Spirulina During Pregnancy – Pros And Cons
The art of procreation is beautiful at the right time but can also be a bit of a douchebag. Pregnancy rides in with hundreds of does and don’ts. Some of these are obvious, like avoiding drugs and alcohol. Others are more subtle, like what you put into your body.
One supplement getting much attention lately is spirulina. This blue-green alga is touted as a superfood for a good reason. Its protein-packed composition and many vitamin, mineral, and other nutritional supplies are worth trying.
So, should you take spirulina during pregnancy?
While spirulina’s influence on pregnancy is a mildly understood subject, available data is promising. Most women can use spirulina during pregnancy to boost their and the baby’s health and keep some conditions at bay. However, a few may find it unfit for them.
So, based on your conditions, can you have spirulina while pregnant? Let’s dive in to discover whether spirulina is good for you.
Spirulina Nutritional Benefits for Pregnant Woman
Spirulina is a bluish-green alga often taken to supplement diets. It’s a 2-billion-year-old cyanobacterium, a bacteria that gets its energy from photosynthesis. The alga thrives in ponds and lakes and is often reared commercially in bioreactors and glass containers.
Spirulina is typically available in capsules, powder, or tablets and provides various health benefits due to its many elements.
So, what do you stand to benefit from spirulina use during pregnancy?
1 – Spirulina is High in Vitamins and Minerals, Including Iron.
Pregnant women need to consume extra iron to support the baby’s development. Spirulina is a considerable iron source, providing 2.0 mg/ tbsp (7 grams). This amount is 7% of pregnant women’s iron RDI (27 mg).
Pregnant women also risk developing anaemia, a condition characterized by reduced RBC levels. Spirulina may help to prevent anaemia by providing iron vital for RBC generation.
2 – Spirulina is an Excellent Plant Protein Source.
Protein is essential for the baby’s development. Spirulina’s composition is about 50-70% protein and provides 4.0 grams/ tbsp (7 grams). That makes up about 6.7% of pregnant women’s protein RDI (60 grams).
Protein is a macronutrient required for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues in the baby. It is also necessary for the production of enzymes and hormones.
3 – Spirulina Abounds in Antioxidants.
Free radicals are unsteady materials that damage and inflame cells. Inflammation exacerbates many chronic diseases.
Spirulina is rich in antioxidants, which can help to secure cells from destruction by free radicals. This protection may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancers.
4 – Spirulina May Help to Improve the Immune System.
Pregnant women are at increased risk of developing diseases like colds and flu. Spirulina may help to improve the immune system, making it more effective at fighting infections.
5 – Spirulina May Help to Detoxify the Body.
Detoxification is the body’s way of ejecting toxins. Toxins can come from food, the environment or our metabolism.
Spirulina may help to detoxify the body by binding to toxins and removing them from the body. Hence, it may reduce the risk of exposure to harmful toxins and resultant problems during pregnancy.
6 – Spirulina May Help to Reduce the Risk of Pre-Eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that may occur while expecting. Some indicators are high blood pressure and proteinuria. Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious health complications, like seizures and organ damage.
Spirulina may help to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia by lowering blood pressure and improving kidney function.
7 – Spirulina May Help to Reduce the Risk of Gestational Diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a diabetes kind that may occur during pregnancy. It raises hypertension risk. Symptoms are rare and may include increased thirst and urination. Gestational diabetes can lead to health complications, like pre-eclampsia and macrosomia (large baby).
Spirulina may help to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes through boosted insulin sensitivity and lowered blood sugar amounts.
8 – Spirulina May Help to Minimize Birth Defects.
Congenital disabilities occur during the baby’s development and may be physical, mental or both. Spirulina may help to reduce the risk of congenital disabilities by nourishing and helping to improve the function of the placenta.
It also provides essential nutrients, like folate, for proper baby organ development.
9 – Spirulina May Help to Improve the Quality of Breast Milk.
Breast milk is the best nutritional source for newborn babies. It’s rich in antibodies, which can help to protect the baby from infection. Spirulina may help to improve the quality of breast milk by increasing the levels of antibodies.
Dangers of Consuming Spirulina While Pregnant
Though it may have many pros, not every pregnant woman may find this alga a pleasant experience. So, why is spirulina bad for pregnancy in some?
According to a study of women beyond 30 weeks of pregnancy, spirulina use may cause oligohydramnios. This condition results in reduced amniotic fluid volume.
Spirulina may contain microcystins, toxins that can harm the liver if carelessly sourced. Additionally, improperly-grown spirulina may contain heavy metals that can harm the developing fetus.
Spirulina’s side effects may encompass nausea, stomach upset, headache, insomnia, and dizziness. If you experience these, stop taking spirulina and consult your healthcare provider.
How To Incorporate Spirulina Into Your Diet
One way to take spirulina is in the form of tablets/ capsules. You can take it with water or any other liquid. Capsules and tablets tend to have mild to no tastes or smells. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can use organic, no-additive spirulina as it doesn’t contain any animal products.
Powdered and raw spirulina may not suit some, especially during pregnancy when there’s high sensitivity. However, there are a few ways to mask the flavor and scent of this product.
If you want to eat raw spirulina, you can add it to salads or soups. You can also take it in the form of powder. Add some spirulina powder to juices and lemonade drinks, among other beverages. You can also use it in smoothies and pastries.
How Should You Eat Spirulina While Pregnant?
The dosage and best time to take spirulina vary depending on the person. If you experience mild stomach upset and nausea when taking spirulina with water, try using it in food. When taking spirulina for the first time, start with a low dose and increase gradually.
If you experience no side effects, a quick spirulina-laced morning beverage before breakfast can be a great starting point. It allows you to get part of your daily nutritional needs and enhances your energy reserves.
Add a tbsp or two of spirulina powder to your favorite accompaniment. If using tablets and capsules, take 3-5g daily. That said, some studies used up to 10g without significant issues. So, raise the amount to your liking, provided you’re fine. But don’t exceed 50g daily.
Is Spirulina Safe for Infants?
The safety of spirulina for infants is an understudied area. However, spirulina is generally safe for most people. So, there’s no reason to believe it would be any different for infants.
If you are considering giving spirulina to your infant, it’s always best to speak with a healthcare professional first.
While safe for most, some side effects may occur, especially if consumed in large quantities. Common ones include stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea.
Is your infant experiencing any of these effects after spirulina consumption? If yes, stop giving it to them and speak with a healthcare professional.
FAQS: Any Other Crucial Notes on Spirulina and Pregnancy?
Can Spirulina Aid in Fertility or Conception?
Spirulina can aid in fertility or conception by supplying the body with essential nutrients for reproductive health. These include vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that improve egg and sperm quality.
Additionally, some use spirulina to get pregnant due to its antioxidant and hormonal balance benefits. This cyanobacterium may aid in a healthy menstrual cycle and fertility.
Now that we know spirulina is vital during conception, you may wonder whether its ingredients in separation help too. Can chlorophyll help you get pregnant?
Despite minimal research, some claim chlorophyll may enhance egg quality and production. It may also support proper implantation.
Does Spirulina Contain Folic Acid?
Yes, spirulina does contain folic acid (artificial) in its natural form, folate. Folic acid is vital during pregnancy, as it helps deter foetal congenital disabilities of the spine and brain.
This vitamin also makes using spirulina for children an excellent way to enhance their RBCs.
Spirulina is a superb supplier of protein, vitamins, and minerals and contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These nutrients are essential for the health of the mother and the developing baby.
Sunlit Organic Spirulina can help to improve the mother’s energy levels, boost her immune system, and prevent pre-eclampsia. It can also help improve the baby’s brain and spinal development and birth weight and reduce the risk of allergies and defects.
Did you find this piece informative? Also, read our take on “Is spirulina good for male reproductive health?” We are sure you’ll have an even better understanding of spirulina and pregnancy after that.