Anaphylaxis to Spirulina confirmed by skin prick test with ingredients of Spirulina tablets

Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Dec;74:309-10. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2014.10.024.


Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis), blue-green microalgae, has high content in proteins, γ-linoleic acid and vitamins and therefore gained popularity as food supplement. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Spirulina is also an interesting alternative and sustainable protein source with the growing world population. We present a case of a 17-year-old male, who developed anaphylaxis the first time he ingested a Spirulina tablet. Skin prick test with diluted Spirulina tablet was positive. Further skin prick testing with separated ingredients (Spirulina platensis algae, silicon dioxide, inulin and magnesium stearate) was only positive for Spirulina platensis algae and negative in controls, confirming the allergy was caused by Spirulina and not by one of the additives. This case report shows that diagnosis of Spirulina allergy can safely be made by skin prick test with dilutions of the A. platensis or even more simple by skin prick test with the diluted tablet. Since Spirulina has gained popularity as food and nutritional supplement, it is important to realize the potential risk of this dietary supplement. Before Spirulina is produced and consumed on a wider scale, allergenicity risk assessment should be performed, including investigation of potential crossreactivity with well-known inhalant allergens and foods.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anaphylaxis / pathology*
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Food Hypersensitivity / pathology
  • Histamine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skin Tests*
  • Spirulina / immunology*
  • Tablets


  • Tablets
  • Histamine