Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae (AFA) is one of nature’s original superfoods and one of the last remaining sources of wild nutrition available in commercially significant quantities.
AFA belongs to one of the oldest known families of organisms on earth – Cyanophyta – commonly known as blue-green algae. It differs from other micro-algae such as Chlorella and Spirulina, insofar as it grows wild in an optimal environment allowing it to develop a truly remarkable nutritional profile. That environment is Upper Klamath Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Oregon. The lake is constantly replenished by snow and water runoff from one of the most highly active volcanic regions in the world and this unique source of pure rich mineral water at high altitude, together with a great opportunity for photosynthesis (300 days of sun per year) and cold winters forcing the algae to produce truly essential fatty acids, create what many scientists consider: the most nutrient abundant food source on our planet!
By virtue of its ability to replenish nutritional deficiencies, AFA is capable of:
- delaying/reversing premature ageing
- repairing cell damage
- improving mental focus and concentration
- increasing energy and sense of well-being
- boosting the immune system
- promoting growth of strong nails, smooth skin, and healthy hair
- normalising blood-sugar levels
- supporting digestion and healthy intestinal flora
- stabilising mood swings and lifting mild to moderate depression
- clarifying and sharpening eyesight
- promoting a healthy blood lipid profile
- increasing endurance and strength
It is capable of delivering these benefits by presenting over 70 nutrients in an organic, highly absorbable form:
28 Minerals and oligoelements – Klamath algae is the only food to contain the full range of minerals and trace elements needed to keep the human body fully functional.
14 Vitamins – the complete and balanced spectrum. It is an excellent source of B vitamins, guaranteeing over 200% RDA of the increasingly elusive B12, in just 1 gram! (1).
20 Amino Acids – including all the essential ones in a proportion almost identical to that considered ideal for the human body (Food and Nutrition Council, 1980). AFA improves the body’s ability to absorb and utilise proteins from food, making it extremely important for children, adolescents, athletes and anyone wishing to optimise protein metabolism (2).
Antioxidants – as well as being extremely rich in anti-oxidant pigments, Klamath algae has a broad range of 15 carotenoids in their natural alpha and gamma forms. And as science has now definitively shown, only this natural spectrum of carotenoids is capable of true anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activity (3).
Essential Fatty Acids – Klamath algae has an excellent profile of EFAs and is one of the richest vegetable sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in proportions considered optimal for human consumption (2:1). (Other algae such as Spirulina and Chlorella have practically no Omega-3). This high quality Omega-3 is important for health and low levels in the diet are associated with raised LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (4).
Nutraceutical Molecules – AFA is rich in specific molecules: Phycocyanins – powerful anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory molecules, Phenylethylamine – a brain amino acid directly responsible for increasing the activation and transmission of important neuro-transmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, and Polysaccharides – shown to be potent immunomodulators (5).
Chlorophyll – AFA has a very high concentration of chlorophyll, which contributes to the cleansing and detoxification of the blood. Recent studies confirm that dietary sources of chlorophyll have anti-tumor and hepatoprotective actions (6).
RECENT STUDIES CONFIRM THE HEALING POWER OF AFA
The health benefits of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) have been reported for more than two decades and the clinical evidence base supporting its role in health promotion is growing:
A review of cases with proven clinical records by a panel of five physicians from the University of Illinois established a therapeutic ability of the algae in relation to: inflammatory and osteoarthritic conditions, fibromyalgia, allergies both nutritional and respiratory, neurological conditions such as depression and attention deficit disorders (7).
High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Klamath algae has been shown to rapidly normalise the metabolism of fats contributing to a significant reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides (6). A recent study performed at the University of Urbino in Italy, using Klamath algae and Phycoplus® (phycocyanin extract) confirmed this lipid lowering effect along with a significant reduction in lipid oxidation, the basis of cardiovascular and hepatic diseases and cell ageing (8).
Hypoglycaemia, Diabetes and Obesity
AFA has been proven to inhibit the pancreatic production of alpha-amylase, thereby decreasing excessive glycaemic levels and to partially inhibit the intestinal activity of two enzymes, sucrase and maltase, which are responsible for the assimilation of sugars into the bloodstream. Together these findings show how AFA can contribute to the resolution of the famed Syndrome X, that combination of excessive glycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia which is at the root of today’s metabolic disorders such as hypoglycaemia, diabetes and obesity (9).
NB Loss of control of blood fats and sugar causes rapid physical and mental ageing!
Stress, Depression, Anxiety
Disorders such as depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders figure prominently in the retrospective study quoted earlier. Until recently, Klamath algae’s ability to improve stress and nervous conditions was attributed to its general nutritional properties. But lately, it has been discovered that Klamath algae, if processed using the Refractance Window® technology, contains a significant amount of phenylethylamine (PEA), a brain amino acid directly responsible for increasing the activation and transmission of important neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Supplementation with 10-60mg of PEA was able to cure 60% of clinically diagnosed depressions (10). Klamath algae, and especially a specific algae extract-Phycoplus®, contain enough PEA to promote better mood, relieve stress, help with moderate to serious depressions, and possibly solve problematic yet still not clearly diagnosed conditions such as ADHD (11). Indeed, PEA has been named the “love molecule” due to its increased endogenous production in states such as intense concentration, joyful activities and love (12).
Another extraordinary discovery is the ability of AFA to stimulate stem cell release and migration, making AFA the first natural compound known to stimulate the natural innate phenomenon of healing, regeneration and repair in the human body.
1. HERBERT, V. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1988, 48, 852-8.
2. KUSHAK, R.I. J. American Nutraceutical Association 2001, 3,4, 35-39.
3. MAYNE,S.T., et al. FASEB J. 1996,10, 690-701 and PRYOR, W.A., et al. Nutraceutical Rev. 2000, 58 (2 Pt 1), 39-53.
4. KUSHAK R.I. J. American Nutraceutical Association 2000, 2, 3, 59-65.
5. PUGH N., et al. Planta Medica 2001, 67, 737-742.
6. DASHWOOD, R., et al. Mutation Res. 1998, 399,2,245-53. CHERNOMORSKY,S., et al. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 1999, 19, 5, 313-22.
7. KRYLOV, V.S., et al. (2002), Retrospective epidemiological study using medical records to determine which diseases are improved by AFA.
8. BENEDETTI, S., et al., Stato antiossidante e perossidazione lipidica in soggetti sani in risposta alla supplementazione con “Phycozym” 2003.
9. KUSHAK, R.I., et al. Gastroenterolgy 1999, 116, A559.
10. SABELLI, H., et al. J Neuropsyc Clinical Neuroscience 1996,8,2,168-71.
11. BAKER et al. Biol Psychiatry 1991,29,1,15-22.
12. SABELLI, H.C., MOSNAIM, A.D. Am J of Psychiatry 1974,131,6,695-99.