Is it safe at all?
Many people ask if spirulina is safe for kids. Oh yeah, and not only for kids, but also for the dogs, cats, wives, shrimps, baklá and flamingo… Seriously, such questions make not very much of good sense, because what is spirulina but the whole food, similar to other vegetables and plants? Is it safe to eat cabbage or cucumbers? Well okay, it looks a bit different – you may think, and unlike vegetables it is often sold in the capsules – but this is because there are probably no plantations around you, so it may always look odd when you stumble upon something unfamiliar. In Africa though, it is very common in some parts, and traditionally used for food, only the difference of spirulina as supplement is that it’s usually more concentrated and thus more powerful, so you would be right to assume that you should be taking it with moderation, unless you don’t mind to experience a diarrhea. The reason they put it in capsules is because of it’s taste, which becomes palpable due to high solubility, but otherwise, there would probably be no need in the capsules.
The real concern – safety
What you should care about when taking spirulina is the source of the algae, and the quality control. Most of the safety concerns arise from encountering a counterfeit production, but sometimes the known producers may also under-look the contamination of their farms, and may actually sell a spirulina that is dangerous for the health. The spirulina plantations are not as easily maintained as let’s say, the vegetable plantations. Because the vegetables can be simply rinsed with water and peeled off – that’s a bulletproof protection, which spirulina does not have, as it’s all composed just of single cells. Moreover, the spirulina is an absorbent, and may attach to heavy metals so it makes it quite vulnerable to pollution. The open farms are more often subject to pollution, though the quality producers probe in compliance for safety standard all the batches of harvest by means of chemical analysis and would not allow stocking from a deviated harvest.
How about personal intolerance?
In theory, people can have intolerance, or allergies to almost anything, including spirulina too. But if we examine the composition of spirulina more closely, there is only one component that may sometimes cause allergy – the beta carotene. The beta-carotene is most prominent in the carrots, and is responsible for their color, so if you’ve got problems with carrots, you may experience allergy to spirulina too. However, this pigment appears to be essential for the health, so an allergic reaction to it would emerge only in case of excessive intake, but if you take it in small amounts, it is very unlikely to cause any allergy, and moreover the spirulina possesses anti-inflammatory qualities, and is capable of curing allergies instead. And from my own experience, honestly, I have not met anyone who’s been experiencing allergic reactions from taking spirulina neither in person or online.
Spirulina safety vs. side effects
There are however, the side-effects you should be aware of, which are the part of so called cleansing process, that may include loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness and or headache. This usually happens in the beginning, when people first start taking spirulina and or increase the dosage. It may not be pleasant, but be consoled that in the end it very well cleanses the liver and the digestive system – which is a first step to health. When the body adapts and has been cleansed enough though, you will have none of these symptoms, and may safely continue taking spirulina to maintain health as well as a treatment for a range of diseases as intended.
Note, that these side effects alone should not be attributed to safety issues, nor do they indicate a sign of counterfeit production, in fact, the opposite can be true. Usually if the product is counterfeit and or low quality, it just doesn’t cause any effect, however, if it is produced in the insanitary conditions, it may as well cause poisoning.
Secure yourself against negative effects
To secure yourself against possible negative effects during your spirulina experience, you should remember to follow this two simple steps:
- To make sure your spirulina is safe, research well about your brand, and find out where and how if it produced. If you are not provided with clear information – avoid it, and it is as simple as that. Because there are just too many brands that are honestly stamping a crap. They would take the lowest quality spirulina supplied from the African lakes, mixed with other algae and mud, expired as well – to the extent that it won’t even melt in water. Then put it in a nice plastic and supply even to the pharmacies, because there are no clear regulations about food supplements, especially including spirulina.
- If you don’t like to experience cleansing, and just like to take it casually, then remember the moderation, especially for the first time, because the body need some time to adapt, and does not know how to react to the cyanobacteria (the blue-green algae) at first. This would imply that you wouldn’t want to take more than 1-2 capsules at once, if you aren’t yet used to it. And of course, you should be taking it before the meal, because if you are already full and then take spirulina which reduces the appetite, you may experience vomiting.
So lets go back to the kids…
Alright, I’ve been, perhaps overemphasizing the possible negative effects, but at least people should not be surprised when something happens that they otherwise wouldn’t expect. But let’s go back to the kids… because if you are still reading this, you must be really concerned about safety. So once again, is spirulina safe for kids?
Well, I have a child too, a boy but he’d been given a girl name, but let us get the point. We’ve been giving him spirulina since he was 1 year old, and not only we observed absolutely no side-effects, but his health quite improved since then too. Actually one of his main problems was the digestion, he has been vomiting from time to time, and experiencing dehydration. Now, that I mentioned the side effects that also include vomiting, one would think it would be no sense to give him spirulina, but this assumption has also been proven wrong.
In truth, he had stopped vomiting since then, and we wouldn’t need to visit the doctors anymore. I assume this effect has been due to the increased immunity and poisoning resistance attributed to spirulina, but that’s not all. He also had some kind of boils on the tongue at that time, and they too had vanished not long after.
I would say that spirulina is not only safe for the kids, but it is quite beneficial. Children often undergo through different ailments that adults experience no longer, and if they get an immune boost, they could avoid most of these problems, or at least ease their healing process if they already happen to be sick.
And there is also an interesting thing, why you should not worry about side effects when administering spirulina to children, as opposed to adults. This is because the body of a child can quickly adapt to their surrounding and the environment, and not excepting the intake of spirulina too, whilst on the other hand, the adults may need more time to adjust when they start taking it.