Sunday, May 13, 2018

Health Effects of Spirulina

Spring means flower buds and blooming trees — and if you're one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other bothersome symptoms. Seasonal allergies — also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis — can make you miserable.[1]

Based on a study in 2008, it says that Spirulina is clinically effective on allergic rhinitis.[4]  Spirulina represents a blue-green alga that is produced and commercialized as a dietary supplement for modulating immune functions, as well as ameliorating a variety of diseases.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of consuming Spirulina for its claimed health benefits.


In below video, Dr Joseph Mercola has discussed all the benefits of Spirulina.  However, he does warn that you want to find your products from high quality organic sources and is pollutant-free.


On the other hands, Dr. Michael Greger still recommend us to stay away from Spirulina for multiple reasons:
  • In 2008, hepatotoxins were detected in Spirulina supplements[7]
  • In 2009, a potent neurotoxin was found in Spirulina supplements[6]
Note that Spirulina may not produce these toxins themselves.  However, it appears that they could be contaminated with other toxin-producing blue-green algae grown in the shared environment.[11]

In below video Dr. Michael Greger has also mentioned some of the benefits of Sprirulina, which include:
  • Good for your blood pressure and cholesterol[3]
  • Seems to work wonder with seasonal allergies[4]


Both Dr. Mercola and Dr. Greger are my respected physicians.  If you follow Dr. Mercola's advice and take Spirulina as dietary supplements, do choose high quality products.  However, if you heed Dr. Greger's warnings, maybe you want to stay away from Spirulina.

To conclude this article, I'll quote with what Dr. Michael Greger said:
There’s no doubt that spirulina does some amazing things, but as with everything in life, it’s all about risk/benefit.


  1. Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Sep;47(9):2189-95. Epub 2009 Jun 9.First detection of anatoxin-a in human and animal dietary supplements containing cyanobacteria.Rellán S, Osswald J, Saker M, Gago-Martinez A, Vasconcelos V.
  7. Y. Jiang, P. Xie, J. Chen, and G. Liang. Detection of the hepatotoxic microcystins in 36 kinds of cyanobacteria Spirulina food products in China. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess, 25(7):885-894, 2008.
  8. Infant Seizures Linked to Mother’s Spirulina Use
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Microalgal food supplements from the perspective of Polish consumers: patterns of use, adverse events, and beneficial effects

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