Blue Green Algae Supplements Support Better Health

By Sally Delacruz


When temperature, sunshine, and available nutrients reach ideal levels, many bodies of water can become clouded by a pervasive, greenish-looking substance. These blooms are actually a population explosion of microscopic life forms, most of which are not useful as human food, and a few of which can actually be deadly. The edible varieties are used in part to make blue green algae supplements, a popular dietary and nutritional aid.

These tiny creatures are fascinating. Although their distinctive color makes them seem like true plants, they are actually not that simple to classify. They do exhibit many plant-like characteristics, but some of their internal functions more closely resemble those of bacteria. This dual personality has allowed them to survive on Earth for eons, adapting to hostile environments that would have doomed other creatures.

Modern products made from this group include agar, a common ingredient in foods and industrial applications. Named for their cyan blue color, humanly edible forms obtain this pigmentation through bacterial photosynthesis, which is normally the way plants derive energy from sunshine. This substance has been highly praised by some nutritionists, even having been called a solution to future world food shortages.

While the term super-food may be a misnomer, harvesting this lowest-on-the-food-chain creature has become increasingly profitable. In North America, Klamath Lake in Oregon is a prime location, with its relatively pollution-free waters and ideal climate. The most commonly commercially farmed types are in the classification Spirulina, said to be the richest variety nutritionally.

It is not hard to understand the consumer enthusiasm these products generate. The same process that gives these tiny organisms their color also makes them relatively high in vegetable proteins, including beta-carotene. They contain a wide spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals, including amino acids, and also may have generate antioxidant properties. These characteristics have given rise to many health claims.

Even though science has not yet substantiated these results, the substance is used to help drop extra pounds, relieve chronic anxiety and depression, and even to mitigate some female reproductive health problems. Daily use is said to reduce early stages of oral cancer, bolster the immune system, and relieve chronic fatigue while boosting energy. Users say it helps with the common problems associated with ADHD (hyperactivity-attention disorder).

Algae derivatives undoubtedly have provided real advantages for users, but there has been considerable past controversy and issues of legality regarding some assertions. While using this dietary addition to treat or influence specific conditions is neither harmful nor toxic, any realistic and beneficial medical outcome attributed to taking these products is subjective, differing from person to person.

Regarded as food supplement and not a medication, the substance can be taken in pill form, sprinkled over other dishes, or combined with juice or water. Over-dosing is next to impossible, although pregnant women are advised to discontinue use. People who use it daily report an increase in energy and a greater sense of physical well-being, with an improvement in many physical functions.




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