Spirulina, blue-green algae, is a very nutritious food supplement. It has many health benefits: high protein content, mineral and vitamin content, antioxidants, fatty acid content, and many more. It is considered a “super food” because it offers many health benefits to human. Like any other food, spirulina can cause adverse side effects in the body. Before you take spirulina products (powder, pills, extracts), you should be knowledgeable to some of the side effects of spirulina.
Spirulina is a natural product so it is safe to consume high doses of it without any side effects. Researches on spirulina overdose is scarce so it is not yet clear if taking too much spirulina causes adverse effects to the body. Researchers say that up to 50 grams of spirulina per day could be safe but they recommend consuming just 1 to 8 grams per day depending on the quality of the product. Take spirulina “just enough” because the body has the natural tendency to excrete excess proteins through the urine.
Spirulina & Allergic Reactions
Spirulina contains different types of proteins and other substances. Some of these substances could act as allergens that would trigger allergic reactions. Skin rashes, hives, swelling, and breathing difficulty are among the potential allergic reactions of the body to spirulina. Seek medical help if you are experiencing allergic reactions after taking spirulina products.
Spirulina grows in fresh water environment. Toxic substances found in fresh water bodies (attributed to pollution) could contaminate spirulina. These contaminants can still be found in spirulina products even after processing and packaging. Examples of contaminants include heavy metals, bacteria, fecal matter, virus, fungi, protozoan, etc. Consuming contaminated spirulina can make a person very sick. It is therefore important to buy spirulina products that have been tested for contaminants. Prefer spirulina products with FDA-approval and quality certifications.
Fever or Increase Body Temperature
Consuming spirulina can cause slight fever or increase in body temperature. The body burns proteins from spirulina and in the process produces heat. Lessen your spirulina intake to minimize this problem.
After taking spirulina, you will notice that your stool is green. This is not a problem because the green pigment (chlorophyll) from spirulina causes green stool. If you stop taking spirulina, your stool will return to its normal color.
Thirst and Constipation
To avoid this spirulina side effect, drink plenty of water. Water helps in the digestion and absorption of spirulina.
Kidney and Liver Problems
Spirulina contains high amount of nucleic acids which results to the increase of uric acid in the body. High level of uric acid in the blood can cause kidney problems. Liver problems can occur because of processing too much vitamins and minerals from spirulina.