Spirulina use while Breastfeeding

Spirulina Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Spirulina (Aphanizomenon sp., Spirulina sp., and others) is a fresh water blue-green algae that contains various nutrients such as protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and iron. Spirulina has no specific lactation-related uses. No data exist on the excretion of any components of spirulina into breastmilk or on the safety and efficacy of spirulina in nursing mothers or infants. Spirulina is generally well tolerated when grown under controlled conditions. Minor adverse effects include diarrhea, bloating, upset stomach, flatulence, edema, headache, muscle pain, facial flushing, and sweating. Products that are grown in uncontrolled conditions can contain heavy metals and other contaminants. Some products can be contaminated with the blue-green algae species Microcystis aeruginosa, which produces the hepatotoxins called microcystins. Breastmilk discoloration has been reported to Australian authorities, but details are unavailable.[1]

Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to prove the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does not certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information about dietary supplements is available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

References

1. Marles RJ, Barrett ML, Barnes J et al. United States pharmacopeia safety evaluation of spirulina. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011;51:593-604. PMID: 21793723

Spirulina Identification

Substance Name

Spirulina

Scientific Name

Arthrospira platensis Arthrospira maxima

Drug Class

Complementary Therapies

Phytotherapy

Plants, Medicinal

Administrative Information

LactMed Record Number

933

Last Revision Date

20130907

Disclaimer

Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Online Privacy Policy.

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