According to the World Health Organization, iodine deficiency in the body is one of the most common non—infectious health problems worldwide. The reason for this is poor ecology and unbalanced nutrition. Almost every Russian lacks iodine, except for residents of the primorsky regions. Unfortunately, most people begin to think about iodine deficiency only after the first negative consequences appear, most often — failures in the thyroid gland.
But doctors recommend taking supplements with iodine before the deficiency leads to any negative consequences. One of the most common dietary supplements with iodine is spirulina, which is what this article will be about.:
- what is spirulina?
- spirulina in tablets — what is it taken for?
- what are the beneficial properties and contraindications of spirulina?
What is spirulina, what is it taken for?
Spirulina is a type of biologically active additives produced from the algae Arthrospira Platensis and Arthrospira Maxima. Sometimes spirulina is also called the algae themselves, from which dietary supplements are prepared, but this name is unofficial. Spirulina began to gain popularity in the 1990s, when NASA and the European Space Agency proposed growing it in space conditions to feed astronauts during long flights. These algae were chosen for a reason: they are so useful that it will be quite difficult to list all the useful properties of spirulina for the human body in one article.
Spirulina algae: properties and benefits
The enumeration of the beneficial properties of spirulina can begin with the fact that in dried form it contains from 50 to 70% protein, including all essential amino acids. This was the main reason for choosing this algae to feed astronauts. In terms of the composition of protein compounds, spirulina is inferior to meat, eggs and dairy products, but significantly exceeds any vegetable sources of protein, including legumes.
The properties of spirulina associated with its composition are not limited to this. It contains many other nutrients: vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, D, A and E, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese, as well as a variety of fatty acids: omega-3, omega-6 and others. This is just a small list of the main substances, in small doses spirulina contains even more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Thanks to beta-carotene and phycocyanin, spirulina has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There are also studies claiming that regular intake of spirulina lowers cholesterol and stabilizes sugar levels. A small number of experiments show that spirulina affects some people with diabetes better than popular sugar-lowering drugs, for example, metformin.
But the main property of spirulina, for which it is taken in capsules and tablets, is the replenishment of iodine deficiency. Like many other algae, Arthrospira contains a lot of iodine, which can normalize blood pressure, significantly increase immunity and restore the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Important! Arthrospira Platensis and Arthrospira Maxima are most often mined in fresh water, so the iodine content in them is much less than seaweed.
History confirms that spirulina was cultivated and used by the ancient Aztecs. That is, the experience of using this substance is huge, but scientific research began not so long ago. Nevertheless, doctors are convinced of the medicinal properties of spirulina and prescribe it as an adjunct for the treatment of many diseases:
- digestive ulcers;
- oncological diseases (in case of refusal of chemotherapy);
- viral and infectious diseases (to strengthen immunity);
- diabetes mellitus;
- diseases of the cardiovascular system;
- kidney or liver problems;
How to take spirulina?
The beneficial properties of algae were contained in biologically active additives, so that they became available to anyone. However, before buying the drug, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the rules of administration, useful properties and contraindications of spirulina in tablets. The properties have already been discussed above, so it remains to study the rules of admission, contraindications and possible side effects.
Depending on the size of the tablets or capsules, they need to be taken from 1 to 3 times a day. Another daily rate depends on the purpose of taking the substance: to prevent iodine deficiency and strengthen immunity, 1 gram per day is enough. And for the treatment of any disease, the dosage can only be prescribed by a doctor.
Most often, the supplement is available in classic forms: powders, tablets and capsules. It is most convenient to take capsules and tablets, they need to be washed down with water or other liquid. The person chooses the time of reception himself, but it is advisable to take the drug either 30 minutes before meals, or right during meals. Spirulina in powder must be dissolved in liquid, some add it to food, for example, porridges and soups. You can also do this, but it can change the smell and taste of products. The main advantage of spirulina in powder is the ability to divide the supplement into any dosages.
Usually, the course of treatment with spirulina is one month, but it can be extended by doctor’s prescription. Taking the drug longer by your decision is not worth it: one month is enough to fill up the level of all the missing nutrients. Prolonged intake of dietary supplements should not cause any negative consequences — studies on humans and animals confirm the absence of toxic effects. However, the effectiveness of the additive will decrease over time and as the deficiency of the elements contained in it is replenished.
Important! Before taking any dietary supplement, it is better to consult a doctor, especially if you have any diseases.
Contraindications and side effects
Most often, spirulina is taken by women, some even consider it a female supplement, so the question is whether it is possible to take this drug during pregnancy and after childbirth. Since during pregnancy and lactation the mother’s body needs more vitamins and minerals, spirulina is often not only safe, but also very useful for mothers and pregnant women. But with dietary supplements during pregnancy, you should be especially careful: before using, you should definitely consult a doctor.
Taking spirulina can lead to negative consequences if a person has a personal intolerance to any of its elements. For example, doctors do not recommend taking spirulina for patients with phenylketonuria, since this algae contains the amino acid phenylalanine. Also, special care should be taken by people undergoing chemotherapy (the drug reduces its effectiveness due to the excretion of certain chemical elements), as well as people with kidney stones or gallbladder (spirulina also removes stones from the body, and in some cases this may be contraindicated).
Side effects of spirulina can be expressed in the form of allergic reactions and digestive disorders. To get only the beneficial properties of spirulina for the body and avoid negative consequences, the main thing is to follow 3 rules:
- do not take the drug if contraindications are detected;
- observe the daily dosage;
- follow the instructions of the attending physician.
The best spirulina tablets and their properties
California Gold Nutrition produces spirulina from algae without using any synthetic substances. Tablets contain 500 mg of the active substance — this is the most convenient dosage. Packages can be 60, 240 and 720 tablets, so you can take a small jar for a sample.
Another American company — Now Foods — has products with spirulina a little more diverse. Capsules of 500 mg are available in packs of 120, 180, 200 and 500 pieces. In addition, the company sells packages of 120 tablets of 1000 mg (1 gram) and jars with 454 grams of powder. Now Foods is considered one of the best producers of dietary supplements in the budget segment.
The beneficial properties of spirulina in tablets are limited not only to replenishing iodine deficiency. These unique algae contain a lot of nutrients, and thanks to biologically active additives, anyone can take spirulina. It is absolutely safe and does not cause toxic effects. Due to the volume set of nutrients, this supplement has gained popularity among women, including pregnant and breastfeeding.