When it comes to weight loss supplements, many out there may claim to get the job done, but not all supplements are created equal. Spirulina for weight loss is among the best that’s sure to work – not just in losing weight but also in promoting general health and well-being.
Spirulina is a superfood that has been around since ancient times and is known for its wide range of benefits, including improving energy levels, maintaining healthy vision, lowering blood pressure, improving diabetes, and boosting weight loss efforts.
In this article, we’ll discuss why spirulina is a suitable supplement for weight loss and how you can incorporate it into your daily lifestyle.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is an edible blue-green alga that grows naturally in fresh and salty water but thrives in a highly alkaline environment.
Various ethnic groups, like the Aztecs, have traditionally used it to treat various health conditions and boost endurance for kingdom messengers. This is especially due to its high protein levels that build stamina and increase energy levels.
Other nutrients in spirulina include essential vitamins like B complex vitamins and vitamin E, minerals like zinc, copper, iron, and selenium, and antioxidants like carotenoids.
Spirulina comes in a powdered form, and you can easily find it in most health food stores around the globe.
It has a bitter taste that’s often unpleasant for most people to take on its own. You can mask the flavor by adding it to smoothies, juices, or yogurt instead of taking it on its own.
It can also be taken as a supplement in capsule or tablet form.
Spirulina for Weight Loss
1. Spirulina is high in protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient that the body needs in large amounts for various bodily functions, including maintaining a healthy heart, boosting moods and energy levels, enhancing healthy brain function, strengthening bones, and lowering blood sugar levels.
Protein can also help boost weight loss in different ways, including:
I. Improving muscle mass
Protein is a building block of muscles, so increasing your intake can help you maintain muscle mass, and if you couple it with some strength training exercises, you can gain more muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more energy you need to sustain them. This will cause your resting metabolic rate to increase even at rest, causing you to lose weight. In other words, increased muscle mass causes you to burn more calories even at rest, thus causing weight loss.
ii. Reduces appetite and hunger levels
Adding protein to every meal can help lower your hunger levels and reduce your appetite, even with a little food intake.
This is because protein lowers the hunger hormone ghrelin while increasing peptide YY, a protein produced in the small intestines, and helps reduce appetite and limit food intake. Overall, this causes you to eat fewer calories, causing weight loss.
One study found that overweight women who increased their protein calories from 15 percent to 30 percent ate fewer calories without any diet restrictions.
iii. Reduces cravings
Cravings are a common cause of excess calorie intake causing weight gain, but the protein in spirulina can help you curb these cravings.
Protein works by regulating blood sugar levels and prevents spikes and dips that may trigger cravings.
One study found that when obese men increased their protein intake, they had more appetite control and satiety and reduced their cravings by up to 60 percent.
In the long run, these benefits will cause you to lose weight and prevent further weight gain.
iv. Boosts metabolism
Increasing protein can increase metabolism and the number of calories you burn, causing you to lose weight. This is because protein takes more energy to digest, which means more calories. Overall, this increases metabolism, leading to weight gain.
2. Spirulina contains phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that stimulates the production of cholecystokinin, a satiety signal that can reduce appetite and food intake, causing you to eat a few calories and bring about weight loss.
3. Spirulina is high in antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural compounds that help neutralize free radicles in the body. If left to accumulate, free radicles can cause oxidative stress, which may cause cell damage and disease.
In terms of weight loss, antioxidants affect the body’s metabolic and endocrine functions, which can increase exothermic processes and energy expenditure, leading to weight loss.
4. Spirulina is high in nutrients
Vitamins and minerals in spirulina, including folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and iron, can help boost metabolism. A person with a good metabolism can burn calories faster and more efficiently, which will help you lose weight faster and prevent you from gaining it back.
5. Spirulina is high in fiber
Fiber is an essential nutrient when it comes to weight loss.
Like protein, fiber helps suppress appetite causing you to eat less. In addition, fiber slows digestion causing a slow release of glucose into the blood. This helps keep your glucose levels steady and prevents unnecessary cravings.
Research shows that aiming for 30 grams of fiber per day can help you lose weight and improve your body’s response to insulin.
An ounce (28g) can provide up to 16 percent of your daily fiber requirement. You can easily top up the remaining fiber requirements from other food sources, and you’re good to go.
6. Spirulina supports a healthy gut microbiome
A healthy microbiome is essential for your weight loss journey, and taking spirulina can help you achieve that.
A healthy gut can help you absorb essential nutrients, including those that increase metabolism. It also helps your gut break down foods efficiently, promoting better energy dispensation and healthy weight.
How to Take Spirulina for Weight Loss
There’re various ways to add spirulina to the diet to boost weight loss, including
Add it to smoothies
Adding spirulina to your smoothies is the easiest way to consume some extra protein. Include a tablespoon in your morning smoothie, protein shake, or post-workout drink.
Mix into stews and soups
Besides adding spirulina to your smoothies, don’t forget the soups and stews. It doesn’t matter which ones, whether it’s a bean stew or pumpkin soup, adding spirulina will increase your daily protein and other vitamins that can help support your weight loss journey.
Make spirulina pancakes and waffles
Spirulina waffles and pancakes are a fun and unique way to start your day. Simply add a tablespoon of spirulina powder into your batter recipe and continue your cooking as normal.
Mix with water or juice
Mix a tablespoon of spirulina in your water bottle or a glass of juice and drink.
Use it as a seasoning on salads and other dishes
To get a little creative with your salads, sprinkle some spirulina powder as a seasoning. You can also add it to rice dishes as a garnish.
Sprinkle it on oatmeal
Oatmeal is a common weight loss breakfast high in fiber and other essential nutrients important for weight loss. Adding spirulina can only make it better. Together, these two can extend the period between your meals, allowing your body to burn the stored calories.
Take it as a supplement
While you can add spirulina to your diet, taking it as a supplement may be another great way to boost its weight loss benefits.
A supplement also helps you get the nutrients in a more concentrated form.
This can quickly suppress your appetite and increase metabolism faster than when added to food.
How Much Spirulina Should You Take to Lose Weight?
If you are wondering how much spirulina you should take for weight loss, researchers have found that a daily intake of 2-8 grams is enough to enhance weight loss and lower body mass index (BMI).
This amount also improved lipid profile, insulin resistance, glucose levels, and blood pressure.
For reference, a tablespoon of spirulina contains 7 grams.
Taking more than these may not cause any major side effects, but some sensitive individuals may experience stomach upset, including bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and sometimes vomiting.
If you’re new to using spirulina, starting with a low dose and increasing gradually is the best way to go.
Spirulina side effects
With all the benefits it has to offer, spirulina can still pose some risks for some individuals.
Various case studies have reported autoimmune reactions after taking the supplement. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. Nonetheless, people with autoimmune conditions should take it under close supervision from a healthcare provider or avoid it altogether.
If you are on any medications, it’s also good to consult your doctor before taking this supplement.
Additionally, there’s limited research on the use of spirulina on pregnant and breastfeeding women, so these categories should avoid it.
Additional Ways to Boost Weight Loss
While spirulina can boost your weight loss efforts, it’s not a magic bullet. So taking spirulina alone and caring less about other healthy weight loss habits may not bear the results you want.
Here are additional things you can do to ensure you’re creating the right environment for your body to lose weight the healthy way
1. Avoid processed foods
These foods are often high in fat and added sugars, both of which can increase the calories you consume, making weight loss difficult.
No matter how much spirulina you take, if you’re eating highly processed foods, you will not see any results.
Instead, opt for whole single-ingredient foods. This will allow you to eliminate added sugars and fats often in processed foods.
It will also allow you to enjoy the food in its natural state, providing all the nutrients that can boost your health and enhance weight loss.
2. Avoid liquid calories
Liquid calories like soft drinks and fruit juices are the easiest way to increase your calorie intake.
Even the juices labeled sugar-free may contain added sugars. Moreover, juices are quickly processed out of the body, which will only trigger insulin and leave you craving for more. Too much insulin can store glucose as fat, causing weight gain.
Instead, opt to eat whole fruit, which is rich in fiber and can satisfy your cravings without any spike in insulin.
3. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is very important for weight loss and overall health. This is because a lack of sleep increases your appetite and slows your metabolism.
Researcher shows that most sleep-deprived individuals(those getting less than 7 hours of sleep) tend to be overweight and obese compared to those getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
4. Manage your stress
During stress, the stress hormone Cortisol increases. Cortisol is known to increase your appetite and cause cravings for calorie-dense foods. These foods may appear to comfort you during stressful moments, but they also increase your calorie intake, causing weight gain.
Instead, opt for healthy stress-coping mechanisms such as engaging in regular physical activities, being mindful of your thoughts and writing them down, reading a book, going for a walk in nature, or talking to a friend.
5. Stay physically active
Exercise increases your brain’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
Endorphins promote a better mood and alleviate stress levels. Exercise also fosters relaxation, helping your mind calm down.
6. Drink enough water throughout the day
Proper hydration is essential for various bodily functions, including burning off fat.
A study found that increased water intake could promote lipolysis, which refers to the breakdown of fats.
Besides, thirst is often mistaken for hunger, causing you to eat thinking you’re hungry when all you need is water.
According to clinical studies, up to 37 percent of people mistake thirst for hunger.
So before you reach out for that snack, take a glass of water and give yourself some time. You’ll be surprised to notice that hunger has vanished.
Other Related Articles
Spirulina is a blue-green alga that has been extensively studied for its health benefits, including boosting weight loss.
For example, it’s a good source of protein which has been shown to boost weight loss by increasing metabolism, improving muscle mass, preventing cravings, and reducing appetite.
It’s also a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that can boost weight loss.
While you can add spirulina to various foods, you can also take it as a supplement.
A daily intake of about 7 grams is enough to bring about results. And although some people may want to increase their intake, too much spirulina may cause abdominal discomfort.
Side effects can also be experienced in some individuals, especially those with autoimmune conditions.
That being said, spirulina is a good supplement for weight loss when used moderately. So start taking yours today and see how it goes.