Organic Blue-Green Algae (BGA) - one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet – has evoked considerable interest in recent years. The super potency of Blue-Green Algae is because it has a high concentration of nutrients – such as proteins, lipids and over 65 vitamins, minerals and enzymes. BGA offer the complete spectrum of eight essential and ten nonessential amino acids. When properly cultivated and processed, these nutrients can be made easily absorbable by the body. Edible forms of BGA should not be confused with the ‘green scum’ found in almost every terrestrial and aquatic habitat (ocean, fresh water or damp soil). A green mass floating on the surface of ponds is a common sight in the rural hinterland. Health authorities look warily upon these masses, and for the right reasons. However, BGA or Cyanobacteria fulfill vital ecological functions in the world’s oceans, being important contributors to the presence of carbon and nitrogen globally. Of specific interest as nutrient-dense foods are Chlorella and Spirulina - the Green Twins. They have significant amounts of lipid, protein, chlorophyll, carotenoids, vitamins, minerals and unique pigments. They may also have potent probiotic compounds, which enhance health. Although each of them would probably individually qualify as a ‘superfood’, their complementarity in terms of nutritional profile is interesting. Chlorella tends to contain more chlorophyll and iron; it is also better at chelating heavy metals from the body and repairing cell damage. Spirulina, on the other hand, contains more protein, gamma-linoleic acid (a beneficial fat that is essential for brain function) and cancer-fighting phycocyanin. Consequently, some holistic healthcare practitioners tend to favour the consumption of both of these foods in tandem.
Tip of the Week
It is important to note that Chlorella and Spirulina products can vary significantly, depending on the way these were cultivated, harvested and processed. There can be a wide variation in nutrient availability - by as much as a factor of 10. Although BGA is considered generally safe, some concern has been voiced about the potential presence of microcystin, a toxic by-product of BGA. In response, several health authorities have established regulatory limits on the microcystin content in BGA products.
Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week : Chlorella & Spirulina
Chlorella pyrenoidosa is an unicellular fresh water green algae rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is a simple, one-celled organism that got its name from the Latin word for ‘helix’ or ‘spiral’, because of its spring-like physical characteristic Chlorella contains more chlorophyll than most plants and is ranked one of the top 10 health foods. On a per gram basis, it is way more nutrient dense than other greens. It contains more nucleic acids (RNA/DNA) than any other food, which gives it a lot of energy producing potential. It is a great supplement to help boost any diet lacking in green vegetables. Chlorella has a wide variety of useful nutritional applications: like, supporting natural detoxification, digestive health, immune function, inflammation reduction, antioxidant function, estrogen balance, cholesterol metabolism and circulation. A lot of the Chlorella that is available as nutritional supplements is grown in Japan or Taiwan; it is processed and made into tablets and liquid extracts. These extracts contain Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). CGF is a mix of its nucleic acids along with important glyconutrients and amino acids. Chlorella also contains an impressive array of vitamins and minerals - such as A, D, E, K1, Beta Carotene, lutein, B vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Dietary supplementation with Chlorella may help reduce high blood pressure, lower serum cholesterol levels, accelerate wound healing and enhance immune functions. Chlorella is also used to increase ‘good’ bacteria in the intestine, in order to improve digestion. Spirulina, with its high nutritional value, has been consumed as food for centuries in Central Africa. It is now widely used as a nutraceutical food supplement worldwide. The antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory activities of Spirulina have been demonstrated in a large number of preclinical studies. Both Chlorella & Spirulina are being actively researched around the world as key foods to support nutrition. Chlorella could offset many of the stressors that induce wear and tear in our lives, because of its unique concentration of nutrients as well as their energetic structure. Spirulina is being researched for its effect on viral infections, swelling, wound healing and the immune system in general.
Caution: BGA supplements are considered to be safe in general. As with most products, pregnant or nursing mothers must first consult their health care providers. Also, people suffering from certain autoimmune diseases should desist from consuming these products. Since BGA enhances the immune system, BGA supplements may worsen symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions linked to an overactive immune system. Spirulina may also interfere with drugs that slow blood clotting. It is important to conduct adequate research when sourcing these products. BGA may become contaminated with toxic metals, harmful bacteria and microcystins ― toxins produced from some algae ― if it is grown in unsafe conditions. Contaminated Spirulina may be especially dangerous for children.
For Education purposes only; always consult a Healthcare Practitioner for medical conditions