Spirulina – Most Powerful Food Declared Dangerous By Idiots

By Bob McCauley, ND

I despise misinformation and here is a pile of it for you in an article titled What Are the Dangers of Spirulina? by Maia Appleby, Demand Media – found at the website http://healthyeating.sfgate.com, out of San Francisco.  I don’t know exactly where Maia gets all her information but this article is a perfect example of how you can make ANYTHING look bad.

Twinkies and Oreos aren’t all that bad for you, and prove how they are if you make the claim – is the kind of nonsense we hear from people all the time. But take one of the two healthiest foods on the planet, scrutinize it, measure what’s in it down to the parts per billion and then claim: It’s Dangerous!!  This is nothing less than absolute rubbish.

 “Regularly taking blue-green algae supplements, including spirulina, may be harmful to your cells. Because many consumers have reported experiencing adverse health effects after using spirulina, a group of German researchers conducted a study, published in “Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology” in 2011, reviewing the safety of blue-green algae. They analyzed 13 commercially distributed products and found cytotoxins, substances that are harmful to cells, in each of them. The researchers concluded that such nutritional products are highly questionable.”

Well this is pretty deceptive.  The study they refer to states it tested Chlorella, spirulina and Blue green algae, Aphanizomenon flosaquae or AFA, which comes from Klamath Lake in Oregon, among other lakes in China.

“Only Aph. flos-aquae products were tested positive for MCs as well as the presence of mcyE.  Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology: Toxin Content and Cytotoxicity of Algal Dietary Supplements

Blue-green algae (sic AFA) can also contain a different kind of highly toxic substance, called anatoxin.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Spirulina (Article)

As the article she sited claims, toxins were only found in AFA, not Chlorella or Spirulina.  But why not cast aspersions on Chlorella and spirulina and group them all together anyway?  Either author Maia doesn’t know what she is talking about when it comes to algae or she’s lying.  Either way she’s dangerous because she spews misinformation.

One thing she is right about:

“Like other water-grown nutritional products, spirulina easily absorbs heavy metals, such as mercury and lead, from its environment. Spirulina grown in areas with large concentrations of these metals can contain dangerously high amounts of of them, passing them on to consumers.”

This is true.  The best spirulina in the world comes from southern India and Southern Taiwan.  Hawaiian spirulina is good – however that is going away – Hawaiian land has become too expensive for the cultivation of Spirulina.  But not Astaxanthin.  The spirulina you need to be careful is that which is cultivated in China, one of the most polluted countries on Earth.

“Spirulina contains microcystins, groups of amino acids that can be toxic to your liver if you take in too much of them, according to Purdue University.”

Agreed.  Microcystin levels of Spirulina need to be monitored carefully and reported twice per year.  Don’t consume Spirulina without knowing the microcystin levels.

Here is the most ridiculous contention Maia offer:

Spirulina contains an abundance of nucleic acids, according to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. These substances, which are related to DNA, produce uric acid when they are metabolized. If too much uric acid accumulates in your body, gout or kidney stones can develop. If you are susceptible to gout attacks or kidney stones, spirulina may be especially harmful to you. To avoid excessive uric acid, the hospital recommends limiting your intake of spirulina to less than 50 grams per day.

One of the keys to longevity is the consumption of nucleic acids (RNA/DNA) and only algae like Chlorella and Spirulina have it in abundance.  The fools in this article tell us to avoid nucleic acids because they cause kidney stones.  Are you kidding me?  You would have to eat several pounds of spirulina to even get noticeable amount of uric acid let alone enough to be dangerous.  Sheer ignorance, quite sheer indeed.  And where did she get this misinformation from:

These researchers, however, go on to suggest that it is not prudent to eat more than 50 g of spirulina daily. The reason they give is that the plant contains a high concentration of nucleic acids, substances related to DNA. When these are metabolized, they create uric acid, which could cause gout or kidney stones. This is of special concern to those who have already had uric acid stones or attacks of gout.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Spirulina (Article)

I would love to know who these “Researchers” were that came up with this ridiculous formula of eating no more than 50 grams of spirulina daily to avoid gout and other uric acid related problems, but it seems pretty arbitrary.  Not to mention that 50 grams of spirulina is a huge amount to take each day.  I take around 7 – 8 grams of spirulina daily, and I’m a vegan, so this is what I use for protein – along with chlorella.

Who’s to blame here for all this misinformation and deception?  Maia Appleby for not thoroughly researching spirulina and allowing it to be lumped together with AFA – Blue-green algae, as well as those who wrote the articles she relied on.

Presenting just a little information and not giving the whole picture is a deceptive practice often offered to us by lazy people who don’t really care about what they’re writing.




Dr. Bob’s Blog is not intended as medical advice. The writings and statements on this website have not reviewed and/or approved by the FDA. Our products are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Rather they are meant to demonstrate that aging can be slowed and even reversed and that Great Health achieved when the most fundamental nutritional needs of the human body are met. Always consult a medical doctor or other medical professional when you consider it necessary.
Dr. Bob’s Blog is covered under (47 U.S.C. § 230): “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

About Bob McCauley

Bob McCauley, ND (Robert F., Jr.) was raised in Lansing, Michigan and attended Michigan State University (BA, 1980 in Journalism). He is a naturopathic doctor, Master Herbalist and a Certified Nutritional Consultant. He has traveled extensively, both domestically and abroad, visiting over 32 countries. He published Confessions of a Body Builder: Rejuvenating the Body with Spirulina, Chlorella, Raw Foods and Ionized Water (2000), Achieving Great Health (2005), The Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water, (2006) which is the only book on the market that exclusively addresses Ionized Water, Twelve (Fiction, 2007) and Honoring the Temple of God (2008). He considers himself a Naturalist, meaning he pursues health in the most natural way possible. He studies and promotes nature as the only way to true health. From 2002-2004 he hosted the radio program Achieving Great Health, which was heard by thousands of people each day. His guests included some of the most well-known and respected names in the natural health world. With the help of his father, Dr. Robert F. McCauley, Sr. (Doctorate in Environmental Engineering, MIT, 1953) they started Spartan Water Company in 1992, which sold vended water machines in supermarkets. Robert Jr. founded Spartan Enterprises, Inc. in 1993. He is a Certified Water Technician with the State of Michigan. He is also a Type II Public Water Supply Specialist and has the certifications of S-5 and D-5. The McCauley family has a long history in the water industry. Bob's father pioneered environmental issues regarding ground water and drinking water quality. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1953 for his thesis on removing radioactive strontium from water. He earned his doctorate in Environmental Engineering in less than 2 years, one of the shortest doctoral studies in the history of MIT. He taught civil, sanitary and environmental engineering at Michigan State University for 18 years before retiring to run Wolverine Engineers & Surveyors of Mason, Michigan, for 17 years. His reputation throughout Michigan as a water quality expert was legendary. Bob worked for his father's company for 12 years learning the water business, which dealt primarily with municipalities, including water quality and sanitary sewer issues. After apprenticing with his father, Bob moved on to the bottled water business. He established greater Michigan's biggest selling bottled water: Michigan Mineral – Premium Natural Water. He was introduced to Ionized Water in 1995 and has done more to promote Ionized Water than anyone else in the industry. Bob often lectures and offers seminars on his Seven Component Natural Health Protocol . Bob is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and a Certified Master Herbalist. He is also a 3rd Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor of Songahm Taekwondo (American Taekwondo Association).
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12 Responses to Spirulina – Most Powerful Food Declared Dangerous By Idiots

  1. Pingback: Pure Low Metal Spirulina from Taiwan | Bob McCauley's Blog

  2. We market a spirulina that has 20% or more phycocyanin… the most important pigment in spirulina…. Hawaii spirulina is suspect now because of the use of ocean water for processing as well as the somewhat mild temperature…. India spirulina does not smell good and many have told us they may use fertilizers that are not in harmony with a vegetarian life…. This mis information is such a disservice to people now with the radiation from Fukushima, since it is known to mitigate the effects of radiation in the body. Spirulina is the most amazing food on the planet & should be consumed by everyone who wants good health. Thank you for setting the record straight on this!

  3. Quizackhaderack says:

    This is very good information. I use Chlorella and was concerned about its use. As for Maia Appleby, I believe she is a hack for the food industry. I believe that the established food conglomerates would find super foods threatening to their overall profits, and are willing to pay people off to write questionable benefits of super foods.

  4. Pingback: 50/50 – Two Most Powerful Foods in One Tablet | Bob McCauley's Blog

  5. Dear Dr. Bob McCauley,

    I thank you for your clarifications/corrections on Spirulina for the general public. I would only question one of your comments. This was that you agree that Spirulina contains mycrocystins. This is true for most of the Spirulina from China. To note, the levels were low. Cyanotech and Earthrise had independent studies done on their Spirulina. No mycrocystins found. Both test their algae regularly. It is my understanding that they have never had a positive finding for mycrocystins.

    Gregory Spencer

  6. Marlene says:

    My doctor has instructed me never to take any supplements or herbs as he claims that there is strong evidence that many of them are unsafe. He said that all I really need is a multi vitamin and a daily aspirin. I was recently prescribed a statin (Lipitor) as a prevention for heart disease. I have read some rather frightening articles regarding statins, but my doctor assured me that those stories aren’t true. I don’t know what side of the story is true, but I don’t want to die of a heart attack at 40 with clogged arteries.

  7. Ryan says:

    Hi Marlene, have a look at this: http://drglidden.com/?s=statin

  8. The use and helpfulness of different information sources varied by factors such as age, race, education level, income, and marital status. Differences in the use of sources were apparent among men of different backgrounds.

  9. Rose says:

    I started taking Spirulina and chlopophyll in July 2014 to boost my immune system. I got my very first kidney stone in September 2014 and I am currently suffering my second kidney stone in November 2014. Today, I tried to think what could be the cause, as this definitely doesn’t run in my family. The only lifestyle change I could think of, was taking these supplements. I have been taking 15g of Spirulina and 6g of chlophyll daily. I cannot say that these supplements have caused my kidney stones, but I can say, it seems very likely. I would recommend taking these supplements with caution, despite the lack of “evidence” supporting this.

  10. Rachel says:

    I started taking Spirulina last year and ended up in hospital with liver and nerve damage. The brand I used was a very reputable well known one in the UK. Im guessing I had a dodgy batch! I dont dispute that it has many positive health benefits but in my mind you are playing Russian roulette. I am so glad I did not get my children to take it too as the consequences fir them could have been even worse.

  11. Pingback: EB14: The Benefits And Dangers Of Superfood Spirulina

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