Spirulina and thyroid: how to take it safely

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Robert Maurer


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Spirulina is aunicellular blue algae of green color, which is used extensively as a natural supplement. Being a photosynthetic freshwater organism, it does not contain iodine e it does not interfere with the thyroid, neither positively nor negatively.   


The term spirulina indicates two species of cyanobacteria, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima and is produced in closed basins, moved with water mills, in the United States, Mexico, Peru and Chile, in Greece and in several countries of the Far East. 


It is a one of the most complete and balanced plant foods existing in nature, already defined by the UN as the best alternative food source of the future. Also, in the context of bioremediation, spirulina is considered a candidate for removal of toxic substances, such as heavy metals.



Spirulina, what does it contain

Compared to meat, fish and cheeses which contain 20% protein, legumes and eggs which contain 13%, spirulina boasts 70% protein, already transformed into amino acid. 


Spirulina has high nutritional values ​​thanks to its content in essential amino acids, minerals, essential fatty acids, vitamins and fat-soluble antioxidants (vitamin E and carotenoids). 100 g of dried spirulina provides about 325 kcal. 


I carbohydrates are 26 g with at least 4 g of fiber. THE grassi are 8 g, with a good supply of omega 3 and omega 6, while palmitic abounds among saturated fats, around 2 g. The content of vitamins is important, in particular vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin A, E, K, folate and vitamin C. Vitamin B12 is present in trace amounts while compounds analogous to B12 abound which are however devoid of any activity in the 'man. 


Among the minerals that abound in this cyanobacterium we remember: copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium. The sodium content is also high, higher than one gram, which requires careful consumption in certain diets. 


Le protein are even 64 g and most of these belong to the group of phycobiliproteins, the cellular components that capture the light energy necessary for the processes of photosynthesis: among these the most important is the phycocyanin which can represent 20% of the dry weight of the seaweed. 


Are also present lipoproteins associated with the bacterial wall and various other polypeptides. These proteins have a good biological value but not very high contents of some essential amino acids such as methionine, cysteine ​​and lysine.


The benefits of spirulina algae

The results of many animal experiments have ascertained how spirulina is present hypolipidemic properties, hypoglycemic agents e antihypertensives it also increases the lipoprotein activity of lipase and pancreatic insulin secretion. 


All of these effects could be considered useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome, associated with low-grade subclinical inflammation, oxidative stress and intestinal dysbiosis. 


In this regard it has been suggested that the intestinal microbiota could be a target for nutraceuticals, such as spirulina whose microbial modulation activities could prevent dysbiosis, going to repopulate the bacterial species. 


Spirulina also seems to have a certain effect on appetite control: when taken before meals, accelerates the onset of satiety (probably thanks to the abundance of nutrients, especially proteins). Goes to reduce triglyceride spikes after a high-fat meal by increasing the amount of cholesterol eliminated in the stool, reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL, probably stimulating better liver function. 


The intake of spirulina as a food is recommended daily for those on a low protein diet, vegans and vegetarians, anemics, sportsmen and those who want to lose weight. For those with a low-protein diet, such as vegetarians and vegans, a maximum of 5 g per day is recommended.



Spirulina and thyroid

Given its very rich nutritional profile, spirulina may be useful for some thyroid conditions, but no clinical studies have confirmed its usefulness in the treatment of disorders of this gland.


While it has not yet been clinically proven to help fight hypothyroidism, the range of nutrients in spirulina makes it a beneficial addition to a thyroid health support diet


Spirulina's powerful antioxidant properties can help prevent some thyroid diseases by protecting it from the damaging effects of free radicals. 


Spirulina is also rich in a range of minerals including selenium, which is well known for its thyroid-supporting properties. Individuals with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism must be anyway cautious about using supplements such as spirulina, as they can be contaminated with toxic substances and bacteria. 


For those who still suffer from thyroid problems it is always advisable be followed by your doctor and in any case it is always important to inform him of the use of spirulina as a supplement.


Read also Spirulina algae, the authentic superfood >>


Purchase of spirulina

La spirulina is available in health food stores and in herbalists where it is sold in the form of dried powder or in single-dose capsules and tablets.

The powder is so versatile that it can be added to cooking recipes, for example in salads, in fruit, fruit juices or other drinks to drink. While the capsules and tablets are more practical and transportable everywhere. 


However, we remember to choose spirulina carefully by checking the area of ​​origin and the quality of the raw material: spirulina grown in production of organic farming origin will guarantee the absence of chemical synthesis products and another attention that will be evaluated will be the risk of the possible presence of heavy metals and pollutants in the source waters of lakes where spirulina grows. 


By reading the product label we can have a lot of information about it so that the purchase choice can be more conscientious.


Read also

> Spirulina powder, uses and where to find it 

> Spirulina, dosage and benefits 

> Spirulina, benefits and dosage


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