articles are copyright Julene Tripp Weaver. If you are an individual,
you may download the article for your personal use. Please contact
author directly for permission to quote or any other usage. Find contact info here: http://newroots.drizzlehosting.com/
By Julene Tripp Weaver
Macroalgea, or sea vegetables come from the deep sea, but there are also
many micro algea which grow in fresh water. Microalgea are one cell organisms
with structures similar to bacteria. As such they border the animal and
plant kingdoms. They grow in fresh water lakes around the world and have
been used as food primarily in times of war when other food supplies were
difficult to come by.
Dr. Hills first introduced supernutrition through microalgae commercially
in 1965. At this point in time the World Hunger Research project was established
through the Microalgae International Union.
There are three types of this microalgea that are popular commercially:
sprialina, chorella and the brand name "blue-green" algea. All
three are harvested, processed, and sold to the public as choloraphyll rich,
nucleic acid rich (RNA and DNA), and nutrient rich food supplements. Certainly
they are rich in nutrients, vitamins and cholorophil, but are they a food
supplement we need? As you know by now, I am a strong advocate of adding
sea vegetables into the diet. Sea vegetables grow in deep ocean currents
that is continually moving. Microalgae grows in stagnant water which can
be contaminated. Steve Brill, east coast herbalist says, "Avoid all
freshwater algae. Some contain substances that displace the neurotransmitters
nerve cells use to communicate. Very small amounts disrupt the nervous system,
causing convulsions and death-one reason you should never drink stagnant
Microalgaes are added to animal feed for chickens, pigs, fish and cows.
They were also investigated as a food to use for astronaughts. In Japan
Chlorella is fed to oysters to help them produce pearls. There has been
much research and experimentation on the microalgaes.
This is a species that belongs to a group known as blue-green algea. There
are approximately 30 species of Sprilina reported. It is a multi-celled
spiral shaped plant that grows in a saline and alkaline medium where carbon
dioxide is assimilated through bicarbonate and carbonate. It is 100 times
larger than chlorella. It grows naturally in ponds and lakes in Ethiopia
and Chad, where sun-dried Spirulina has been used as human food.(2) Present
day natives of Chad in Africa use Spirulina as part of their diet. It has
been found recorded that the ancient Mayans in Mexico used this algae in
their daily diet, there is no current use. The way the people of Chad use
the spirulina is the same way the ancient Mayans used it; in the form of
cakes and added to soups. In comparison the taste of spirulina is said to
be better than that of chorella.
Currently sprialina is processed by first homogenizing then pasteurizing.
This is done because of the strong affinity it has for adhering bacteria
that can be toxic. So, this purified micro algea may be the safest of the
different kinds. If you want to try spiralina make sure it says 100% pure
sprialina on the label, some companies are reported to have cut it with
alfalfa to save costs.
Sprialina has a special form of bio-available protein that benefits those
with problems resulting from excessive animal protein; those who are overweight,
diabetic, hypoglycemic, arthritic, or suffering from similar degenerative
conditions. Severe liver damage resulting from mal nutrition, alcoholism,
or the consumpton of nutrient destroying foods or drugs can be treated effectively
by this type of nutrition. Studies have shown spiralina helps lower cholesterol,
build healthy lactobacillus in the intestines, reduce kidney poisoning from
mercury and drug medications, and correct iron deficiencies.
Spirulina has become a superfood trend because it's so rich in folic acid,
pantothenic acid, biotin, inositol, essential fatty acids, and essential
minerals and vitamins including vitamin B12. However, a farm that sells
it from Hawaii indicates that they grow their Spirulina in sanitary plastic
lined pools and feed it vitamins and minerals. My concern here is that the
vitamins that are fed to the Spiralina are probably synthetic. (Nutritional
yeast is also treated with synthetic vitamins.) So, when I read the high
vitamin and mineral content of Spirulina I wonder where all the nutrition
is actually coming from.
Spirulina has been promoted for people trying to lose weight because it
acts as a natural appetite suppressant. Spirulina is high in phenylalanine
which suppresses the appetite center of the brain, thereby aiding in weight
Blue green algea or Aphanizomenon flos-aquae
Blue green algea has been adapted as a trade name for Aphanizomenon flos-aquae
that is harvested from Klamath lake by either Cell Tech or their competitor
Rossha. Cell Tech is run by a multilevel marketing system (similar to Amway).
A search of scientific literature of this type of blue green algae gives
lots of information about possible health hazards. Basically this micro
algae is a green pond scum that sewage engineers are constantly trying to
control. It loves to grow in waters rich in nitrogen and phosphorus which
is high in sewage water. Upper Klamath Lake has been reported to be a shallow
polluted lake that lies along a migratory bird flyway so it has lots of
feces in it year round providing the nitrogen and phosphorus the algae needs.
The algae reportedly kills fish, livestock, wild animals, people's pets
and it can poison people.
The blue-green algae that is being marketed may be of value to treat withdrawal
from cocaine, amphetamines, and other neurostimulant addictions. This is
probably because it acts as a neurostimulant itself. It is can be useful
for individuals who have had excessive habits and need to temper their lifestyles.
Blue green algae is known to produce toxic neurotoxins such as neosaxitoxin
and anatoxin which are addictive. Also endotoxins are produced by this species
of micro algae. Someone trying to get off cocaine who uses blue green algae
may be substituting for their addiction.
Batches of Cell Tech blue green algae have been seized by the FDA for being
toxic. Cell Tech does not pasteurize their algae and toxic samples have
been infested with gram-negative rod bacteria. They do a freeze dry process
that may not kill the harmful bacteria. Cell Tech tells the public they
do their own testing, the testing they do is to inject mice and see if the
Chlorella vulgaris is the most common of the chlorella's. It grows in freshwater
ponds, lakes and swamps across the earth. It likes to grow in an acid medium.
It is a round single cell with a nucleus; a microscope is needed to see
an individual cell. Its cell walls are rigid with low digestibility. Inside
the cell walls are all eight essential amino acids, vitamin B12, beta-carotine,
calcium, iron and chlorophyll. Although hard to digest Steenblock, author
of Chlorella: Natural Mineral Algae, claims chlorella's outer cell
wall contributes needed fiber and that it binds to poisons in the body and
carries them out in the stool.
It has nucleic acids that may enhance and stimulate the immune system according
to Steenblock. There is a polypeptide found in chlorella's cytoplasm called
chlorella growth factor. This growth factor encourages the liver and spleen
to grow and regenerate.
Chlorella is over 60% protein. It has a little less protein than Spirulina
which has between 60 - 68% protein.
Chlorella contains more chlorophyll than the other two kinds because it
is a green algae, not a blue-green algae. It contains up to 7% chlorophyll,
Sprilina contains 0.76%. Chlorophyll's chemical structure closely resembles
hemin molecules, the only difference is the human's hemin molecule is built
around an atom of iron, and the chlorophyll molecule is built around an
atom of magnesium. High chlorophyll foods are good for anemia because of
the similularity of the structure, they help build up the red blood cell
Like Spirulina, Chlorella has been used by people to reduce weight.
Chlorella has turned out to be expensive to process because it has to be
centrifuged. Spirulina was able to be harvested more easily by filtration.
One of my concerns about the use of these products is that they are expensive
sources of nutrition. Second is that there is a lot of media hype about
them and although people have been using them through time it seems to me
their benefits are overrated and their possible negative effects are overlooked.
I know there are easier and less expensive ways to get the nutrition and
chlorophyll these microalgeas might provide. Herbal infusions are cheaper
and hold less risk. Experimenting is a great idea if you have the money
and want to feel for yourself what the effects are.
Some companies that sell these products if you want to try them: Earthrise
Farms, the only commercial producers of Spiruline in the United States,
and Sun Chlorella Company of Japan.
(1) Brill, S, Pg. 82.
(2) http://ifs.plants.ox.ac.uk/fao/tropfeed/data/r475.htm (7/26/96)
Bewicke, D, Potter, BA, et al, Chlorella The Emerald Food, Berkeley,
CA: Ronin Publishing, 1984.
Hills, C, Nakamura, H, Food From Sunlight Planetary Survival for Hungry
People, Boulder Creek, CA: World Hunger Research Project, University
of Trees Press, 1978.
McPartland J, "Why Blue-green Algae Makes Me Tired," Alternative
Medicine Research Institute & Teacher's Academy (AMRITA), No. 3, April
McPartland J, "Does the miscommunication of information equal the
communication of misinformation?" Alternative Medicine Research
Institute & Teacher's Academy (AMRITA), No. 4, October 1996.
Thorson, M, "Super Blue-green Algae & Toxicity," http://www.mall-net.com/mcs/algae.html
http://www.rossha.com/unfame_index.html (Blue Green Algea competetor web
site - 9/20/99)