Spirulina is an edible blue-green alga known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Many women consume spirulina while breastfeeding due to its high nutritional value and potential to increase breast milk volume. However, studies express a mixed opinion about its safety in lactating women.
This superfood is available in different forms, and the safety mostly depends on the source and dosage. Hence, even though it confers many health benefits, it should only be taken after a doctor’s consultation. Read on to know more about spirulina and its use during breastfeeding.
Why Spirulina During Breastfeeding?
The spirulina algae are rich in protein and antioxidants, the two essentials in the immediate post-pregnancy period. Vitamin B is another of its principal constituents. The color green testifies its chlorophyll content. Here are a few benefits of having spirulina during breastfeeding:
- The content of spirulina, if split, reveals 65% protein in it. It combines GLA or Gamma Linolenic Acid and amino acids, all of which have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Chlorophyll in the algae takes care of the toxins in the blood. It also plays up the immunity performance of the body.
- A reserve of bioavailable iron, it aids in fighting anemia, a commonly diagnosed condition among new mothers, without constipating the patients.
- Other nutrients in spirulina are thiamine, nicotinamide, riboflavin, folic acid, pyridoxine, and C, D, E and A vitamins. Traces of copper, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, chromium, manganese, sodium, and more are detected in bioavailable forms.
- Protein released from spirulina can be utilized in the body.
- Heavy metals and toxic elements are expunged from the body once they combine with spirulina.
- When taken in conjunction with a workout regime, the product accelerates fat burn, which most women aim at following post delivery.
- A series of studies suggest that spirulina coalesces itself with radioactive isotopes in the body. It could have positive outcomes in cases of radiation therapies and similar such exposures.
What’s In It for Lactating Women?
- The US National Institutes of Health says: “Not enough is known about the use of blue-green algae during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.” (1)
- However, there are also certain quarters that recommend spirulina for breastfeeding women, particularly because of its high protein and natural iron. It also contains a wealth of amino acids.
- Another nutrient worth mentioning is B-12, though the form of its existence is debatable to date. The nutrients it supplies to the body are acceptable particularly during pregnancy and after. It works up the defense system helping the consumers fight against communicable diseases that the system falls prey to easily, at the time of nursing when the body is just recovering from the pain of birth.
- Tooth mineralization has been noted as another property of spirulina.
Spirulina Could Be Harmful
Most moms wonder if they can take spirulina while breastfeeding. Do not begin taking spirulina before you consult a doctor, as it could be unsafe under the below circumstances: (3)
- Though high doses of spirulina are known to be safe, its contamination could prove to be toxic.
- The algae is not suitable for people with phenylketonuria (PKU) metabolic condition as they cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine, which spirulina has in high quantities.
- Spirulina is also harmful for people who have autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.
- If grown in unclean water bodies, spirulina can accumulate toxins and metals such as mercury.
- Powdered spirulina can be mixed in vegetable smoothies. The average dosage of spirulina should not exceed two teaspoons a day.
Directions Of Consumption
A doctor is the best person to advise you on the usage of spirulina. If he suggests you consume it, pick an organic product that is free of nitrate compounds.
The Edible Algae
Protein powders, health sprouts, and nutritive shakes recommended to new mothers are all assorted nutrients combined in a structure that is easily absorbable in blood. Spirulina is no different, except that its chief component is a cyanobacterium or blue-green algae (4).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does spirulina help with breast milk?
Spirulina may increase milk supply (5). However, it may not work for all lactating women, so you may check if it helps improve your milk supply.
2. Can spirulina pass into breast milk?
There is insufficient scientific data to determine if spirulina components pass into breast milk and whether they affect the infant (6). In rare cases, excess spirulina consumption may only give a greenish tinge to the milk.
3. Does spirulina help me lose weight after pregnancy?
According to a study, spirulina helps in improving weight loss and obesity. However, further research and larger sample size are required to establish this claim (7).
Spirulina is an edible alga rich in high-quality protein, trace minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It is available in capsule, tablet, and powder forms which one can consume to promote good health. Generally, spirulina has no lactation-related uses. Yet, nursing women consider using it for overall health benefits. But since spirulina may contain toxins that can affect the baby’s health, consuming spirulina during breastfeeding isn’t considered safe. Talk to your doctor before using spirulina to ensure the safety of you and your baby.
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