Spirulina, the famous blue-green micro-algae, is believed to have many benefits for health. Is it also good for the hair?
Spirulina is a term used to refer to various species of microscopic, filamentous cyanobacteria. Its name comes from the spiral or helical nature of its filaments which can measure up to 0.5mm in length (1).
Cyanobacteria grow naturally in mineral-rich alkaline waters, at temperatures of 35°C-40°C. There are several thousand cyanobacteria, only some of which are edible.
Spirulina has a long history of use, dating as far back as the Aztec civilisation. It is still consumed in Mexico and Chad for its rich nutritional content.
When we talk about spirulina nowadays, it’s mostly in the context of dietary supplements (spirulina), mainly produced from Arthrospira platensis. These oxygenated photosynthetic bacteria are found across the world, in fresh an marine waters. Spirulina is also known today for its use by NASA as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions.
Spirulina is known for its high nutritional value, earning it the title ‘super-food’ and even ‘future food’. As a result of its rich nutrient content, it has many health benefits. Here are some of its properties.
Firstly, spirulina is an excellent dietary source of protein and essential amino acids. It has an extraordinarily high protein content for a plant source, twice that of the best vegetable source, making it an excellent choice for muscle strength and endurance.
Spirulina also contains a high level of vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K…) and a wide range of minerals (iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese…), micronutrients which are crucial for overall health.
Its high zinc content, for example, contributes to its immunostimulant effect, while its richness in B vitamins boosts energy levels.
In addition, spirulina is notable in containing potentially immunomodulatory polysaccharides.
(perfect for feeling healthy and full of energy) and essential fatty acids (excellent for fighting inflammation and supporting brain function).
A veritable pro-immunity, anti-fatigue cocktail!
While spirulina is primarily used for the properties mentioned above, various studies have been looking at its potential benefits for the health and appearance of the hair.
There has been a recent trend towards the use of spirulina-based supplements as ‘nutricosmetics’, to improve hair vigour and beauty.
Firstly, the protein in spirulina helps create keratin, the primary component of hair. An excellent aid, then, for strengthening the hair and supporting its growth.
One of the B vitamins in spirulina is biotin, also known as vitamin B8. This ‘beauty vitamin’ helps to maintain healthy hair (2).
A lack of iron is known to be a potential factor in hair loss(3). Fortunately, as mentioned above, spirulina is an excellent natural source of iron.
Spirulina’s fatty acids help to keep the skin, and therefore the scalp, well-hydrated. They also appear to reduce inflammation and help nourish the hair follicles (4).
External stressors (pollution, UV…) lead to increases in free radical production, which damages the health of our hair. The vitamin E in spirulina helps protect hair cells against this oxidative stress.
All these various elements make spirulina (see Spirulina) an excellent aid for maintaining the health and appearance of your hair.
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