If you spend any time on social media, chances are you’ve seen the photos of bright blue smoothies, smoothie bowls, protein powders, and even lattes and been dazzled by their electric blue color. You may even have wondered what food coloring was responsible for this brilliant blue hue. But it’s not some new kind of artificial (and possibly toxic) colorant. It’s actually an extract of spirulina (Arthrospira platensis)—a type of blue-green algae. And while it’s being marketed by several companies as simply blue spirulina, one company, E3Live, is getting a lot of buzz for its colorfully named version called Blue Majik.
But what is this Blue Majik and what’s the deal? Is it the next big superfood or just another wellness fad? Come with us as we dig into this latest wellness trend and find out everything you need to know about that blue spirulina known as Blue Majik.
Blue Majik: The Scoop
Like all blue spirulina, Blue Majik is extracted from a blue pigment in spirulina called phycocyanin. Though phycocyanin is found in all species of blue-green algae, manufacturers of blue spirulina—as the name suggests—use spirulina exclusively in the extraction process. And that’s probably because spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense and widely studied supplements out there.
But you may be interested to know that phycocyanin is also gaining scientific attention for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antitumor properties—not to mention its ability to regulate the immune system and support liver, kidney, and brain health.
Like spirulina, the phycocyanin in Blue Majik and other blue spirulina products also contains a number of vitamins, including vitamins A, E, and K as well as B vitamins like vitamin B12, and important minerals like copper, iron, selenium, and manganese. In addition, it’s a good source of amino acids and the anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid.
Health Benefits of Phycocyanin
While blue spirulina products—including E3Live Blue Majik powder and capsules—have not been specifically investigated by researchers, phycocyanin has been the subject of a number of studies, which have found that this brilliant blue pigment has many potential health benefits.
For example, a review published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research documented that supplementation with phycocyanin contributes to decreased cholesterol, improved wound healing, reduced risk of heart disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and prevention and treatment of a number of different types of cancer, including leukemia as well as prostate, breast, cervical, liver, and colon cancers.
And that’s just for starters…
May Protect Brain Health
A study in the journal Life Sciences found that rats with autoimmune encephalomyelitis who were supplemented with phycocyanin and its parent protein, phycobiliprotein, displayed decreased signs of disease and restored motor function, along with maintenance of myelin sheath integrity and improved markers of oxidative stress, findings that indicate that both phycocyanin and phycobiliprotein may have the potential to contribute to a better quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis.
In addition, a rodent study in the journal Brain Research Bulletin found that supplementation with phycocyanin significantly reduced the severity of strokes, protected against cell death, and improved both survival and functional outcome. These findings led researchers to conclude that phycocyanin may be useful for the prevention and treatment of strokes.
May Fight Cancer
Multiple studies have found that phycocyanin can block the proliferation of cancer cells and even cause cell death. For example, a study in the journal Cancer Cell International found that phycocyanin inhibited tumor cell proliferation, arrested the tumor cell cycle, promoted cancer cell death, and prevented the expression of COX-2—the enzyme associated with pain and inflammation.
May Prevent Diabetes
A study in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology found that mice fed phycocyanin once a day for 3 weeks experienced decreased blood sugar levels and weight as well as improved insulin sensitivity and increased storage of glycogen in the liver and muscles, findings that may prove beneficial for individuals seeking to prevent or treat type 2 diabetes.
May Prevent Heart Disease
A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that supplementation with phycocyanin in hamsters fed a diet high in fat and cholesterol “powerfully” prevented the development of atherosclerosis—the buildup of fatty deposits on arterial walls—by decreasing lipid levels as well as oxidative stress.
In addition, a study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that rats supplemented with phycocyanin for 25 weeks experienced a decrease in blood pressure—a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Improves Gut Health
A study in the journal MicrobiologyOpen found that mice supplemented with a low dose of phycocyanin experienced an increase in number and diversity of beneficial gut bacteria. Moreover, phycocyanin supplementation resulted in decreased intestinal permeability and increased intestinal barrier function, both of which play a role in preventing toxic substances and harmful bacteria from entering the bloodstream.
Adding Blue Majik to Your Diet
While Blue Majik may sound more like a designer street drug than the latest must-have in your wellness toolkit, both the blue pigment known as phycocyanin and the spirulina from which it’s extracted continue to demonstrate in study after study their many potent health benefits.
But even without the evidence supporting its use, the unique peacock blue color of phycocyanin would still add a singular touch to smoothies, smoothie bowls—such as our blue smoothie bowl with rainbow toppings—drinks, and desserts.
So whether it’s called Blue Majik or simply blue spirulina, when you combine the health benefits with the eye-popping color, you can bet this new health food trend is probably here to stay.