For some time, taking spirulina supplements has become a widespread habit. However, like any natural product, they have contraindications and warnings for use. Some people must in fact avoid consumption or pay more attention.
Spirulina is an alga that grows spontaneously in desert regions, especially where the water is alkaline. Thanks to the high amount of nutrients it contains, it is considered a superfood. This does not mean, however, that its consumption has no contraindications.
What nutrients does spirulina provide?
It was already consumed in ancient times by civilizations such as the Aztecs and the Incas, but its important properties for human health have only recently been rediscovered. It is currently available in powder, capsule, liquid or tablet form.
It is appreciated for its high content of proteins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, mineral salts such as iron, copper, zinc, vitamins A, E and B complex.
Benefits of spirulina supplements
Several studies state that, by virtue of its composition, they help prevent some diseases, as well as strengthen the immune system. The recognized effects of spirulina are:
- It is antioxidant and antiviral.
- Retains heavy metals; it is therefore considered a natural chelator.
- Regulates glucose and cholesterol levels.
Spirulina supplements: precautions and contraindications
Spirulina supplements are generally considered safe. In some specific cases, however, their consumption should be avoided, as they could cause unwanted effects. Here are 5 situations where you need to be careful.
1. Bleeding disorders
Spirulina has an anticoagulant effect, this means that it slows down the action of the platelets that block the lesions of the blood vessels. It therefore alters the natural process that allows us to stop bleeding.
In this sense, those who take drugs with the same effect, for diseases such as atrial fibrillation or stroke, should avoid spirulina. Patients with bleeding disorders may be more prone to bruising and heavy bleeding.
2. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
There are no definitive data on the effects of spirulina in pregnancy. Nonetheless, it is known that algae can be contaminated with toxins or metals.
Heavy metal poisoning is a serious condition that affects several organs, especially the brain, kidneys, and red blood cells. In the medium term, this accumulation of harmful substances increases the risk of developing other diseases.
The placenta, the fetal-placental unit, is equally prone to heavy metal intoxication. For this reason, attention should be paid to or avoid the consumption of spirulina during gestation.
3. Autoimmune diseases
Although it strengthens the immune system, consumption of spirulina may be contraindicated in cases of multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases . In order not to aggravate the symptoms of these pathologies, it is better to limit consumption.
According to some research, spirulina may have an allergic component, thus increasing the chances of developing adverse reactions. Although exposure to this substance is necessary to be sure, those who already suffer from food allergies should pay more attention.
It is a rather rare hereditary disease, characterized by the alteration of the metabolism of an amino acid, phenylalanine. The consumption of products containing this substance, such as algae, is therefore not recommended.
Sufferers of this disease may see symptoms aggravated as their body is unable to metabolize this substance.
Warnings on the consumption of spirulina supplements
Spirulina is a food designed as a supplement and not as a drug. Consumption in adequate doses is safe in most cases, except for the categories listed.
In special cases, moreover, undesirable effects such as skin rashes and itching, thirst, constipation, stomach pain and dizziness may occur. While it’s a good source of protein, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients, it’s not without its side effects.
Contrary to popular belief, even if a product is natural, it does not mean that it is completely harmless. For this reason, in case of illness, breastfeeding or food allergies, it is always good to consult your doctor about the possibility of including spirulina in the diet.