Spirulina During Pregnancy
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina grows in fresh and saltwater. It comes from blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. It is considered the ultimate superfood. The popularity of spirulina is huge and is recognized worldwide. Spirulina is reported to increase energy, have potent antioxidants, and improve mood. It can potentially help prevent heart disease, cancer, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Is spirulina safe during pregnancy?
There are very few articles that describe the effects it has on pregnant women. Mice studies show positive effects of spirulina during pregnancy. So far the study information describes more positive effects. For example, Spirulina has protective effects on a certain type of neural tube defects that can occur in pregnant humans and mice, pregnant African women saw an improvement in anemia status in women in their third trimester after they consumed spirulina and spirulina was more effective than taking an iron and folic acid supplement; especially when the women took 1500 mg/day of spirulina in tablet form.
When spirulina was given during the third trimester of pregnancy, it produced the least severe potential birth defects. Use your best judgment as the evidence is promising on mice, with few being completed pregnant women.
Benefits of spirulina during pregnancy
Phycocyanin is an antioxidant in Spirulina inhibits inflammation. Researchers suggest spirulina can prevent some chronic health conditions.
Phycocyanin contributes to red blood cell production. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygenated cells throughout your body. When you are pregnant, you need more iron to accommodate your growing baby and your growing body. You need iron to reduce the risk of developing anemia. The symptoms are fatigue and weakness. The magic bullet is to increase your iron intake. See a doctor if you are anemic, but iron can be found in meat, chicken, and beef. Some plant-based options are spinach and collard greens.
Protein is important in tissue growth; especially brain development. According to the USDA nutrient database, 2 tablespoons of spirulina powder have 6 grams of protein,
Protein can be found in plant and animal-based foods. Foods such as fish, chicken and other meats, nuts, peas, and beans.
Are there risks to consuming spirulina during pregnancy?
The risks are lower than normal amniotic fluid volume for gestational age, called oligohydramnios.
Amniotic fluid is vital to the baby’s development. The lack of amniotic fluid can cause birth defects, low birth weight, and miscarriage
Sometimes microcystins and heavy metals can infiltrate this superfood. In 2013, 25 different spirulina products found all were within safe limits. Zinc and Nickel were abundant in the sample sizes.
Microcystins cannot be broken down once ingested. Liver damage can result. In a 2016 study, the cyanotoxin content of 18 brands found that 8 contained some level of cyanotoxins, 4 were contaminated with microcystins.
Be sure to research the product quality and find a high-quality product which was tested by a third-party. Test for purity and organic compounds.
How to include spirulina in your diet
Add it to a smoothie or mix a spoonful into your water and drink it as is.