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Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has been used for cooking for centuries and is used as a dietary supplement in recent times, according to the Drugs.com website 3. An allergy to spirulina is unlikely, but possible 3. The food-supplement has not been adequately studied by the Federal Drug Administration and should not be used to treat any condition without your doctor's consent. If you develop adverse reactions after you consume spirulina, you should talk with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations 3. Discontinue using spirulina until you can be seen by your doctor 3.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Immune System Reaction
If you have a genuine allergy to spirulina, your immune system plays a vital role in the development of symptoms 3. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that when you ingest the allergen, your immune system identifies the otherwise safe food as harmful and begins to attack it 2. The immune system creates immunoglobulin E, or IgE antibodies that are released into the blood stream. IgE antibodies cause mast cells in the body to produce histamine, a chemical that leads to inflammation in soft tissue.
- If you have a genuine allergy to spirulina, your immune system plays a vital role in the development of symptoms 3.
- The immune system creates immunoglobulin E, or IgE antibodies that are released into the blood stream.
Safflower Oil Allergy
Depending on the severity of the allergy, you may develop various symptoms in different degrees. You may develop mild to severe symptoms within a few minutes after consuming spirulina 3. Common symptoms related to a food allergy, include:
- abdominal pain
- difficulty swallowing
- nasal congestion
- runny nose
- stomach cramps
- shortness of breath
- according to MedlinePlus 12
You may also develop hives or eczema as a result of an allergic reaction.
Because an allergy to spirulina is uncommon, you doctor may want you to participate in various tests to determine the exact cause of the symptoms 3. The MedlinePlus.com website states that blood tests and skin-prick tests are common ways to diagnose allergies 2. A blood test uses a sample of your blood. The suspected allergen, spirulina is added to your blood to see if your blood creates IgE antibodies 3. If it does, you are allergic to the substance. Skin-prick tests expose a small amount of the allergen under the skin to see if an adverse reaction develops.
- Because an allergy to spirulina is uncommon, you doctor may want you to participate in various tests to determine the exact cause of the symptoms 3.
What Is an Amaranth Allergy?
Not all symptoms that develop after ingesting spirulina are related to an allergy 3. Other symptoms may be a sign of another condition or an intolerance toward spirulina 3. If you test positive for an allergy to spirulina, you may be advised by your doctor to avoid other algae 3.
Safflower Oil Allergy
What Is an Amaranth Allergy?
Fish Oil and Swelling
Salmon Fish Oil & Skin Rash
Allergy & the Kola Nut
Fruit Pectin Allergies
Allergy and Tingling in the Face
Human Skin Rashes From Dogs & Cats
- MedlinePlus: Allergy Testing
- MedlinePlus: Food Allergy
- Drugs.com: Spirulina
- Park HJ, Lee YJ, Ryu HK, Kim MH, Chung HW, Kim WY. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study to establish the effects of spirulina in elderly Koreans. Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;52(4):322-8. doi:10.1159/000151486
- Man LX. Complementary and alternative medicine for allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 17(3):226-31. doi:10.1097/MOO.0b013e3283295791
- Cingi C, Conk-Dalay M, Cakli H, Bal C. The effects of spirulina on allergic rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 265(10):1219-23. doi:10.1007/s00405-008-0642-8
- Lee EH, Park JE, Choi YJ, Huh KB, Kim WY. A randomized study to establish the effects of spirulina in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Nutr Res Pract. 2008 2(4):295-300. doi:10.4162/nrp.2008.2.4.295
- Mani UV, Desai S, Iyer U. Studies on the Long-Term Effect of Spirulina Supplementation on Serum Lipid Profile and Glycated Proteins in NIDDM Patients. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods, 2000;2:3, 25-32. doi:10.1300/J133v02n03_03
- Mathew B, Sankaranarayanan R, Nair PP, et al. Evaluation of chemoprevention of oral cancer with Spirulina fusiformis. Nutr Cancer. 1995;24(2):197-202. doi:10.1080/01635589509514407
- Torres-duran PV, Ferreira-hermosillo A, Juarez-oropeza MA. Antihyperlipemic and antihypertensive effects of Spirulina maxima in an open sample of Mexican population: a preliminary report. Lipids Health Dis. 2007;6:33. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-6-33
- U. V. Mani, S. Desai & U. Iyer (2000) Studies on the Long-Term Effect of Spirulina Supplementation on Serum Lipid Profile and Glycated Proteins in NIDDM Patients. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods, 2:3, 25-32. doi:10.1300/J133v02n03_03
- Miczke A, Szulińska M, Hansdorfer-Korzon R, et al. Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and endothelial function in overweight hypertensive Caucasians: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016;20(1):150-6.
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.