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Is this caused by inferior spirulina?

hello forum,

apologies if the question i'm about to ask grosses you out. but it is a serious question about something i am genuinely curious about. warning: if you're squeamish, you might want to move on...

i'm haven't gone raw, but i stopped eating meat in 1989. i first had spirulina - in the form of bars - back around '90. i hadn't had any after that until a couple months ago, when all of a sudden i started craving the spirulina taste i remembered of the bars. i bought a 1lb jar of now foods brand organic spirula powder with the intention of making homemade spirulina bars from a recipe i found on some site. but when it arrived, i was too lazy to make the bars, and instead just add 7-10 grams into my twice-daily smoothies (14-20g/day total). i enjoy the smoothies even more than i enjoyed the bars that i remembered.

i was not surprised when i noticed my bowel movements started taking on a deep, dark green color. that is to be expected. right?

i eventually polished off that first jar after a month or so. and because it was so expensive, and took so long to ship to the u.k. where i live, instead of restocking with that particular brand, i went with a cheaper no-named brand (also organic) from some guy on ebay.co.uk. it was a lot, lot cheaper, and it was delivered a lot, lot faster.

for the last 2 weeks or so, i've been eating the exact same amount of this no-named brand as i ate of the expensive named brand. what i am surprised about though now, is that my bowel movements are not that deep, dark green color that i was expecting them to be now that i've switched brands.

so that brings me to my question:

  • why might one brand of spirulina color my bowel movements a deep, dark green color and another brand not add any trace whatsoever of anything near a green color?

my first thought was it was because the cheaper no-named brand is of inferior quality. but on the other hand, i also have to consider that it might be because my body might be actually "using" all of whatever it is in the no-named brand that causes the greening (chlorophyll? betacarotene?); and since it's "using" it all, that would explain why it's not making it's way out as waste?

does anybody here have any thoughts on that? i would appreciate whatever you have to share. thanks in advance for your time.




  • the_chumanathe_chumana Raw Newbie

    I have heard that spirulina must have the cell wall broken to digest and it turns your bm green. If it isn't broken you can't digest the spirulina and you won't have green bm. You SHOULD have green in your stools if you consume spirulina.

  • thank you the_chumana,

    that is an excellent thought!

    i've heard that chorella has a hard cell wall that must be broken down. i've seen that a lot of chorella is marketed as being pre-broken down. but, i've never heard that about spirulina. i could be mistaken. but to the best of my recollection, i can only recall ever reading that spirulina either has no cell wall at all - or that if it does, it is extraordinarily easily broken down. anybody, please, correct me if i'm wrong?

  • hello the_chumana,

    this is the sort of thing that i recall reading many times before about spirulina:

    • "...Spirulina are Gram-negative, with soft cell walls that consist of complex sugars and protien..." [1]
    • "...Spirulina has a soft cell wall made of complex sugars and protein, and is different from most other algae in that it is easily digested..." [2]
    • "...Most microalgae taken directly from the ponds is almost useless to the human body because of the cell wall. This cell wall holds in all of the nutrients, and our bodies do not have the capabilities to digest this. Spirulina seems to be special in that it is relatively easily digestible in its fresh form (Richmond 97)..." [3]

    ...and so forth, and so on, and shoobie-doobie-doobie :-)

    [1] A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Spirulina

    [2] The Study of Spirulina


  • the_chumanathe_chumana Raw Newbie

    Well, seems like you know about Spirulina. I have been using it for some time. Always organic and not always the same brand, but it always gives me green stools. So does eating a pound of kale. Green poo is good, black poo is bad... ;)

  • the_chumana wrote: Well, seems like you know about Spirulina...

    well, i don't claim to have authored the info on spirulina that i quoted above. what i do know, is: i still don't know why with this new, generic brand of spirulina, my bowel movements are the color of the arizona mountains (kinda reddish brown) when i haven't been eating anything that color.

    anyway; i still think you might have something there, the_chumana, with your cell wall theory. thanks again.

  • the_chumanathe_chumana Raw Newbie

    I misread your first post perhaps. Your stools are RED/BROWN? That does not seem right at all. Discontinue use and call the company that produced it. Maybe it has fillers/binders that are not good for you..... or it was produced in someone's garage and sold on the black market and ended up in your cupboard and isn't even spirulina.... stranger things have happened. In America we just sue the company. A lawsuit is the epitome of freedom in America. (okay, I'm kidding) I do hope you find the answer to this problem! You may also want to email the person you bought it from, on ebay. I would definitely leave negative feedback so other people don't purchase that product! First make sure it is being caused by the product, I would hate for that man to lose customers if it isn't his fault. Who knows? Maybe he bought it from a shady source and resold it to you. If your poo isn't green when eating algae, it isn't algae.

  • HDH74HDH74 Raw Newbie

    As a raw food newbie, who has just started on my green powders, I am so glad to have read this just before discovering my poo was green, otherwise I would have been wondering what the heck was going on lol.

  • Hi urallnutters!

    Interesting query. Never got that even when eating a lot.

    After a small query I find a lot of results similar to this: "Beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) may cause orange stools".

    So here comes a flood of info and a fair share of advice...

    First of all, the green stool colour definitely came from chlorophyll - the other main pigments of spirulina are blue (phycocyanin), orange-red (beta-carotene), and yellow-orange (lutein).

    You've been eating a lot of spirulina but I feel you haven't looked at the good criteria for quality. I don't know how stringent the organic standards are in the UK but the issue is fairly bogus and possibly counter-productive for spirulina. Some non-organic fertilizers are used for production but none of the real sh*t (phytochemicals). And organic production comes, at one high-tech exception (Parry's in India) at the expense of sanitary quality as it has to be harvested in naturally blooming lakes with many possibilities of contamination (toxic cyanobacterial blooms, waste runoffs...). Plus, I wouldn't trust ebay on that one. I've heard that 10% of all dietary supplements sold on the Internet in France are fakes - easier to sell them on ebay than in legit outlets. How can you trace back a no-name brand to a certificate of analysis? I wonder...

    I'm a big consumer too and a small producer in a faraway place (industry point of view) with no ambition for any English-speaking market (disclaimer) and frankly the one criteria I use is phycocyanin content. That's the blue pigment, the star anti-oxydant of spirulina. The immunity boost from spirulina essentially boils down to phycocyanin for instance. The thing is: it is very fragile. Even more than the other nice non-mineral constituents of spirulina. It's a perfect litmus test for post-harvest processing quality.

    You should aim for 8+%. Most cottage industry spirulina and both US-manufactured spirulina are above that. Chinese and Thai spirulina have generally less than 1%. No content on the label? They're afraid to show (or incompetent -- double-check the origin).

    Basically, I'm applying raw food to spirulina. Do you want your spirulina force-dried in a tumbler or a spray dryer at 70~110

  • thank you, thank you, thank you - and a million times - thank you salaai!

    your answer sounds right on the money! parry nutraceutical is - in fact - the manufacturer of the now foods brand (spirulina 1).

    here is the ebay auction where i bought the inferior spirulina 2. here is the seller's feedback page. my feedback is the most recent negative one (dated feb 08, 2011), that reads, "ignored my questions! no nutrition info! no place of origin! u get what u pay 4!".

    i begged the ebay seller - both before and after the auction - to tell me:

    1. what country is his spirulina made in?
    2. the name of the manufacturer?
    3. the nutritional info (kcals, fat, carbs, etc. 'cause i closely monitor my nutritional intake)?

    but he completely ignored me! both before and after i gave the crook my money!

    the reason i asked him for the name of the manufacturer, is because i was so impressed with parry's full disclosure of their spirulina production process, i wanted to research spirulina 2's production process to see how it stacked up next to parry's. in fact, i requested the same info from 6 or 7 other sellers of spirulina on ebay.co.uk. only 1 of them answered with the appropriate openess (but they were too pricey). all the others were too ashamed to disclose where their spirulina came from. i only went with the one i did, because their's was the absolute cheapest - and at that point, i was down to my last 50 grams of the now foods brand and i didn't want to have any lengthy breaks in the course of my spirulina regime.

    but, like my ebay feedback says, "u get what u pay 4!"

    this is how i make my protein shakes (yields about 1 uk pint). i suspect that i have latent OCD tendencies ;

  • armieearmiee Raw Newbie
    hello guys please help. im taking spirulina. its my first week of taking it , and im wondering why my poops is brown. my friend is using the same brand but her stool is dark green. shes using it for more than 2 months now. im worried.
  • janiceljanicel Raw Newbie

    I live in Northern Canada and purchase both Broken Cell Wall Chlorella and Spirulina from Sevenhills Wholefoods in bulk out of the UK! I can't live without Spirulina for the nutrition and protein, but take breaks from Chlorella.

    It was only the Chlorella that I understand needs to be broken cell walled...


  • kristinrkristinr Raw Newbie

    Depending on the brand of Spirulina you are using, the type (ie. cracked/broken cell) as well as the source it will all affect how you respond to it. Also Spirulina is a HEAVY detoxing supplement that can be dangerous for those with the MTHFR and other gene mutations. Feel free to join our group on FB www.facebook.com/groups/transformyourlifeholistically and myself and my health advisory board in functional medicine can help you properly figure our why this is happening. Simple labs can be done that you can order yourself to test for these mutations so you don't have an adverse reaction when detoxing or absorbing nutrients on a raw diet! 

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