I tend to focus on the benefits of foods without asking if there are any health risks. I tend to focus on my idea of optimum health while searching for the perfect foods to help me get there, but are those “perfect” foods, those “superfoods,” causing me more harm than good? Do the risks outweigh the benefits?
I have learned that spirulina does have many incredible health benefits, but I have also learned that spirulina and other blue-green algae also have many shocking health risks as well.
Do you consume blue-green algae or spirulina?
If so, please note that the more peer-reviewed studies that Dr Michael Greger studies and shares over the years, the more he proves that blue-green algae and spirulina are more harmful than beneficial to human health as they contain neurotoxins, hepatotoxins (compounds toxic to the liver) as well as BMAA (beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine)
BMAA has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases and is found in the brains of those whom have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Parkinson’s and dementia complex.
These BMAA diseases attacked the Chamorro people of Guam who were eating flying foxes, who in turn were eating the seeds of a cycad tree, whose watery roots concentrated the toxin from a blue-green algae in the ponds where they grew.
I first became aware of the potential toxicity of spirulina this past winter when listening to Dr. Michael Greger’s interview on Rich Roll’s podcast. Before that I had no idea. After listening to that podcast, I visited NutritionFacts.org to find more information regarding the liver toxins and BMAA dangers, but Greger covers the neurotoxin dangers more thoroughly during his interview with Rich Roll.
Before I move onto Chlorella, I would like to acknowledge that spirulina does have many health benefits, but there are also many peer-reviewed studies showing that spirulina and other blue-green algae may pose many health risks as well. One must decide if the benefits outweigh those risks.
In my opinion, the current risks outweigh the overall benefits after exploring all that I have thus far. The one downfall our society has going against us is that there is little money invested in nutritional research as well as peer-reviewed studies regarding the “safety” of many “super foods,” so I have personally been learning by trial and error as well as by intuitive eating while also keeping my eyes open for any credible research that may guide me to better overall health.
In the end, what we consume is a personal decision, and I am trying to choose well along my health journey.
The good news?? Chlorella is NOT a blue-green algae and does not have any of these harmful risks (Greger also covers the peer-reviewed research that supports this more thoroughly during his interview with Rich Roll).
And yes, I personally prefer and consume Ultimate Superfoods Real Raw Chlorella Powder (I am often asked which brand I use) when eating and/or juicing cilantro or other great heavy metal detoxifiers because without when also consuming chlorella, the chlorella prevents those heavy metal that the cilantro pulled out of my muscle, tissue, cells, et cetera from entering my brain (I learned this the hard way and experience many awful migraines when completing a heavy-metal detox incorrectly) because the chlorella attracts and clumps up the heavy metals causing them to be transported to the bowel instead of allowing them to flow into the brain.
From my research, chlorella is considered to be one of the best detoxifiers and is said to be able to remove alcohol from the liver and heavy metals (as discussed above) as well as pesticides and PCBs from body tissues. Chlorella can also absorb toxins from the intestines, improve bacterial flora in the bowel, eliminate intestinal gas and help relieve chronic constipation. However, I have also read that about a third of those who try chlorella cannot tolerate it. This may be due to a cellulase deficiency, so supplementing with cellulase may eliminate one’s issue with chlorella.
Chlorella has helped alleviate my symptoms during my heavy-metal detox as I dealt with high levels of beryllium and nickel.
To explore the risks of blue-green algae and spirulina, please visit Dr. Michael Greger’s non-profit site NutritionFacts.org:
- Spirulina: Potential neurotoxicity is another concern regarding spirulina supplements
- Spirulina: Concerns about spirulina supplements extend to liver toxicity
- Blue-Green Algae & Spirulina: The risks associated with these supplements may outweigh the benefits
- Chlorella does not have the toxins which may be present in blue-green algae supplements and spirulina
Also, please note E3Live’s response to this post as they share how they confirm that they are supplying a superior product that does not fall under the blue-green algae studies above:
Dear Vegan Mom,
Health choices are of course up to the individual and we would certainly respect any decision a person makes in this regard. Please know that purity is #1 to us, our own families eat E3Live. In the 3rd article from Dr. Greger at the bottom of your post, Blue-Green Algae and Spirulina, he states in the comments that every batch would need to be tested, but that would be cost prohibitive, however that is exactly what we do – test each and every single batch beyond the standards required – we feel it is worth it. More details of all the tests we do on each batch here:http://www.e3live.com/research/purity. It is true that not all blue-green algae species are fit to eat, there are thousands of species, but we only harvest one single species – pure AFA. Our AFA is used by Dr. Brian Clement (both personally and recommended to his clients) at Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida where he is Director – many others like him use AFA as well. We know they would never consume (or recommend to their patients/clients) anything harmful. We hope this additional information helps you in your journey and we wish you the best. We do have a 1-Year money back guarantee on our frozen products, we believe in it that much, no other similar company to ours offers such a guarantee. Please call us if you need any additional information or if you feel compelled to return the product 541-273-2212.
Kindest regards, Cindy