Spirulina supplements are known for having wide and considerable benefits for the health, thing which have turned them into very popular products, and it have made them known by the majority of people who is minimally interested in improving their health. However, the fact that it can be helpful in some aspects does not mean that it should be consumed by every person.

Here in this post, we are going to see the negative and some positive effects of spirulina on thyroid and liver.

Spirulina powder
Spirulina biomass powder

One key characteristic of spirulina

Let’s begin talking about the relation between spirulina and the thyroid.

For understanding how can affect spirulina to the thyroid we should first understand what is spirulina, but especially one of all it’s characteristics.

This supplement is a blue-green microalgae that contains high amounts of minerals, proteins, fats, and vitamins. All of these properties combined are the reason of so much production of spirulina all around the world and also the reason it is called by lots of persons superfood.

But the property we are interested in it’s in the amount of iodine this supplement contains. It is not the most abundant mineral of spirulina, like magnesium and potassium, which are present in higher quantities in this microorganism, and it’s concentration can be variable, but it’s still an amount to consider.

Goiter representationAnd how is related the iodine with the thyroid? Explained in a simple way, the thyroid needs a certain amount of iodine for producing two very important hormones for the metabolism named as T3 and T4 for a normal functioning and developing of the human body. This amount may variate depending on the age, the gender and other special conditions like the periods of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Now that we are sure about the relation between spirulina and the thyroid, we can talk about the effects that it’s consumption can imply.

Spirulina and thyroid diseases

Indeed, it’s scientifically proven that an excess of iodine in the diet could be responsible of thyroid diseases in some cases like could be an induced hypothyroidism.

There are a big amounts of variables to consider for determine if large amounts of iodine can cause thyroid diseases or not, like iodine deficiency in the childhood for example, so every person with thyroid problems should be very aware of their iodine consumption.

This phenomenon have been studied in many other ways, but some of the most known cases have resulted to be the population of Japan and Korea. Concretely, years ago, a considerable percentage (about 10%) of the inhabitants of some coastal regions of Hokkaido, in Japan, showed symptoms of Iodide-induced goiter, an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Goiter
Goiter representation

 

The reason of this are the big amounts of seaweed, commonly kelp, that the population of that region used to consume frequently, big amounts of seaweed that contained big amounts of iodine.

Then, does this means that you should avoid consuming spirulina because of the iodine it contains? Unless you have thyroid problems, of course not. The amounts of iodine in spirulina are not so high, so everything should be fine as long as you act responsibly with the doses you take.

Moreover, there exist spirulina supplements in the market which offer reduced and controlled concentrations of this mineral.

Now that we have talked about the thyroid and spirulina, it’s time to paying some attention at the consequences of this natural supplement in the liver.

And about spirulina’s effect on the liver?

Believe it or not, the effects that this supplement haves in the liver are practically all positive. It looks like the possible benefits of consuming this algae biomass it’s beyond a simple nutritional contribution to our organisms.

There have been isolated cases of liver injury in which spirulina have been implicated, but this are very rare cases and they do not prove that taking spirulina can hurt your liver, so if there is a posibility in which this supplement could result toxic for the organ, it is extremely rare if it happens.

The benefits that spirulina can bring to our liver’s health are diverse, and they have been studied in many different ways, but here we are going to focus in one of the most relevant ones.

Fatty liver prevention with spirulina

The fatty liver disease is commonly related with alcoholism, and is one of the most known liver diseases by everybody, along with hepatitis and cirrhosis, and sadly, one of the most common in the majority of developed countries.

The fact that this disease is so common it is not only consequence of the alcohol consumption, it is also the result of unbalanced diets and lifestyles, which drives the doctors and other experts to making a differentiation between alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD).

NAFLD prevalence
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease prevalence

Now let’s see how spirulina can help us with the fatty liver disease and how it can prevent it’s his appearance.

For explaining it, we will focus in the part of one study, in which, explained in a very abbreviated way, a group of rats were treated with a toxic chemical for the liver (carbon tetrachloride) that can induce the fatty liver disease, and a fraction of these rats was supplemented with spirulina, while the remaining sector of rodents was fed normaly.

The results of this experiment were really good for spirulina’s image, since the rats that were fed with spirulina manifested much better results in comparison with the rats that didn’t receive supplementation through their diet. Concretely, the amounts of fats in the liver that the rats fed with spirulina accumulated were around 30% less than the other rats.

Anyway, the benefits that spirulina can contribute to our health are more than this, and they affect different parts of the body.

LDL reduction with spirulina

Probably you already know it, but LDL, also known as “bad cholesterol” are those molecules of your blood that in elevated levels are directly related with several cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis or hearth attacks as shown in different population studies.

Well, it results that spirulina supplements can help to reduce the amounts of bad cholesterol in your blood as well.

Another study revealed that in a time frame equivalent to three months, LDL levels can be reduced around 10% by consuming spirulina, also seeing improved the hemoglobin status of the patients treated, and with no side effects registered from any subject.

The responsible molecule or compound present on the spirulina remained unknown after this study, so other possible benefits or applications of this supplement may remain undiscovered.

So, should you take spirulina?

As we said before, unless you have any special problem that spirulina could affect negatively, like a thyroid disease, this microalgae can really bring very interesting benefits to your health in very different ways, so maybe you want to consider taking it.

In case you have any doubt about the risks that spirulina could imply to your wellness, don’t think it twice and ask to your doctor for being sure about what you are doing.

Thanks for reading!