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Caution With Spirulina Supplements: ConsumerLab Tests Reveal Lead Contamination, Quality Concerns
White Plains, New York, February 9, 2022 — Problems were discovered in three out of four spirulina supplements recently tested by ConsumerLab. One product was found to be contaminated with lead, and two other products, which were tablets, failed to disintegrate within the expected time. In fact, the tablets for both products remained almost completely intact even with extended time, raising concerns that the ingredients may not be properly released into the digestive system. ConsumerLab also tested three chlorella supplements, all of which passed testing.

The products were tested as part of ConsumerLab's larger Greens and Whole Food Powders and Capsules Review, which includes powders, pills and drinks containing a combination of ingredients like wheat grass, alfalfa, kelp, spirulina, chlorella, leafy vegetables and fruits. These products tend to be high in fiber and low in fats and are a popular choice for people looking to increase their intake of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based nutrients. In 2019, ConsumerLab tests revealed that a combination product containing spirulina was also contaminated with lead. (ConsumerLab tests have found similar issues with heavy metal contamination in its separate reviews of related plant-based products such as dried seaweed snacks and kelp supplements). None of the combination greens and whole foods products were found to be contaminated with pesticides or microbes, and all products labeled as "gluten-free" were confirmed by testing to meet this claim.

The cost to obtain a 5-gram (1 tablespoon) serving of powder from each product, including capsules and tablets, ranged from 17 cents to $3.02.

Among products that were Approved through testing, ConsumerLab selected its Top Picks based on ingredients, quality, cost, and, for powders, taste.

The results are available online now in ConsumerLab's new Greens and Whole Food Powders and Capsules Review, which includes test results and comparisons for 20 products. Sixteen products were selected by ConsumerLab: Amazing Grass Green Superfood, Dr. Berg's Organic Cruciferous Superfood, Dr. Mercola Organic Greens, Earth Circle Organics Organic Chlorella Tablets, Green Foods Nature's Finest Green Magma Organic, Juice Plus+ Berry Blend, Microingredients Superfoods Organic Broken Cell Wall Chlorella Powder, Naturo Science Green Food - Berry Flavored, NOW Chlorella 500 mg, Nutrex Green Complete Hawaiian Spirulina, Pure Hawaiian Spirulina, Swanson Spirulina, Trader Joe's Very Green, Vibrant Health Green Vibrance, Whole Foods Market Super Greens Energy Blend, and Zazzee Organics 100% Pure Organic Spirulina Powder. Four products were tested and Approved through CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program: Garden of Life Raw Perfect Food Green Superfood, GNC Earth Genius SuperFoods Supreme — Mixed Berry Natural Flavor, Jarrow Formulas Green Defense Detox, and Solgar Spirulina (Plant Plankton).

The report also discusses the clinical evidence for and against greens and whole foods supplementation, what types of greens products provide the best nutrients, the differences between chlorella and spirulina products, what to look for on product labels, the best way to take these powders, and potential side effects and drug interactions with various greens and whole foods products. As explained in the review, "whole foods" or "greens" may provide some benefits, but they should not be considered a replacement for a healthy diet rich in fruits in vegetables.

Founded in 1999, ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to ConsumerLab.com is available online and provides immediate access to continually updated reviews of nearly every popular type of dietary supplement and health food, answers to reader questions, and product recalls and warnings. ConsumerLab also provides independent product testing through its voluntary Quality Certification Program. The company is privately held and based in New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

 

 

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