A successful pregnancy depends on many factors, including a healthy diet and lifestyle, and this often brings with it a lot of anxiety about nutrition: “What is safe to eat while pregnant?” “What should you eat to boost fertility during pregnancy and after delivery?”
If you’re exploring your options with supplements, you may come across spirulina and its health benefits. But is spirulina safe for pregnancy? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Spirulina, and Is It Good for You?
Spirulina is a blue-green alga that thrives in fresh and salty water. It’s considered a superfood because of its high nutritional value. Spirulina is available as a tablet or powder supplement.
However, the spirulina safe for pregnancy debate faces the challenge of lack of scientific studies to support it.
Spirulina also carries the risk of mercury and toxins from contaminants at the source and manufacturing process, which may harm both mother and child. As a precaution, experts recommend that you speak to your doctor before taking spirulina and choose only high-quality sources of this superfood.
Top 6 Benefits of Spirulina
That said, if your doctor approves that spirulina is safe for pregnancy, these are the potential benefits you’ll get from incorporating this supplement into your diet.
1. Powerful Nutrients
A tablespoon of spirulina (7g) contains nutrients like protein, niacin, riboflavin, iron, copper, magnesium, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
In addition, spirulina’s protein content supplies all the essential amino acids necessary for healthy tissues, hormones, and immunity. For pregnancy, amino acids support blood plasma levels and placenta development.
2. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Chronic diseases and inflammations are due to oxidative stress on your cells that occurs when you have low antioxidant levels in the body.
Spirulina’s main active compound is phycocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that gives the algae its signature blue-green hue. Phycocyanin targets free radicals and blocks inflammations, reducing your chances of chronic ailments during pregnancy.
3. Blood Pressure Management
Blood pressure complications are common in pregnancy. According to the CDC, one in every 12 to 17 pregnant women experience high blood pressure. It’s essential to control blood pressure before, during, and after pregnancy to ensure your baby’s health and avoid having high blood pressure long after delivery.
One study showed that spirulina could help manage blood pressure by taking 1–8 grams daily. Speak with your doctor about the blood pressure benefits of spirulina before adding it to your diet.
4. Allergy Management
Pregnancy can trigger or ease allergy symptoms: one in every 100 pregnant women suffers from asthma and hay fever.
What counts is how to control allergy symptoms while pregnant to avoid complications. Spirulina can help to improve allergy symptoms, with one study indicating that it’s more effective than the antihistamine cetirizine.
This is a promising remedy for allergies, although further studies are necessary to determine if spirulina is safe for pregnancy.
5. Anemia Prevention
While iron-deficiency anemia is common in pregnancy, it is preventable. Anemia occurs because the body supplies extra blood and oxygen to the fetus, so pregnant women often boost their iron intake, especially if expecting more than one baby or have a history of heavy periods.
Taking spirulina may improve hemoglobin levels and ease the symptoms of anemia, including fatigue and weakness. However, only research in older adults and animals has shown the effects of spirulina on anemia, not on pregnant women.
6. Blood Sugar Management
Gestational diabetes is a spike or dip in blood sugar due to pregnancy. It’s easy to control this type of diabetes through a healthy diet and exercise, but in some cases, insulin is necessary as part of pregnancy medication.
To maintain overall wellness before and during pregnancy, ask your doctor about taking spirulina for blood sugar. So far, research shows that a maximum of 8g of spirulina per day can help reduce blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
How To Use Spirulina and Where to Find It?
Spirulina is best consumed orally for between two and six months, with a dosage ranging from 1g to 10g per day. Always get your primary care provider’s approval to take spirulina if you’re planning to get pregnant or have already conceived.
You can also find spirulina as an ingredient in the best super greens powder to benefit from other organically-sourced nutrients.
Keep in mind that:
- Like other dietary supplements, the FDA does not regulate spirulina for medicinal use. The FDA only approves spirulina as a food coloring for ice cream, yogurt, custard, frosting, and breakfast cereal.
- When searching for a spirulina supplement, ensure that its full name is clearly indicated on the package as Arthrospira maxima, Spirulina platensis, or Spirulina fusiformis.
- Pure spirulina has a slightly bitter taste, so it’s best to consume it as part of a flavorful green powder with other taste-enhancing ingredients like ginger or peppermint. Also, mix spirulina powder into a smoothie, fruit juice, or soup, or sprinkle it into your salads to mask the flavor.
Between evaluating various supplements and their effects during pregnancy, it’s essential not to overlook the growing popularity of green powders. Among these, the best green powder supplement often boasts a combination of nutrient-dense ingredients, aimed at boosting overall health and wellness.
These green powders might contain spirulina alongside other beneficial ingredients like wheatgrass, barley grass, and chlorella, to name a few. These combinations ensure that you’re not only benefiting from a single superfood but an array of them. As always, when considering any new supplement during pregnancy, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure its safety and suitability for your specific situation.
Spirulina is a popular superfood for its nutritional value. It can help prevent chronic diseases, improve immunity, and contribute positively to your overall health.
However, as more research is vital, the jury is out concerning spirulina being safe for pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about its potential health benefits and risks for yourself and your baby. Choose the best greens powder that ensures the highest quality standards to guarantee a safe, nutritious dietary supplement.