Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae. It grows in both saltwater and freshwater. Spirulina can provide antioxidant benefits. These cyanobacteria are known for their antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and cholesterol-lowering potential. It is a good source of healthy polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants, C-phycocyanin, and beta-carotene. Spirulina is available in flake, powder, or tablet form.
Usually, spirulina is considered safe when taken as a dietary supplement. But it isn’t for everyone, especially those with autoimmune diseases such as lupus or other health conditions. Its powder and flakes are also usually mixed in smoothies and fruit juices. Spirulina can be dangerous to health if not consumed in controlled quantities.
The Potential Side Effects Of Spirulina
1. Worsen Autoimmune Conditions
An autoimmune is a disorder that develops when the immune system attacks the healthy tissues in your body, causing organ damage and inflammation. Some autoimmune diseases are asthma, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, psoriasis, and periodontitis. Spirulina bolsters your immune system by strengthening immune cells called natural killer cells, which attack perceived threats on a cellular level.
2. Exacerbate Phenylketonuria
Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder in which an individual cannot metabolize the amino acid called phenylalanine. Because they have a lace of enzymes called phenylalanine hydroxylase. The symptoms of this disorder include convulsions, delayed development, analytical disability, and hyperactivity. Spirulina is a rich source of phenylalanine.
3. Risk Of Heavy Metal Toxicity
Spirulina harvested in the wild poses a significant risk of contamination. Some varieties of spirulina that are produced under unrestrained settings are infested with significant traces of heavy metals, like cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury. Consuming spirulina that comes from such undependable sources can damage vital organs, such as the kidneys and liver. So make sure to check where your spirulina is sourced from.
4. Digestive Discomfort And Nausea
Consuming spirulina can lead to flatulence causing abdominal pain, nausea, anaphylaxis, and cramps. It can affect the people consuming it for the first time. Spirulina varieties can cause problems with contaminants that give rise to serious gastric ailments like acute dehydration and indigestion and microcystins.
5. Renal Disorders
According to studies our body produces a significant amount of ammonia as it metabolizes the protein in spirulina, which gets converted into urea. This can eventually put excessive pressure on the kidneys to flush out such a large amount of urea from the blood. Which results in decreased efficiency of the kidneys and even renal failure. Some individuals tend to develop kidney stones due to such high concentrations of urea in the renal system.
6. Can Cause Anxiety And Motor Neuron Disease
The spirulina harvested from unrestrained wild sources like ponds, littered seas, and lakes can contain toxic strains. These morphologically similar blue-green algae produce neurotoxic chemicals such as β-methylamino-L-alanine. That can lead to many neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, motor neuron disease, dementia, anxiety, sleepless nights, Parkinson and Alzheimer’s.