The harmful effects of spirulina
Despite its great composition and its many health benefits, spirulina is not a trivial food supplement. Some people should not consume this mico-algae and in others, its consumption may cause unwanted harmful effects, which is why it is important to know what these harmful effects are and when can they occur before starting. consume it.
The specificity of spirulina lies in the richness of its composition, which one finds in abundance, for example, iron, vitamins, trace elements, or even phenylalanine or phycocyanin.
It is for this richness in nutrients that we consume this alga, and that spirulina can help to lose weight, for example, or to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but it is for this same richness that spirulina can, in certain specific cases, worsen the situation and be detrimental to health.
As a precaution, spirulina is, therefore, contraindicated in people:
• suffering from hemochromatosis (excess iron in the blood)
• with kidney failure
• suffering from phenylketonuria
Indeed, spirulina is a microalga that has a high iron content, so if you suffer from hemochromatosis, a fairly rare genetic disease that manifests itself by an excess of iron in the blood, it can lead to intoxication of the blood. ‘organization.
The consumption of spirulina will be harmful to organs such as the liver, pancreas, heart, hormonal glands, but also joints because, with the increase in the level of ferritin in the blood, iron will be deposited in these organs.
Regarding kidney failure, the high protein content of blue algae can cause problems. This is because protein metabolization causes an increase in toxins and wastes in the blood, and since the role of the kidney is to remove these toxins and wastes, this can tire it out and lead to complications.
Regarding phenylketonuria, it is a rare genetic disease linked to a deficiency in phenylalanine hydroxylase, causing an accumulation of phenylalanine in the blood and the brain. Since spirulina is rich in phenylalanine, this could aggravate the risks.
As a precautionary principle, some people are often advised not to consume spirulina, at least without the advice of a doctor. We are not talking here of absolute contraindication, but caution. It is :
• people who suffer from autoimmune diseases (especially rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis), because of the stimulating properties on the immune system of the algae
• people who suffer from hyperparathyroidism (see spirulina and thyroid gland )
• people who have a high level of uric acid in their blood and therefore those who suffer from gout disease
Indeed, in some cases, spirulina could amplify the symptoms of these people.
It is very rare to have side effects if you consume spirulina correctly, that is to say: respect the dosages and start a cure gradually, that is to say, start with low consumption and l ‘gradually increase each week.
The main side effects associated with the consumption of spirulina are manifested in the form of digestive disorders, headaches, and more rare skin rash. They generally appear at the start of the treatment and are most of the time caused by too much consumption too quickly, or by simple over-consumption of spirulina.
By exceeding the dosages, it is possible to see classic intestinal symptoms: bloating, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, etc., caused by the action of spirulina on the stimulation of the liver, intestinal transit, and detoxification of the colon. It is generally sufficient to reduce the doses to see these inconveniences disappear.
Anecdotally, the color of the stool may change, becoming green or brown.
Spirulina helps athletes fight cramps and muscle pain, but overconsumption can cause the opposite effect, due to the formation of uric acid, following the degradation of proteins and fatty acids by their metabolism. In this case, it is enough to hydrate well, reduce protein intake, and practice physical exercise, to promote the metabolization of proteins.
Fever and headache
At the beginning of a cure, it is possible to see headaches and fever. Indeed, spirulina has detoxifying properties, causing the release of toxins and waste in the body. To avoid this kind of side effects, start by taking small doses of spirulina, then increase the doses until you reach the desired dosage. Remember to drink a lot to facilitate elimination.
Always at the beginning of the treatment, it is possible to see a rash appear, again because of the detoxifying properties of spirulina. To avoid this, gradually increase the doses until you reach the desired dosage and drink plenty of water.
Note that these disorders vary from one individual to another and in general, they do not last long, just long enough for the body to get used to spirulina.
It should also be remembered that out of 49 reports of adverse reactions in France, ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) retained 10 sufficiently convincing, as well as a single case of a reaction. allergic after taking spirulina.
Interactions with drugs or other natural products
To date, there is no known interaction between spirulina and drugs. However, if you are following a specific treatment and wish to consume spirulina, it is essential to seek the advice of your doctor.
To date, there is no known interaction between spirulina and other medicinal plants, but again, if you are already undergoing a cure, seek advice from a naturopath.
There is as many spirulina as there are people who “cultivate” it, a spirulina from China and spirulina from France will not be equivalent.
Indeed, spirulina takes care of the elements that it draws from its environment, so if we produce spirulina in a contaminated or polluted environment, we will produce contaminated spirulina, in particular heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, etc. .), which this type of algae can absorb in significant quantities.
The choice of spirulina can therefore also have an impact on its effectiveness, and by correlation with the possible danger that it can represent by poisoning the body.
This is why we took so long to offer spirulina on Spice Island because we had never found a satisfactory product on this point while remaining affordable in terms of price.
Spirulina during pregnancy and breastfeeding
As no test has ever been performed on a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, we do not know what the impact of spirulina is, and caution is required.
Because of these detoxifying effects, spirulina is contraindicated for pregnant women, unless they have already consumed this alga sometime before becoming pregnant, to avoid the undesirable effects linked to the detoxification of the body, sometimes accompanying the start of a cure.
To benefit serenely from the benefits of spirulina, it is better to consume it before becoming pregnant, at the time of the baby’s conception period.
Indeed, spirulina is beneficial on many points for a pregnant woman:
• it is rich in iron, and pregnant women, who are often prone to iron deficiency, often need to take iron supplements
• it helps fight fatigue
• it provides all the nutrients the body needs during pregnancy: proteins, vitamins, trace elements, etc.
• it helps the body to get rid of its wastes and toxins that could infect the fetus
Anyway, consult your doctor and gynecologist before consuming it if you are pregnant.
Beyond the firm contraindications, it is possible to avoid the appearance of undesirable effects by starting to take spirulina in small doses. Start with 1 g per day for the first week, then increase the dose by 0.5 g every 5 days until the cure dose is reached, to give the body time to get used to the effects. We detail all of this in our article explaining how to consume spirulina.
The doses of cure generally vary between 3 and 5 g of spirulina per day (approximately 1 teaspoon).
Spirulina is only effective if taken as a daily cure for several weeks, between 4 and 6 weeks, followed by a break as long as the cure. It is not recommended to do more than 3 cures per year.
It is also safe for children over 8 to consume spirulina, as long as they take half the recommended adult dose.
To consume spirulina with complete peace of mind, you must:
• do not consume it in case of hemochromatosis, renal failure, or phenylketonuria
• go gradually at the start of the treatment and drink enough water
• choose the right brand of spirulina
• avoid during pregnancy, except with the approval of the gynecologist