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What are the health benefits of spirulina?

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Quick Answer

Spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, which makes it a good source of nutrients, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. There are studies that yield promising results for spirulina as a health supplement, but more investigations are required to further explore its medical possibilities.

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Full Answer

Spirulina is a microscopic algae that is available in the form of pills, flakes and powder as a dietary supplement. As with other types of algae, spirulina can carry toxic substances from its growing environment, which makes it important to buy spirulina from a reputable brand, says the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Spirulina appears to be generally safe for the majority of people. However, individuals with autoimmune disease should not take spirulina, as it can potentially stimulate their immune systems and worsen the condition. Individuals with phenylketonuria should also avoid taking spirulina due to their inability to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should gain their doctor's approval to use spirulina. Due to potential side effects and contraindications, it is always a prudent idea to consult a health care professional before taking spirulina supplements, advises the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Studies have suggested that spirulina can reinforce the immune system, restrain allergic reactions and fight viruses and cancer. However, more extensive research is still necessary to confirm these health benefits, states the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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