8 Major Side Effects of Eating Too Much Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts are the germinated seedlings of the alfalfa plant ( Medicago Sativa). Alfalfa leaves are bitter, but young seedlings have a milder flavor. They are native to western Asia but are now grown in many regions of the world.  They are used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. Alfalfa sprouts provide many health and beauty benefits as they contain essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibers, etc. Eat alfalfa sprouts in moderation as there are also some side effects of eating too much alfalfa sprouts.

Side Effects of Eating Too Much Alfalfa Sprouts

Some major side effects of eating too much alfalfa sprouts are as follows.

alfalfa sprouts side effects

(1) Too Much Dietary Fiber Is Bad

Dietary fibers in alfalfa sprouts are natural laxatives that improve bowel movement and relieve constipation and other digestive problems like abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and flatulence, etc.

It also provides other benefits like lowering cholesterol levels, eliminating toxins, and regulating blood sugar, etc.

But, don’t overeat alfalfa sprouts as otherwise, too many dietary fibers may over-activate bowel movement. It may cause problems like abdominal cramping, diarrhea, malabsorption, constipation, intestinal gas, and intestinal blockage, etc.

(2) May Cause Antioxidants Overload

Vitamin C and other antioxidants in alfalfa sprouts protect our cells from free radical damage and reduce several cancers.

At moderate levels, antioxidants react with the free radicals in our body, but in large doses, they may react with the healthy cells, and increase the risk of cancers. 

Don’t overeat alfalfa sprouts as high levels of antioxidants may cause cancers.

As per a 2011 study involving 35,500 men, high levels of vitamin E may increase prostate cancer risk by 17 percent.

According to a study by the National Cancer Institute, smokers who took high doses of beta-carotene supplements were at higher risk of developing lung cancer in comparison to smokers who didn’t.

As per a study by the Office of dietary supplements, high doses of vitamin E increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.


(3) Alfalfa Sprouts And Diabetes

Alfalfa sprouts have a low glycemic index of 15, and slowly release sugar into the bloodstream. It prevents sudden jumps in blood sugar levels and aids in managing diabetes.

Dietary fibers in alfalfa sprouts regulate blood sugar by slowing down blood sugar absorption.

Avoid eating too much alfalfa sprouts as it may drop blood sugar levels below the normal range, and cause symptoms like excessive sweating, excessive hunger, fainting, fatigue, lightheadedness, dryness, or tingling mouth, etc.

If you are on diabetic medication, consult with your doctor before making alfalfa sprouts a part of your diet to ensure there’s no food-drug intolerance risk.


(4) May Cause Allergic Reactions

In some people, alfalfa sprouts may cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, sinus congestion, runny nose, difficulty in breathing, and hay fever, etc.

Avoid alfalfa sprouts if you are allergic to them or if you have a pollen allergy.

(5) Alfalfa Sprouts And Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a silent killer that causes cardiovascular and other health problems.

Potassium in alfalfa sprouts relaxes blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and provides relief from hypertension.

However, avoid eating too much alfalfa sprouts as high potassium levels may drop blood pressure below the normal range, and cause symptoms like dizziness, fainting, nausea, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.

If you are on blood pressure medication, consult with your doctor before adding alfalfa sprouts to your diet.

(6) Increased Risk of Bacterial Contamination

Alfalfa sprouts are at higher risk of bacterial contamination.

Warm and humid conditions that cause alfalfa to sprout,  provide a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.

 These bacteria may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

To avoid this risk, clean alfalfa thoroughly before sprouting, and sprout them properly.

Or, eat cooked alfalfa sprouts as the cooking eliminates the bacteria.

Eat cooked alfalfa sprouts if you have a weak immune system.

Avoid alfalfa sprouts if you are allergic to them.


(7) Eating Alfalfa Sprouts During Pregnancy And Nursing 

Despite the essential nutrients and healthy compounds in alfalfa sprouts, they are not suitable for pregnant women and nursing women as they are at a higher risk of being contaminated with E.coli and salmonella bacteria. Eating contaminated alfalfa sprouts may cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping, fever, etc in pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Alfalfa sprouts may enter the breast milk, and cause diarrhea for both mom and baby.

However, both pregnant women and nursing women can eat a moderate amount of thoroughly cooked alfalfa sprouts as cooking eliminates bacteria.

Even with cooked alfalfa sprouts, consult with your doctor before adding them to your diet to ensure there’s no food-drug intolerance or complication involved. 

Follow your doctor’s advice for consumption and serving size, and don’t go overboard.

(8) Interaction With Medication

Vitamin K in alfalfa sprouts promotes blood clotting, and may interfere with anticoagulants such as warfarin, and reduce their effectiveness.

Alfalfa sprouts may also interact with other medications, and reduce their effectiveness.

If you are on any medication, consume alfalfa sprouts only after the doctor’s consultation.


This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.

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