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Green juices, green smoothies…green foods in general! More and more people are recognizing the amazing benefits of incorporating rich, green vegetables (and certain fruits) into their diet.
There is, however, another green kid on the block: Spirulina. This oddly named supplement has become something of a darling amongst nutritionists over the last decade, and for good reason.
As we’ll explore in depth later in this article, spirulina is packed with nutrients and has some rather impressive studies backing up the many claims about its inclusion in a healthy diet.
As with any product, though, there are good and bad versions available. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a buyer’s guide to help you find the best spirulina powder on the market and we’ve reviewed a few of the top rated spirulina supplements, too.
Using both will help you make the right choice for your health and avoid wasting your hard-earned cash on worthless products that promise the earth.
What is spirulina?
Let’s get down to the big question many of you might be thinking right now: What the heck is spirulina, anyway?
I’ll go over everything you need to know about spirulina, including reviews of the best spirulina powder options on the market later in this article, but let’s answer the “what is it?” question first.
Spirulina is a type of microalgae that grows in sea water and, despite the name being somewhat of a mouthful, it’s one of the most nutrient dense and vitamin rich supplements you can get!
Spirulina absorbs nutrients, minerals, and compounds from the environment it lives in. So, depending on the quality of the water source, it could be absorbing huge concentrations of minerals and vitamins…or it could be absorbing toxic chemicals (more on this later).
Although it’s hit the headlines in recent years, spirulina is nothing new. This nutrient-packed microalgae was eaten regularly by the Aztecs long ago in order to boost their health and energy. (1)
Thankfully, however, we don’t need to go lake skimming for spirulina these days!
Types of spirulina supplements available
There are a few different ways you can get your daily dose of spirulina:
Tablets and capsules containing spirulina can be taken on a regular basis. While this is a perfectly fine way to ingest spirulina, some tablets and capsules can contain additives, chemicals, and other compounds besides pure spirulina.
However, they are convenient as they will give you a consistent amount and dose each time.
Many grocery stores and health food shops will carry foods and drinks that have spirulina already mixed in. This can be convenient if you want a quick green juice or a grab-n-go snack.
However, these products can be rather expensive if you indulge in them often. There’s also the fact that these products contain many other ingredients that you might not want to eat.
Store-bought baked goods, for example, can be loaded with added sugar, flavors, and ingredients that may not fit with a healthy lifestyle…despite being labelled as such.
There’s also no guarantee that these spirulina-infused products are vegan or meet other dietary requirements, so you’ll need to be careful when checking the ingredients.
I prefer spirulina powder for a few reasons. The first being that it’s often pure, 100% spirulina without any of the additives, coloring, or coatings you might find with capsules/tablets.
Spirulina powder is also more versatile. Instead of simply taking a pill, you can add spirulina powder to a number of beverages, smoothies, foods, baked goods, and more in order to consume as much or as little as you want throughout the day.
Obviously, you’ll also be able to decide what other ingredients go into the food/drink you’re making. As I mentioned earlier, store-bought items could be unhealthy or even non-vegan.
Using your own spirulina powder at home gives you control over what you put together. You can make a not-so-healthy spirulina cookie, or a nutritious vegan green smoothie. The choice is yours.
Whatever you make, using a powder supplement means everything is in your hands.
What’s so great about spirulina powder?
Now that you know what spirulina is and how you can get it into your diet, you might be wondering why you should even bother. Let’s look at how the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in this green powder can benefit your health.
Even though it’s quite easy to find plant-based ingredients packed with protein (tofu, tempeh, beans, vegan protein powder supplements, just to name a few), there seems to be non-vegan naysayers still pushing that vegans don’t get enough protein.
I guess they don’t know about spirulina, then. By weight, spirulina is a whopping 60-70% protein! 1 small little tablespoon contains 4 grams of complete protein, meaning that it provides all essential amino acids.
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
Chronic inflammation can lead to pain, joint issues, and has been linked to conditions like cancer, neurological disorders, heart disease, and more. Reducing inflammation in your body can reduce your risk of developing these serious health issues. (2, 3)
Spirulina is one way to reduce inflammation. Phycocyanin, the same compound that gives this microalgae its magical blue-green coloring, is also a well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Studies show that this compound reduces inflammation in the body by blocking inflammatory signal molecules. (4)
It’s also a powerful antioxidant. Free radicals in your body can lead to oxidative damage at the DNA and cellular level. This type of damage is also directly linked to chronic diseases and cancer. (5, 6)
Consuming spirulina will provide your body with large concentrations of phycocyanin, which can reduce oxidative damage/stress and, in turn, potentially reduce your risk of developing related diseases. (7)
High in vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients
Along with large concentrations of protein and phycocyanin, spirulina is also high in:
- Vitamin B1, B2, and B3
While these are the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are in the highest concentrations, almost all nutrients and vitamins you need can be found in spirulina in some quantity. Not too shabby for something called “pond scum”! (8)
One serving of spirulina (7 grams) also contains a small amount of healthy fats in the form of omega-3s and omega-6s at 1 gram per serving. These fats are important for hormonal function, blood flow, cell membrane formation, vitamin absorption, and more.
The high concentration of B vitamins in spirulina can give you an energy boost. Instead of reaching for that latté or espresso shot, you can try chugging a spirulina juice to get that midday kick. (9)
Potential cancer protection
Studies on cancers of the mouth also have promising results for spirulina’s ability to protect against cancer. One study showed that participants with cancerous mouth lesions who had 1 gram of spirulina daily saw a 45% reduction in lesion size and number compared to a control group not consuming the microalgae. (12)
However, while these findings – along with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of spirulina – are exciting and support the idea that consuming this supplement may protect you against cancer, it’s important to note that these are very particular studies on only certain types of cancers.
It’s far from proven that spirulina fights off cancer, but these findings are worth noting when talking about the benefits of this supplement.
Let’s be clear, though: consuming spirulina, or any single supplement, is not going to make you instantly immune to cancer, stop you from becoming ill, or 100% guarantee you won’t develop diseases of any kind. It isn’t a cure-all miracle supplement.
What it can do is become an additional element of a healthy diet and exercise regimen that’ll help your body fight disease and work as well as you want it to and as well as it can.
Microalgae… how does that taste?
I think all of those benefits speak for themselves. What might still be holding you back is the thought of eating something that has the word “algae” in its name…especially when it’s also referred to as “pond scum.”
I’m not going to lie to you: some people find the taste to be awful. However, others find that it has a more mild taste, and some even come to like it.
The taste will also depend on the powder itself, as certain brands will taste stronger than others. You may need to try a few different ones to see which you like.
It’s definitely no brownie batter, but it’s also not the worst thing in the world to drink. There are also ways to mask the taste if it really isn’t your cup of pond scum.
How to consume spirulina powder
Speaking of how to mask the taste, let’s go over how you’re supposed to eat this stuff! Many people find it easiest to simply mix the powder with a glass of water and toss it down the hatch.
While this is convenient and won’t add extra calories (besides those in the powder), it’s not for everyone since the taste can be quite strong.
The good news is you can incorporate spirulina powder into almost any recipe and other flavors will easily mask the taste. Throw it in a batch of vegan cookies, use it in a low-carb vegan smoothie, in overnight oats, on top of vegan yogurt, in salad dressing, and more.
Is consuming spirulina safe?
The short answer? Yes, as long as you get it from a reputable company.
Let’s dive a bit deeper, though. As I mentioned earlier, spirulina gets its huge concentration of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from its ability to absorb those things from the environment it grows in. This is great when it’s grown and harvested from rich and healthy waters.
But what if it was growing in contaminated waters filled with heavy meals, toxic chemicals, dangerous bacteria, and other nasty stuff? Well, it would soak up that stuff, too.
If you get contaminated spirulina, you can get extremely sick. In order to stay safe when consuming spirulina, you need to make sure you’re getting a certified, trusted, brand name product.
Reputable companies make sure they harvest spirulina from safe waters in areas that are not contaminated. They’ll also put their products through rigorous testing procedures to make ensure no toxins are present.
You may pay a little more for such products, but it’s worth the extra.
What to look for in spirulina products
Still unsure about how to get the safest and best spirulina powder? Let’s look at some of the most important things you should look for when buying this green supplement.
Origin of the product
This is perhaps the most important thing you need to research before purchasing spirulina. Certain countries are known to produce unsafe spirulina products because of the polluted waters where it’s grown and harvested.
Countries/areas to avoid buying from include:
- China (some products from here have shown to be contaminated with lead, arsenic, and mercury)
- Japan (may have high levels of radiation)
- Any natural lake (high incidence of heavy metals and microcystins)
While not all products from these countries/areas will be contaminated, it’s best to approach spirulina products from these regions with caution.
The best areas to get spirulina from are places free from pesticides and human-made chemicals. More remote and natural locations will yield the cleanest and safest spirulina.
While non-certified organic spirulina products can be great and safe (you’ll see some included in my reviews) organic spirulina products are grown to be free of pesticides, harsh farming chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and heavy metals.
Now, on to the best spirulina powder reviews!
So, you know what this particular micro-algae is. You also know the benefits and that it’s (generally) a safe and a great way to supplement your diet.
Now you’re ready to try it out for yourself. But which product is best?
I’ve done all the research for you and compiled a list of the best safe spirulina brands out there. Keep reading for the scoop on the best spirulina powders you can buy!
100% Blue Spirulina Powder by POPJOY
This striking spirulina powder by POPJOY is made from a special variety of spirulina that has an even more vibrant color than traditional spirulina powder. It’s bright and beautiful, which makes for amazing smoothies, baked goods, and more.
Customers love the color and say that it’s just as striking as the packaging claims. You’ll be able to make Instagram ready mermaid blue treats and foods without having to edit the color at all!
It is quite a small package, however, at only 50 grams, which some may find inadequate.
Customers say that this option has a super mild taste, even stating that there’s no algae twang whatsoever. So, if you’re looking to add spirulina to your life but are put off by the taste, this is a great brand for you.
It’s also certified vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, and guaranteed 100% spirulina (no additives, dyes, or coloring!). However, we’re still missing that organic certification.
It’s also unclear where they source the spirulina. While the package says “made and distributed in California,” it also lists it as a product of China, which isn’t ideal. I’d much rather see full transparency, especially from a brand like POPJOY.
- Amazing color, it actually looks appetizing!
- Great taste
- 100% vegan/non-GMO/GF
- No additives/dyes/coloring
- Unclear origin
- Small amount of servings compared to other options
- Not certified organic
Bulk Pure Fresh Spirulina Powder by NuSci
Here we have another “bulk” option for you – this time it’s a spirulina powder by NuSci. It’s significantly smaller than the first bulk option coming it at just over 1 pound, but that’s also more than the POPJOY offering, so it might be a good in-between size.
While this product is another that isn’t certified organic, it is vegan, non-GMO, kosher, and contains no additives or fillers. Like the POPJOY powder, it’s unclear where exactly this spirulina comes from, which can be concern.
It’s also listed as “food grade” quality, which is one level under the pharmaceutical grade certification that the Dual Health brand offers. This means that it must be harvested, distributed, and certified ready for human consumption.
Some customers say that this brand is a bit harder to mix evenly in liquids. They found it took a while before clumps would disperse, so you may find a whole lot of shaking going on if you opt for this product.
Almost all reviews also comment that this option was one of the stronger and more unpleasant tastes/odors that they had experienced with spirulina powders, which is something that’ll likely put many off.
Another complaint was that the bag isn’t resealable or easy to work with. A few customers fixed this by transferring the powder from the original packaging to a fresh sealable bag or jar, but it’s still something to bear in mind before purchasing.
- Bulk size without being too much
- Food grade quality
- Origin unclear
- Prone to clumping
- Not organic
- Packaging hard to work with
- Strong taste/smell
Dual Health Body & Mind Pure Spirulina Powder
This huge bag of Dual Health Body & Mind spirulina powder is one of the best for both high quality and value for money. It’s a great option if you plan to incorporate large amounts of spirulina into your diet, you’re supplementing for a whole family, or if you plan to take it daily. When I say it’s huge, it’s a 5 pound bag of powder that won’t break the bank. This is the largest bulk amount you can get from the options I’m going over in these reviews. But don’t think the large quantity and great value means you’re getting a lower quality product. This spirulina powder is certified non-GMO, vegan, and kosher. It’s also guaranteed to be free of all common contaminants including mold, metals, and preservatives. However, it isn’t certified organic. The only ingredient is spirulina that’s harvested in India, which is often regarded as one of the best places for this microalgae to originate from. Besides all of that, it’s also pharmaceutical grade quality. What does that mean? It means that this powder undergoes rigorous testing and certification to be at the purest and most absorbable form possible. It also means it contains no unnecessary fillers, additives, dyes, preservatives, or anything that would put it below a 99% purity of the supplement itself. Customers agree that this is one of the smoothest and highest quality spirulina powders they’ve tried. They say the taste is quite strong, and while some people love it, others say that it’s easily masked when mixed into other foods. All in all, this product from Dual Health Body and Mind is worthy of your consideration.
Great value High quality pharmaceutical grade powder Fully tested Free shipping for US residents
Strong taste Bulk size, while an advantage for some, may not suit everyone Not certified organic
Organic Spirulina Powder by Zazzee
Yes, you read that right: this supplement powder from Zazzee is our first organic option!
As I spoke about earlier, some people take more comfort in organic spirulina powders because that means they’re free of pesticides, farming chemicals, and other non-organic compounds.
This product has also been lab tested and proven to be free of heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, mold, yeast, and more. Win!
Along with the organic certification, it’s also non-GMO, vegan, additive-free, 100% pure spirulina. Zazzee also puts right on the container that the spirulina is grown in natural, ready-to-drink mineral water that’s safe for human consumption.
I love the large size (2.2 pounds!) along with the packaging. It comes in a wide-mouth container making it easy to scoop out of the bottle. While some say it should come with a scoop instead of having to use your own, this does cut down on plastic waste, which can only be a good thing. The container is also a twist top, which makes it easy and convenient to keep the powder fresh.
Regular users say that it has a neutral taste, but it does have a strong smell.
If you want more information about the lab results, the origin of the spirulina, your order, or anything else, you can rest assured that Zazzee has excellent customer service. Those who have contacted Zazzee in the past say they replied almost instantly when they reached out. Another thumbs up! ??
If you’re looking for a supplement powder that ticks all the boxes, this one is hard to beat.
- Certified organic
- Great taste
- Excellent customer service
- Great pack size
- Easy to use/store packaging
- Strong smell
Prairie Naturals Organic Fair-Trade Spirulina
Prairie Naturals gives you a second organic spirulina powder to consider. Like the Zazzee option, this is USDA certified organic and vegan with no additives, fillers, GMOs, or colors. It’s 100% spirulina only in this vibrant green powder.
However, it doesn’t say the country of origin, which, again, is something to keep in mind. The organic certification helps counteract that, and can make you feel good about the fact that it isn’t contaminated with unnecessary fertilizers, pesticides, or farming chemicals, but clarification over where it is grown and harvested would be nice.
Like the Zazzee option, the container and packaging makes it easy to access the powder and keep it fresh without having to transfer it to a new container. It doesn’t give you quite as much as the Zazzee option, but it is a respectable 400 grams, which translates to about 100 servings.
Consumers say that the smell and taste isn’t too strong, which made it easy for them to consume. They also found the quality of the powder to be excellent; it easily mixed into anything they wanted.
- Certified organic
- Vegan/non-GMO/no additives
- Great packaging for storage and use
- Mild smell and taste
- Easily mixed
- Smaller amount of servings than other comparable options
- No country of origin listed
So… which is the best spirulina powder?
You’ve read about each of the contenders. Are you ready for me to crown the winner?
Without further ado, I present to you my favorite: 100% Pure Organic Spirulina Powder by Zazzee.
While each of these options are solid, the product by Zazzee checks all of my supplement boxes. It’s certified organic and lab tested, which means it has a much lower chance of being contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides, toxins, etc. Add to that the fact that it’s grown in drinkable mineral water and you’re onto a winner, in my opinion.
It’s also the perfect size for me: not too small, but not large enough to worry about the product spoiling, either. The twist top container combined with the wide mouth makes it easy to use and store so you can have fresh organic spirulina powder for months without things getting messy or contaminated (if you keep it in a cool, dry place that is!).
I also love that other consumers’ praised Zazzee’s customer service. If any issues or questions come up, it won’t take a year off of your life trying to get a customer service rep on the phone!
All in all, Zazzee’s product stands out from the crowd and is definitely one I’d recommend you try.
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Have you tried any of these? Or perhaps you think I missed a better one? Let me know in the comments section below.
About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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