The Battle of Superfoods: Blue Spirulina vs Green Spirulina

When it comes to spirulina, a popular superfood supplement, there are two popular variations: blue spirulina and green spirulina. 

While similar in name and origin, it is quite obvious that these two are not the same, so which one should you choose? Which one is better?

That’s exactly what we’ll try and find out in our blue spirulina vs green spirulina clash!

What’s the Difference Between Blue and Green Spirulina?

Apart from the obvious difference in color, there is a major difference between the two. In fact, this difference is so massive that one might ask themselves – why do these two share the same name?

Namely, blue spirulina is essentially phycocyanin extracted from the original spirulina, while green spirulina encompasses the whole food supplement. Or in other words, blue spirulina is a fraction of the green spirulina. 

But here’s the kicker…

Many products labeled as blue spirulina are not pure phycocyanin, and since it’s crucial for a product to be a pure source of phycocyanin to be considered true blue spirulina, it’s in your best interest to look for high-quality products if you’re playing for the team blue.

As far as other differences go, they do not appear to be that significant.

A great deal of the life-and-health-improving properties of green spirulina comes from phycocyanin in the first place (since it does amount to about 1% of green spirulina’s overall weight). 

So, despite losing some of the other nutrients found in a whole-food version of spirulina, blue spirulina, while simpler in nature, may possess similar benefits as it is essentially the most bioactive compound of spirulina.

Other than that, the only other notable difference lies in the taste and smell, with the blue spirulina being the absolute winner in this category.

Pros and Cons of Blue Spirulina

Now, before we move on to crowning the winner, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of blue spirulina:

Pros Cons
Anti-cancer properties Limited nutritional profile
Anti-inflammatory effects Higher cost
Immune system support
Palatability
Reduced risk of contamination

Pros

  • Anti-cancer properties: Phycocyanins in blue spirulina appear to be effective in combating cancer and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, offering potential protective and preventive effects. [1]
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: Blue spirulina’s phycocyanins possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body, support overall health, and combat many diseases caused by (chronic) inflammation. [2]
  • Immune system support: The phycocyanins in blue spirulina appear to also boost the immune system, helping to enhance our body’s defense against infections and diseases.
  • Palatability: Finally, a lot of folks find blue spirulina a lot more palatable compared to green spirulina, as it lacks the fishy taste and smell associated with the latter.
  • Reduced risk of contamination: Blue spirulina, being a concentrated form of phycocyanin extracted from spirulina, undergoes a purification process that helps eliminate potential contamination from other bacteria.

Cons

  • Limited nutritional profile: Blue spirulina lacks the comprehensive nutritional profile found in whole-food green spirulina, as it is primarily focused on providing concentrated phycocyanin. So, you can’t quite think of blue spirulina as a superfood.
  • Higher cost: The extraction process required to obtain phycocyanin makes blue spirulina comparatively more expensive than green spirulina, despite the fact that you’re getting “less” in some sense.

Pros and Cons of Green Spirulina

Pros Cons
Complete nutritional profile Fishy smell and taste
Antioxidant-rich Potential contamination
Chlorophyll content
Multiple health benefits

Pros:

  • Complete nutritional profile: There’s a reason spirulina is called a superfood, and that’s because it delivers a wide range of nutrients. It contains protein, healthy fats, vitamins (including B vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, and K), and essential minerals like potassium and magnesium, providing more than comprehensive nutritional support.
  • Antioxidant-rich: In addition to phycocyanin, green spirulina offers a full antioxidant profile, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants benefit eye health, protect against free radicals, and contribute to overall well-being.[3]
  • Chlorophyll content: Green spirulina contains chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant known for its proposed anti-cancer, anti-aging, and skin benefits. Chlorophyll also aids in detoxification and supports cellular health.
  • Multiple health benefits: Green spirulina provides numerous health benefits, including fighting cancer, improving heart health, regulating blood sugar and lipid levels, alleviating allergy symptoms, combating anemia, detoxifying the body, boosting the immune system, and supporting digestive health.[4]

Cons:

  • Fishy smell and taste: The presence of various bacteria in green spirulina contributes to its rather distinct fishy taste and smell, which may be unappealing to some of you. However, you must also know that high-quality spirulina does not have a very pungent fishy odor or taste, although you can still feel it.
  • Potential contamination: As green spirulina is a whole food supplement derived from fresh bodies of water, there is a slight possibility of contamination with other bacteria, such as microcystins.

Are There Specific Use Cases Where One Type of Spirulina Would Be Better Than the Other?

While both blue and green spirulina offer somewhat unique advantages, specific use cases may not exactly favor one over the other. 

Sure, blue spirulina’s concentrated phycocyanin content and ease of consumption make it an appealing choice for those primarily seeking the antioxidant benefits associated with spirulina. 

And yes, green spirulina’s comprehensive nutritional profile, including a broader range of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, makes it a more suitable option for individuals looking for overall wellness support.

Still, at the end of the day, both of these can be a valuable addition to your overall diet and wellness.

Bottom Line: Which Color of Spirulina is Best?

It’s kind of hard to say which color of spirulina is better than the other, as determining the best spirulina color ultimately depends on your specific goals and preferences. 

If you prioritize a higher concentration of phycocyanin and prefer a milder taste, blue spirulina may be a suitable choice. 

However, if you seek a broader nutritional profile and a range of health benefits, including weight management and improved overall wellness, green spirulina would be the recommended option.

All that said, we do have to give a slight edge to green spirulina, mainly because of its more well-rounded nutritional profile.

How We Rate Blue Spirulina:

After careful assessment, we rate blue spirulina with a score of 3 out of 5. 

While it offers concentrated phycocyanin and purification processes to minimize contamination risks, and while it still offers a lot of benefits associated with the “green version”, the limited nutritional profile and higher cost compared to whole-food spirulina contribute to this rating.

How We Rate Green Spirulina:

We rate green spirulina with a score of 4 out of 5. 

Its comprehensive nutritional profile, diverse health benefits, and relatively lower cost compared to blue spirulina make us rate the green spirulina over the blue one.

Also, if we take a look at the extensive body of scientific data behind green spirulina, we can easily see that a great deal of its proposed benefits can be verified, which is also a major factor in our book.

Blue Spirulina vs Green Spirulina

Quick Summary of Blue Spirulina vs Green Spirulina

Blue Spirulina Green Spirulina
Difference Phycocyanin extracted from the original spirulina Whole food supplement
Pure Source Not all products labeled as blue spirulina are pure phycocyanin Includes the most bioactive compound of spirulina
Taste and Smell Winner in this category; lacks fishy taste and smell Fishy taste and smell present
Pros
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Immune system support
  • Palatability
  • Reduced risk of contamination
  • Complete nutritional profile
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Chlorophyll content
  • Multiple health benefits
Cons
  • Limited nutritional profile
  • Higher cost
  • Fishy smell and taste
  • Potential contamination
Rating 3 out of 5 4 out of 5

Note: The above information is a summary. Please refer to the article for more details and resources.

Conclusion

While we do crown the green spirulina the winner, there’s a case to be made for both. 

Blue spirulina provides concentrated phycocyanin and a milder taste, and green spirulina offers a comprehensive nutritional profile and a broader range of health benefits. 

So, in the end, it’s pretty much safe to say that either will work and that if you want to make the best choice for yourself, you must consider your specific goals, taste preferences, and budget when choosing between the two. 

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