Spirulina Side Effects – This is also popular because it has many benefits for the human body. It allows you to refuel full proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements essential to the proper functioning of our body. But it also presents health risks, especially when not properly consumed. And especially if you take too high doses.
Because of its great fragility, spirulina can also be very easily contaminated by the toxic substances present in its environment. Attention therefore to its origin and to the methods of production used to avoid the presence of heavy metals in your food supplement.
In today’s article, we review the potential dangers of consuming spirulina. Side effects, contraindications, you are told everything about the risks to avoid when you supplement. But especially our advice to follow a cure in all serenity.
Spirulina Side Effects: Watch out for Heavy Metals
The first danger that spirulina represents is its intoxication by heavy metals. Indeed, ANSES has recently reported nearly 49 adverse effects following spirulina consumption in France, 10 of which are sufficiently conclusive and many cases of allergy.
Based on the scientific studies carried out on this subject, and after having studied the cases of side effects following the taking of the micro-alga, the French agency that if Spirulina presents only low risks at low doses it can very easily be contaminated by toxic products and bacteria. But also and especially by heavy metals very harmful to the body such as lead, mercury, or arsenic.
So be careful of the source of your supplement , because the presence of arsenic and lead seems to especially affect wild spirulina from Africa, and supplements from Thailand, Mexico, India, the US or even Italy.
As a result, it strongly advises people with phenylketonuria (a relatively rare genetic disease) to consume Spirulina. Ditto for vegans who might consider it a safe source of vitamin B12. A myth on which we must return since if it contains well, it is inactive in humans.
What are the Spirulina side effects?
If Spirulina has an exceptional nutritional quality and unmatched (which owes its status of superfood), it can also cause adverse effects. Generally, they manifest in the form of digestive difficulties, skin problems or migraines.
Digestive disorders are the main unpleasant effects that can follow spirulina consumption. However, they are relatively rare and confined to cases of overdose. In this case, you may feel bloating, or diarrhea. This is very simply explained by the effects of the micro-alga on our liver and our colon (which it will stimulate and detoxify).
Migraines can, in turn, appear at the beginning of cure. They are sometimes accompanied by fever because of the detoxifying action of Spirulina. To avoid them, we generally advise to hydrate well, to eliminate the toxins more quickly.
Your spirulina treatment may also result in a rash, again due to its detoxifying action. To avoid the appearance of pimples, drinking plenty of water and gradually increasing your doses should be enough. Otherwise, be patient because this side effect will disappear naturally after a few days.
Spirulina and digestive disorders: will I suffer from constipation or diarrhea?
You’ll understand, and like all dietary supplements rich in nutrients, spirulina will ask your body a little adjustment before being fully assimilated. During this transition period, it is possible that you will suffer from transit problems, slow down or accelerate. As we have
seen, there is really no reason to worry, quite the opposite.
It indicates that your body is reacting to the microalgae, and that it effectively detoxifies your colon and your liver. Your body will react to the elimination of toxins by expelling them from your body via your stool. They can take temporarily a green or brown color. If, on the contrary, you are rather detoxified, the best solution is to stay hydrated.
Contraindications: for whom is it not recommended?
In some cases, Spirulina will be more drastically discouraged. Indeed, it must be understood that it is extremely rich in iron, which will not suit everyone. And especially for people who suffer from hemochromatosis, a genetic disease that manifests itself in an excessive presence of iron in the blood and can lead to intoxication. By taking Spirulina, you can put your liver, your heart, but also your pancreas and your joints to the test.
In the same way, it is strongly discouraged for people with renal insufficiency to supplement spirulina . Indeed, it will work to eliminate toxins, which may be hard to test.
Finally, pay attention to people with phenylketonuria, who should not consume too much protein.
Spirulina and pregnant women: is it harmful?
One also reads a lot about the risks that can represent Spirulina during pregnancy is breastfeeding. Indeed, this period delicate enough for women, especially at the hormonal level, requires precautions. However, they are also advised to consume more iron, of which Spirulina is very busy. And cures in early pregnancy are recommended by some doctors, especially during the first trimester and to avoid deficiencies.
The problem is that in a synthesized form, iron will be harder to assimilate. Hence the importance of choosing a natural spirulina, which will provide pregnant women with the iron they need, significantly reducing the risk of side effects.
Pure, (in flakes or in powder form), spirulina will prevent fatigue and reduce the risk of anemia during pregnancy. But also to fill up with nutrients, including vitamins A and B, which boost the immune system. While limiting the risk of side effects and the risk of infection with toxins of your fetus.
How to avoid the side effects of spirulina?
As we have just seen, the dangers of spirulina are not only rare, limited, but they are mainly manifested when you take too much doses. By respecting the right posology of spirulina for your body weight and your health situation, but especially by consuming it in a progressive way (as we will see below), you should not feel any of its potential harmful effects.
Respect the correct dosage and avoid overdose
The first rule is not to fall into an overconsumption of spirulina. It’s tempting when you take a dietary supplement, especially a superfood, to fall into doses too strong because it is thought that it will maximize its benefits. On the contrary, it will rush your body, including your digestive system. Result: you will only harvest transit problems or migraines.
Understand that spirulina is loaded with nutrients, especially iron, which will have the effect of accelerating your digestion. It can therefore cause bloating, excessively stimulating your liver and colon. We therefore hold a daily dosage of less than 5 grams (except for bodybuilding ), and we go gradually.
As with all the inconveniences attributed to supplements, the best way to remedy this is to listen to your body and let it adapt to their effects serenely.
Monitor the origin of spirulina to limit the harmful effects
By choosing a quality Spirulina, and especially by monitoring its provenance and the production methods used, you can also greatly reduce the dangers. Indeed, as we saw above, its ability to absorb heavy metals impose a healthy and unpolluted environment. And so sanitary and environmental standards very strict. Its culture will intervene in the very composition of Spirulina .
That is why it is not advisable to buy spirulina abroad (and especially in Asia and Africa). And if organic spirulina does not exist (because of the use of a specific fertilizer), other quality labels exist to guide you in your choice.
The recommended dose of spirulina
The rule before starting a spirulina cure will therefore be to respect the ideal dose, between 3 and 5 grams per day. And above all, to start gradually not to rush your body and avoid a disturbance of your intestinal transit. The ideal is to start with 1 gram per day for a week.
Then go to 2 the next week. And so on until reaching the maximum 5 grams after a month of spirulina cure . Athletes will be able to take 10 grams, because the intensive exercise allows faster elimination of nutrients. But again, we must proceed in a progressive manner.
Also be careful to keep your complement to preserve its benefits. Spirulina is sensitive to heat, so do not cook it. Mix it preferably with cold or lukewarm preparations. Keep it away from moisture if you do not want to have diarrhea. But also light and air that can oxidize spirulina and deprive it of its nutritional qualities and thus inhibit its beneficial effects.
Conclusion: what to remember?
To conclude, you do not risk much to take spirulina daily. Provided of course that you are not in the contraindications we have detailed above. When in doubt, the best thing to do is to turn to your doctor. It is he who knows you best and can warn you of possible dangers, or advise you a dosage to measure.
In any case, go smoothly to avoid rushing your body . Start with one gram, then gradually increase so that your body has time to get used. And remember that:
- do not take spirulina if you have kidney failure, hemochromatosis or phenylketonuria;
- avoid it during pregnancy except if your spirulina is very natural;
- gradually increase the dosage and do not exceed 5 grams per day;
- choose your complement according to its origin, and methods of production used (follow for this our guide of purchase);
- take it preferably in the morning and before your meals;
- stay hydrated for the duration of your treatment.