Spirulina, also known as blue-green algae, is used for a multitude of health conditions, including weight loss, ADHD, hay fever, diabetes and premenstrual syndrome, states WebMD. Spirulina may also be used to treat depression, anxiety and fatigue. Some people use spirulina as a source of protein, iron and B-vitamins.
Spirulina is sometimes used to treat precancerous growths in the mouth, increase energy and metabolism, support the immune system, lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and heal wounds, according to WebMD. Spirulina may also improve memory, digestion and bowel health. More scientific evidence is needed to support spirulina's effectiveness in treating these conditions.
The term "spirulina" refers to a group of simple, plant-like organisms found in tropical or subtropical waters with a high salt content or in large freshwater lakes, states WebMD. Certain supplements contain spirulina grown in a controlled environment, while others contain spirulina grown in its natural setting. Spirulina grown in its natural environment sometimes becomes contaminated with bacteria, heavy metals, and liver poisons called microcystins, which are made by certain bacteria. Consuming contaminated spirulina can lead to liver damage, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, weakness, thirst, rapid heartbeat, shock and death. Thus, anyone taking spirulina is advised to ensure the product has been tested and is free of contamination.