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Spirulina Side Effects

Spirulina Side Effects

Spirulina is a dietary supplement which is cultivated worldwide. It is rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids. However, it has certain side effects, which are enlisted in this article.
Aarti R
Last Updated: Apr 7, 2018
Spirulina is a dietary supplement, made from blue-green algae. It is commercially produced in the US, Myanmar, China, India, Pakistan, etc. It contains almost 100 nutrients which are beneficial for our body, and it also serves the nutritional requirements of our body. Spirulina is rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, lipids, carbohydrates, and other nuclei acidic contents. It has five times more vegetable protein compared to meat. Spirulina is a nutritional supplement and is available in the market in the form of capsules, powder, tablets, and flakes.

Being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, it is usually consumed by people who are either on a vegetarian diet or consume food which lacks adequate nutrient quantities. There are many athletes and weight-conscious people, who depend on these supplements for the protein content. Moreover, children and young adults also prefer to take this supplement to compensate for an inadequate diet.

Who Should Avoid Spirulina
  • People who are suffering from hyperparathyroidism.
  • People who are allergic to seafood and seaweed.
  • People who are suffering from fever should avoid taking spirulina for a while.
It is always better to consult a doctor before including any form of food supplements in your daily diet.

Side Effects
Spirulina is a natural food supplement, which does not have any drastic side effects; however, its over-dosage can cause problem in some people. Additionally, there are some people who are allergic to spirulina itself. Some of the mild side effects are given below:

Mild Side Effects
Edema is a medical condition where the body tissues swell due to fluid accumulation. As people with kidney problems find it difficult to filter out the proteins and vitamins properly, spirulina can actually cause them more harm than good. Such people can experience edema or skin rashes after consuming spirulina.

Fever is experienced by some people when they take spirulina as a food supplement. This is because, 70% of its content is protein. The human body has to break down the proteins by the process of cellular metabolism. This process releases heat in the body, which in turn causes fever in few people. Along with fever, there can be other signs like cough and cold.

Lack of Sleep
Spirulina consumption may cause restlessness or lack of sleep in some people. This is due to the heat that body produces while breaking down the protein molecules.

Digestive Problems
Taking spirulina may lead to problems like acidity, hiccups, stomach ache, chronic constipation, and diarrhea as it can trap toxins and waste material in the colon. That's why, you need to drink sufficient amount of water to allow it to move through the digestive tract. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.

Other Dangers
During Pregnancy
The side effects of spirulina for a pregnant/lactating woman are not clearly known. So it is advisable to avoid consuming spirulina during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, as it might be contaminated with toxic elements like mercury and other heavy metals. These contaminants may adversely affect the mother as well as the baby.

Phenylketonuria or PKU is a rare genetic disorder that increases the levels of an amino acid called phenylalanine in the blood, which in turn causes mental disability and other serious health issues. Spirulina contains phenylalanine; therefore, people who are suffering from this condition are advised to avoid this supplement.
Spirulina is an algae that can become contaminated at times due to the toxic substances like lead, mercury, chlorine, arsenic, etc. which are found in the water where it is grown. It is advisable that you buy these supplements from a reputed brand to avoid any complications. It is also better to consult a physician before you opt for this food supplement.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by a medical professional.