Spirulina is a food loaded with nutrients and plant compounds that keep you healthy and prevent various health issues.
Because of that, it’s often viewed as a superfood that people take as a supplement.
Because of how it looks and grows, many people equate spirulina to seaweed, which makes them believe that it contains a lot of iodine. But is there any truth to this assumption?
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Is spirulina high in iodine?
Naturally grown spirulina contains very little iodine, as it’s not a type of seaweed. But some varieties grown in different cultures can contain more iodine even though they’re not widely available.
Although spirulina isn’t a great source of iodine, this type of algae provides you with a lot of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that contribute to good health and help prevent various health conditions. So, including it in your diet can be beneficial.
How much iodine is in spirulina?
Spirulina that’s been grown naturally contains trace amounts of iodine. Because of that, it’s not a great food for upping your intake of this mineral.
There are some varieties of spirulina that are cultivated in different climates that do contain more iodine. But it’s still not enough to consider spirulina a high-iodine food.
A lot of people think spirulina is high in iodine because they assume it’s seaweed. This isn’t true as spirulina is actually an alga, which doesn’t grow in places high in iodine.
So, if you’re looking to consume spirulina for its iodine content, you might be better off choosing some other high-iodine foods for that.
Can you take in too much iodine from spirulina?
Since spirulina is a poor source of iodine, it’s impossible to overdose on this mineral by eating moderate amounts of spirulina.
On average, a healthy adult requires 140 micrograms of iodine per day. Even if you were to consume spirulina with a higher iodine content, you would still only get about 10% of your daily need for this mineral in a single serving.
So, if you use dried spirulina to make your smoothies or acai bowls, you won’t overdose on iodine.
On the other hand, there are some pharmaceutical supplements based on spirulina that contain high amounts of iodine.
So, when choosing these, be careful as taking in too much iodine can be a problem too.
Because of that, always reads the nutritional value of all foods and supplements you take to avoid health issues. Also, make sure to stick to the recommended serving.
Is spirulina good for you?
There are many reasons spirulina is considered a superfood. Firstly, it’s very low in calories but high in nutrients. For example, just one tablespoon of dried spirulina contains 21% of your daily recommended need for copper.
This mineral helps your body form red blood cells and maintains healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function. What’s more, along with vitamins C, it contributes to iron absorption.
On top of that, spirulina is a great source of riboflavin, also called vitamin B2.
This micronutrient helps your body break down carbs, proteins, and fat and then turn them into energy. It’s also required for the development and function of your skin and digestive tract.
A single serving of spirulina contains 15% of your daily need for riboflavin, making it a great source of this B vitamin.
Another important micronutrient found in spirulina is iron. Many people are deficient in it, so it’s important to consume enough iron-rich foods.
Iron helps prevent anemia and contributes to various bodily functions, including growth and development.
Iron absorption is enhanced by vitamin C and copper, which are also found in spirulina. So, getting your iron from this alga is a great way to stay healthy, especially if you follow a plant-based diet that isn’t rich in iron.
Aside from these micronutrients, spirulina is famous for its high antioxidant content. These compounds help remove free radicals from your body, preventing oxidative stress and damage to your cells.
This reduces your risk of various chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. So, it’s important to take in a lot of antioxidant-rich foods each day.
In addition to antioxidants, spirulina is a rich source of other plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
These compounds help prevent chronic inflammation and heal problems associated with it.
Some studies also indicate that consuming moderate amounts of spirulina each day can help lower the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol while raising the levels of the ‘good’ kind.
This lowers your risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
So, eating spirulina can be very beneficial, particularly for people prone to these issues.
Can you take spirulina every day?
The general answer is yes, but it depends on your health and how you tolerate supplements.
According to experts, up to 8 grams of spirulina extract per day is considered to be safe. So that amount should never be exceeded.
As a result, it’s important to follow the directions of any concentrated supplements to avoid overdosing on any micronutrient.
What’s more, it’s important to remember that taking spirulina supplements isn’t recommended for some people.
If you suffer from any autoimmune disease, phenylketonuria, are pregnant or nursing, or take immunosuppressants, you should avoid consuming spirulina.
In some cases, spirulina can also cause allergy, headaches, insomnia, muscle pain, and sweating. While these are very rare side effects, stop taking spirulina if you notice any of them.
In its natural form, spirulina is very low in iodine. Some varieties are grown in iodine-rich locations, so they’re higher in this mineral, but it’s usually very rare.
Because of that, eating this type of algae won’t do much for your intake of iodine.
Aside from iodine, though, spirulina is a great source of several important nutrients like thiamin, riboflavin, iron, and copper.
It also provides you with a lot of antioxidants and plant compounds that help keep you healthy.
So, including spirulina in your diet from time to time can be a great idea.