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Spirulina can be taken in small quantities as a small, healthful addition to your diet, or it can be taken in larger quantities, in which case it can be used as a meal replacement. It is this latter use that we highly recommend, because: (a) it is spectacularly healthful, since Spirulina is one of the most powerful, most beneficial foods in existence. Spirulina confers many wonderful benefits, including some that are immediately noticeable -- like all the energy you get after taking it, and the bounce in your step! (b) In smaller quantities -- i.e., when used as a nutritional supplement -- the effects of Spirulina are minor. This is because it is really a complete food, not a vitamin or mineral or food extract. Spirulina is a blue-green algae food. (c) When used in larger quantities, as we recommend, Spirulina also acts to suppress appetite, and is therefore that much more useful for folks trying to lose weight.
We prefer and recommend powdered Spirulina, mostly because you can get more into your body that way. I.e., you can make an actual meal out of Spirulina blended with (for example) some water & juice. The usual amount of powdered spirulina ingested that way -- an amount needed to actually comprise a kind of meal replacement -- is 2-3 tablespoons. (Note: you would normally take this amount only after becoming accustomed to taking Spirulina in general. We usually advise people to start with smaller amounts and build up. See the Complete Doctor's Reference Guide book for more details.)
Notes about tablets:
- Many (though not all) tablet manufacturers add some "binder" and/or "filler" material to their tablets to get them to stay in tablet form. This can reach 30% of tablet volume, or more. So in tablet form, you will often get less Spirulina per unit volume and weight (also see below).
- Tablets are also significantly harder to digest, mostly as a result of the binders/fillers that may be added.
- And of course, you pay more for the Spirulina you get in tablets form vs. powder, due to the extra manufacturing costs.
Spirulina: Amounts in tablets vs. powder:
- 6 tablets of Spirulina is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of powder (3 g). When dealing with tablets, this amount (6 tabs) is usually considered 1 "serving".
(Note: These equivalence formulas do NOT take into account any reduction of actual Spirulina in tablets caused by the use of binders/fillers, because that effect varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.)
- One "serving" of Spirulina powder = 2 teaspoons (6 g). So -- one would have to take TWO "servings" of tablets to equal ONE "serving" of powder.
- There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon. Therefore, it would take 18 tablets to get the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of Spirulina.
- The equivalent to 2-3 tablespoons of powdered Spirulina -- the amount recommended to comprise a "meal" of sorts (see second paragraph above) -- is 36 to 54 tablets. This is, obviously, a ridiculous number of tablets to take.
Clearly then, it is quite difficult to get the full benefits of Spirulina if using its tablet form. Not impossible, just difficult.