blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria, Spirulina)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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What is blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Blue-green algae is a natural herbal supplement. Blue-green algae has high amounts of protein, iron, and other minerals and claims have been made that it has beneficial effects on the immune system, inflammation, and against viral infections. Individuals should check with their physicians before using this supplement.

What brand names are available for blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral?

Cyanobacteria, Spirulina

Is blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral?

No

What are the side effects of blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral?

Contaminated blue-green algae may contain microcystins which can cause liver damage, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, shock, fast heartbeat, and death.

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What is the dosage for blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral?

(recommended by suppliers):

  • Leukoplakia (white patches and sores on gums inside of cheeks): Take 1 gram by mouth daily for 12 days.
  • Blepharospasms (abnormal blinking of eyelids): Take 1500 mg of SBGA (Super Blue-Green Algae) capsules by mouth daily.

Which drugs or supplements interact with blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral?

Blue-green algae may have blood thinning effects and it may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding if combined with blood thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), and pain medications like naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), ibuprofen (Motrin), and diclofenac (Voltaren).

Is blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies done on blue-green algae to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

It is not known whether blue-green algae enter breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers.

What else should I know about blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral?

What preparations of blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral are available?

Blue-green algae are available in tablets, capsule, and powder form. The concentration of blue-green algae may vary from product-to-product due to multiple manufacturers producing various products.

How should I keep blue green algae (Spirulina sp.)-oral stored?

Due to multiple manufacturers making different forms of blue-green algae, storage requirements may vary based on individual manufacturer practices.

Medically Reviewed by John Cunha, DO

REFERENCE: Coastal Health District. Frequently Asked Questions About Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) and Their Toxins.

Quick GuidePortion Control Tips: Lose Weight and Stick to Your Diet

Portion Control Tips: Lose Weight and Stick to Your Diet

Summary

Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria, Spirulina) is an herbal supplement that contains high amounts of protein, iron, and other minerals and is used for ADHD, PMS, stress, digestive aid, wound healing, and to improve the immune system. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this supplement.

Treatment & Diagnosis

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Reviewed on 8/7/2017
References
Medically Reviewed by John Cunha, DO

REFERENCE: Coastal Health District. Frequently Asked Questions About Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) and Their Toxins.

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