Could spirulina be aggravating your skin?

In a bid to keep cold at bay this winter, I made an addition to my supplement arsenal. I started taking Spirulina – the immune boosting, nutrient-rich super-food.

But soon afterwards, I started noticing that my urticaria was flaring up more than usual.

My sudden outbreak made me think. What had I changed in my daily routine?

After discounting wine (it’s one of my worst trigger-causing culprits), I realised my daily dose of Spirulina had been the only new addition. So I began my own investigation – think Miss Marple, but with Google as my sidekick…

The thyroid and urticaria link

I’ve got a thyroid sensitive type of urticaria. I usually manage to keep the condition under control with wise dietary choices, avoiding certain acidic foods and by keeping a lid on stress.

Digging online, I discovered that the environment in which Spirulina is grown, is key to its chemical make up and Spirulina that’s grown in seawater can contain high levels of iodine.

This is a trigger for certain types of urticaria, including mine. High levels of iodine in the body can impact on thyroid function and trigger flare-ups.

An expert’s view

I caught up with Claire, a nutritionist working with Organic Burst. Their Spirulina isn’t grown in seawater, but clean freshwater ponds free of toxins and pesticides.

I was anxious to shake off the effects of my struggles with Spirulina, so Claire told me about other supplement options I could consider instead.

With thyroid-sensitive urticaria, there are areas sufferers need to take care to support. These are the inflammatory pathways, histamine balance, gut health and vitamin D levels. Baobab, Maca and Acai are all great for supporting these functions.

If you are looking for a wellness booster, supplements that are known to support the immune system are Vitamin D and medicinal mushrooms such as reishi and cordyceps. These will regulate your body effectively, ensuring it doesn’t go into overdrive.

Another supplement that would benefit your system is Wheatgrass. This is great because it’s high in Vitamin A, which is very important for the immune system and skin health. It is also alkalising and is packed with fibre to help a healthy digestive system.

Finally, if you’re unsure about how a product is sourced, always find out from its supplier. A natural product’s growth environment – including how fertilisers and preservatives are used to treat it can have a huge effect.”

Wise words, and completely valid in my case – the growth conditions really dictated how Spirulina reacted with my unpredictable skin.

Have you ever had trouble with Spirulina or another supplement?

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