Spirulina? Hmm

Spirulina is a superfood. It gives you energy, suppresses the appetite, boosts the immune system, and is rich in protein. I couldn’t find any reasons against taking it. What was not to like?! I ignored biased sponsored publications and relied on trustworthy sources. It’s highly unlikely to see me eating kale, chia seeds or other modern healthy foods. However, I thought the freshwater cyanobacteria were worth trying. It’s just a plant, what could go wrong. This was my impression after comprehensive online research on the topic.

Spirulina is a popular add-on to smoothies, energy bars, and even popcorn. It’s important to carefully choose a brand which uses spirulina from organic sources. Otherwise, the algae may be contaminated and therefore harmful. I took organically sourced spirulina for 2-3 years. It really was a superfood, doing to my body all these wonderful things I’d heard of:  I had energy, less appetite, and overall felt amazing. The only downside was when I had to take it as a powder instead of tablets – the taste was horrifying and I held my breath.

As I was planning to take spirulina probably until the rest of my life, a visit to my doctor had changed my mind. Some of the symptoms of vitamin B 12 and folic acid deficiency include anemia, increased irritability, and a weak immune system. At that time, even the air annoyed me! I didn’t know why I had low levels of vitamin B 12 and folate. I found the answer in a book about the importance of this vitamin, what are the consequences when it’s deficient, and what can cause low amounts of vitamin B12 in the blood.

The truth about spirulina is that it hinders the absorption of vitamin B12. I was stunned – the natural superfood used even in cosmetics is dangerous?! Online media praises spirulina and tries hard to crown it as one of the best dietary supplements. However, lacking deep research on the effects of spirulina and conclusive facts is worrisome. A few years after my discovery, a quick Google search shows that the blue-green algae are still on top of the wave.

Every now and then someone decides that an ingredient is healthy and puts it on a pedestal. Certain industries need a financial boost and the propaganda is powerful. It’s challenging to make informed decisions when there is little or no scientific evidence. In other cases when there is research, online information doesn’t warn you about side effects. For example,  I am very passionate about skincare and have heard that vitamin C can do wonders for your complexion. However, no one mentions that a vitamin C serum could get oxidized and leave you with brown spots.




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