With the high demand of superfoods and holistic nutrition, Spirulina has become the latest craze. Some countries are even using it against malnutrition! But is it really as great as it claims to be? The short answer to that is, I'm not so sure anymore. Here are some important pros and cons that need to be talked about.
PRO: Spirulina Detoxes Your Body of Heavy Metals.
Because it contains LOTS of chlorophyll, this helps boost the immune system and remove toxins in the blood. According to the World Health Organization, the United States is affected by arsenic at high levels. To be honest, we all know that we are constantly bombarded with toxins and chemicals all around us on a daily basis. But with the help of spirulina along with eating a whole food plant based diet, this may significantly reduce the amount of toxins in our bodies. One study shows that with just 250mg of spirulina extract and 2mg of zinc taken twice daily for 16 weeks was found to significantly reduce arsenic toxicity in the body!
CON: Spirulina is Grown in Enviornments With High Mercury and Lead Levels.
Spirulina is an algae, so naturally its job is to filter out toxins in its environment. Thats why researchers and doctors point out thats its beneficial for our health to eliminate toxins. But heres the kicker, spirulina is grown in areas with high levels of toxins. So when spirulina is manufacutred, it may still contain traces of mercury as well as other toxins. This is why it is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers to consume. If you are looking to live a completely toxin free lifestyle, maybe its time to drop the spirulina.
PRO: Spirulina is the Most Nutrient Dense Food Found on Earth!
Click here for a complete list of vitamins in SpirulinaA reason why spirulina is used to fight malnutrition is because spirulina is a great source of many nutrients including (according to Wikipedia): “It contains vitamins B-1(thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc. Spirulina contains many pigments that are beneficial and bioavailable”. Many of you know that ever since the of the use of chemicals and bioengineering in our foods our soils have become depleted of vitamins. People are often seeking vitamins to replenish their vitamin levels, but with spirulina it might just be the answer you're seeking.
CON: Spirulina Contains Microcystins
It seems like spirulina contains literally everything! Well, yes it does have many ingredients. While most are beneficial, we also have to consider the not so good stuff. Spirulina contains Microsystins. What is that exactly? Well, its a group of amino acids, aka a protein. Perdue University states that too much microcystins can actually be harmful to your liver! Doctors and scientists have not been able to determine how much exactly is not good for you yet and thats a huge problem. Since we don't know how much is harmful to our health, nutritional product manufactures don't need to regulate it.
PRO: Helps Prevent Cancers
A study published by a group of scientists from Czech Republic state that, "Compared to untreated cells, experimental therapeutics significantly decreased proliferation of human pancreatic cancer cell lines in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. The anti-proliferative effects of spirulina were also shown in vivo, where inhibition of pancreatic cancer growth was evidenced since the third day of treatment." Others point out that spirulina has the ability to act as an immunostimulatory agent which increases the immune response which allows the body to fight against invasive and abnormal cells.
CON: Mercury, We Have a Problem!
Since spirulina is grown in highly toxic enviornments we have to remember that mercury is a neurotoxin. It has been linked to countless problems including brain damage, MS, ALS, Autism, Alzheimers, CANCER and other chronic diseases. Many are concerned and aware with mercury being an ingredient in many vaccines but we also need to be aware that it could be present in your spirulina supplement. Now knowing that mercury can be present in spirulina, its hard to imagine that spirulina could indirectly be causing someone cancer or another chronic disease.
Additional Cautions and Final Thoughts
Although there are a ton of benefits with spirulina consumption, there comes a word of caution. Those with phenylketonuria (PKU) should speak with a doctor before consumption (It contains phenyalanine which dangerous for people with PKU). If you are pregnant, nursing or have any medical condition, check with your doctor first as it is often not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. If you have any other health concerns always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.
If you choose to take spirulina always buy from a reputable source as not all spirulina is made in the same environment. Many questions are still unanswered regarding its long term effects on the body and therefore, caution must be taken.