Thank you, Ashley for your question about taking spirulina during pregnancy. I am very fond of green foods, especially the micro-algae spirulina and chlorella because they contain more chlorophyll than any other foods. You may have discovered through your research that there is some conflicting information about whether or not it is safe to take micro-algae during pregnancy due to their detoxifying effects.
I am in favor of taking a micro-alga during pregnancy. And, I too took a micro-alga during my most recent pregnancy. However, I prefer chlorella pyrenoidosa, since there have been human studies on chlorella conducted during pregnancy and breast feeding specifically demonstrating the positive benefits. In addition, I like that chlorella is the least cooling and most tonifying of the micro-algae. Plus, it is the safest to use for deficiencies. I am not aware of any human studies conducted during pregnancy on spirulina. Also, depending on your constitution, if you happen to have a cold constitution you may do better with chlorella, since it is slightly less cooling than spirulina. Likewise, if you have a cold constitution with dampness such as water retention in your lower abdomen it would be best to choose chlorella as well.
In terms of the benefits of chlorella, a Japanese study found women who took chlorella pyrenoidosa supplements during pregnancy had significantly higher IgA antibody concentrations in their breast milk. The higher levels of IgA resulted in a reduced risk of infection in nursing infants. The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food on March 1, 2007, analyzed the breast milk in 35 Japanese women. Eighteen of the 35 study participants took chlorella pyrenoidosa supplements during their pregnancy. Results suggest that chlorella supplementation may be beneficial for nursing infants because it increases IgA antibody levels in the mother’s breast milk.
In another study, which was published in Plant Foods and Human Nutrition in March 2010, beneficial results for pregnancy anemia and pregnancy induced hypertension were reported for pregnant women given chlorella. More particularly, a group of 70 women with pregnancy anemia and pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) were given either 6 grams/daily of chlorella or a placebo from the 12th week of gestation until delivery. Those receiving the chlorella supplements demonstrated improvements in anemia in their second and third trimesters – as measured by hemoglobin levels. Two key signs of pregnancy induced hypertension (edema and proteinuria) also declined in the chlorella users during the third trimester. The Japanese scientists conducting the trial noted that chlorella contains organic sources of folic acid, iron and Vitamin B12 which probably contributed to some of the health benefits exhibited in this study.