Breastfeeding and Spirulina: Are They Compatible?
Currently, there’s no consensus on the compatibility between breastfeeding and spirulina. There are a large number of professionals who see this combination as positive or who don’t consider it to have a major impact. For others, however, there may be some incompatibility.
It’s important to remember that spirulina is an alga belonging to the genus Arthrospira. And, for some time now, society’s been promoting it as a nutritional supplement with exceptional properties. In that sense, we can note that it makes great nutritional contributions and that it serves as a supplement against some diseases.
Spirulina is available on the market in the form of tablets as well as in liquid and powder form. Health food shops tend to sell these products. What’s more, there are no published studies warning of side effects or risky interactions with this substance.
Spirulina and its properties
Before delving into the compatibility of breastfeeding and spirulina, let’s look at the supposed properties of this substance. Although a good number of doctors don’t see exceptional properties in spirulina, the truth is that the consumption of spirulina has become very popular. According to its proponents, there’s evidence to suggest that its properties provide benefits in the following senses:
- Nutrition. Apparently, it has a high quantity of nutrients that serve as an ideal complement to your diet.
- Obesity. Spirulina could help reduce body fat, decrease appetite, and reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. This is according to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
- Aging. According to a publication in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, spirulina has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it could slow down aging.
- Immune system. According to research published in the Archives of Toxicology, spirulina increases the level of antibody production.
- Others. According to research in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, spirulina is restorative, antiviral, reduces chronic fatigue, aids in relieving allergic rhinitis, lowers cholesterol, and combats diabetes, and more.
You may be interested in: How Spirulina Can Help You Lose Weight
Breastfeeding and Spirulina, arguments in favor
Proponents of this substance think that breastfeeding and spirulina are perfectly compatible. In fact, they recommend it during pregnancy as well. They point out that it restores the mother’s nutritional deficiencies and contributes to the normal development of her baby.
According to some, spirulina protects the mother during pregnancy as it contains 10 times more iron than ordinary foods. This could prevent anemia from occurring. What’s more, it also contains calcium, a mineral that’s essential during pregnancy.
With regard to breastfeeding and spirulina, many suggest that they’re also compatible. In fact, according to popular belief, spirulina helps to provide more nutrients to the baby, through breast milk. Among other things, spirulina contains gamma-linoleic acid, which is essential for the baby’s proper brain development.
Breastfeeding and spirulina, arguments against
However, there’s also a segment that views breastfeeding and spirulina as incompatible. On the label of some brands of spirulina, there are warnings against consumption by pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children. This is because of possible adverse effects.
The reason many believe breastfeeding and spirulina to be incompatible is mainly due to the high amount of iodine that it contains. This can alter, to a greater or lesser extent, a person’s thyroid function. However, there are no relevant studies that prove this relationship.
What was reported in a recent case, published in Breastfeeding Medicine, is that spirulina supplementation during lactation changed the color of the milk to a blue-green tone. However, no abnormalities were found in the composition of the milk and, after stopping the supplement, the milk returned to its normal color over the next three days.
Find out more: Situations Where You Should Avoid Breastfeeding
The scientific studies available to date don’t corroborate the claimed properties of spirulina. Nor are there any formal studies that rule them out. In this case, as in others, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking spirulina on a regular basis, especially during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
There are also many substances on the market that are marketed as spirulina, but not all of them have the same composition. Some spirulina dietary supplements have been shown to have higher levels of arsenic.
Similarly, not all presentations are equally safe and reliable. Therefore, you must check the quality of the supplement and only purchase it from trusted sources.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Shamosh Halabe, S. (2009). Historia, nutrición, salud y ecología para generar estrategias de comunicación sobre la espirulina (A. maxima) (Master’s thesis, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología).
- Yousefi, R., Mottaghi, A., & Saidpour, A. (2018). Spirulina platensis effectively ameliorates anthropometric measurements and obesity-related metabolic disorders in obese or overweight healthy individuals: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 40, 106–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2018.08.003
- Bashandy SA, El Awdan SA, Ebaid H, Alhazza IM. Antioxidant Potential of Spirulina platensis Mitigates Oxidative Stress and Reprotoxicity Induced by Sodium Arsenite in Male Rats. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:7174351. doi:10.1155/2016/7174351
- Wu, Q., Liu, L., Miron, A., Klímová, B., Wan, D., & Kuca, K. (2016, August 1). The antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory activities of Spirulina: an overview. Archives of Toxicology. Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00204-016-1744-5
- Kapoor, R., & Mehta, U. (1993). Effect of supplementation of blue green alga (Spirulina) on outcome of pregnancy in rats. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 43(1), 29–35. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01088093
- Naor, N., Fridman, E., Kouadio, F., Merlob, P., & Linder, N. (2019). Green Breast Milk Following Ingestion of Blue-Green Algae: A Case Report. Breastfeeding Medicine, 14(3), 203–204. https://doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2018.0184