Spirulina has been consumed for thousands of years and is declared GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Side effects are very rare.
Known Spirulina Contra-Indications
Spirulina has been enjoyed by people of all ages for thousands of years to boost health and vitality.
Click on any of the topics listed below to explore related spirulina contra-indications.
Energy and Insomnia
Many fresh spirulina users report a rapid energy boost that can last for hours.
If you experience this we recommend not taking fresh spirulina after sunset in order to avoid insomnia - unless you need that energy to work, study, or party late!
Microalgae, including spirulina, are very good at extracting heavy metals from the environment and will concentrate them in their cells, therefore it is very important that they are grown in a clean environment.
Toxin contamination is a danger when consuming spirulina that may have been harvested in the wild, or grown with impure nutrients, air, or water.
Contaminated dried spirulina supplement powder and tablets have been found in many countries, but no cases of contaminated farmed fresh spirulina are known.
Fresh spirulina grown in bioreactors with high quality nutrients is much safer than that grown outdoors in open ponds.
In the past it was thought that spirulina may worsen auto-immune conditions – such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis – in which the immune system attacks your body.
It is now knows that antioxidant levels in dried spirulina are very low and unlikely to have much effect on these conditions.
Since the advent of fresh and fresh frozen spirulina – which is toxin-free and delivers 20 times more antioxidants than the dried product – we are hearing good reports from users suffering from these conditions.
Recent studies show that antioxidants have protective effects against tissue damage and may lead to clinical improvement in RA, OA and MS patients.
Spirulina may be especially helpful as it is known to repair and build robust health in cells and DNA damaged from attack by free radicals.
If you suffer from an auto-immune condition and wish to try spirulina we might suggest:
Use only fresh or fresh-frozen spirulina
Start with a very small daily dosage and listen carefully to your body
If there are no adverse effects slowly increase the dosage
If there are adverse effects discontinue spirulina treatment
If you experience positive effects you are free to increase daily dosage – spirulina is a natural food and there is no know maximum dosage
If you are under medical treatment or supervision then discuss your plans and results with your medical practitioner.
Spirulina is one of the best sources of bioavailable iron, and has long been recommended for people suffering from anemia or iron deficiency.
People with Haemochromatosis – an inherited condition where iron levels in the body slowly build up over many years (also known as iron overload) – should avoid taking spirulina.
Spirulina provides generous helpings of all amino acids – including phenylalanine.
People with this rare metabolic condition cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine and so should avoid spirulina consumption.
Hyperthyroidism / Hypothyroidism
People suffering from hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism may be especially sensitive to iodine.
Many people confuse spirulina with seaweed so believe that it contains a lot of iodine. This is not the case – although some dried spirulina is grown in seawater or water containing iodised salt and can contain higher levels of iodine.
It is almost impossible to know where and how dry spirulina was grown, so it may be safest to assume higher levels of iodine.
SPRU fresh living spirulina is grown in fresh water with pure chemical nutrients that contain very low – almost undetectable – levels of iodine.
Medically Reported Side Effects
Only six cases of medically reported side effects have been reported – all resulting from taking dried spirulina.
Two cases of severe allergic reaction were reported as a result of taking dried spirulina tablets – one in a 17-year-old male who had a history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and an oral allergy to tomato and cucumber.
Three cases of severe skin rash were reported. In two of these spirulina was taken as an ingredient of multi-component pills that also contained ethylsulfonylmethane, aphanizomenon flos-aquae algae, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and cayenne pepper and it was not established what caused the problem.
A 52-year-old Japanese man with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and type 2 diabetes who was taking amlodipine besilate, simvastatin, and acarbose medications suffered from liver damage that may have been caused by spirulina.
No known reports of side effects from fresh spirulina are known.
Potential food-drug interactions have been hypothesized for spirulina, and caution recommended for patients being treated with substrates of cytochrome P450 enzymes.
Spirulina has helped countless people reduce or eliminate their allergies, especially for people suffering from hayfever (allergic rhinitis).
Allergic reactions to spirulina are extremely rare.
If you suffer from many or severe allergies and are worried about taking spirulina, try a skin scratch test:
lightly scratch arm skin and apply a few drops of melted frozen pure spirulina
a slight swelling around the scratch will indicate an allergic reaction