Does the idea of taking natural supplements for an enhanced immunity interest you? Do you worry about the probable side effects that occur from the consumption of such supplements? If that is so, you will surely love to learn about spirulina today!
Popularly categorized as a super food, spirulina is actually a blue-green algae. It is widely known for its high nutrition content. Loaded with the goodness of 10 non-essential and 8 essential amino acids, iron and Vitamin B12, spirulina is proven to boost vitality and strengthen the immune system. Not to mention the fact that it is easy on the digestive system. The nutrients in spirulina are easily broken down, absorbed and assimilated by the body.
Spirulina Side Effects – Top 10:
People consume spirulina orally in the form of powder, flakes or tablets for several health benefits. Spirulina powder and flakes are usually consumed mixed with fruit juices and smoothies. But like everything else, this super-food too has its own set of cons. Let us take a look at the top 10 probable side effects of spirulina.
1. Worsens Phenylketonuria:
Phenylketonuria is a genetically acquired disorder, wherethe patient cannot metabolize the amino acid called phenylalanine due to the lack of an enzyme named phenylalanine hydroxylase. It is an autosomal recessive condition that requires a defective gene each from mother and father. The patient exhibits symptoms, such as delayed development, convulsions, hyperactivity and analytical disability. Spirulina is a rich source of phenylalanine. Consuming spirulina aggravates the symptoms of phenylketonuria.
[ Read: Benefits Of Spirulina For Health ]
2. Exacerbates The Symptoms Of Autoimmune Diseases:
An auto-immune disease is characterized by the immune system attacking the healthy tissues that are normally present in the body. Reactive arthritis, vitiligo, type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and pernicious anemia are a few examples of auto-immune diseases. When consumed by a person suffering from any of these auto-immune diseases, spirulina acts as an irritant. It amplifies the activity of the immune system, which exacerbates the symptoms of the disease.
3. Drug Interaction:
Spirulina boosts the activity levels of the immune system. It poses a threat of drug interaction, especially with immune-suppressants. Spirulina and immune-suppressant drugs work in a contradictory manner. A person on immune-suppressant medication must not consume spirulina, or it will diminish the effect of the medication resulting in serious complications.
4. Risk Of Heavy Metal Toxicity:
Varieties of spirulina that are produced under unrestrained settings are often infested with significant traces of heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead. Prolonged consumption of spirulina that comes from such undependable sources results in damage to visceral organs, such as kidneys and liver. As compared to adults, children are at higher risk of developing fatal complications due to heavy metal poisoning from contaminated spirulina.
[ Read: Serious Side Effects Of Soursops ]
5. Renal Disorders:
A large amount of ammonia is produced in the body as the protein in spirulina is metabolized. The ammonia gets converted into urea. This puts excessive pressure on the kidneys to flush out the large amount of urea from the blood, which ultimately results in decreased efficiency of the kidneys. Some people tend to develop kidney stones due to high concentration of urea in the renal system.
6. Triggers Edema:
As motioned earlier, spirulina is packed with vitamins, proteins, and minerals. People with a compromised renal function are unable to expel all the unnecessary components from their blood stream. The buildup of excessive nutrients in the blood causes the limbs to puff up. This swelling of limbs is known as edema.
7. Digestive Discomfort:
Consuming spirulina can lead to synthesis of digestive gases in excess amount, causing abdominal cramps and flatulence. If you are consuming spirulina for the first time, you might want to avoid stepping out. Newbies trying spirulina often experience nausea and vomiting.
Spirulina varieties infested with contaminants, such as mycrocystins also give rise to serious ailments of the digestive system, such as queasiness and acute dehydration.
8. Septic Shocks:
It is quite possible for spirulina to be infested with toxin-producing bacteria. The toxins, when released within the human body, can cause bacteremic shock, also known as septic shock. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and multiple myeloma are highly susceptible to bacteremic shock.
9. Risk Of Acquiring Motor Neuron Disease (MND):
Spirulina harvested from the unrestrained wild sources, such as lakes, ponds and sea are often toxic in nature. These varieties produce toxins in the body upon consumption, which ultimately makes way for motor neuron disease. The symptoms include muscular spasms, garbled speech, and rapid weight-loss due to muscle degeneration. As MND progresses with time, it gradually results in disability.
[ Read: How Does Spirulina Help Weight Loss ]
10. Risk For Pregnant Women And Breastfeeding Infants:
The side-effects of spirulina on the normal course of pregnancy are yet to be discovered. Nevertheless, as children and infants are highly sensitive towards contaminants present in spirulina, it would make sense on the part of the pregnant women to not consume spirulina at all.
Similarly, nursing mothers should play it safe and avoid taking spirulina. Otherwise, the ill-effects can easily be passed on to the infant during the course of nursing.
Spirulina is used as a health supplements around the world. It is used to treat diabetes, hypertension, fatigue, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and skin problems. It also helps bring down the unhealthy cholesterol level in the body. But too much of spirulina transforms into a boomerang and can cause damage to kidneys, liver, nervous system and digestive system.
The key is not to exceed the recommended dosage. The human body is a group of intricate and delicate systems, which can be put in a disarray with minimal intervention of harmful substances. And also remember to buy spirulina that is free from contaminants to avoid complications.
Hope you like this article highlighting the spirulina side effects! Share your experience with us in the comment section below.
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