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Phycocyanin and Spirulina: Are There Really Dangers?

by | Jan 19, 2021 | advice, Phycocyanin, Science, Spirulina | 0 comments

The consumption of spirulina is subject to several recommendations. Indeed, by its contributions in certain compounds, it is recommended not to consume spirulina when one is suffering from various diseases, and in particular:

Hemochromatosis : excess iron in the blood
Phenylketonuria : deficiency of an enzyme (phenylalanine hydroxylase) which causes an accumulation of phenylalanine in the blood and the brain.

In addition to these health warnings, it is always advisable to take the prior advice of a doctor if people wishing to take spirulina or a food supplement in general, have had a notable surgery, suffer from an illness. or are under treatment.

To date, no harmful drug interactions with spirulina have been identified, but some side effects have still been reported, including headaches, nausea, rashes and a few rare cases of allergies.

ANSES recommends favoring a French spirulina, benefiting from the best controlled cultivation methods, in order to avoid any risk of contamination, and therefore the appearance of side effects which could be attributable to the conditions of cultivation of spirulina.

Below, an extract from the ANSES press release (1) of 11/30/2017 on this subject:

“With regard to the risk of contamination by cyanotoxins (especially microcystins), bacteria or by metallic trace elements, the Agency insists on the importance of controlling the quality of the water produced by cyanobacterium spirulina and of controlling of the processes for obtaining it by the manufacturers ”.

 

Phycocyanin has many virtues (2) but does it hide less pleasing aspects from us?

It seems essential to us to answer this question, since we offer you at MINERAL BLUE products based on this exceptional molecule.

Studies have been done on the potential side effects of taking phycocyanin. One of these showed a case of allergic reaction involving phycocyanin. This anaphylactic reaction occurred when taking spirulina in a teenager who had already had several allergic episodes (3).

Another study (4), for its part, demonstrated the safety of taking phycocyanin double-blind against a placebo, on a panel of people and not on an isolated case. The objective was to study the potentially anticoagulant action of phycocyanin during daily and high doses (2.3 g / day) of liquid phycocyanin. It has been shown that taking phyco presents no danger in terms of coagulation and platelet activity. In addition, this study demonstrated a significant reduction in chronic pain in patients on phycocyanin.

Just like the case of spirulina, even if no drug interaction has been shown to date, even if the cases of allergies are isolated and even if there are fewer contraindications to taking phyco than spirulina , it seems to us just as important to take into account the origin and the mode of manufacture of the products concerned.

It would be counterproductive to do yourself good by consuming phycocyanin for its benefits while at the same time consuming contaminants due to questionable production methods.

ANSES analyzes that the maximum dose with no observed harmful effect of phycocyanin-C has been evaluated at 5 g / kg by the oral route (referral n ° 2014-SA-0096).

For an adult of 50kg, we are therefore talking about a maximum without harmful effects of 125g of phycocyanin, in dry weight equivalent.

Thus, in rats, phycocyanin administered orally up to a dose of 5 g / kg induces neither clinical sign nor mortality. In addition, the administration of 0.5 to 4 g / kg / day in the diet for 14 weeks does not alter either the food intake or the body mass, nor the serum parameters, nor the haematological parameters compared to animals not treated (Akhilender Naidu et al. 1999).

If we consider the minimum daily dose administered of 0.5g / kg, we are still talking about 25 grams / day for a 50kg individual.

By way of comparison, if we take 20ml per day of MINERAL BLUE phycocyanin concentrated at 12g / l (our currently most concentrated range), or 240mg per day, we would still be less than 1% of the minimum dose tested. , without any side effects encountered, over periods of 14 continuous weeks of treatment.

In summary of this article, the dangers associated with taking phycocyanin seem particularly low to us, and are encountered for very large dosages compared to the dosages that we recommend.

However, and in accordance with the ethical rules inherent in naturopathy, we advise you to seek prior medical advice in the event of illness or ongoing medical treatment, or if you simply have the slightest doubt.

The Ecosynia team will also be always at your disposal, to discuss your personal case with our expert partners, doctors and naturopaths.

 

Sources:

1. Food supplements based on spirulina: favor the best-controlled supply circuits. HANDLES. 30/11/2017

2. Liu Q, Huang Y, Zhang R, Cai T, Cai Y. Medical Application of Spirulina platensis Derived C-Phycocyanin. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 7803846. doi: 10.1155 / 2016/7803846. Epub 2016 May 11. PMID: 27293463; PMCID: PMC4879233.

3. Petrus M, Culerrier R, Campistron M, Barre A, Rougé P. First case report of anaphylaxis to spirulin: identification of phycocyanin as responsible allergen. Allergy. 2010 Jul; 65 (7): 924-5. doi: 10.1111 / j.1398-9995.2009.02257.x. Epub 2009 Nov 4. PMID: 19889119.

4. Jensen GS, Drapeau C, Lenninger M, Benson KF. Clinical Safety of a High Dose of Phycocyanin-Enriched Aqueous Extract from Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis: Results from a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study with a Focus on Anticoagulant Activity and Platelet Activation. J Med Food. 2016 Jul; 19 (7): 645-53. doi: 10.1089 / jmf.2015.0143. Epub 2016 Jun 30. PMID: 27362442; PMCID: PMC4948198.

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