"Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green algae in the shape of a perfect spiral coil living both in sea and fresh water which is the common name for human and animal food supplements produced primarily from two species of cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis, and Arthrospira maxima. These and other Arthrospira species were once classified in the genus Spirulina. There is now agreement that they are a distinct genus, and that the food species belong to Arthrospira; nonetheless, the older term Spirulina remains the popular name. Arthrospira is cultivated around the world, and is used as a human dietary supplement as well as a whole food and is available in tablet, flake, and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium, and poultry industries."
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
08/31/2011: T from Houston, Usa: "Can anyone comment or advise on whether spirulina is toxic to the liver?
Many thanks, T"Replies
09/01/2011: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia replies: "T from Houston, according to this ebook, spirulina is protective of kidneys and liver. It is only 39 pages or so long, well worth reading. It has information on both chlorella and spirulina.
07/02/2012: Cat180 from Sacramento, California replies: "My practioner has muscle tested me on several occassions with spirulina and all times tested showed spirulina weaken my body and liver. The strength test when muscle tested went from a 10 without it to a 3 with adding spirulina into my body. That is quite a change. Spirulina is toxic to the liver...."
[NAY] 08/10/2012: Art from Vancouver Bc, Canada replies: "Spirulina has made me dizzy when lying down. I was only taking 1/8 of a teaspoon before breakfast and after 3 weeks I could not get out of bed for the dizzyness. I have quit taking it and I am back to normal. I do take 350mg a night of BHT plus other supplements."
[YEA] 01/10/2011: Linda from Omaha, Ne: "I have never gotten heartburn or acid reflux, but right after Christmas after eating some powerful homemade pasta sauce and too much tea and coffee the next morning I got up I had so much pain I was doubled over for hours. It was severe burning pain that was halfway between my naval and my breasts. I figured it was acid, so I decided to take something high in alkaline so after 5 hours of pain, I took a shot of Chlorella and Spirulina powder in a shot glass with water. Within about 30 seconds the pain was GONE! I have NEVER gotten such instant relief before.
I try to take a shot of this daily but had stopped doing it over the holidays as it got pushed back in the refrig.
I buy pacifica spirulina in powdered form since it is the purest form and the large jug of jarrow chlorella. This is the most cost effective way for me to take it. My husband will never take it this way so I purchased empty capsules and a capsule filler tool so he can have the purest form as well. I don't understand why they don't sell capsules without adding all the fillers.
One other thing about the chlorella & spirulina; for those of you suffering from acne; it's the best thing you can take for it. Start out slow as you will detox first and may get headaches & other symptoms. I started with 1/2 tsp. Of the combination for 1-2 weeks then moved up to 1 tsp and now I take about 2 teaspoons and give the last 1/4 cup to my dog. Dogs LOVE green powder, but it's messy dry so I just give her the rest of mine that I have mixed in water. It doesn't taste good at all, I have forced myself to take it anyway since I hate taking pills and this is the absolute purest form. A couple seconds to chug it and follow with a healthy oily food like a salad with flax oil or olive oil is perfect as the oil helps your body absorb it. Some people put the green powder on their salad; thats a matter of taste."Replies
01/11/2011: Antiue from Eaglecreek, Ore. replies: "I've been taking powdered spirulina and chlorella in diluted frozen apple juice made into a smoothie and it doesn't taste bad. That, alone is enough but I also add 1/2 t. Cinnamon, 1/4 t. turmenic and whatever fruit is handy, banana, strawberries, blueberries, etc."
04/26/2011: Ellen from New York, Us replies: "I buy spirulina in Norway. They are know to be one of the best suppliers in the world. I have never had any complications or side effects.
Best Regards, Ellen"
[YEA] 07/15/2012: Art from Vancouver Bc.: "Not sure why I have not seen Spirulina in your remedies section, as I have stumbled upon this natural remedy for Neurothapy to where I was taking 10,000mcg of sublingual Vitamin B12 every day. I learned that Spirulina has this B12 in it many other vitamins, omega, and protien. Since I started taking it my knees became very itchy, a sign of overdosing on the B12. So I quit taking the sublingual B12 and the itching stopped. I mix it as follows, 1/4 glass of grape juice to cover the taste. Take a tiny bit of Spirulina on the end of teaspoon, let it fall into the juice and let it rest for a few minutes. If you stir it then it will clump and stick to the glass. After a few minutes swirl it around in the glass and then down the hatch. Put some more grape juice in the glass and swirl to pick up the residue and then drink it. Now through the week I do the same method but with my ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) at 2 tbls per glass with 1/4 tsp. of baking soda to take away the acid. I like this mix better as it leaves no residue in the glass. I let the ACV fizz off for about 10 minutes then add the Spirulina and let that rest a few minutes and then add flavoured water and swirl, a must to take away the bad taste from both. So far the Spirulina has given me more energy and a feeling of wellness since I have hep-c 1a and failed the conventional treatments. I am currently taking BHT at 350mg divided in half morning and night. Maybe this will help to bring down my ALT Numbers but only time will tell. Most important is I don't have to take any more B12, the Spirulina has it all. Some say if your poop aint green your not taking enough. I say they are full of shit. You start with small doses and go from there."Replies
[NAY] 08/10/2012: Art from Vancouver Bc, Canada replies: "I have to quit the spirulina because it makes me dizzy when I lay down. Too bad because I am back on the B12 for neuropathy."
01/28/2013: Tracy from Hamilton, Nz replies: "Hi, just in response to the person talking about B12 being in Spirulina, it is not active B12, it is B12 analogues. They won't have the same function as B12 in your body although they will make your blood results look like you have plenty of B12. The only way to be sure you have good B12 levels is not by getting your blood levels tested, rather you should get your MMA tested. If you are only getting B12 from spirulina your MMA will come back abnormal. Chlorella on the other hand has worked for me, the B12 in it doesn't appear to be analogues, MMA comes back normal."
Spirulina Side Effects
[SIDE EFFECTS] 02/23/2010: Tom from Yonkers, Ny, Usa: "I heard a lot of good things about spirulina and decided to take 3 grams a day- as it was recommended on the bottle. I stopped taking it after 5 days because i think Ive had a bad reaction towards it. Ive had headaches, brain fog, a feeling of pressure in my head, hot flashes, a depressed mood and an ear infection. I think its either symptoms of my body detoxing or i might be allergic to it or coincidentally i caught a virus with some flu like symptoms. It has been 5 days since i stopped taking spirulina and my symptoms have lessened but are still there. I personally feel it is my body detoxing and was thinking that i should start taking it again but at a lower dose but i want to feel better first. Any advice, comments, and hopefully remedies are much appreciated.
Thanks so much
p.s. The brand i bought has a quality assured GMP stamp on the label"
03/03/2010: Adrienne from Calgary, Alberta, Canada replies: "I have been doing research on spirulina. While it is considered to be #1 super food, many people develop sensitivity to it in high doses. Spirulina removes toxins and metals from the brain, brings the body into an alkaline state of balance, aids cognitive functioning such as improving hearing and memory, and is helpful with many ailments. I would try reducing the amount of spirulina taken to see if that makes a difference. There are many different types of spirulina also and you may be sensitive to not only the large amounts taken, but also to that particular brand."
05/06/2010: Anonymous from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Usa replies: "Try adding or dandelion root tea to your daily intake. It's supposed to help your liver and kidneys function better, which should help eliminate the detox reation, if that's what it is. Then you could continue taking the spirulina. I have had no adverse reactions to spirulina. I take a chlorophyll supplement that also contains wheatgrass and spirulina, it helps my mind work better. Chlorophyll is supposed to help clean your system, too."
01/17/2011: Anonym from Anonym replies: "I have read that some studies indicate that spirulina might be toxic to the liver. Are there any scientific studies that you know for using Spirulina and on its benefits?
And on other point- one friend of mine for his use produces them in a glass bottle with distilled water and seasalt- I am worried about it as well. Do you know anything about this procedure?
01/28/2011: Chris from West Mildands, England - United Kingdom replies: "Hi, I'm glad I saw a comment about spirulina side effects. Me and my gym mate came with that research too - and worse still, that it can relate to brain damage over prolonged usage, and kidney defunctability. Also chlorella I've read can cause uric acid - which can lead to heart problems apparently. I'm no health expert, but I believe that it is best to see both sides of the story on here to get the whole picture and what is actually right and what isnt.
I have had flu and weak muscles since ive been taking spirulina myself and ive been taking it a couple of weeks now and the symptoms havent really lessened so I am coming off it too, appears that according to some sites, spirulina can be nearly on par with aspartame, which I hope isnt true, one hand they're promoting it being good to alleviate cancer then on the other they're apparently causing symptoms to end up causing heart problems. It's hard to know what to believe."
07/19/2011: Bri from Roseburg, Oregon, Us replies: "Also read a study were spirulina helps prevent heart damage in chemo. There are many many more studies showing Spirulinas benefits. It makes me feel good :-) Ran out a few mo. ago and got strep throat, which I haven't even gotten a cold since I started taking it which is extremely out of the ordinary for me."
07/19/2011: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia replies: "Bri, not only Spirulina but also Chlorella is wonderful to take. There is a great ebook on both.. Chlorellafactor.com. My skin has never been so clear and I wake up refreshed every day. I take both. Great for digestion as well. Health begins in the gut so that is a good thing."
07/25/2011: Bri from Roseburg, Oregon, Us replies: "Thanks for the infor Debbie!"
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS] 09/05/2011: Otterley from West Palm Beach, Fl, Usa replies: "I use to take the daily max amount recommended (which I think is below 8 grams) of Spirulina to help reduce my HIV viral load. The only side effect I "thought" I had was bleeding gums. (I remember reading an article that too much vitamin A causes bleeding gums.. ) So I stopped taking it for that reason AND because it wasn't lowering my viral load enough along with my Olive Leaf. I mean both together brought my viral from 200,000 to lowest of 29,000. Now with just Olive Leaf it sticks around 49,000.. So ~ Spirulina did definitely help lower it some.. I might start back up with the Spirulina.. Maybe I just had a bit of gum decease? (even though I've always flossed every night before bed).. Although the bleeding DID let up when I stopped the Spirulina.... I don't know.. Anyway.. That's my story with it ;-)
09/27/2011: Muffet from Slo, Ca replies: "Remember that Spirulina has detoxing effects, and that what is termed as "die off" could happen. This die off will give you slight headaches, upset tummy, etc. , but just for a few days."
10/08/2011: Green from British, Tx replies: "I have Asperger's, which is associated with mercury poisoning.
Spirulina, chlorella, ALA, and fulvic minerals all detox mercury and other heavy-metals. When I consume enough of the above, I go through a strong and distinct detox reaction. First I get a sore-throat. Then I might lose my voice. At one time I lost my voice for 6 months. Then my tongue gets blisters, but only on 1 side. First the right side, then the left side. Then my lips get blisters, or cold-sores, but always only on one side. Usually the lower lip first, then the upper. Then after that heals up, my gums bleed, but usually only on one side, if it's not limited to just 1 or a few teeth at a time. Then the roof of my mouth, but 1 side, then, finally, either it all heals up OR it just starts over again. BTW when my throat gets sore, I sometimes get a fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms, and I can see the sores on my tonsils.
I have discovered that high doses of lysine, an amino acid depleted by peanut butter and other nuts, will stop the above symptoms! It took a while for me to figure this out, and believe me I have tried EVERYTHING to stop the detox symptoms and only lysine stops it cold. Apparantly, spirulina either depletes lysine, or, it enables the immune-system to detox the body of toxins through the means of blisters and sores. This is what I'm curious about. By taking Lysine, am I stoping my body from eliminating wastes, like I want it to do, or, am I replinishing an essential amino acid reserve that the detox reaction just happens to be using up in the detox process? I do not know, however, I have discovered that I can take spirulina, and the other super-foods, together with lots of lysine (6 grams / day or so), and keep my mouth together! The only thing is that it makes me very thirsty.
BTW: I used to have about 4 mercury/amalgam fillings in my mouth. I replaced them with "porcelain" fillings, which I understand is just a fancy word for an aluminum-amalgam filling, which probably is not much better. I have to wonder if my body is detoxing the toxins from the fillings I've had most of my life that were absorbed in my mouth tissues and taking the quickest route, or is my brain detoxing and taking the quickest & easiest route? So many questions. No source to get good answers from. Who could answer these questions? Who is qualified?
I hope this helps some of you. I see at least one other guy quit spirulina due to his bleeding gums. Dude! Just take some Lysine along with it! I believe that lysine is good for my body, because it tastes good, and if my it was unhealthy for my body, my body would find it repulsive to consume, smell, and taste, because that is how the body works. I can eat 20 tablets at a time and the taste is ok to good if I suck on it, so, IMHO, I feel, personally, that spirulina, which tastes good to me, and the Lysine are a great combo!"
10/12/2011: Jen from Bozeman, Mt, Us replies: "I read an interesting book about this kind of thing. The author discovered that there are certain fruits, grains, and veggies that contain something called lectins. These are toxic to some of us and can actually cause autoimmune disorders. I haven't actually followed the books suggestions but it did say that spirulina has this self defense mechanism and some of us cannot tolorate it while others have no issues. I think it seems very logical that plants would have a way to fight back. The book is called "Cure your Autoimmune and Inflammitory Disease" by Gregory Barton. I thought it was very interesting. Would love to know if anyone else has heard of it."
01/06/2012: Faith from Forest Park, Ohio replies: "The SIDE EFFECTS are just detox, nothing more but detox. If you think about it, the body is very toxic from everyday exposures, so when we finally attempt to cleanse it detox happens. You can do enemas or detox baths or even take activated charcoal or psyllium or eat HIGH FIBER FOODS TO SOAK UP THE TOXINS.
Another thing to do is to drink plenty of water, YOUR WEIGHT IN OUNCES every day and this may minimize your symptoms.
You can also look into the SEA SALT WATER CURE and do that at the same time because TOXINS dehydrate the body, so when we start to cleanse we are already DEHYDRATED so, therefore, the herx or detox symptoms will be intensified. YOu can scale back the dosage of spirulina and increase your water and SEA SALT because both help to hydrate the body.... Drink it daily.... It also cleanses the body... so go slow.
After further thought, I will list the Sea Salt Cure so all the info will be here. Just drink your weight in ounces of water a day. To each quart add, 1/4 tsp. organic sea salt, and this will hydrate you and help your adrenals... You will be SURPRISED at how this alone gets rid of many AILMENTS!"
04/22/2012: Laura from Sydney, Australia replies: "I wanted to share my spirulina experience. I'm a fit healthy 29 year old female. A couple months ago I took spirulina tablets for the first time after hearing of the health benefits.
I had 1-2 tablets (the recomended dosage) with a large glass of water at 6am and fell back asleep. I woke up a couple hours later with very sharp and persistant pain in my middle back on both sides (right on my kidneys) the pain going right through to my upper stomach. I was extremely nautious, very week, very short of breath, it actually hurt to breath. My reaction with entirely from the Spirulina tablets because I was feeling great and pain free before I took them.
The pain and nausea went on for a couple hours then vomiting started althought there was nothing to vomit. After 3 hours small amounts of green diarrhoea started. Since the pain in my kidneys felt like someone had a cleaver stabbing into my back poking both kidneys, staying there and also stabbing me into my stomach. It was sometimes like a burning hot pain. After speaking to a Poisons-Help-Line they said to go straight to hospital because I was finding it so hard to breath. 5-6 hours later the pain reduced and the hospital emergency areas was busy so I went home. Had sore lower stomach, nausia and weakness for 2 days.
Last week I bought a new multivitamin and didn't see it contain a small amount of Spirulina. I took the multivitamin at 6pm as directed with food and by 9pm the sudden pain started. After 10 minutes I knew that exact feeling the pain was exactly like my previous experience with Spirulina. I was sad I took the multivitamin without seeing this. Extreme nausea started and within 3 hours of taking it I was writhing in pain again, (and I have a very high pain tolerance) vomiting and within 4 hours severe diarrhoea. Thankfully it was over within 4-5 hours and the tablet must have been out of my system.
Clearly I must be allergic or not able to take Spirulina for some reason.
I just wanted to let others know and would be intersted to hear if anyone else had similar reactions? Please do share."
05/19/2012: Rads from Montreal, Canada replies: "First you have to make sure any unwanted reactions are indeed related to the spirulina. Maybe take it on an empty stomach and see what happens. This is the first time I hear anything bad about it ...(?)
Theres a brand that I cant take cause it feels weak and just weird but I wont go as far as saying theres an adrverse reaction. dunno the brand name but its a hawaiian spirulina and the tablets are realy big and oval, w some whitish spots.
The one im happy with I think is "now" brand (has an orange label). But for some reason I feel like alternate every other week with chlorella - imo they have the same effect."
06/06/2012: Meba from Sandiego, California,usa replies: "I have used Spirulina and it vibrates at 800 on the Hawkins scale. The max is three tablespoons perday I think and it is powerful. It has helped with toxins and pain. I started out with caps at 3x a day and now I use powder and larger dose. I did not have too much detox as I used Fulvic Mineral Water first to remove many things lol it even removed half of a metal filling so it sure works. I used the fulvic mineral water and its like drinking water at night and a good sleep you will have . Oh I use a green drink source that may make the symptoms go away as I've never noticed any side effects with these two products. If you do use these products and start vibrating too hard you can lower your vibration a bit with eating some fish or chicken and you will be more comfortable for a while :) meba"
06/18/2012: Kimh from Columbia, Sc, Usa replies: "In reply to Laura from Sydney, Australia: I have also had a terrible reaction to spirulina. The first time, I took 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 the recommended dosage) with dinner; two hours later I started vomiting and didn't stop for over an hour. I did a little experiment this weekend and added 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 the recommended dosage) to my morning smoothie - the exact same thing happened: two hours later, I started vomiting, and vomited every ten minutes for an hour. Both times, the reaction was so violent that I had broken capillaries in my face! I will NOT be trying spirulina again!"
07/26/2012: Wendy from Columbus, Oh/usa replies: "I've been taking spirulina tablets alternating with powder (in my smoothies) on and off for a couple of years now. As of yet, I've experienced no adverse effects at all. However, the above comments prompted me to do a little research, and I found this link:
It mentions "Taking contaminated spirulina products can cause nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, weakness, shock, liver damage and death.""
[WARNING!] 08/13/2012: Trprosen from Montreal, Quebec replies: "WARNING!! To all those who have had vomitting, etc after ingesting chlorophyll based supplements. This is an allergic reaction! Don't kid yourself into thinking this is detox like I did or let anyone else tell you otherwise. Vomiting, cramps and diarreha are the reactions of the mast cells in the digestive tract. After being rushed to Emergency two nights ago after I again ingested a form of chlorophyll, the medical team warned me that the next time may kill me. Thank god my sister is a physician and insisted my husband to take me after he called her. I thought a food allergy was when you have a anaphalactic reaction but they explained how it all works. See WebMD's page on allergies for a brief but good summary."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 01/14/2013: Judy from Cape Cod, Usa replies: "I also had a bad reaction to spirulina pacifica. I took the pure Hawaiian powder type from a natural health food store.
I vomited 2 hours after putting 1 tsp in my green juice drink. I vomited for a whole hour along with diarrhea. I know its the spirulina because the same thing happened a week ago. I didn't think it was the spirulina because my husband had the same drink and he was fine. I must be allergic to it if that is possible. I will never take that stuff again."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 02/28/2013: Lynne from Takaka, New Zealand replies: "yep... I am like others here.... The smallest amount of spirulina and I am vomiting within hours.... a no go for me..."
[SIDE EFFECTS] 03/22/2013: Andrea C from Cardiff, Wales replies: "I too found spirulina powder made me vomit, but an organic chorella and spirulina tablet I bought were fine. Love Andrea c xxxx"