Breastfeeding and Spirulina: Are They Compatible?

March 14, 2021
Many people recommend spirulina intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, there's not enough evidence to support its compatibility. Here's what you need to know about breastfeeding and spirulina.

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:

Different forms of spirulina.
Spirulina has been a source of research, as it’s rich in nutrients and has shown positive effects on health.

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.

A woman breastfeeding her small baby.

Possible negative effects between breastfeeding and spirulina consumption can’t be ruled out. This is why it’s a supplement that should be used under medical supervision.

Find out more: Situations Where You Should Avoid Breastfeeding

Conclusions

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.

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