Fans of spirulina call it a superfood, because this blue-green algae contains over 100 different nutrients and is rich in protein and several vitamins. Spirulina products are available in a fresh dried form, as well as tablets, capsules, extract, powder and flakes. People also can cultivate it at home. Side effects are uncommon, and are more likely if people take excessively large doses.
One possible spirulina side effect is a slightly-elevated temperature, because the high protein level and certain other nutrients promote body metabolism, which may convert fat into heat energy.
Other Side Effects
Other side effects include dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, itching, headaches, muscle pain and sweating.
Importance of Hydration
People taking spirulina may experience thirst as well as constipation, both because not enough water is being consumed. Spirulina users should drink at least a half litre of water along with the supplement.
If people take very large doses of spirulina, they risk the danger of kidney damage. Spirulina has a high concentration of nucleic acid, which creates the waste product uric acid. Too much uric acid can cause kidney stones and other problems.
Another danger of spirulina is that excessively high doses have been linked to impaired liver function. This may be due to the high concentration of vitamins and minerals, some of which can be toxic in large amounts.
Spirulina may react with several other drugs, herbs and dietary supplements. (See the Resources section below for a list of these substances.)