Since the early 80’s, various forms of algae have gained worldwide attention as a dietary superfood. Spirulina, which is by far the most well known has been shown to produce remarkable health benefits, now being supported by numerous research studies. Chlorella has followed close behind as a highly nutritious food with similar benefits. And then there is the most recent talked about form, Upper Klamath Lake blue-green algae, which has gained particular attention for its pristine natural growing environment located in Oregon. Individually, these three varieties are powerful, however when all three are consumed together, many agree that they are even more potent and an important part of a healthy diet.
Both spirulina and chlorella are fresh water micro algae grown and cultivated in warm man-made water farms with lots of sunlight. Spirulina is a highly digestible protein (60-70% protein) and contains all 8 essential amino acids. When you consume spirulina, 40% or more of the protein is assimilated, which is higher then what you’ll find with meat and chicken, which is 15-20% assimilated. One tablespoon of spirulina in powder form contains 4.5g of complete protein, making it an ideal source for vegetarians and vegans. Micro algae are an alkaline food and are therefore great for balancing an acidic diet (typical for those who consume a lot of meat, refined foods, soda, etc.), which can contribute to the development of many health problems.
Spirulina is also high in a number of other nutrients including vitamin b-12, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids (including GLA for which it is the #2 source behind that of human breast milk), trace minerals, zinc, potassium, beta carotene, etc. It even has the same calcium, phosphorous and magnesium content as milk. Some believe spirulina to be the perfect energy enhancing food for its near complete nutrient profile. A whole food source for these vitamins and minerals combined, is much more powerful then any of these vitamins in an isolated or synthetic form.
Spirulina had been said to protect/boost the immune system, support white and red blood cell production, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, improve cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and digestive health and support weight loss by reducing cravings, regulating blood sugar and controlling insulin. For these reasons, it’s also been said to support the treatment and prevention of anxiety disorders, diabetes, allergies and even cancer.
Chlorella, which provides many of the same benefits as spirulina, has been especially recognized for its ability to carry toxins (such as mercury and other heavy metals) out of the body due to its high chlorophyll content. Being one of the highest chlorophyll containing foods, it’s also extremely helpful for viral and fungi conditions such as Candida. Chlorella also supports healthy liver function, cleanses the blood and digestive channels, promotes tissue growth and repair, optimizes blood pressure and helps you process more oxygen. It has also been said to support people with degenerative diseases due to its ability to rebuild nerve tissues. It’s nucleic acid content, DNA and RNA (also present in the other types of algae), also slow down the aging process and contribute to cellular renewal. What is important to remember when choosing a quality chlorella supplement is that it needs to have its cell wall broken in order to be digestible.
Finally, the other most talked about super blue green algae is produced only in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. This form of algae is called Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae (AFA). Although AFA has many of the same nutrients as its sister algae, AFA is particularly effective for the mind and nervous system. AFA has more B-12 then spirulina and a higher concentration of neuropeptide precursors, making it also effective for those with degenerative diseases or those looking for a natural antidepressant or way to enhance their mental clarity. AFA is said to have a higher chlorophyll content then both chlorella and spirulina and is the only algae grown in the wild in an alkaline, mineral rich environment (containing 60 times the nutrients needed to reach it’s full potential) that can’t be replicated in a synthetic one. However, there is still very little research that has been done on this particular form of algae to verify its claims to date.
All of these super algae can be taken in supplement form quite easily. Some companies even combine all three into one supplement. The benefits seem to arise with consistent intake of fairly high amounts. Although there is no upper limit, it’s recommended to take about 10g/day of spirulina and 5g/day of chlorella for a maintenance regimen. That can easily be doubled for those using it to combat disease. Some people tend to have digestive problems with chlorella so it’s important to start off slow and increase your dosage over time.  As for Klamath Lake blue-green algae, Dr. Gabriel Cousens (who recommends this form of algae to his clients and students on a regular basis) recommends 3 tablespoons or approximately10g/day.
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Published On: November 01, 2012