Spirulina Benefits: 7 Reasons to Try It (& 1 Major Caution)

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Spirulina Uses and Benefits
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I don’t like using the term superfood, though it could certainly be applied to Spirulina (and is sometimes used for coconut oil). Surprisingly, you may know this amazing compound by its common name…

Pond scum:

This nutrient rich substance is actually a cyanobacteria and it boasts its fair share of health promoting properties. It is rich in chlorophyll, and like plants, gets its energy from the sun. It does have many benefits, (though contrary to some health claims, I’ve seen no evidence that it cures cancer or HIV).

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a natural “algae” (cyanbacteria) powder that is incredibly high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients. When harvested correctly from non-contaminated ponds and bodies of water, it is one of the most potent nutrient sources available.

It is largely made up of protein and essential amino acids, and is typically recommended to vegetarians due to its high natural iron content.

The high concentration of protein and iron also makes it ideal during pregnancy, after surgery, or anytime the immune system needs a boost.

Benefits of Spirulina

Though it does taste like pond scum, Spirulina has some great health-boosting qualities:

1. Most Nutrient Dense Food On the Planet

The concentration of protein and vitamins in Spirulina has led many to classify it as the “most nutrient dense food on the planet.” Compared to other foods gram for gram, it lives up to this reputation and is a great source of:

  • Protein: It is considered a complete source of high-quality protein and is often compared to eggs for the amount of protein per gram. The protein in Spirulina is highly usable and has a net protein utilization rate of between 50-61%
  • Vitamin B1: Also called Thiamin, this vitamin is necessary for the digestion of fats and proteins. It is often taken for increased energy, eye health, brain function and for improving nerve functioning.
  • Iron: Spirulina is a favorite food for vegetarians and vegans because it is one of the best plant sources of iron. Even for those who consume meat, it has a highly absorbable form of iron that is gentle on the digestive system.
  • Calcium: Spirulina is also incredibly high in calcium with over 26 times the calcium in milk.

It also contains (per Tablespoon):

Spirulina nutrition benefits

Spirulina is a great source of other nutrients including (according to Wikipedia): “It contains vitamins B-1(thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium,  manganese, phosphorus,  selenium, sodium and zinc. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable”.

Important Note: Contrary to many claims, Spirulina is not a good source of Vitamin B12 for humans. While it does contain a form of B12, it is pseudovitamin B12 which is not absorbable or effective in humans according to studies.

2. Contains Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) & Omega-3s

Spirulina contains Gamma Linolenic Acid andOmega-3s

Spirulina is 65% protein and amino acids including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which has gotten a lot of attention for its anti-inflammatory properties, especially when taken with other quality Omega-3 supplements.

GLA is difficult to find in a food source and normally has to be created by the body. Spirulina is one of the few foods with a natural GLA content.

I suspect that the benefits of GLA in Spirulina are even more than what the studies have found since these studies often use vegetable oils for their GLA source, and the other inflammatory compounds in vegetable oils can interfere with the anti-inflammatory ability.

Besides GLA, Spirulina also contains Omega 3-,6 and 9s and is especially high in Omega-3s.

3. May Help Balance Blood Sugar

Studies show that spirulina may be especially helpful in balancing blood sugar, and may even be as effective as diabetes medication in some instances. Other studies show that it not only lowers blood sugar but may also lower HbA1c, which is a long term marker of blood sugar levels.

4. Powerful Antioxidants

Antioxidants are powerful substances that protect our cells from damage. Thanks to decades of research, many of us understand the importance of consuming enough antioxidants from natural sources, and spirulina is a great choice.

The antioxidant that makes spirulina unique is called phycocyanin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory.

5. May Help Those with Allergies

Some research has suggested that Spirulina may be helpful for those with allergies and allergic reactions. (source)

This is likely because it reduces inflammation that leads to nasal congestion and other issues. In studies, those who took spirulina noticed a reduction in nasal congestion, itching, and sneezing.

6. Helps Remove Heavy Metals

Spirulina can bind with heavy metals in the body and help remove them.

It is also extremely high in Chlorophyll, which helps remove toxins from the blood and boost the immune system. In fact, one study found that 500 milligrams of spirulina daily combined with zinc supplementation was enough to reduce arsenic toxicity by almost half!

Emerging evidence also suggests that it binds with radioactive isotopes and may be useful for radioactivity exposure or radiation therapy.

7. Muscle and Endurance Benefits

Spirulina is known to increase fat burning during exercise. Its high antioxidant content makes it beneficial in reducing exercise induced oxidation which leads to muscle fatigue and inability to gain muscle.

In fact studies found that it:

health benefits of spirulina powder

Cautions on Spirulina

Those with phenylketonuria (PKU) should consult with a doctor before taking, as it does contain that amino acid. Those on any type of anti-coagulation medicine should consult with a doctor before beginning (or stopping) taking Spirulina. Some people with autoimmune disease do not do well with this supplement. If you are pregnant, nursing or have any medical condition, check with your doctor first as it is often not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.

Downsides of Spirulina

As I mentioned above, this beneficial algae is gram for gram one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It is also probably one of the most expensive when compared gram for gram. Many articles about its benefits focus show the nutrition data per ounce. The problem is that one ounce contains about 28 grams and is MUCH higher than normal (or safe) daily intake would be.

It costs up to 30x as much as dairy or meat protein per gram and is not a viable primary protein source for this reason.

Is Spirulina the Same as Chlorella?

Short answer: No, but they share some similarities.

Both are types of algae but there are some key differences:

  • Structure: Chlorella is a single-cell algae with a nucleus, while Spirulina is a multi-celled plant with no nucleus. For this reason, chlorella is much smaller and acts differently in the body.
  • Color: Spirulina is a cyanobacteria, a blue-green type of algae, while Chlorella is a green algae.
  • Amount of Nucleic Acids: Both are a good source of nucleic acids, though Chlorella has almost twice as much per gram. Nucleic acids are important factors for DNA and RNA in the body.
  • Digestibility: Chlorella has to go through a process to break its cell walls before it is bioavailable and usable by the body.
  • Chlorophyll Content: Chlorella is higher in Chlorophyll, with almost double the amount.
  • Iron, Protein and GLA: Chlorella is not a great source of Iron, protein and beneficial Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA).
  • Heavy Metals: Chlorella has unique properties in its cell walls that make it bind to heavy metals and other contaminants

How to Take Spirulina (& What I Use)

I use a couple of different sources of spirulina that all checked out when I did my research.

  • Spirulina Powder – The least expensive but has a a strong flavor
  • Spirulina Capsule – Small, portable tablets called “EnergyBits.” Very easy to take and no unpleasant taste. Use the code “wellnessmama” at this link for 20% off.

For more on why spirulina and chorella are so beneficial for health, check out this Wellness Mama podcast interview with EnergyBits creator Catharine Arnston.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Ever tried spirulina? What did you think of the taste? Will you try it now? Share below!

Spirulina is a superfood plant source of protein, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Benefits include fighting anemia, good for blood and heart and more!
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


471 responses to “Spirulina Benefits: 7 Reasons to Try It (& 1 Major Caution)”

  1. Becca Cutler Avatar
    Becca Cutler

    I hated it until I tried it with V8. It’s a more natural combination somehow – I think it messes too much with a lovely pastel smoothie, and even in a green smoothie it’s just kind of too intense. I still have to sort of chug it and not notice the looks but it tastes just fine with any sort of tomato juice.

  2. Jessica Taylor Avatar
    Jessica Taylor

    I was wondering what your opinion wa on Green Vibrance? Thank you!

  3. Lydia Willmore Avatar
    Lydia Willmore

    So if I took spirulina every day, added to my smoothies, would u still take chlorophyll or would u say that the amounts of chlorophyll in spirulina are sufficient?

  4. Lisa Griffin Avatar
    Lisa Griffin

    I put it in a green smoothie every morning – 1/2 T spirulina, 1 T wheat grass powder, 1 T ground flax seeds, 1/4 c raw milk kefir, 3/4 c raw milk yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 3-4 cups spinach, some ice cubes – if I want a little sweeter I add 1/2-1 tsp honey. Talk about an energy boost!

  5. Iryna Avatar

    I like to take it in my green smoothie every day (2 cups spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp spirulina powder). It tastes pretty decent!

  6. Stacy Avatar

    Yes, I have been taking spirulina for years. I helped me during my pregnancy with fatigue and help me recover from a toxic surgery along with medicinal herbs. Spirulina is also great as a body mask! It really has countless uses.

  7. Courtney Avatar

     I first tried it at a Juice Bar to ensure I liked it before making the investment.  When mixed in a smoothie, you cannot taste it, unless you use to much, so start off with 1 teaspoon and work your way up.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      In smoothies, or just in water and chug while holding your nose 🙂

      1. Andrea Olmsted Avatar
        Andrea Olmsted

        Make a banana and Oj smoothy. The Oj really mask the flavor and I always put a banana iny smoothies. I have also added almond milk and/or Greek yogurt. But I do not always have them. Drink plenty of water during the day as well.

    2. Sue Davies Avatar
      Sue Davies

      Ok, the smell! I put it in the blender with commercial OJ (3tsps pond scum and a ltr of oj between 3 of us) and buzz it, BUT the secret to us all drinking it was the bottles. I had empty plastic drinks bottles and drilled a hole in the lids, poked a straw through so it was a really tight fit, and now we can drink it without smelling it. I’ve laughed a lot at the pond/puddle comments people have been making. We’ve adopted one as our juicing slogan: “Feel the goodness, taste the pond!”

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      It is. I don’t have as much personal experience with chlorella, but it is supposed to be great, especially in combination with spirulina

      1. Kathy Avatar

        Articles say to be careful because of the dangerous amount of protein. Is this a serious concern?
        Also I have hypothyroidism. This is considered an autoimmune disease
        Is it safe to take with this?

  8. Melissa coltman Avatar
    Melissa coltman

    We mix a spoonful into a cup of plain applesauce and we can get it down pretty easy!

  9. Kirk Avatar

    I am using about 1/2 Tablespoon each day in a green smoothie. Any more than that and you can taste the pond. I feel it does give me more energy and just an overall “good” feeling. I don’t get as achy after strenuous work or exercise.

  10. Elsylee Avatar

    I take Healthforce Natural Elixir of the Lake.

     It is pricey, but it is the best around. Yes, it does take like pond water, but after a few times you get used to it 🙂

    1. Catherine Jadot Avatar
      Catherine Jadot

      I don’t agree! The best spirulina is the spirulina you grow yourself 🙂 And the taste is soooo much better!

        1. Courtney Avatar

          Elizabeth, Its quite hard to actually grow your own high quality spirulina. This cyanobacteria is sensitive to water temps, lighting, ext. environment and absorbs everything from it. Best to just find the highest quality, with no contaniments – Vertical farming offers this and there s a great European co.

      1. MaryLou Dennis Avatar
        MaryLou Dennis

        Thank you for the great info! I just bought some and have been researching the best way to use it. Now I know not to cook it with my cereal or in soup but to add that the end so it doesn’t get diminished by heat.

  11. Allison Avatar

    I just heard about this not too long ago – thanks for the post! I need to start making more smoothies!

  12. Camilla Avatar

    I have a drink containing spirulina, chlorella, kamut wheatgrass and barley every day, and I am certain that this has changed my life and energylevels completely. I never feel fatigued any more like I used to. I am pregnant now, but still take my daily greens. After reading this artikle I will increase my dose from 1 to 2 teaspoons though. And to you who never tried it before; be careful in the beginning, because starting on a full dose 1-2 ts, can really mess up your stomach. It’s not dangerous, but very uncomfortable. When I started taking greens, I felt crappy for about 3-4 weeks until my body got used to it. I started taking only 1/4 ts in the beginning and gradually increased over the next 3 weeks. Someone wrote that they had a bad experience with a green smoothie, and that can be the cause…not allergy. Greens are powerful and will start detoxing your body, and can cause stomachtrouble in the beginning.

    1. sarah Avatar

      So interesting…I’m 9 weeks pregnant and just started drinking a raw milk smoothie of sorts…I was adding 1/2 tsp of spirulina and thought maybe I was just drinking too much milk (cramps, diarrhea).  I’ve switched to almond milk and taken out the spirulina.  I’m wondering if I should slowly add it back in or if now is not the best time to try it…benefits (vitamin and mineral powerhouse) vs disadvantages (not being able to keep anything in!)  Thoughts???

      1. Camilla Avatar

        I have read several places that the first 3 months of pregnancy is not the best time to introduce greens into your diet because the impact on the body is significant and there is already som much going on in your body in the beginning of the pregnancy. Thinking about how I felt in the beginning that makes sence. I was feeling very lousy the first 3 months of my pregnancy anyway(even being used to greens), so maybe you should wait for a few more weeks? When you do want to begin eating Spirulina (or other greens) start with just a tip of a ts in the beginning. Increase the dose a little every week. Be prepared to having a bad stomach for a few weeks. Good luck!

        1. sarah Avatar

          Great–thanks so much!  I eat fresh leafy greens on a daily basis, but think I’ll wait a bit more to add the spirulina 🙂

        2. bina Avatar

          Spirulina is also a great source of iodine and taking sufficient iodine during your first trimester can make a big difference in your baby’s IQ. On the otherhand, even being just mildly deficient in iodine can cause a lower IQ of a few points. I’d say, even if you feel kinda lousy, it’ll do your baby good in the long run so try to stick with taking Spirulina in the first trimester and on.

      2. Cady Avatar

        You should only be drinking and eating pasteurized products during pregnancy. Too much risk of bacteria.

      3. Rafael Avatar

        Sara, Spirulina is regarded as a safe source of nutrients during pregnancy, including the first trimester. I’m gathering fresh-frozen, raw Spirulina and will grow it, soon, for sales nationwide… there are only 3, including myself, that are providing it fresh-frozen; everyone else sells it in dehydrated powder or tablet form. I know that drying it breaks the cyanobacterium’s cell wall and allows inner components to break down and oxidize; that’s what makes it nearly unpalatable and, consequently, many get a gag effect trying to swallow it as powder. As for bacterial contamination, in its raw form, Spirulina has a pH between 10-12, super high alkalinity, in which virtually no other life form can survive. You might get contaminating life-forms in dehydrated (no more water), but none in Spirulina if it’s fresh or fresh-frozen.

        Anyway, regarding pregnancy, here’s how it’s explained by Marcus Rohrer (Hawaiian source of tablets marketed under trademark of Marcus Rohrer Spirulina):
        “… Spirulina can be consumed at doses of 3 to 20 tablets per day without any adverse effects. Studies on the acute, subchronic and chronic toxicity and mutagenicity of Spirulina have revealed no specific body or organ toxicity or genotoxicity. Dietary ingestion of very high levels of Spirulina during pregnancy has not caused foetal abnormalities or birth defects.

        Spirulina serves as a suitable iron source during pregnancy. It contains high levels of bio-available iron which has been shown to be easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. It has been proven that Spirulina can be used to combat iron-deficiency anemia in anemic adolescent girls and women, by improving hemoglobin levels.

        Spirulina is an ideal vegetable source of bio-active vitamin B12, a vitamin that, next to iron, is also important for blood cell formation and for neurological development. Spirulina is an extremely rich source of carotenoid antioxidants such as beta carotene (provitamin A) and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin has been proven to support both eye health and brain health. (NOTE: Spirulina does not contain vitamin A, the potentially detrimental vitamin when consumed in high doses in pregnancy.)

        Spirulina is effective in maintaining optimal intestinal flora and in decreasing Candida albicans (yeast) infection. It contains vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 in considerable amounts and in this way contributes to normal blood clotting and good bone formation. Spirulina is nature’s richest whole food source of the important omega-6- fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that contributes to women’s health…”

        Finally, regarding the presence of heavy metals in the environment (to which virtually all of us are exposed if we live in towns and cities)… Spirulina is a natural chelator, meaning it attaches itself to heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, and lead, in such a way that it changes the molecular makeup of the poisons, disengaging their ability to anchor in human organs (including the brain) and allows them to pass naturally out of the body through the urine stream. Safe to say, your child will be born with the best set possible of optimally functioning cognitive reasoning and motor skills.

  13. Vicky Avatar

    What about encapsulating the powder in vegatable or gelatin capsules and washing them down with water to avoid the pond water taste?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      There are a couple links above for spirulina that is already in capsules. It is more expensive, but definitely easier to take! You could encapsulate yourself, but your hands will turn green 🙂

  14. Vega Avatar

    Could someone offer a rough “recipe” for using spirulina in a smoothie?  I am new to this, but would like to try.  Is there ever any use in adding it to cooked dishes, or does heat destroy its benefits?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’ve never tried adding to cooked dishes, but I add anywhere from 2 tsp-2 tbsp to a veggie smoothie. A lot of people add it to fruit smoothies and don’t mind the taste much, but we don’t drink many fruit smoothies, so I haven’t tried it.

      1. Carol Avatar

        I’ve taken spirulina in tablet form for years but now use the powder. I guess I’ve gotten use to the taste because it doesn’t taste bad to me. I use it in my morning smoothie which consists of a variety of the following: kale, orange, carrots, blueberries, apple juice, organic n/f yogurt; summer fruits, banana, extra vitamin C powder. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of this year. Surgeon wanted to do radical therapy. After meeting with oncologist, he stated tumor was already shrinking, but would benefit from an anti-estrogen pill, which I’ve opted for. Between changing my diet, massive amounts of prayer, and the anti-estrogen pill, it appears that the cancer has disappeared. Will know for sure after tests in another six weeks. Please pray that I will not need surgery, chemo, or radiation. Oh yes, I also at times sprinkle the spirulina on my fresh salad. I think I actually like the taste of spirulina and have taken it right out of the spoon at times.

        1. Thomas Rearden Avatar
          Thomas Rearden

          Before you consider surgery, chemo, or radiation…please go to cureyourowncancer.org and research and consider cannabis oil as treatment. I wish I had this knowledge before my mother was subjected to 3 rounds of both chemo and radiation and still passed away. The FDA and Big Pharma have kept this cure from the public in hopes of synthesizing a drug to be marketed since the seventies. The essential oil of the cannabis (marijuana) plant has such miraculous effects its hard to believe it cures and prevents a host of illnesses. Please consider it before you destroy your body.

          1. Kathy Avatar

            I had breast cancer before I was into good nutrition. I ate pretty clean but there is always room for improvement.
            I went into it with the attitude of “get it out of me…kill it…use the strongest stuff you got”! Had chemo treatments for a year. and 36 rounds of radiation.
            NOW I’m in the process of putting my body back together with only healthy foods. Just read about the spironilla and bought some…will try it in a smoothie for sure. I appreciate all that you all are sharing!
            God Bless!

        2. Kim Avatar

          Pray everything is going well with you!! Have you heard of Dr. Sebi? You should look him up, if you haven’t.

        3. Dee Wolfe Avatar
          Dee Wolfe

          what I do not understand, is that it seems like you really ate and drank great healthy stuff, and i would think the spirulina would keep you from getting cancer, and you got cancer?????? I dont get it you would think all you do it would keep you from that.. Just curious…………………. sincerly Dee in Tacoma wash

    2. Elena Sordo-King Avatar
      Elena Sordo-King


      6oz spring water
      6oz coconut water
      1 big scoop
      of a clean unflavored or vanilla protein powder
      ½ avocado, peeled and frozen
      are great
      1 tsp Hawaiian Spirulina
      1 Tbsp flaxseed oil
      ½ tsp probiotic
      Handful of frozen blueberries
      Shake of cinnamon

      Directions: Blend all of the listed ingredients. For extra
      thickness, add more ice.

      1. Amber Avatar

        Hey do you think if I mix it with juice in my Nutri-blast will it kill the taste?

        1. Dan Avatar

          Take the tablets…great for raising body PH…
          Would put the casino hospitals out of business if people took spirulina !

    3. Taylor Lager Avatar
      Taylor Lager

      I’ve been making smoothies everyday basically they consist of:

      -1 chobani yogurt cup of a flavor, usually blueberry (you can use any brand you want of course)

      -1 banana

      -squeeze of honey (maple syrup or agave)

      -splash of almond milk

      (the amount of milk depends on how much room I have left in the magicbullet cup)

      -a light spoonful of spirulina


      Blend it all together.

      Smoothies are great because you just add what you want into it. Hope you can use this for a start.

    4. Melissa LaChappelle Avatar
      Melissa LaChappelle

      My favorite I do a few times a week is 8-10oz coconut water, 1/2 banana, 5-6 frozen strawberries, a handful of romaine or spinach, 1 tsp spirulina and 1tsp premier greens powder (premier research labs). Tastes great! 🙂

    5. Alicia Thigpen Crawford Avatar
      Alicia Thigpen Crawford

      I just started taking Spirulina a couple of weeks ago and I add about a heaping TBSP when I juice organic carrots (about 6) with one apple. Make sure you have plenty of room to roughly stir it all together for a minute or so so it doesn’t have any clumps. I drink it with a straw and I don’t really taste it now. I do smoothies as well but I can’t imagine the taste of fruits with the Spirulina. The benefits of this far outweigh the taste seeing as how in less than 30 seconds it’s all over! 🙂

    6. Judith Driscoll Avatar
      Judith Driscoll

      As a wimp about things that don’t taste good, I use this smoothie recipe: 1 TBSP Spirulina, 2 TBSP Almond Butter, 1 TSP Maple Syrup, 1.5 C Almond Milk, and 1.5 C Coconut Milk, and 1 – 2 Bananas (all approximate measures).

    7. Diana Krdotyan Avatar
      Diana Krdotyan

      I usually mix it with half a cup of blueberries, raspberries, one kiwi with almond milk… You would even taste the green algae in there, and also for extra boost I add half a tea spoon of raw maca powder… It has worked wonders for me emotionally, mentally and physically.
      Drink up to health and beauty

    8. Kristen Avatar

      I just started using Spirulina, but I’m excited to see how much better I can feel. For my morning smoothie, I use a banana, an orange, half an avocado, frozen blueberries, spoon of peanut butter, coconut water and a spoonful of spirulina. Its sweet, very filling, somewhat thick, and just ignore the color of sludge 🙂

    9. Catherine Jadot Avatar
      Catherine Jadot

      better not to cook it to keep all the benefits of the enzymes but you’ll still get some nutrients if you cook it (a little bit like for vegetables).

      1. Johanna Avatar

        Find the taste and smell unbearable. I sometimes bake it in a thin layer, mixed 50/50 with ground almonds… probably halves the benefits of eating Spirulina, though.

    10. Sameer Avatar

      1 Cup Coconut Water, half banana, 1/2 cup kale, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1 cup spinach with 1.5 TSP Spirulina powder.
      Blend it to a smooth smoothie. You will not even know there is Spirulina in it except by The green color

  15. Elizabeth Avatar

    I’m pregnant and would like to take this… the veggie smoothie is something I could see doing on occasion, but I really love to just *eat* my veggies. So I guess I’d like to know how awful does it really taste in water?

    1. Miriam Tolliver Avatar
      Miriam Tolliver

      I have to say that my family puts it in our smoothies sometimes and the kids will still drink them. We think it has a bit of a fishy taste but enough berries and bananas can cover that up(somewhat) LOL. I also find that adding dates to our smoothies for extra sweetness helps hide the taste of really nasty stuff.

      1. Christine Avatar

        It also helps to add it to lemon or lime water/juice. Helps cut the taste. Spirulina does taste gross – like pond scum, but after three days of using it, you won’t want to go without (and the taste does get somewhat more bearable). Your body will wake in the morning begging for it! I wouldn’t be without it …

          1. Dobbo Avatar

            Oi i bet. when i supplemented this product through a smoothie the effect it had on me and my immune system was aweful! I lived on the toilet for a month!

    2. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      It really isn’t that awful, especially once you get used to it… It is definitely an acquired taste, but not terrible.

      1. Naile Avatar

        I’m so sorry but it is dreadful and impossible to get used to. I now disguise it as a paste and spread it thinly in Naan bread whilst dunking it in the hottest phal on the menu!

        1. Lee Avatar

          haha! thats creative. for anybody ‘afraid’ of spirulina, don’t be.
          iuts so easy to drink, just put a spoonful into your OJ or apple juice and swirl it around, throw it back quickly, your done! its not supposed to be sipped casually,
          because yes it does taste like a puddle. so throw it down, and voila!
          your getting healthier.

    3. holly Avatar

      Mixing with oj really hides the taste and the vit c helps you absorb the iron. I mix two teaspoons with half a glass of fresh orange

      1. MJ Avatar

        I’ve taken spiriulina tablets as a multi vitamin and they made me feel so healthy and good than I had ever felt. I’m now nursing and am going to start taking it again as I’ve heard it helps lactation so I guess I’ll see how it goes.

        1. Sasha Avatar


          How many tablets are you supposed to take a day and how many mg does one tablet have, please?

          Thanks so much!!


          1. Kathleen Scallon Avatar
            Kathleen Scallon

            Also, do I take all at once or sporadically? I just received my Hawaian Pacific Spirulina, (capsules) Directions says to take 3 a day (1000mg each) 3000 a day. I don’t know if I shouldn’t take it all at one ( my preference). What do you recommend? Of course I want the most benefit. I am 57, my bones are feeling the age lol. I’m looking for anti inflammatory and more energy, overall health. My goal is to be as healthy as I can at eveny age until my last breath. -Thank you, Kathleen

      2. Liliya Sakhabieva Avatar
        Liliya Sakhabieva

        I wanted to take spirulina during pregnancy but for some reason thought that my baby will feel the same symptoms like me(headaches etc.) and never took them. I was and still am jealous of my husband because he is taking them religiously and feels and looks awesome.
        Reading this post I’m so excited to give a try, since I’m still pregnant (33 weeks).
        Do you think me and my baby can still benefit from spirulina?
        Is it ok to use while breastfeeding too, if yes, what are the benefits?
        And how long to take the spirulina, because once i asked my husband to stop taking it, since i thought it is good for detoxification and not good to take it all the time. He started consuming them again in 1,5 months since he wasn’t feeling good.

      3. Anna Avatar

        Hi wellness mama, thanks for this comment, i want to hear more though, i am pregnant and before knowing i was taking 1 tbsp a day with my smoothies but i got worried because it is very high in Vitamin A which can cause birth defects. I am anxiously waiting to find out if my baby is alright. Are your kids all healthy?

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar

          All my kids a very healthy! My second son had dairy allergies and eczema due to (in my opinion) having been born by a decidedly not gentle c-section and missing out on good bacteria and having several rounds of antibiotics in the hospital. If you are at all concerned, talk to your doctor about it and don’t take if you are worried. I am simply sharing what I do. Definitely do not do something against your better judgement on my say-so.

          1. Tamecca Avatar

            Is taking tablet form just as good as powder? And how much do you like to take while nursing?

          2. Michelle Avatar

            My 6 yr old son is ANA to dairy, allergic to several other, so I was hoping to get some calcium and protein in his picky little body.
            What is the best way to get it down? He does drink smoothies with kale and spinach along with fruits and almond milk. Could I sneak it in there?
            Thanks in advance

        2. Samia Avatar

          This interesting info is from livestrong.com:

          “Dried spirulina is unusual in that it contains both vitamin A and beta-carotene. A half cup contains 171 micrograms of vitamin A and 342 micrograms of beta carotene. Together this adds up to more than half the day’s vitamin A RDA for men and women. Raw spirulina is much less nutritious, containing only about 16 micrograms of vitamin A.”

          Nobody consumes “a half cup” of dried spirulina per day. And that huge amount has only 171 mcgs of Vitamin A, so I’d say don’t worry.

          WHILE I’M HERE: I will lose it if I read another article claiming that (dried) spirulina is good source of protein because the percentage, technically speaking, is indeed high percentage-wise. But we normally don’t consume more than, say, 10 grams a day and that is a lot. Who can down 1/2 cup or more of dried spirulina even if it were spread out during the day; heck, who could afford to?

          So, at a protein content of 60%, that is 6 grams of protein.

          As a source of protein, I’d stick with eggs, lentils, etc. And they are tastier, too.

          Spirulina is good for other reasons but protein – no.

          1. Wellness Mama Avatar

            I agree with you but probably didn’t word it as strongly as you’d prefer. Here’s what I said:

            Many articles about its benefits focus show the nutrition data per ounce. The problem is that one ounce contains about 28 grams and is MUCH higher than normal (or safe) daily intake would be.

            It costs up to 30x as much as dairy or meat protein per gram and is not a viable primary protein source for this reason.

            It’s also not a good source of B12…

      4. Christy Avatar

        Would you ever give it to your kids? I don’t give milk to my 2 year old so always looking for good forms of calcium for her.

      5. Ashlea Avatar

        Thank you how does it work for you I’m in my 2nd trimester ridden with fatigue I was unsure of its safety during pregnancy

      6. Laura Avatar

        At my son’s 1 year well check he was a little low on iron…I’m thinking this correlates to him not sleeping well. If I took this while breastfeeding, do you think it would help? Or should I try adding to a smoothie for him? Is it even safe for a 1 year old? Any recommendations on which kind and how much I should start with if so?

    1. Heather Avatar

      Absolutely! I drink two or three green smoothies a day. Still breastfeeding my toddler. 🙂

    2. Catherine Jadot Avatar
      Catherine Jadot

      Yes it is very much okay while breastfeeding.

      Spirulina has a lot of GLA a good type of Omega 6 – Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (they are necessary for human health but the body can’ t make them) and play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development for the fetus and the baby.

      If you supplement your diet with GLA, your breast milk will have higher concentration of it and it’s all benefits for your baby 🙂

      1. Lesley Avatar

        Do you give it to babies as well? Wondering if I should try slipping some into my 8 month old babies diet?

        1. Rikka Avatar

          Did you give spirulina to your baby? Iwant to give ours too instead of the iron vitaminsi was prescribed 🙂

    3. Aral Avatar

      Yes it’s ok for breatfeeding. There’s a company in Turkey that has their very huge Spirulina farm and they say pregnant women can take Spirulina pills too. 🙂

  16. Cat Avatar

    I’ve wanted to try it but have only had it in bottled green juices so far. I’m a little scared but lately I’ve liked a lot more weird stuff. Worth a try!

    1. regi Avatar

      Call me strange but if i know something is healthy, i develop a taste for it! I use it in my air popped popcorn with several other spices and i LOVE IT!

      1. Dawson Avatar

        Im 22. This is a big change for me. Its my second day taking this stuff from Health Force “spirilina manna” first detox after 7 solid years of cannabis and afew other things here n there and very poor lifestyle no routine excercise and LOTS of pizza and BK caught the stinky sleep sweats 🙁 -done with all of that. 4 days of no refined foods, lots of veg, juiced the first day. it has been less than a week and my fatigue is GONE. And i used food as a crutch and overate abusing large homemade dish pizzas in a night and all you can eat americanized sushi phases whenever i could. I am baffled at how fast i am feeling awake all day and evening again. This stuff is amazing and i hear my stomach again so many health problems that i care not to mention gone just like that..in 4 days.

        1. Scott Avatar

          Congrats on your lifestyle change!! I waited till I was 49 to quit abusing my body I am now 60 and I’m great health. Keep it up and enjoy!!

        2. Elle Avatar

          congratulations. If you digress, make yourself get back onto the bandwagen

      2. Jody Kick Avatar
        Jody Kick

        I was about to make the same comments !
        I love everything healthy for me if not at first, I learn to love it… Spirulina is great over air popped popcorn.

  17. Rebekka Hennecke Avatar
    Rebekka Hennecke

    Hmm… I’ve always thought that I was allergic to spirulina, as I once drank a green smoothie containing that (from Odwalla) and experienced a profoundly (and I mean really, really profoundly), er, laxative effect. It’s not something I ever want to experience again! But after reading this I checked their ingredient list and it also has wheatgrass and barleygrass… and I have a grass allergy with cross-allergies for peas and melons. Any thoughts?

    1. Mo Avatar

      Odwalla superfood also contains Gluten – it’s one of only a couple of juices they make that does.

    2. mike Avatar

      Reb, by taking this super nutrient powder; it cleansed your body thus working as a detox in which your body eliminated all the metals toxins etc. through your bowel movements…giving you the laxative effect

      1. Christine Avatar

        Is this typical because my daughter has Chron’s so doesn’t need any extra visits to the bathroom. 😉

          1. Muffy Avatar

            I put my spirulina powder in apple juice every morning..

          2. Jason Byrley Avatar
            Jason Byrley

            I don’t know why the author keeps saying it tastes like Pond Scum. It doesn’t taste like ice cream or something really nice, but it’s not that bad really. I mix 1 tbs with OJ and a bunch of other fruits / veggies and you don’t even notice the taste. It does, however, color anything you mix it with a deep green color. No getting around that. But, that just makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body though when I look at the color.

        1. Andrea cornish Avatar
          Andrea cornish

          Hi just wondered if it was ok to take as i suffer with ibs x

        2. Sherrie Avatar

          My mother has chrons ans I slowly began to develop symptoms. I eliminated everything from my diet except fruits and veggies and began libricating my system with positive oils such as black seed, coconut and olive oil. Also thoroughly chewing good with a small amount of lemon juice helped to break down food so that your body is not working so hard to break down hard items.

        3. Joseph Avatar

          The absolute best book you can ever read is Patient Heal Thyself by Jordan Rubin. The first part of the book is about his nightmare ordeal with Crohn’s disease and how he eventually completely cured himself. His and Dr Mercolas supplements are some of the most trustworthy brands out there.

          1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

            I’m really not a fan of Rubin. He is now involved in supplements like bone broth protein powder that are not organic or grass fed and it appears that he doesn’t have the credentials he claims to have. He isn’t involved in his original supplement company anymore (Garden of Life) and they may have decent stuff, I haven’t used it or researched it much, but based on the current projects he is involved with, I’d be careful.

        4. Elle Avatar

          Rubin’s press materials state that he has degrees in naturopathic medicine and nutrition and is certified as a nutritional consultant [4]. However, none of his “credentials” have any legitimate academic or professional standing:
          I just did a google.

          1. Joseph Avatar

            All true, yes. But I can’t say enough about Primal Defense. It has almost done miracles for myself and my family. He actually “stole” thatvformula from a different company I later found out.

          2. Naomi Aldort Avatar
            Naomi Aldort

            I know nothing about Rubin, but I am careful not to make judgments based on online criticism. Like Einstein said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” So I am generally careful on both sides: Not everyone with degrees and great reputation is really worth much, and likewise, not having degrees, or selling supplements does not tell me that the person is not worth while; some amazing thinkers fall in that category. Meanwhile, I recommend not to do harm to the name of another. I will check him out and judge by what I learn.

          3. Sarah Avatar

            Garden of life is actually owned by nestle as of very recently. I don’t know how old these comments are, but I thought I’d let everyone know!

          4. Miriam Avatar


            I noticed that after mixing mine in a smoothie that my urine was bright green, is that normal?

      2. kathleen Avatar

        I am also experiencing a laxative effect after only 3 pills (1 per day). Am I really sensitive? Will this go away over time?

    3. Blair Avatar

      Odwalla juice is not a way you want to consume it.. Odwalla- Horrible company

    4. Matt Avatar

      Odwalla is owned by CocaCola, meaning the quality of their products is very low grade. There could have been pesticides and what not used to grow the spirulina and other products in there. Stay way from these kinda of “smoothies” Naked is owned by Pepsi as well so don’t drink these. They are also pasteurized so all the nutrients are basically destroyed. Look for organic spirulina and make it in a smoothie using other organic ingredients. Very Important!

      1. kelly Avatar

        Thanks for posting who owns what – my kids think those products are super cool. I think they are highly over priced and dead. When I tell them who owns the company they may think twice before shelling out their(my) money. I’ve taken Spirulina for 30 yrs. -it’s really good stuff!

        1. Deb Thompson Avatar
          Deb Thompson

          How do you take it? Looking for how to get into the habit and need to link to something in my day, if that makes sense… so much stuff to take in morning I get weary!!! 🙂

          1. Cheryl Avatar

            Deb Thompson, PA? I’m looking into the properties of Spirulina. It’s been around for so very long and is very good for the human body. RT was a distributor back in the day. His biggest client was Carrie Berfet.

          2. Miriam Payne Avatar
            Miriam Payne

            First thing in the morning (after a hot lemon) I pop 2-3 teaspoons of spirulina (i use organic naturya powder) in a tall round container with about a glass of apple juice, stir with fork first to stop it coagulating on sides of container (easy to rinse later), add some frozen raspberries, i buy fresh and freeze as they are (the bitterness of the raspberries and sweetness of applejuice mask the spirulina taste/smell and the frozeness of the raspberries is so refreshing on a hot day too), i sometimes add chia seeds or milled flax if i have them, blend with hand-held blender or nutri-bullet, pop in a nice big glass to fancy it up and spoil yourself 🙂 I then take an omega 3 supplement (NHP is good). I then do my exercise and by the end of the day I’m glowing! I recommend adding milled flax seed, not for taste but because spirulina and flax somehow work really well together in giving you a healthy, solid and easy bowel movement every single day, like seriously – regular like clock-work. Must be so good for the intestines. Im not an expert but from experience, this really helped me lose weight (i was mildly overweight), and also put my mind at ease to know im supporting my body nutritionally in the process. Some people like the taste as it is which is great for them, but for me, i think mixed with water or even just taking the tablets makes the experience less enjoyable. As someone mentioned earlier, it’s nice to look at the dark green slush in a glass and think “hey, I’m doing something really good for my body”. Psychologically speaking, visually appreciating the colour and nutrients can also improve the taste and your willingness to make it part of your routine going forward. But that’s just my opinion, each to their own 🙂

      2. Rita Amundsen Avatar
        Rita Amundsen

        I take it with spring water. Not good but the best way since it should not be to cold

    5. James Avatar

      Why is everyone talking about using the powder in a smoothie. take the tablets and you dont have to have that foul taste. I take 6 tabs first thing in the morning with 8 oz water.

      1. nirmoha Avatar

        I eat the crunchy form of spirulina straight. I love the taste!!! Don’t know what every one is talking about here regarding it having a foul taste.

        1. DebraSue Avatar

          thanks for saying this! I don’t mind the taste either. I mix it with a juice and it’s a treat!

          1. Gina Avatar

            I love the powder! I use frozen berries (I’ll mix them up at random depending on what I’m in the mood for), add 2 tsp of the powder, some chia seeds, and/or matcha then top it off with coconut water. It’s delicious!!

        2. Michelle Avatar

          Can you please provide the website if purchased online where you buy the crunchy spirulina from I would love to try this form before getting the powder. I personal would perfect to mix it with juice as I do with moringa powder I take. Thanks

        3. Kristy Avatar

          I agree. I like to make a 100 cal raw snack ball.

          1 prune
          1 T Spirulina Crunches
          1/2 T nut butter

          You can make these in a batch.

          I just whip them up fresh with my hand food processor. They are also good out of the fridge.

      2. Sasha Avatar

        Hi James,

        I have heard so much about spirulina so I am going to try it. I am thinking to buy capsules. So, how many mg each capsule has like 450mg?

        I always try to underdose myself to see how it affects my body because I am very sensitive. So, I was thinking maybe I should try the powder and that way I can have a slow start and use half a teaspoon or so?

        But then, everyone is just repulsed by the taste of the powder?

        Any tips? How many mg does your capsule has or what’s the ideal dosage?

        Thanks so much!!


          1. Tia Avatar

            I see you say get organic, but those links to products, I didn’t see that that brand was organic. Did I miss that? The pills were 500mg, and say take 6 times a day! ? Whoa!

          2. GLADYS Avatar

            I have this in my med cabinet but can rarely take it. I do my own protime at home and the only time I can take it when my INR is over the limits. Taking just 6 tabs will bring my clotting time back down to normal. But I would LOVE feeling the results “super” food

          3. Julie Spangler Avatar
            Julie Spangler

            Hi, could you tell me how many you worked up to? 20 pills a day seems like a full time job.
            Do you take less than 20 and how do you determine how many to take.
            I take 1 tsp of the powder which is 3g, what would be the equivalent in your pills?

          4. Samantha Sampson Avatar
            Samantha Sampson

            Hi Katie! Gosh I feel like you are one of the family because my sisters and I have been reading/using your cookbook, reading your blog, etc for YEARS!! I am a Christian military wife, veteran homeschool mom and master herbalist and am trying very hard to find a way to contact you personally….guess this is it?? Lol.
            Looking forward very much to hearing back from you 🙂

        1. Amy Avatar

          James did anyone help you? I am looking to try it and and there’s so many different doses I’ve saw.

        2. Leon Chavarria Avatar
          Leon Chavarria

          I started taking spirulina in 500 mg tablets every 6 weeks – yeah maybe that’s awhile but it worked just so you know how your body reacts until you get to 1500 mg then I increased daily dosage every three weeks so now I take 6000 mg a day and now after a 1 & 1/2 years I feel much better: more energy; clearer thinking; better sleep (bodily and mind rest is important) now epileptic seizures are 4 months apart, when I went to college in NYC 35 years ago they were happening every 10 days- I’m glad you’ve found it as am I. L.C.

          Wellness Mama – I can’t recall if I ‘commented’ anytime earlier. If so my apologies.

          1. Paula Avatar

            So basically you have increase the dosage after a couple of weeks? Isn’t that to much for your body???

        3. jj Avatar

          A fruit smoothie, with nothing else but fruit, spinach, purified water (don’t drink tap water, or any other bottled brand. They’re ALL POISON!!! INVESTIGATE!!!) and spirulina… You can’t even taste it… Pineapple and bananas are so sweet… Add them with any other fruits, your preferred greens, and spirulina… You can’t taste anything but smoothie delight!!! Add water to thin, but not tap, bottled, or anything but purified or distilled. Fluoride, plus any other additives to tap or bottled water is POISON!!! And enjoy!!!?

      3. Elle Avatar

        I take about 15 tabs of Chlorella/spirulina every morning and that way I don’t get tired.

        1. Cathy Avatar

          I thought you should take 2 to 1 ratio. 2 spirulina to 1 chol. I take 5000 mg to 2500mg. Per day.

          1. Elle Avatar

            You may be correct.
            I purchase the 50/50 chlorella/spirulina tablet mix 8 oz bag of 1250 tablets. Serving size 15 tablets. It works for me.

    6. John Wagner Avatar
      John Wagner

      Pond water. That’s the description I was looking for. I did not know how to describe the taste. I mix it with fruit smoothies to kill the taste. I have learned to like the deep green color and believe the health benefits are worth it.

      1. Rosemary Avatar

        I have had this served to me as part of breakfast in a vegan hotel:
        hemp seeds soaked overnight then liquidized (maybe in some of the soaking water?)plus organic soya yoghurt plus banana plus Spirulina; produces a lovely muddy green sludge which tastes very green and alive.

      2. Cellany Avatar

        Why does everyone think it tastes bad? To me it doesn’t have much of a taste at all, but more of a smell (can smell through your mouth too) and it smells like egg whites to me – not such a bad thing. 🙂
        I drink a teaspoon mixed into 200 ml of spring water. No fruit juice necessary.

        1. Frank Avatar

          Try taking spirulina in cold water with ice. I find it much easier to swallow and less of a nasty taste. Don’t sip it chug it down!

        2. Grace Hall Avatar
          Grace Hall

          Oh my! Just had Spirulina for the first time now and I can tell you that smells foul. Although did not taste bad for me. Description of egg whites (or even packaged dog food) is very accurate. X

          1. Karla Avatar

            I very much agree with you , I just started drinking it about 4 days ago and i honestly don’t think it’s that bad, I mix it with orange juice and 1 unpeeled kiwi and sip it lol, my mom on the other hand hated it, she add 1 tbsp to a green juice and still doesn’t like it, I take it first thing in the morning and I love it it gives me energy and also fills me, enough to substitute my breakfast

    7. Frances Mallia Avatar
      Frances Mallia


    8. Gleon Avatar

      I have been taking wheatgrass shots daily – in a form of extract, not as power, pill or actual juice. I am allergic to gluten but so far I haven’t had any issues with wheatgrass shots. As a matter of fact, I really like it. The way I drink this shot is somewhat different. Per instruction, I hold it in my mouth for a few minutes and then swallow it. Here’s my question: Would it be beneficial to hold spirulina in the mouth so that some nutrients get absorbed through the tongue?? If so, I hope spirulina doesn’t taste too bad. Would it taste really bad?

    9. Elena Avatar

      Spirulina powder is an absolute superstar! BUT, you have to know how to consume right. When I first tried the Hawaiian spirulina – added about 1tsp to cold water – omg it tasted awful and I gagged and wanted to throw up. Now I know how to consume it right. By making a smoothie with 1/2 avocado, banana, wild blueberries, small handful of spinach, 1tsp of coconut oil, 1ts almond butter, almond milk or filtered water and finally 1big tsp of spirulina. This smoothie tastes amazing and you barely taste the spirulina. Also want to mention I tried to increase to 1 tbs a day in smoothie and had never had more energy and mental clarity in years. I literally was out doing Christmas shopping all day long and did not get tired. Although it did have a laxative effect.

      1. Annie Avatar

        Hi. Thanks for youre post. Ive just started taking 1tsp in a smoothie, I find cucumber and lime juice plus any other fruits tastes good. Have notitced more energy, wondering how much and if to increase and is it advisable long term? I use the powder as well…… have also made fat bombs with cacao powder, coconut necter and oil, keep in freezer. Any tips gratefully recieved. ?

    10. Blythe B Avatar
      Blythe B

      The very first time I bought sprirulina powder – in bulk – it was a beautiful New Years Day and I was making a nice smoothie. I am in great shape, healthy eater . . . The SUGGESTED dose is 1 tablespoon (although I HIGHLY suggest starting out with less). I wanted to be healthy – and it was dark in the kitchen, and I added, 1 round tablespoon, then another, then a third. It was great . . . for a while.
      About 6 hours later, I had intense, acute, intestinal pain. And an intestinal tornado that sent me running to the bathroom A LOT / FREQUENTLY. (I was in so much pain that my boyfriend wanted to take me to the hospital.) Later that night things calmed down, Thank goodness.
      I did a little research and it says “may have a heavy detoxing effect”. That’s an understatement. A few days later I still felt like I was punched in the stomach. I know it wasn’t food poisoning, or anything else. So – start off small!! I still only use about 3/4 tablespoon ever because I DO NOT want to go though that again.

      1. J Avatar

        You probably have a contaminated batch. Spirulina shouldn’t give you digestion issues. Try Hawaiian Spirulina.

    11. Hien luong Avatar
      Hien luong

      Lol !so that’s what it is, I was given some by a friend and only recently thought it was a great idea to try.I take 3 capsules a day ( at once) and noticed I was going to the wc more than usual.So I searched if it had a laxative effect and sure enough I got my answers. Does it eventually lessen the times you go to the toilet or only if you lessen the dosage or stop altogether?

    12. Monica Avatar

      I just took my first dose of spirulina (powder). I used scant 1 teaspoon, mixed in with juice from 1 lemon and about a cup of coconut water. I enjoyed the taste! Even the smell of the powder didn’t put me off. I’m not feeling and negative effects yet in fact I feel decidedly more alert, energetic and have less hunger. This is great, especially as I have been on a liquid diet all day.

    13. J Avatar

      It could have been an allergy, but mostly likely you had a contaminated batch of Spirulina, which is quite common. This has also happened to my mom and me. Hawaiian Spirulina is safe to take. I would try that first before writing it off as an allergy.

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