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Is It Safe to Have Spirulina While Pregnant?

Is it safe to have Spirulina while Pregnant
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What is Spirulina? 

Spirulina is a blue-green alga known to be one of the oldest life forms in the World. It flourishes and blooms naturally in alkaline lakes around the World. They are now lab-grown to limit the heavy metal poisoning from the water source. It has an earthy, seaweed-like taste and gives a bluish-green tint to the added products. 

The Aztecs and the people of Lake Chad in Africa first used it to boost their endurance and treat various diseases. Spirulina is a complete source of nutrients loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols. It is also rich in phycocyanin, which helps contribute to its high antioxidant levels, fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, and fatty acids such as DHA, EPA, and beta carotene. It’s also a rich source of protein, but it lacks some amino acids the body needs to function efficiently.

Due to the bitter taste of the algae, it is often mixed with yoghurts, juices, and smoothies to improve its flavour to make it delectable. Spirulina is easily available as a dietary supplement at health stores. Spirulina has also made its way to space as a dietary supplement for the astronauts on space missions.

Sources of Spirulina 

Spirulina is blue-green algae, a cyanobacterium from the genus Arthrospira. Spirulina is usually cultivated from lakes or farmed in ponds.

Uses of Spirulina

Any dietary supplement is an addition to the diet depending on the individual and taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, nutritionist, pharmacist, or registered physician. Supplements are not given for treating, curing, or preventing any diseases.

  • Spirulina has fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K, beta carotene and minerals, protein, and phycocyanins, providing various health benefits when taken regularly.
  • Phycocyanins are mainly used as a food colour and natural dye in many fields such as pharmacy, culinary, and cosmetics.
  • Spirulina is a good source of Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, copper, iron, and magnesium. 
  • Research and studies show it has high antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and brain-protective properties. 
  • Spirulina contains about 65-70 per cent of protein; hence, it is called green meat by some nutritionists. 
  • Spirulina improves immunity through its effect on the multiplication of gut bacterial flora.
  • Spirulina is a good source of iron; it increases red blood cell production and helps treat anaemia.
  • Due to its high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used to cleanse the body and also fight against acne.

How to Use Spirulina

Spirulina has an earthy bitter taste that cannot be palatable by most people. In powder form, it can be added to a favourite smoothie, sprinkled on the salads, used in soups, or mixed in the breakfast cereal. There are many ways to incorporate Spirulina into daily diet plans.

It is also available online, in food and drug stores, pharmacies as pills, tablets, capsules, and as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. It comes in different forms, including powder, capsules, and tablets. But using it in powder form is the most common way to consume this supplement. 

Benefits of Taking Spirulina Regularly.

Some of the most important benefits include antioxidant protection, improved vision, increased energy levels, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and an immune system booster. It is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. 

It has been reported to have played a significant role in treating malnutrition. For example, according to a recent study, a group of malnourished children who received Spirulina showed substantially improved weight and height than children in the other group who received regular dietary supplements. 

Potential Risks of Spirulina

It is always a good practice to take any supplement after discussing it with a doctor or dietician to know if it will suit an individual’s health conditions. Though Spirulina is high in nutrients, it should also be treated like any other supplement as it might not be suitable for some people. Some of the concerns regarding Spirulina are.

  • As cultivated from the water source, heavy metals and harmful bacterial toxins may accumulate that can affect the liver. 
  • Spirulina has an anticoagulant property. Hence people with clotting disorders or people who are on blood thinner medications should avoid it or take it with caution.
  • Spirulina contains an amino acid called phenylalanine which can harm those suffering from a genetic disorder known as phenylketonuria (PKU). 
  • People with autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis may also experience adverse reactions to the algae.
  • Children under eighteen, people taking prescription medicines, and pregnant or lactating women should always check with their GP before taking Spirulina.
  • Vitamin B12 in Spirulina is a different form than the type which is absorbable by the body.
  • Spirulina has a glucose-lowering effect on the body, so people with diabetes should monitor blood sugar levels regularly when taking Spirulina.
  • Spirulina may interact with the effects of certain medications such as that diabetes, immunosuppressants, and blood thinners.

Pregnancy and Spirulina

Pregnancy is a susceptible period when women need to look out for themselves and care about their health more than ever before. Following a healthy diet is one of the most critical parts of a healthy pregnancy, and future mothers often want to double-check whether the food they are eating is safe to consume when carrying a child.

Pregnant women may benefit vastly from Spirulina’s high nutrients, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. The antioxidant properties of Spirulina prevent free radical damage, the essential fatty acids that promote healthy brain development and improve heart health by regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It may also help prevent gestational diabetes by maintaining blood sugar levels at a healthy level.

Spirulina is generally safe to consume and is recommended by many nutritionists to take during pregnancy. Spirulina offers a lot of health benefits and improves overall health. However, it is always recommended to take Spirulina after consulting the healthcare professional.

The Benefits of Spirulina for Pregnant Women

  • Very rich in protein, Spirulina is a complete source of protein and all the essential amino acids.
  • It is a nutrient-rich and wholesome supplement with an excellent nutrition profile that can be very helpful for a woman during pregnancy. 
  • Iron in Spirulina helps to increase the production of haemoglobin, and red blood cells help with anaemia and fatigue and compensate for the growing baby’s demands.
  • The vitamins B1, B2, and B3 and folic acid in Spirulina are helpful for a baby’s brain development.
  • It also helps relax blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • It helps to prevent infections like candidiasis in the vagina and oral cavity.
  • Spirulina contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acids, which are essential for healthy brain and skeletal development. 
  • Spirulina is known to help rid of allergic rhinitis symptoms, including inflammation and swelling in the sinuses and nasal cavities. 
  • Spirulina promotes healthy gut bacteria lactobacillus, which helps produce vitamin B6 an essential vitamin for energy.
  • The protein in Spirulina helps nourish the fetus and promote its growth, all the while helping to keep the mother healthy and strong. 

Side Effects of Taking Spirulina When Pregnant

  • In general, Spirulina is considered a safe supplement. But the specific risks and side effects during pregnancy are unknown.
  • When taking any prescription medications, including blood thinners, it is better to avoid Spirulina as it may increase the clotting time.
  • There is not much evidence supporting the safety of Spirulina during pregnancy because there haven’t been many studies conducted on humans.
  • The heavy metals like mercury in the algae can damage a developing baby’s nervous system and brain, and the microcystins may lead to liver damage.
  • Spirulina is not recommended for pregnant women with autoimmune diseases, clotting disorders, or phenylketonuria.
  • To avoid unnecessary effects is best to avoid Spirulina during pregnancy. However, if it is indispensable, it should be taken under the guidance of your GP. Also, the product should be safe and tested. 

The Bottom Line

Though much evidence suggests the health benefits of Spirulina during pregnancy, the postulation is still ambiguous since its impact on pregnant women and their foetuses has not been studied extensively. Furthermore, despite multiple studies conducted on animals, there are no authentic or authoritative claims about the safety of Spirulina during pregnancy in humans. So, the question remains if Spirulina is excellent and safe during pregnancy.

But Spirulina is of great help to malnourished people and those who cannot afford the luxury of great supplements and diet during pregnancy. Many people are still taking it for its health benefits. For those who are not pregnant, Spirulina is one of the best dietary supplements due to its rich nutrient content. Many specialists support the idea of women eating Spirulina during pregnancy as well.

Fortunately, high-quality, organically cultured Spirulina, devoid of toxins, metal poisoning, etc., are being produced. Choosing a safe product to enjoy the health benefits without any side effects is essential. 

Many nutraceuticals and pharmacies have developed high-quality products to avoid any side effects.

They are available as plain organic spirulina tablets,  organic powder, multivitamin tablets, etc. Anyone can consume them safely as per the advice of a nutritionist or a doctor. It is vital to choose a supplement that has been quality certified and tested to ensure all the safe levels. It is essential to buy the product from a reputable and reliable company. 

Some of the best organic spirulina products from Sunova are, Sunova Bioslim + Organic Spirulina Capsule, Sunova Curcumin-500 60 Capsule + Organic Spirulina Tablet, SUNOVA ORGANIC SPIRULINA CAPSULE, Sunova Organic Spirulina Capsule + Dr Shugar, Spirulina-Tablet, Sunova Spirulina, SUNOVA ORGANIC SPIRULINA TABLET. They are manufactured from organically cultured and well-selected algae. People can purchase them online. However, before trying the product, it is advisable to consult a registered physician or a nutritionist to take precautions if necessary.

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