Spirulina is a form of algae that is a rich source of several nutrients, including protein, vitamin E, zinc and iron. In addition, it contains carotenoids, antioxidants that destroys free radicals in the body. Spirulina's ability to boost nitric oxide levels may provide blood pressure benefits. Spirulina is available in supplement form as tablets, pills and powder. Consult your health care provider before taking any Spirulina supplements.
High Blood Pressure
Although high blood pressure normally has no symptoms, it silently damages your blood vessels, leading to a decrease in nutrient and blood flow to your organs. In addition, it strains the heart by forcing it to work harder to pump blood through the body. Hypertension can damage your organs and increase your risk for heart disease, liver damage, kidney dysfunction and stroke. Normal blood pressure should be 119/79 mmHg, according to MedlinePlus.com.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Scientists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico studied the impact of Spirulina maxima on blood pressure in men and women. They assigned subjects 4.5 g of Spirulina daily for six weeks. Lipids, glucose and blood pressure were measured before and after the study. Scientists reported in the November 2007 issue of "Lipids in Health and Disease" that participants experienced decreases in blood pressure.
One of the ways Spirulina reduces blood pressure is by increasing the production of nitric oxide in the body, according to a review performed by researchers at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. They concluded that Spirulina boosts the synthesis of nitric oxide, a gas molecule that dilates or widens blood vessels. This in turn improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure, according to research reported in the February 2009 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food."
Dosage and Precautions
Spriulina may decrease blood pressure in the dosage of 4.5 grams daily for six weeks. Although spriulina shows promise in reducing blood pressure, further studies need to be conducted. Because of its ability to impact health, spirulina may interact with or increase the side effects of certain medications, including blood pressure medications or immune suppressing drugs. If you have a condition referred to as phenylketonuria, or PKU, you should not take spirulina, as it is a rich source of phenylalanine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. While spirulina supplements appear to be safe at high doses, UMMC advises that as an algae they could be contaminated with heavy metals and toxic substances, therefore you should only purchase a reputable brand of spirulina.
Is This an Emergency?
- MedlinePlus.com: High Blood Pressure
- Lipids in Health and Disease: Antihyperlipemic and Antihypertensive Effects of Spirulina Maxima in an Open Sample of Mexican Population: a Preliminary Report
- Journal of Medicinal Food: Effects of Dietary Spirulina on Vascular Reactivity
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Spirulina