Spirulina is all the craze in health-happy communities. I heard it’s high in iron and even toted as a super food for pregnancy, so I ran out and grabbed some for myself in hopes of keeping my iron and therefor my hemoglobin and red blood cell count nice and high as my body amps up its blood supply while depleting its own iron reserve for the betterment of baby. Reading the label, however, it said to discuss this supplement with a doctor or health care professional prior to consuming in pregnancy or even while nursing, so that lead me down a mini rabbit hole of research.
LiveStrong recommends avoiding spirulina in pregnancy simply because it is not well-researched in pregnancy or nursing women, which is true, but not overly helpful . I did find one, single case report of a woman who ingested spirulina daily in pregnancy and her infant had neonatal spasms caused by hypercalcemia . Mom also had hypercalcemia (elevated calcium levels in the blood), so a loose link was made between the two. With that said, this is one individual correlation case that shouldn’t be drawn to a causation factor, however, the World Health Organization said that the link was “likely.”
As far as reputable websites go, the verdict on spirulina use in pregnancy is “I dunno.” More scientifically, there have not been any studies performed on the potential harms in use during pregnancy. And as the USA and Canadian way of being goes, this means that there is no safe amount [determined]. I can’t find any nutritional data showing that there is a high amount of calcium in it, nor can I find any link of spirulina inducing hypercalcemia or Primary Hyperparathyroidism in pregnancy, the latter of which is the main cause of this uncommon pregnancy occurrence in the absence of tumours .
It might be best to stick with the traditional prenatal vitamins.
- Spirulina. Reactions Weekly [serial online]. April 28, 2012;(1399):29. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 2, 2016.
- Kent, L. (2015). Is Spirulina Safe in Pregnancy? Live Strong. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/487004-is-spirulina-safe-while-pregnant/
- Sato, K. (2008). Hypercalcemia during pregnancy, puerperium, and lactation: review and a case report of hypercalcemic crisis after delivery due to excessive production of PTH-related protein (PTHrP) without malignancy (humoral hypercalcemia of pregnancy). Journal of Endocrinology, 55(6), 959-956. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18614854