Are there any risks in using spirulina?

The major risk with spirulina, as with all nutritional supplements, is that the product you take may not be what you think it is. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food and drugs, does not regulate supplements as closely as they regulate drugs. The result is that the product that you buy has no guarantee that it is as strong, pure or safe as the label suggests. The side effects of spirulina include sweating, trouble concentrating, headaches, muscle pain and flushing of the face. Additional side effects, such as liver damage, diarrhea and vomiting, are associated with certain types of spirulina that can be contaminated with heavy metals. People with allergies to blue-green algae or people who have phenylketonuria (PKU) are at a greater risk of an unpleasant reaction when taking spirulina.

Additionally, spirulina can interact with a number of different types of medications and herbal supplements. Speak to your doctor before taking spirulina if you are taking other medications or supplements for any of the following medical conditions: immune system disorders, inflammation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, viruses, allergies, neurologic conditions, diabetes, weight loss, heart problems, osteoporosis, cancer and blood clots. Spirulina's risk to pregnant women and their fetuses is not known at this time.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.