirulina? You can use spirulina in a number of different ways, depending on your personal preference. Spirulina supplements come in powder and capsules. Taking capsules may be more convenient, especially if you don’t like the taste or smell of powder.
If you choose a powder with no noticeable taste, you can add it to salads, bread, and any other meal you want. You can also use it as a seasoning for various foods. You can also blend spirulina into smoothies, which is what a lot of people who don’t like the taste prefer to do when it comes to taking a powder supplement.
What are the best times of day to take spirulina? You can take the supplement anytime, but it might be best to avoid taking it late in the evening. This is because it boosts your energy, so it may disrupt your sleep. To get a restful sleep, you should take spirulina at least 4 hours before bedtime. Of course, you can use it even earlier in the day. It’s completely up to you.
Is spirulina safe for children? Yes, spirulina is indeed safe for children. Since it contains a lot of nutrients that are good for overall health, it can support normal growth and development in children, just like it helps adults. What’s important is to make sure they take 100% pure spirulina, free of any heavy metals, additives, and artificial substances, so that there is absolutely no room for potential side effects.
Is it safe to take spirulina during pregnancy? Yes, spirulina is perfectly safe for pregnant women, as well as for nursing women. This is because it contains a lot of iron, protein, and calcium, which are hugely beneficial to both of these categories. Again, it is vital that the spirulina supplement you take is 100% pure and free of any contaminants. However, to stay on the safe side, be sure to consult with your doctor so that they can help you make an educated decision based on your bloodwork.
How much spirulina should you take per day? The amount of spirulina you take will depend on the condition you are trying to treat. For improvements in cholesterol, doses in the range of 1-8 g per day have been shown to work. For muscle performance, doses of 2-7.5 g per day is recommended. For blood glucose control, very mild effects have been seen with 2 g per day. Blood pressure may be affected at doses of 3.5-4.5 g per day. Effects for fatty liver have been seen at doses of 4.5 g per day.
Spirulina boosts various proven health benefits. It’s high protein content, and high nutritional content also gives way to why many healthcare professionals are regarding it as one of the better supplements for therapeutic use (47).
Spirulina benefits your heart and cardiovascular system. It has powerful antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can aid in reducing symptoms associated with allergies. It may help improve endurance in exercise, which in turn, can help improve muscle strength.
It may also improve non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as improve symptoms of arsenic poisoning. It impacts the immune system improving the structure of red blood cells and increasing white blood cell function. Lastly, it may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
For many years, spirulina has been widely available in food and supplement forms in health food stores. Now, scientists and health professionals are not only regarding spirulina as a high nutrient containing entity, but also as a way to treat various diseases and conditions. Frequently, the dosage consumed is between 1-8 grams per day.