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Spirulina: A Single-Celled Nutritional Wonder

Last updated: March-29,2022

Spirulina Protein - A Single-Celled Nutritional Wonder

When looking for the latest and greatest in nutritional ingredients, warm, shallow and all around less than appetizing water bodies are some of the last places an individual might look. And yet, these marshy and pond-like environments happen to be the ideal environment for one of today's hottest green foods: Spirulina, or as we like to refer to it, the undisputed nutritional king of the single-celled blue-green algae family.

Taking its name from the spiral shape of its cells, spirulina has been recognized as one of the oldest forms of life on earth. According to Kerry Watson, a natural products specialist for SPINS, "Spirulina is a type of lake algae that contains a high percentage of complete protein as well as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and antioxidants. It's an ancient superfood..."1 Despite having been around for thousands of years, it seems that this single-celled wonder has taken the new millennium by storm.

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that is consumed by both humans and animals. One of its three species, Arthrospira, is used as a dietary supplement or wholefood. This nutrient-rich dietary supplement is being used to address food security and malnutrition.

Spirulina: Nutrients & Benefits

When it comes to nutritional content, there's no denying that these little guys can pack an incredible punch.

But, really, what is Spirulina good for? Here are just some of the nutrients that spirulina has been found to contain:2

• Essential amino acids, in addition to Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B-6, and Vitamin K.
• Spirulina comprises a whole host of minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium, and zinc.
• It is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids.
• One cup of spirulina also provides 16% of the daily fiber requirement.
• The ORAC value is 24,000, which is 4 times the antioxidant potency of blueberries.3

Is Spirulina a Complete Protein?

To answer this commonly asked question – quantitatively, the proteins in Spirulina are considered complete as they have all the essential amino acids.

In fact, among the health & wellness and fitness communities, spirulina's most coveted trait is its protein content. Dried spirulina can contain anywhere from 50-70% protein by weight, which is about three times more protein per serving than beef!4 For a tablespoon-sized serving of about 7 grams, there can be up to 4 grams of protein.

Along with having been shown to contain a significant amount of protein per serving, structurally speaking spirulina lacks dense (cellulose-rich) cell walls – making it considerably easier for the human body to digest when compared to other popular plant sources of protein.

Spirulina Health Benefits

Here are 5 notable health benefits of spirulina:

  • It's loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Has been shown to lower LDL and triglyceride levels
  • Protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation
  • May help reduce blood pressure
  • May help improve muscle strength

Best Ways To Take Spirulina

Tablet Form: Spirulina tablets are a convenient way to get the protein you require on a daily basis. They can be consumed before or during meals.

Powder Form: Adding spirulina to fruit or vegetable juices or meals is a brilliant way to increase their nutritional value. It provides a delicious and nutritious meal when mixed with soups, salads, pasta, or bread. It is conveniently available in capsules too, where the capsules are generally made from cellulose.5

Consumers Are Warming Up

As an environmentally sustainable and nutritionally exceptional food, it should come as no surprise that consumers are warming up to the idea of incorporating algae into their diets. Over the course of the last five years, consumer interest in spirulina supplements and products has continued to rise.

With one national survey reporting that only 9% of Americans are regularly meeting the "Recommend Daily Intake" Levels (RDIs) for vegetables, spirulina has the potential to serve as an elegant and effective solution thanks to its nutritional content and its incredible versatility (i.e. that it can be delivered as a powder, in dietary supplement form, as a component of whole foods and beverages, etc).

Spirulina Market Trends

Spirulina protein supplement in the powder segment is expected to see a CAGR of 10.4%.

The increasing usage of the powder form of spirulina in food gave the powder segment an estimated share of 73.5% in 2016, and the segment is expected to gain significant market share by 2026 end.

The tablet and capsule form spirulina is expected to register the second-highest CAGR of 8.8% in terms of value. Hawaii, California, and Florida have shown the greatest interest in spirulina products.6

The Takeaway

While it may be small, it's influence and popularity are anything but. As spirulina's popularity continues to rise and the number of practical applications it can be used for continues to increase, the time to take advantage of these supplements as a consumer and as a manufacturer is now!

For more information on how you can custom manufacture high-quality dietary supplements that contain this incredible ingredient, call us today at 855-492-7388 or send us your request to receive your free nutraceutical manufacturing price quote in 48 business hours!

Learn more about manufacturing and flavoring your greens product with NutraScience Labs today!


  1. http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2013-04/view_features/the-green-revolution-aloe-green-foods-thrive
  2. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/6191/2
  3. http://newhope.com/retail-science/research-backs-algaes-superfood-status
  4. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/923.html
  5. http://www.aurospirul.com/how-to-use-spirulina.html 
  6. https://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/market-research/spirulina-market.asp 
May 17th, 2016

About the Author:

Melissa DellaBartolomea

Melissa DellaBartolomea was the resident Content Marketing Specialist at NutraScience Labs from February 2016 to July 2018. Driven by a passion for the world of written, visual, and digital media, she's dedicated herself to keeping up with all things nutraceutical. From ingredient insights to the latest in contract manufacturing regulations and trends, her mission is to provide our readers (like you) with the stories and knowledge they need to fuel long-term growth and nutraceutical industry success.