As far as natural treatments go, taking spirulina for eczema is one of the better ones out there. You can find personal testimonials to spirulina’s eczema curing magic, but I’m more interested in HOW exactly spirulina can benefit eczema.
So I did some research and want to provide you with some of the benefits that spirulina has for eczema treatment.
Gamma-linolenic Acid from Spirulina
When doing some research online, I found that gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a common treatment for skin conditions such as eczema and acne. And you guessed it, Spirulina has GLA, and a lot of it.
Gamma-linolenic-acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. And according to Dr. Weil, MD, GLA has “specific nourishing effects on skin, hair, and nails that are not duplicated by omega-3 fatty acids”. For skin conditions like eczema he recommends GLA over the omega-3 fatty acids.
The science behind it
People with eczma have been found to have very low linoleic acid metabolites. Their concentration of linoleic acid tends to be high in the blood, milk, and adipose tissue according to an article published at the American Society for Clinical Nutrition.
What does this mean?
It means that their body does not convert linoleic acid to gamma-linoleic acid properly. And thus, they don’t have enough gamma-linoleic acid.
So supplementing GLA is a must in order to have normal levels.
But besides nourishing the skin, GLA plays an important role in many functions of the body. It is a precursor for prostaglandins, which are “master” hormones and control various things going on in the body. Because of their importance, GLA deficiency is found to be a factor in many diseases.
An effective dosage for treatment is recommended by Dr. Weil to be 500mg twice per day.
GLA treats eczema and spirulina contains GLA
Having a fatty acid is kind of the last thing you would expect from an algae like spirulina. But its true.
Spirulina is actually a very good source of GLA and contains about 135mg per 10 grams of spirulina. This amount differs depending on the species of spirulina and its growing conditions, but thats a general number value for you to go by.
Although the 135mg of GLA in 10g spirulina does not come close to the 500mg GLA twice per day that Dr. Weil recommends, its still a good bit to add to your diet.
Besides the looking only skin deep, lets take a deeper look, because the root cause of eczema might be from something else.
Your Immune Health Is Important
The health of your immune system might be the last thing that you think of when it comes to a skin condition like eczema. But the fact of the matter is that it plays a huge role in the health of everything, including your skin.
Eczema cases have tripled in the past 30 years, yes tripled! And its no coincidence. Its likely due to the immune systems of newer generations gradually getting weaker due to antibiotics and medicines. The weaker the immune system, the more susceptible you are to illnesses such as eczema.
- Spirulina for immune system health is a great way to go. It has unbelievable capabilities and has even been shown to prevent and reduce cancer and HIV! I have already written articles on both of these benefits here:
- Article: Spirulina for Cancer
- Article: Spirulina for HIV
One of the main reasons why spirulina is such a powerful immune system booster is due to a pigment protein complex called Phycocyanin. Phycocyanin is a very powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective agent which is proven to help your immune system fight all kinds of problems.
Other Benefits For Eczema
I’m not going to go over all of them, but I’ll go over 2 other nutrients that you can get from spirulina and are proven help, zinc and iron.
First off, lets take a look at zinc, which is essential for 100’s of biological functions in the body. Some of the major functions include cell growth, cell division, and wound healing.
Unfortunately for those with eczema, zinc deficiency is a common side effect. For that reason eczema patients should look to obtain more zinc through their diets. And Spirulina is a great way to do that.
One tablespoon of spirulina powder (7g) will provide you with about 0.14mg of zinc. This really isn’t very much at all, but when used to supplement your diet it helps.
The next important nutrient that spirulina has for eczema treatment is iron. Iron is extremely important for many reasons as well. It is needed for your body to produce hemoglobin and myoglobin, which are oxygen carrying proteins.
There are 2 reasons why iron is very important for eczema patients.
First, it can limit nickel absorption, which has been found to cause skin conditions such as eczema. Nickel negatively impacts your immune system and decreases blood lymphocyte circulation. But with sufficient iron in your body, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Second, eczema can actually cause iron deficiency. And iron deficiency in turn can lead to high amounts of nickel being absorbed, which then could increase skin problems like eczema. Its a viscous cycle.
For every tablespoon of spirulina (7g) you can expect to get about 2mg of iron. Thats a pretty good dose.
Should you try taking spirulina to treat eczema?
I think it would be a good idea and is worth a try. It has many nutrients which can directly and indirectly help with skin conditions such as eczema.
Spirulina also contains a lot of vitamins that are marketed for eczema treatment. I’m not going to go over them but they include Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and 9 of the B Vitamins. All of which are beneficial to the skin.
Where to Buy Spirulina
There are a lot of spirulina products on the market, some good and some bad. Spirulina’s nutritional content varies a lot due to the quality of the environment its grown in. It also can absorb toxins from its environment.
To avoid poor quality products that are grown in poor quality environments I have reviewed some of the top spirulina products available. The products I have reviewed are grown by credible companies and assure the best quality. You can find my product reviews Here.
1) Essential fatty acid metabolism and its modification in atopic eczema. Am J Clin Nutr January 2000
vol. 71 no. 1 367s-372s