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Both Spirulina and Barley Grass have a lot to offer and I’m a huge fan of them both.
But as they’re so similar in many ways, it can be hard for some people to choose between them.
If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place.
I started this Supplement Comparison Guide for that exact reason!
In each article, I take 2 types of supplement and put them head-to-head on pros, cons, price, my recommendations, and more to help you figure out which one to use.
In this piece, we’ll take a look at Spirulina vs Barley Grass.
Here’s whether you should take Spirulina or Barley Grass:
If you want to lower your blood pressure, boost your hemoglobin or improve your aerobic endurance, you should pick Spirulina. But if you want to lower your cholesterol or increase your antioxidant intake, you should pick Barley Grass.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that helped produce the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere billions of years ago, which allowed the originating life forms to develop.
In fact, Spirulina is considered one of the oldest life forms on planet Earth.
Many people supplement with Spirulina because of its health boosting properties and nutrient content.
What is Barley Grass?
Barley Grass is the leaf of the well-known Barley plant.
Sometimes, it’s referred to as “Barley leaves” or “Barley green”.
High in GABA, chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals, Barley Grass is a nutritional gold mine and is used by lots of people for its health promoting properties.
Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina may help against Anemia
One of the most common forms of Anemia is caused by a reduction in hemoglobin.
When this happens, you’ll experience fatigue and tiredness as your body can’t get as much oxygen to cells for energy.
Research shows that Spirulina can increase levels of hemoglobin in Anemia patients
Spirulina may improve muscular endurance
Spirulina is an excellent supplement for athletes.
(Although it’s relatively unheard of in the fitness industry!)
In one study, 16 students took Spirulina each day for 3 weeks.
As part of the study, they exercised on a treadmill before and after taking Spirulina.
Interestingly, the students had improved stamina after taking Spirulina.
In another study of 9 males, some took a placebo each day and the others took 6g of Spirulina each day over the course of 4 weeks.
When running on a treadmill, the Spirulina takers took longer to fatigue than the placebo takers.
Spirulina may help reduce blood pressure
High blood pressure is thought to play an important role in many diseases, including:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney disease
If you want to avoid high blood pressure, then Spirulina may be able to help.
A study of 36 adults investigated the effects of Spirulina on their blood pressure.
The subjects took 4.5g of daily Spirulina for 6 weeks, and ate the same diet as before the study to make it fair.
By the end of the 6 weeks, their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were lowered.
Spirulina is nutrient-rich
Despite the importance of vitamins and minerals, too many people aren’t consuming enough of them.
A simple way to increase your intake is to supplement with Spirulina, as a tablespoon of dried Spirulina powder contains:
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Copper: 21% of the RDA
- Vitamin B1: 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA
- Vitamin B3: 4% of the RDA
Spirulina also contains respectable amounts of manganese, potassium, magnesium and other important nutrients.
Benefits of Barley Grass
Barley Grass is antioxidant-rich
Antioxidants are powerful molecules which can help combat free radicals.
These are free-roaming electrons which can induce oxidative stress, which is thought to play a key role in aging.
So in theory, the more antioxidants you consume, the less oxidative stress you’ll have.
(And the younger you’ll look and feel!)
A study of Type 2 Diabetes patients looked at how Barley Grass affects their blood markers.
As part of the study, the patients took 15g of Barley Grass each day over 4 weeks.
At the end of the 4 weeks, the patients had less oxidized LDL which may be due to Barley Grass’ antioxidant content.
Barley Grass may help lower cholesterol
Barley Grass contains beta-sitosterol compounds, which are believed to stop the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines.
A study of 40 subjects with high cholesterol investigated how Barley Grass impacted their cholesterol levels.
The subjects took 15g of daily Barley Grass for 4 weeks.
The results showed that Barley Grass reduced both LDL and total cholesterol.
(LDL is the type of cholesterol known as “bad” cholesterol.)
Barley Grass is full of nutrients
Like Spirulina, Barley Grass is nutrient-rich.
Let’s take a quick gander at the list of nutrients present in Barley Grass:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
- Amino acids
- Vitamin B12
- Beta carotene
- Pantothenic acid
And so many people label Barley Grass as a “Superfood”.
Spirulina is usually sold as a powder or tablets.
Typical prices for these are:
- Tablets: $7 for 100
- Powder: $18 for 1 lb
Barley Grass Cost
Barley Grass is mainly sold as a powder. For a medium-priced Barley Grass powder, you can expect to pay around $30 for 1 lb.
Spirulina Side Effects
Although few adverse effects are linked with Spirulina use, the following side effects have been reported in some cases:
- Muscle pain
- Allergic reactions
The following people SHOULD NOT supplement with Spirulina:
- Gout sufferers
- People with Kidney Stones
- Pregnant or nursing women
- People with a thyroid condition
- Those with Phenlyketonuria (PKU)
- People with an autoimmune disorder
- People allergic to seafood, seaweed or sea vegetables
Barley Grass Side Effects
Since Barley Grass is rich in certain vitamins and minerals like Vitamin K and Potassium, it might not be appropriate for people with certain conditions (such as those on dialysis) or are taking certain medications (like warfarin).
And if you have a gluten sensitivity, you should avoid any Barley Grass supplement that isn’t labelled Gluten Free.
My Spirulina Recommendation: NOW Organic Spirulina Powder
A top-quality organic Spirulina supplement from a trusted, globally recognised brand.
NOW Organic Spirulina Powder is the real deal.
What I like about it
NOW are at the top of their game when it comes to serving epic supplements.
They’re GMP certified, which means that their whole manufacturing process has been carefully analyzed for quality.
This is just one of many reasons why NOW are among the most reputable supplements companies in the world.
It’s good to see that this powder is Organic too, so you can use it without having to fret over any nasty chemicals that have been added.
Just pure 100% Spirulina goodness.
The tub contains a massive 4 pounds of Spirulina powder, and as far as I’m aware, you can’t buy a smaller sized tub.
This is a bit of a pain, as some folks may want to buy a smaller one to see if they like it first.
My Barley Grass Recommendation: Teaveli Organic Barley Grass Juice Powder
Teaveli Organic Barley Grass Juice Powder is the bee’s knees as far as Barley Grass supplements are concerned.
It’s non-GMO, organic, gluten free and made in a special way.
(More on that shortly…)
What I like about it
As it’s organic, this Barley Grass supplement has been grown naturally without the use of chemical pesticides/fertilizers.
This is always pleasing news, so we’re off to a flyer.
But what stands out the most about this supplement is how it’s made.
The process is called Bioactive Dehydration, which basically means the Barley Grass Juice is dried at a low temperature.
Thanks to this, the Barley Grass powder retains more color, aroma, flavor and all sorts of goodness.
So when you add your water to the powder, it’s pretty much identical to fresh Barley Grass Juice.
Now that’s epic.
The fact that it’s gluten free is a nice bonus too, as it means those with a gluten sensitivity can use it.
Bioactive Dehydration is not the cheapest way of making Barley Grass powder, which means that this supplement is (rightly) more expensive than others out there.
Spirulina vs Barley Grass: The Verdict
You’ve made it to the very end of this Spirulina vs Barley Grass showdown.
These are 2 nutritional mammoths which have a fair bit in common.
And either would make a great choice.
But if you’re still on the fence, then here’s how I’d decide:
You might prefer Spirulina if:
- You want to lower your blood pressure
- You want to boost your hemoglobin levels
- You want to improve your muscular endurance
You might prefer Barley Grass if:
- You want to lower your cholesterol levels
- You want to increase your antioxidant intake
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.