Contamination of spirulina supplements with toxins from blue-green algae raises safety concerns.
Images thanks to Music4thekids via Wikimedia Commons.
On his first day of life an infant is hospitalized with seizures. The researchers concluded that his mother's daily spirulina use starting in the 4th 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.
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.
So, for example, if you look at the new U.S. Pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina, they conclude “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. You grow and collect spirulina in some open lake and you have no idea what other algae are going to crop up. The researchers report all sorts of adverse reactions of people taking spirulina products, but they attribute these issues to non-spirulina algae toxin contaminants within spirulina supplements known to be toxic to the liver and cancer-causing. 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 products.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.
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Pregnancy is a very vulnerable time and requires an even higher level of dietary vigilance:
Some supplements are risky for everyone though. See my last video Safety of Noni and Mangosteen Juice.
I've previously addressed green powders in:
If one wants something to sprinkle on their popcorn I'd recommend chlorella instead (Is Chlorella Good for You?).
For more context, check out my associated blog post: Toxin Contamination of Spirulina Supplements.
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