Algae: Blue Green
Klamath Blue Green Algae (aphanizomenon floss aquae)
Wildcrafted from a mountain wilderness lake fed by unique mineral rich springs and streams. Unique growing conditions have selectively created a unique food – “spiritual” by many accounts. Careful low-temp handling yields optimal bioactivity. Unique mental attributes, immune boosting, general tonic, energy, endurance, youth, longevity. Typically provides a profound feeling of well-being. Enzymatic pigments, carotenes, chlorophyll & phycocyanine, plus amino acids, trace minerals & unique phytonutrient factors.
Miracle Superfood: Wild Blue-Green Algae
by Gillian McKeith, Ph.D
Of all the many strains of different types of algae in existence, the blue-greens are the most distinct from other plants and algaes. There are anywhere form 500 to 1500 different species of these blue-green algaes. Fossil records indicate that the blue-greens are the most primitive of all algaes, dating back over four billion years. These algaes have endured while thousands of other plant and animal species have become extinct. The blue-greens are true survival pioneers, quickly changing and adapting to light conditions, temperatures and physical and chemical changes as the environment dictates. They were probably the very first organisms to release elemental oxygen into the primitive and barren planetary atmosphere. In evolutionary terms, the blue-greens (scientifically known as Cyanobacteria) represent a link between bacteria and green plants.
This algae type, therefore, is both a plant and a healthy bacterium. Blue-green algae and bacteria have a similar composition. The genetic makeup, photosynthesis apparatus and the respiratory system are not separated by internal membranes. The ‘information’ in the blue-green algae or bacteria, such as how to produce enzymes, how to digest antibiotics, how to repair cellular injury and how to quench free radicals is totally accessible. (Free radicals attack other molecules with which they come in contact.) Blue-green algae and bacteria are sometimes referred to as prokaryotes (cells which lack membrane-bound nucleus). All other algaes and higher evolved plants are called eukaryotes. (The nucleus and pigments are confined within distinct membranes.) This is quite significant in terms of absorption, providing access to the goodness of the algae.
Research scientist Daryl Kollman writes in his book Hope Is a Molecule about the ease of access to the nutrient profile: …. the essential bacteria in your intestinal tract [have] access to all the information contained in the blue-green algae.. It is Kollman’s opinion that ‘the biological information learned routinely by the blue-green algae’ is information that the human race needs in order to survive. For instance, it might take us a million years to develop genetic information that would allow us to adapt to excess radiation; blue-green algae would adapt to it in a few months. When we eat the algae we then have access to that information and knowledge of adaptation to our surrounding environment, argues Kollman. On a more metaphysical level, some algae enthusiasts believe that if you eat blue-green algae on a regular basis, you will connect with something essential and ancient. Richard France, a macrobiotic counselor, states, “It is not inconceivable that on subtle vibrational levels, unique genetic memories and messages of harmony and peace are stored in algae, which have grown undisturbed for eons in a pristine environment. This information may be passed on to us at a cellular level, encouraging harmony among our own cellular family.”
Shared Characteristics With Plants, Animals, Bacteria
Blue-green algae are quite distinct from other algaes in that they share characteristics with plants, animals and bacteria. Like plants, they have the ability to perform photosynthesis, but they do it far better than any other plant. They are the most chlorophyll-rich organisms on the planet. Special phycolilin pigments initiate the conversion of light energy to chemical energy by certain wavelengths of visible light to which chlorophyll is not as sensitive. The energy is absorbed by the pohycolilins and passed onto the chlorophyll. Further- more, blue-green algae are similar to animal cells in structure in that both have a soft, digestible cell wall composed of glycogen, which our bodies can use as a food. Many other plants have indigestible cellulose cell walls. Thus, because the algae’s cell walls are soft and easy to digest, we can obtain more nutrients from its ingestion.
Uniqueness Of The Klamath Lake Algae Strain
Wild blue-green algae (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae or AFA) from Klamath Lake, Oregon is different and distinct from most algaes. It is a wild, uncultivated plant food. It is one of the few species of algae which grows wild in its own natural habitat, one of the world’s most rich “nutrient traps”. Unlike this indigenous and wild form of blue-green algae, some algaes are grown artificially in manmade farming ponds. The extraordinary and natural environment in which wild blue-green algae is grown is impossible to duplicate on these algae farms. Wild blue-green algae are completely free of artificial, synthetic influences. Because AFA is so purely and naturally grown in its own wild habitat, it has the most beneficial impact upon the human body. My basic argument is that wild AFA is superior:
- in its rate of assimilability, digestibility and absorption,
- as a food and energy source,
- in nutrient density, and
- as a preventative against disease.
First, AFA algae have a soft cell glucose (glycoliprotein complex protein bonded to carbohydrate) wall that is easily digested by the body; this allows rapid absorption and assimilation of vital nutrients. Other synthetically cultivated algaes and plants may have indigestible cellulose walls making absorption difficult or impossible. Wild blue-green algae is an anabolic substance.
Translation: its organic compounds are more readily assimilated, absorbed, digested, metabolized and utilized by the human body.
Life Force Energy
Second, AFA algae require intense sunlight to grow. They favor the summer months in Oregon for their most prolific growth period. This may explain why they have such high levels of chlorophyll. Plant energy can be transferred from the chlorophyll directly to hemoglobin in the red blood cells of human blood plasma. The red blood cells and the plasma transfer the plant energy directly to the cells and to the bond structure, which then transmit it to the overall human body. AFA algae therefore have the ability to purify blood, quell inflammations and rejuvenate.
Third, AFA is now known to fix nitrogen. This means that the algae breathe in nitrogen from the air to produce a rich source of proteins, nucleic acids, nitrogen compounds and other essential nutrients. These compounds enrich the soil and environment around them, as the nitrogen acts just like natural fertilizer. Unlike AFA, some algaes do not have the ability to metabolize nitrogen from the air and can only grow in soils where nitrogen compounds are already present or artificially added.
Fourth, AFA is a most nutrient-dense food with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and other important natural sub- stances. Over 95 percent of the nutrients can be used directly by the body in the same form. The vitamin B-complex profile of AFA is very high, especially vitamins B2, B6 and B12. For example, one gram of wild blue-green algae supplies more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells. It helps them to develop to a point where protein, folic acid, iron and vitamin C can mature properly and thus carry more oxygen to the cells. A deficiency of B12 may cause pernicious anemia. Restricted diets and poor absorption can cause a B12 deficiency. AFA has the highest active vegetable source of vitamin B12, in a form that is totally usable by the body. AFA algae have 65 times the B12 content of kelp, and almost 700 times more B12 than alfalfa.
The B vitamins within AFA algae are of such high quality that they can boost the body’s energy level, endurance and stamina. B vitamins convert carbohydrates into glucose, which the body can then utilize to produce energy. The ability of blue-green algae to efficiently transfer glucose into energy (via the B vitamins) may represent its most important health contribution. In addition, the algae strain AFA has a broader spectrum of minerals than any other green algae. To date, over 40 macro- and micro-minerals have been identified in the wild blue-green algae. These minerals are bound into a colloidal matrix, which means they are enzyme-bound. Such configurations cannot be synthesized. Choline, an ingredient important to the brain’s phospholipids, is absent in many blue-greens but is present in AFA algae. AFA is an elixir for the brain unlike any other algae and has a beneficial impact upon brain synchronization: it specifically enhances the hypothalamus, the pineal and pituitary glands. In my own clinical research, I have found patients reporting improved mental clarity, enhanced memory and a sharper sense of focus after ingesting AFA algae for several months. It ought to be noted that AFA has a slightly bitter taste.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, bitter flavors influence the heart-mind system, actually helping the mind to focus better. Victor Kubinskas in his book Survival into the 21st Century described it as a “mental buzz and blissed out feeling”. You can’t achieve this type of mind enhancement with any other algae. AFA has a much higher concentration of vitamin C than any other algae. This is important because iron needs the synergistic effect of vitamin C to be properly assimilated in our bodies. The iron content of wild blue-green algae is equally impressive; its ability to build the quality of the blood is thus superior. Of its dry weight, more than two-thirds of AFA is assimilable protein, more than any other algae. AFA wild blue-green algae gets its protein content from atmospheric nitrogen. AFA may even have “special vibrational fields”. Dr. Gabriel Cousins describes it as “subtle, organized energy fields”. These vibrational energy fields are the life forces of the algae, which he believes has the ability to regenerate mind, body and immune forces. Therefore, more so than any other algae, this wild blue-green strain is a perfect food and perfect food supplement in preventing and treating nutritional deficiencies, imbalances or disorders. Please note that when I refer to “wild blue-green algae,” I mean specifically the Aphanizomenon flos-aqua (AFA) strain. I use the terms interchangeably, the only difference being that one is the biochemical name and the other the common name.
The Algae Of Klamath Lake
Klamath Lake is one of the world’s richest sources of the AFA strain of wild blue-green algae, the strain scientifically referred to as Aphanizomenon, flos aqua (AFA). This lake is nestled 3000 feet up in the almost inaccessible Cascade Mountains of Oregon, boasting one of the most abundant supplies of minerals and trace elements. This mineral treasury is the result of massive volcanic eruptions that occurred several thousand years ago, blanketing the area with millions of tons of mineral-rich volcanic ash. Fifty thousand tons of this ash flow every day into the 140-square mile lake from the 4000-square mile volcanic basin through a network of 17 rivers, streams and falls. This spectacular lake in its unique position of isolation has become a natural power-packed nutrient-trap impossible for man to duplicate. The blue-green algae from Klamath Lake grows wild; it is free of adverse bacteria, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
Algae researcher Dr. William Barry has personally examined many blooms of the AFA strain from Klamath Lake (and other lakes too) and has never found any toxicity. A research report produced by Rapala in The Journal of Applied Phycology (1993) confirmed Barry’s conclusion; this report emphatically states that the AFA algae strain is not capable of producing toxins. As further testament to its safety, it should be noted that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have consumed the AFA strain algae with no trace of toxicity. The only time that AFA should be used cautiously is when you are extremely weak, thin, very dry with a cold constitution or are already pregnant. There are two strains of blue-green algae which have produced toxins at various times: one is called Anaboena-flos aquae, the other Microcystic aeroginosa. Neither strain is produced commercially and so human consumption would be virtually impossible. The focus of this book is on the nontoxic and safe AFA wild blue-green strain, rather than any potentially toxic forms.
AFA wild blue-green algae is the most nutrient-dense and perfectly balanced whole food in the world. With a dynamic nutritional profile, it is the richest source of almost every nutrient in its purest form. Because it is recognized by the body as a food, it is immediately available with a greater than 90 percent assimilation rate. This means that the body is capable of utilizing virtually a11 of the algae’s nutrients; When taking a conventional multiple vitamin with minerals, the body may only absorb a small fraction of the actual nutrient dosages. In my own clinical practice, I tell my patients that what you eat is important; but what you absorb and assimilate may even be more important. AFA blue-green algae has an extraordinarily high content of vitamins, minerals, amino acids (complete protein) and live enzymes: including a complete amino acid profile with 62 per- cent protein content, high in beta-carotene, antioxidants and the highest known natural dietary source of vitamin B12 and chlorophyll. The nutritional composition of the foods we eat is vital, as it determines just how much energy our bodies need to break down and process those foods. The more processed the food, the harder our bodies have to work. The more cooked-out foods we eat, the more strain we place on our enzyme quotient.
Enzymes are protein molecules which digest our food and make it small enough to pass through the minute pores of the intestines into the blood. Modern diets are so devoid of key nutrients and enzymes to help break foods down and absorb their goodness that we tire our bodies from simple food abuse. This is why you may feel tired after meals, or bloated and low in energy. Extra energy is needed to break down and absorb foods that are “empty” or nutrient deficient. Further energy is required to break down and eliminate pesticides and other toxins from our food and environment, and to curb the disruptive effects of high levels of mental stress. The end result is low energy and poor elimination of toxins and waste products. Our bodies then store these nasty residues in our fat cells, in the blood- stream and in the key organs. We poison ourselves and rob our bodies of strength. Depletion of energy reserves is thought to contribute to the fall in immunity and the rise in degenerative diseases that we are now witnessing.
One of the greatest contributions of blue-green AFA algae is its full spectrum of minerals. Minerals are the framework for our bodies, critical to our overall mental and physical wellbeing. Bones, teeth, muscle, blood, nerve cells, tissues and internal fluids all contain varying quantities of minerals. They help to build the skeletal structure, regulate the heart, balance internal pressure of body fluids, nerve response and oxygen transport from the lungs to the tissues. Minerals act as catalysts for many biological reactions within the body, including muscle response, digestion, metabolism of nutrients in foods, and transmission of messages through the nervous system. Minerals help to maintain the body’s delicate water balance, allowing the mental and physical processes to function properly. They keep blood and tissue fluids from becoming too acid or too alkaline, thus balancing the body’s pH. Minerals permit other nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. Minerals also help draw chemical substances in and out of the cells and aid in the creation of antibodies. The problem with minerals, however, is that they can only be supplied to the human body through diet. Thus, if your diet is poor, your mineral profile will be poor, too.
Not only are we often robbed of minerals by our inadequate diets, but most soils in which our produce grows are severely mineral deficient. Remember, your body cannot make minerals: if they are not in the soil, they are not in the produce, and are certainly not in you. A U’s. government paper illustrated this problem forcefully when leading authorities from Johns Hopkins University, Yale, Columbia University and the U’s. Department of Agriculture reported that “Ninety-nine percent of the American people are deficient in food complexed minerals. A marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, can cause us to sicken, suffer and shorten our lives.”
And that statement was issued in the 1930s! The matter has worsened since then. Therefore, I propose that AFA blue-green algae can potentially prevent, correct, alleviate and treat these mineral imbalances and deficiencies. Trace minerals or micro-minerals are needed in minute quantities by the body. No one mineral can function without affecting the others. Each mineral needs other minerals for proper utilization. For example, calcium requires magnesium for its absorption and assimilation. Moreover, a deficiency of even just one mineral can cause severe imbalances of vitamins as well. In my own practice, blood tests have revealed that 98 percent of the people who first come to see me are deficient in one or more macro- or micro-mineral. More troubling, the pregnant women who have come to my office were all deficient in certain minerals on their first visit. I correct these mineral deficiencies with algae, and other components if necessary. Getting enough minerals in the right balance is critical if you are to feel well; wild blue-green algae seems to provide a framework for a perfect mineral balance. Wild blue-green algae contains all the essential trace minerals: boron, calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and vanadium.
Since the algae is in such a natural state, it is conceivable that it may even contain other minerals not yet discovered or identified. But the most significant story here is that these minerals are in perfect balance for maximum benefits and positive impact upon human biochemistry. In my practice, the most common mineral deficiency I have discovered is magnesium. Magnesium is an essential part of many digestive systems and metabolic processes. According to studies, 80 to 90 percent of the US population may be deficient in the mineral magnesium. Dr. Mildred Seelig, one of the country’s leading authorities on magnesium (along with Dr. William Rea) suggests also that approximately 90 percent of the population is magnesium deficient. I have been able to correct magnesium deficiencies using AFA wild blue-green algae. As I mentioned at the outset, I suffered for years with a zinc deficiency, even though I was ingesting zinc supplements. Zinc is an essential trace mineral required by the body in larger amounts than any other trace mineral except iron.
It is an essential cofactor needed by more than 100 enzymes in the eyes, liver, kidneys, muscles, skin, bones, testes and other organs. To maintain plasma zinc concentrations, frequent intakes of dietary zinc are necessary… Zinc is critical in maintaining many healthy bodily organs and functions. The blue-green AFA algae finally corrected my zinc deficiency only because the mineral composition of the algae was perfectly balanced and bioavailable, thus allowing my body efficient absorption and assimilation of this key mineral. According to Dr. Maurice Schiff, a Professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Diego, the extraordinary mineral profile of the algae will combine and arrange its mineral matrix as if it were identical to the building blocks of our own flesh. “Because everything is in its proper proportion, it is readily absorbed by the body,” he concludes. It is worth noting that wild blue-green algae has one of the highest sources of cobalt, the essential mineral part of vitamin B12 and one of the highest natural concentrations of iron known. The AFA thus builds up the quality of our blood and assists in resistance to infection and diseases.
Wild blue-green algae contains the most perfect balance of vitamins of all algaes. Vitamins are essential to life. They aid in digestion, elimination and resistance to disease. Depletions or deficiencies can lead to various nutritional disorders, depending on which vitamins may be lacking in the diet. With a few exceptions, most vitamins cannot be manufactured by the body. They must be supplied by the diet or by supplement pills. The vitamin composition of blue-green algae is far superior to any multivitamin supplement pills. In a recent study at Yale New Haven Hospital 257 brands of multivitamin supplement pills were evaluated. The study concluded that 80 percent of the vitamin pills were inadequate, incomplete or imbalanced. With wild-blue green algae, the composition and balance of vitamins is in perfect harmony with human biochemistry for maximum utilization.
Wild blue-green AFA algae is an exceptionally high source of protein (60 percent), nearly identical to the human body’s protein composition. The quality of the protein in AFA algae is superior to that of most other plant or animal protein sources, being derived from all eight essential amino acids. It is important for general good health of the skin, hair, nails, brain, ligaments, bones, teeth, hormones, sex glands and enzymes that we eat foods with all eight essential amino acids. If even one amino acid is missing, then the body cannot make protein.
Because plant proteins tend to lack certain amino acids, some vegetarians may suffer from a deficiency of basic protein. On the other hand, meats (including fish, chicken, beef, turkey) usually contain all eight essential amino acids to form complete protein. But studies clearly indicate that animal protein raises cholesterol, increases the risk of heart disease and forms excess mucus. In addition, animal protein is rather difficult to digest. If protein digestion is incomplete, then bacteria can form toxic compounds. AFA algae protein is of a type called glycoprotein, whereas meat and regular vegetable protein is of a type called lipoprotein.
The body must convert lipoproteins into glycoproteins in order to utilize it. Since algae is already in the form of glycoprotein, the body need not make any biochemical conversion. Thus, eating the blue-green algae protein is more biochemically efficient and preserves metabolic energy. The protein in AFA algae is 85 percent assimilable, compared to beef with just a 20 percent assimilable rate. Improper or incomplete protein digestion may not only produce toxins, but may very well render the protein worthless.
Finally, AFA protein assists in nourishing the brain and nervous system because of algae’s rich source of amino acid peptides. These peptides are precursor for neurotransmitters which carry messages from the brain to ordinary muscles, and from the organs back to the brain. Although the brain comprises just two percent of total body weight, it actually uses 20 percent of the body’s energy resources. Thus, the brain needs to be fed and satisfied virtually every minute of the day. The nervous system and brain interface with each other continually as messages are sent back and forth incessantly. Therefore, if there is the slightest break in this amino acid-peptide link, you may experience memory loss, mental fatigue or nervous disorders.
There are thousands of live active enzymes in AFA algae. Enzymes are critical for life; they are the body’s labor force. Enzymes metabolize, digest and assimilate all substances entering the body. For example, live enzymes digest food, destroy toxins, even break down fats and cellulose and metabolize starch and proteins. Furthermore, enzymes are involved in moving muscles, nourishing nerves, stimulating brain function, breathing, accompanying male sperm and female eggs, fighting off illness, infection and disease and more. A shortage of live active enzymes could wreak havoc in your body. Unfortunately, most people do not have sufficient enzyme activity. Although the pancreas manufactures a certain limited number of enzymes for digestion, there is still a need to supplement the body with additional enzymes. Supplementary enzymes are generally acquired through the foods that we eat; raw fruits and vegetables are packed with live active enzymes. However, these supplementary enzymes are easily destroyed when we cook, broil, boil, bake, fry, saute, poach or even freeze our foods. The enzymes within the body are further destroyed by stress, fatigue, chemical pollutants, even pregnancy and possibly an extraordinarily strenuous exercise regime. Thus, the thousands of live active enzymes within wild blue-green AFA algae can contribute to a substantially healthier life.