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Spirulina & Fertility

by
author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.

Spirulina, a form of blue-green algae, is often touted as a fertility aid. It may be grown under controlled conditions or harvested from a natural setting. Not enough scientific information exists to determine a proper dosage for spirulina for any purpose, according to MedlinePlus. Consult your doctor before using it, especially if you take medication or have a health condition, and follow her advice on dosing.

Theory

Spirulina purportedly boosts fertility because it improves your nutritional status, according to "The Infertility Cure," by Randine Lewis. This is the same theory behind using bee pollen and royal jelly for alleviating fertility problems. The chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids in spirulina supposedly nourish your endocrine, immune and nervous systems and help regulate your metabolism.

Expert Insight

While spirulina is high in protein and other nutrients, including iron and B vitamins, there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether it's effective for any health condition, such as lack of fertility, according to MedlinePlus. Also, while it's touted as an excellent protein source, spirulina is no better than milk or meat -- and it costs about 30 times more per gram as of 2010, according to MedlinePlus. Still, you'll see spirulina used for a host of conditions including women's health issues like premenstrual syndrome, weight loss, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, fatigue, stress, depression and boosting immune system function. It's also used in attempts to improve memory, lower cholesterol, increase energy and metabolism, improve bowel health, prevent heart disease and speed wound healing, according to MedlinePlus.

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Considerations

Toxicology research involving animals as of 2011 finds no effects on fertility, pregnancy rate, abnormal babies, developmental markers or litter values, according to "The 5-Minute Herb and Dietary Supplement Consult," by Adriane Fugh-Berman. MedlinePlus recommends avoiding it during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Also avoid spirulina if you have phenylketonuria because it contains phenylalanine, which may raise risk for heart defects and can harm central nervous system development, according to "Nutrition Through the Life Cycle," by Judith E. Brown et al. Also use caution if you are taking spirulina and attempting to get pregnant because spirulina products can be contaminated with toxic metals and liver-damaging substances called microcystins. Avoid spirulina if you have an autoimmune disease or take immunosuppressant medication.

Bird Fertility

Spirulina does appear to increase fertility in birds, according to a 1990 "Poultry Science" study. Yolk color also increases when birds are fed spirulina, the study notes. Spirulina did not appear to affect egg quality, production or hatchability, according to study authors E. Ross and W. Dominy.

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