Spirulina – an ideal supplement for low carb diets?

Spirulina, a blue-green algae, has a long historical track record of use by us humans.  Dating back hundreds and hundreds of years.  The Aztecs used to harvest it from their local lake in the form of cakes to supplement their meals.

It seems to have come and gone in and out of style over the years, but the more I read about it, the more I need to thank my Mom for giving me a bottle recently.  She had read an article about how it can help reduce inflammation levels.  And that’s something I’m definitely interested in.

The recommended dose is 3 to 6 grams per day.  And of course, I start wondering, how many carbs is that?  It turns out that Spirulina is abundantly high in protein (more than 50%) and only about 25% carbohydrate by weight.  And it’s even a complete protein containing all the amino acids, among other things like minerals and essential fatty acids like GLA.

But it gets even better.  NASA has recommended it for cultivation during long space missions.  Even the UN back in the early 70’s declared it a food of the future.

So now I am wondering why I haven’t been taking spirulina all along.  I used to take it back in my college / vegetarian phase.  Although I usually took its cousin Chlorella more frequently back then.  It’d certainly be worth trying if you were attempting a vegetarian low carb deal.

The other suggested benefits are as a potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, a chelator, immune booster and even a study showing that it might help diabetics with fructose metabolism.  As the low carb community is all too aware of the potential perils of excessive fructose, I find that benefit fascinating, if accurate.

Anyway, I am going to take a bottle over the next few weeks and see if I notice anything.  Starting off at 4 grams per day and I’ll see how it goes.  Trust me, if my inflammation levels drop, I’ll know.  If not, I am getting some extra protein, efa’s and trace minerals which seems like only a good thing.

2 Responses to “Spirulina – an ideal supplement for low carb diets?”

  1. avatar Robert says:

    Ok, took this for a few weeks. Honestly didn’t notice any benefit (or any ill effect). So I stopped taking it.

    These days my favorite things to take are:

    Fish Oil and/or Flax Oil – Organic
    Vitamin C
    Vitamin D
    Green tea (my herbal tea of choice)
    Turmeric

    occasionally I also take:
    Pine Bark Extract
    Alpha GPC
    and other various assorted supplements.

    I am one of those crazy people who takes and tries lots of different herbs and things to see what the effect is. It’s good to have a hobby.

  2. avatar Robert says:

    UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Decided to re-visit Spirulina again. There was another website run by a vegan doctor who is telling people to avoid spirulina due to some potential cross contamination with some toxins (like microcystins and BMAA).

    Out of curiosity I checked the brand I was using (SOLARAY) and talked to their representative who told me on the phone that they test their Spirulina for microcystins and BMAA’s and they did not contain those contaminants.

    The point being that it wasn’t the Spirulina that was the problem, but it was thought that those specific contaminants were causing the issues.

    Lately, I’ve been taking about 1-2 grams before bed and noticed pretty good dreams as a result. Will have to see if the trend continues.

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