Spirulina is a blue-green alga known scientifically as Cyanobacteria. It has long been used by the Aztecs, who harvested spirulina to make green cakes. As such, it has become a staple food source for many generations.
Its nutritional value continues to be heralded not only on earth but in space as well. NASA has even used spirulina as a food supplement for astronauts who spend months – if not years – on intricate missions.
A popular superfood, spirulina contains 60% protein, as well as heap loads of vitamins, and minerals. With these ingredients, spirulina has become the focus of many, given its ability to promote fast hair growth.
Spirulina: An Overview
Spirulina gets its name from its helical (spiral) filaments. It is derived from the dried Arthrospira platensis, a bacterium found mostly in marine water.
Spirulina grows best in sunny areas, which is why it can only be found in certain parts of the world, such as India, Japan, Spain, Greece, and the United States.
Given the lack of a rigid cell wall, spirulina can be easily digested.
While it has long eaten by the ancients, its use as a supplement has only been explored in the past decade. According to Karkos et al, it may be taken to reduce fatigue and allergies. It may also help lower cholesterol or blood sugar levels in the body. Recent studies suggest that spirulina may have antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-cancer effects on the body.
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Spirulina for Hair Growth
Apart from the benefits stated above, spirulina’s healthy ingredients may help promote hair growth as well.
Protein is important for hair health since the hair fiber itself is made of 99% protein. With that being said, if you skip on the protein – whether inadvertently or by choice – your body will be forced to funnel your protein stores to ‘more important’ parts of your body. This decrease in protein supply can directly affect your hair, making it dry, brittle, and prone to hair fall.
According to Guo and Katta, protein deficiency is often seen in people with Telogen Effluvium (TE). This temporary hair loss condition usually affects the top part of the scalp. While TE is often caused by shock and trauma, it may occur due to a low-protein diet.
To make matters worse, a continuous disregard for protein intake can lead to deficiencies such as kwashiorkor or marasmus, both of which result in hair thinning and loss.
Good thing there’s spirulina, which contains a hefty amount of protein. For every 100-gram serving of spirulina, you get to enjoy 57 grams of protein, which is 114% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Indeed, it can give you more than what you need – which is 0.8 mg per kilogram of your body weight.
Iron is a mineral that is essential for many bodily functions. It helps the muscle store and use oxygen. It is also an important part of the many enzymes and proteins in the body.
Iron is necessary for the composition of hemoglobin, a protein that delivers oxygen to the different parts of the body. Unfortunately, low levels of iron – as is the case of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) – can lead to hair loss. Like the rest of the body, the hair strands need iron to grow well and strong.
To prevent IDA and the resulting hair loss, adequate intake of iron-rich foods and supplements is important. That’s where spirulina comes into play. It contains so much iron – as much as 158% of the RDA. With spirulina, you can easily meet the RDA of 12 mg for women and 16 to 18 mg for men.
A provitamin is a substance that can be converted to a vitamin within the body. As for the case of Provitamin A, it can be obtained by consuming spirulina, as well as other green, yellow, and orange vegetables, fruits, and certain vegetable oils.
One of the more famous provitamins in spirulina is Beta-Carotene, which can be converted to Vitamin A in the body. It is used in the management of several diseases, such as heart disease, depression, heartburn, headache, even rheumatoid arthritis.
Beta-Carotene is an antioxidant, meaning it can defend the hair cells from the damages that may be brought about by pollution, smoking, and UV exposure. According to the study of Prie et al, low levels of Beta-Carotene and other antioxidants in the body may lead to alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that brings about hair loss.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for a lot of vital functions, including hemoglobin formation and cognitive development. It is also vital for the metabolism of proteins, such as cystine, which is one of the more important components of hair.
Low levels of Vitamin B6 may lead to diffuse alopecia, which is marked by a decrease in overall hair density. Such a claim was proven in one clinical trial, where Vitamin B6 supplementation was used to curb hair loss effectively.
As such, consuming Vitamin B6-rich foods, such as spirulina, may help promote hair health. After all, each 100-gram serving contains 0.364 mg of Vitamin B6 – approximately 18% of the RDA.
Also known as Tocopherol, Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can defend the cells from damages brought about by pollution, UV exposure, and smoking (free radicals). It can also boost one’s immunity, as it can help prevent the blood from clotting.
Tocotrienols, which are part of the Vitamin E family, may be instrumental in promoting hair health as well. A study by Beoy et al has shown a 34.5% increase in the number of hairs after daily supplementation with Tocotrienols.
Tocotrienols can be easily obtained by consuming spirulina, which contains 5 mg of Vitamin E – 33% of the RDA – per 100-gram serving.
Gamma-linolenic acid is a fatty acid that is essential for overall health. It can help improve brain function, bone health, even hair growth. With its anti-inflammatory properties, it can combat inflammatory hair loss conditions, such as Cicatricial Alopecia and Folliculitis Delvans. The said diseases are brought about by inflammatory processes that damage the hair follicles, leading to hair loss.
As much as 225 mg of hair-boosting Gamma-linolenic acid can be obtained per 10 grams of spirulina, which makes it a good source for the said substance.
Spirulina is a superfood that can boost your health in several ways. With its ingredients that may help promote hair growth, spirulina may just be the god-sent answer to all your hair loss woes.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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