Have you heard about the super food spirulina? This blue-green algae grown majorly throughout the world and is super-house of all the essential minerals and nutrients. These are majorly found in salt water bodies and also in some fresh water lakes. Due to their natural blue-green colors, the water bodies where they grow also appear dark green.(1)
There are different ways to consume spirulina. You can either take it as a tablet, flakes or in its powdered form. A lot of people add spirulina powder or flakes in their smoothies and juices. Known for its high content of nutrients, spirulina also consists of iron, vitamin B12 and 8 essential and 10 non-essential amino acids.
Health conscious people have embraced this supplement and they ensure that they include it in their diet. But like every other supplement out there, spirulina too has a set of side effects which can make it harmful for your body.
So if you are planning to start using this supplement or you are already using it, then we suggest you continue going through this post to find out what those side effects are.
This will help you understand the herb better and make it more convenient for you to decide to continue the herb or not. Have a look!
Top 13 Shocking Spirulina Side Effects
1. Auto-Immune Diseases
Your immune system can become more active resulting in an increase in the symptoms of your auto-immune diseases. It is advisable not to take spirulina if you are favcing any of these conditions – rheumagtoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or pemphigus vulgaris which is a skin condition.(2)
We do not have any concrete evidence regarding the effects of spirulina on pregnant women because of which it is safer to avoid using it during your pregnancy.(3)
Once again due to lack of sufficient evidence, it is recommended that spirulina should not be taken by women who breastfeed their child. This is because if there are any harmful effects then it can directly affect the child.
Phenylketonuria is a birth defect where phenylalanine, an amino acid builds up in the body. If left untreated, it can lead to seizures, mental retardation, brain damage and behavioural symtopms. Spirulina also contains phenylalanine and consuming it can worsen your phenylketonuria. So if an individual is already suffering from this birth defect, then they should avoid taking spirulina at all costs.
5. Seafood Allergy
Though you can use spirulina to get relief from certain allergic symptoms, it does not work positively for those who are extremely allergic to seaweed or any other seafood.(4)
6. Liver Damage
You need to make sure that your source of spirulina is is dependable since consuming spirulina from undependable sources can be harmful for your body and also cause liver damage. The reason being that spirulina from such sources can contain traces of heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.(5)
[ Read: Possible Olive Leaf Extract Side Effects ]
7. Interaction With Drugs
Consuming spirulina can interfere negatively with you other medications. It can decrease the effect of your medication so it would be better if you don’t take spirulina if you are on some other medications like immunosuppressants. You can always consult your physician and use it if you get the go ahead.
8. Stomach Disorders
If you do not take the right dosage and end up consuming high dosages of spirulina, then it can result in various stomach disorders like diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, etc. So if you are facing any of these symptoms while consuming spirulina, stop using it.
9. Kidney Problems
Just like your liver, your kidneys too can be affected by consuming spirulina. The protein in spirulina gets metablozied and a huge amount of ammonia is produced which then gets converted into urea. All this adds additional pressure on your kidneys and due to the excess urea, people can also develop kidney stones.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Grape Seed Extract ]
10. Fever And Migraine
Fever is another side effect of consuming spirulina and it is mostly seen in people who have just started taking this supplement. Another side effect that can also be faced is the onslaught of migraines. So remember to always start with a small dose and then increase it as required.
Along with fever and migraine, nausea and vomiting also makes it to the list of side effects of spirulina. You can avoid these side effects by ensuring that your spirulina is not contaminated and is from a reliable source.(6)
It has been observed that when spirulina is not consumed in its right dosage, it can make your body weak and also increase thirst. It would be a good idea to discontinue the usage of spirulina if you notice any of these symptoms.
13. Rapid Heartbeat
This is definitely the most harmful side effect of using spirulina. If your spirulina is contaminated and is not completely free of mycrocystins, then you can face side effects like rapid heartbeat and shock and can also cause death.
All of the above side effects can be avoided if you consult the right physicians and follow their instructions. The dosage decided by the physician depends upon your health, age and other medical conditions. Another thing to follow would be to strictly keep this product away from children. Do not let them consume it in any form.
Just because a product is natural doesn’t mean that it is completely safe to use. You need to be well aware of its pros and cons and only then start using it.
- Blue-Green Algae- https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/923.html#Description
- Enhancement of antitumor natural killer cell activation by orally administered Spirulina extract in mice- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19432881/
- Blue-Green Algae- https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/923.html#Safety
- Cyanobacteria: an unrecognized ubiquitous sensitizing allergen?- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21439163/
- The fate of microcystins in the environment and challenges for monitoring- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25514094
- Spirulina- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30000909/
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