Ask the Nutritionist
Q: Is it safe to take the supplement Spirulina or BlueGreen Algae while getting chemotherapy?
Lory Broderick, Foxboro, Massachusetts
A: Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is most often found in a dietary supplement form, either as a pill or powder.
There have been no reports of dangers from taking algae supplements during treatment; however, if you choose to take a supplement, speak with your doctor or dietitian first and keep in mind that the supposed health benefits from the seaweed itself are not necessarily reflected in a powder or pill supplement.
To further elaborate, there is no concrete evidence that the algae has cancer prevention and treatment capabilities. There have been studies that are focused on Asian populations and see lower incidence of certain cancers, but there has been no cause and effect drawn from algae to cancer.
However, seaweed is rich in iron, calcium and omega-3 fats, which are important for maintaining health and wellness. If you choose to eat seaweed in your diet, be aware of the high sodium levels that often accompany foods with seaweed.