We're living in a time when most of us, if we're being totally honest, learn about new wellness tactics, "superfoods" and workout ideas largely through social media. And because of that, the trends that tend to catch on and spread most rapidly are the ones that make for good eye candy. If something is visually arresting, you can bet it'll be all over your Instagram feed; it's this phenomenon that gave rise to the proliferation of matcha, turmeric, aerial yoga and oh-so-much unicorn-sparkle bullshit. But in some cases, pretty, Instabait wellness may actually have some legitimacy. Take, for example, Blue Majik.
The name alone is insane. It sounds like some exotic drug strain — if you watched "Breaking Bad," it's just a hop away from Walter White's "Blue Sky" meth — or maybe a Mr. Sketch scented marker, but it's actually neither of those things. Rather, it's the latest colorful supplement to permeate the wellness industry.
Blue Majik is a form of microalgae spirulina, and its bright-blue hue is natural. While traditional spirulina, itself a vivid green, has been popular in health food stores for years, Blue Majik has begun to get attention more recently. "Blue Majik is a supplement that has recently become very popular, partially because of its striking blue color and because it offers many potential health benefits," says Brooke Alpert, a registered dietitian and the author of The Diet Detox. According to Alpert, its potential health benefits include improving digestive health, boosting thyroid function and reducing inflammation.
Beyond that, "Blue Majik is rich in vitamin B12, vitamin A and iron, which are all part of a balanced and healthy diet. Vitamin B12 is essential for nervous system function and the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin A supports healthy eye function and a healthy immune system. Iron and other minerals help build strong bones and teeth, blood, skin and hair. Using Blue Majik as a supplement to improve your overall health and bodily function could be beneficial to some," says Alpert, who also adds that it's "a great choice for vegans and vegetarians who may have more difficulty getting enough B12 and iron from a plant-based diet."
While Alpert believes the ingredient certainly has vast potential in the health and nutrition realm, there are some in the wellness industry who are even more gung-ho about it. "To say that this powerhouse ingredient is a superfood is an understatement," says Simone Shepard, VP of product development at Juice Generation, which sells a Blue Majik-spiked Holy Water juice blend that also features pineapple, coconut water and holy basil. "Blue Majik has risen amongst purveyors of health drinks and foods because of its richness in amino acids and antioxidants. It boasts a powerful deck of nutrients: protein, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins A, K, B12, iron and manganese."
As for why it's garnered so much attention in the Insta realm? That part's pretty simple: Look at it. It's bright-blue — a color not often found in food, outside of cotton candy or Blue Raspberry Warheads, anyway — and it lends that same electric hue to anything you put it in. But unlike some of the gimmicky things that good on the 'gram despite having questionable actual functionality (glitter-laden face masks, we're looking at you), Blue Majik does truly seem to deliver nutritional benefits in addition to being pretty.
In terms of how to incorporate it into your diet, Alpert suggests taking a cue from Instagram and blending it into smoothies or smoothie bowls — but she also says an easy option is simply to add it to a green juice, shake and drink. But wellness, diet and nutrition brands have also begun to get creative with it, incorporating it into products (in addition to the aforementioned Juice Generation example).
"We use blue spirulina in our blue nut mylk, a plant-based mylk that pairs with our seaberry muesli," says Sakara co-founder Danielle DuBoise. "It's one of our most-beloved menu items — you'll definitely find pictures of it on Instagram." Sakara also features the ingredient in its Detox Bars, a more recent fall launch for the brand. "The stunning teal color of the bar looks otherworldly but is 100 percent natural thanks to Blue Spirulina. It's a great plane snack, hangover cure or way to detox from stress and the environment," she says.
DuBoise and her co-founder Whitney Tingle believe deeply in the nutritional powers of the ingredient. "Research shows phycocyanin, the active pigment-protein complex in Blue Spirulina, can remove heavy metals, protect cells from DNA damage caused by aging and the environment and reduce disease-causing inflammation throughout the body," says Tingle. "It also helps boost immunity, encourages an ideal pH balance and is rich in beautifying minerals." Well, damn.
But — because we're talking about a wellness craze here — don't just start turning every single one of your smoothies, bowls and bars into Blue Majik smoothies, bowls or bars all willy-nilly. "There is still not a great deal of information about Blue Majik and there are no long-term studies that address possible side effects or negative health outcomes," cautions Alpert, who also offers up the sage reminder to always, always consult with your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet.
She also notes that in some people, the supplement has been "shown to have some undesirable side-effects including nausea, upset stomach, fatigue and dizziness." And there are some people who should steer clear of it for sure, according to Alpert: "Anyone who might have underlying health issues where the consumption of vitamin B12 or iron could be dangerous should avoid this supplement."
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