The Dangers of Spirulina Usage

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The Dangers of Spirulina Usage
You see, it isn’t the Spirulina itself that is necessarily dangerous.  It is the accompanying contaminants found WITH the spirulina.  This supplement should NEVER be given to children! 

By Michael Greger, M.D.

Original article found HERE. <—-click

On his first day of life, an infant was hospitalized with seizures. Researchers concluded that his mother’s daily spirulina use starting in the fourth month of pregnancy was likely to blame. I’ve talked previously about the liver and nerve toxins present in many spirulina supplements, but the supplement companies swear up and down that spirulina doesn’t produce those toxins, and they may be right….

(See video Infant Seizures Linked to Mother’s Spirulina Use).

But if spirulina doesn’t produce toxins, how is it that toxins are found in spirulina supplements on store shelves? It appears to be contamination of spirulina with toxin-producing blue-green algae.

For example, if we look at the new U.S. Pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina, researchers conclude that “the available evidence does not indicate a serious risk to health or other public health concern when spirulina is properly identified, formulated, and used.” Ah, but that’s the catch. Spirulina is often grown and collected in open lakes and we have no idea what other algae are going to crop up.

The researchers reported a range of adverse reactions of people taking spirulina products, ­­but they attribute these issues to non-spirulina algae toxin contaminants within spirulina supplements. So unless there’s third-party testing of each batch (which no company could presumably afford to do), I continue to encourage people to avoid spirulina (and blue-green algae) products.

If one still wants something green to sprinkle on their popcorn, I’d recommend chlorella instead (Is Chlorella Good for You?).

 

UPDATE:  Spirulina could cause muscle breakdown and liver cancer. In March of this year, another video was posted, this one on it’s potential to cause neurotoxicity: http://nutritionfacts.org/vide…, but fortunately, “…kale is cheaper”, and many other fruits and vegetables can prevent numerous cancers, see for example:http://nutritionfacts.org/vide….

Sources Cited:

G. Moulis, A. Batz, G. Durrieu, C. Viard, S. Decramer, J.-L. Montastruc. Severe neonatal hypercalcemia related to maternal exposure to nutritional supplement containing Spirulina. Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 2012 68(2):221 – 222

R. J. Marles, M. L. Barrett, J. Barnes, M. L. Chavez, P. Gardiner, R. Ko, G. B. Mahady, T. L. Dog, N. D. Sarma, G. I. Giancaspro, M. Sharaf, J. Griffiths. United States pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2011 51(7):593 – 604

Cox PA, Banack SA, Murch SJ, Rasmussen U, Tien G, Bidigare RR, Metcalf JS, Morrison LF, Codd GA, Bergman B. Diverse taxa of cyanobacteria produce beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Apr 5;102(14):5074-8. Epub 2005 Apr 4.

Torres-Duran PV, Ferreira-Hermosillo A, Juarez-Oropeza MA. Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of Mexican population: a preliminary report. Lipids Health Dis. 2007 Nov 26;6:33.

Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Oct;265(10):1219-23. Epub 2008 Mar 15.

Mazokopakis EE, Karefilakis CM, Tsartsalis AN, Milkas AN, Ganotakis ES. Acute rhabdomyolysis caused by Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis). Phytomedicine. 2008 Jun;15(6-7):525-7. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

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