Michael Saiber & Tamera Campbell
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Although to the layperson, algae seems like something you would not want to eat, indigenous people of Japan and China and other regions have eaten it for thousands of years for its nutritional properties. Algae ranges from the microscopic to the massive mats of kelp vegetation that you can see floating on the water. Of the many species of this plant family, only certain species are fit to consume. From the Nori sheets that encircle your sushi, to dulse and certain kelps, edible algae is becoming more popular for its nutritional benefits and properties. One particular species of nutritional cyanophyta, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), is an edible blue-green algae and it is gaining widespread popularity the world over.
The discovery of this ancient strain of cyanophyta Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) has led to a new Super Food that contains more protein and chlorophyll than any other food source. Primitive as cyanophyta may appear, most are highly efficient photo synthesizers, even more so than plants. AFA utilize light energy from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, and hydrogen from the water to synthesize proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. AFA grows only in the wild and is far superior to any other cyanophyta on the planet. In many ways, it is nature's perfect food.
AFA contains amino acids, vitamins, and trace minerals that tone up the immune system, raise energy levels, and improve general health. Their high chlorophyll and phytochemical content make them effective antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and aid detoxification in the body. Compared to other protein sources, algae are low in fat and high in fiber. AFA can be found in many easy-to-use forms, capsules for travel, flakes for adding to recipes and smoothies, or the most potent fresh-frozen liquid form, which is directly absorbed by the cells of the body (most bioavailable). Much of the AFA in the United States is harvested from the pristine waters of Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon, one of the only sources in the world for this species of blue-green algae.
Many myths surround the AFA; like that some of it is toxic or somehow poisonous. It all comes down to the harvesting process, where the filtering process takes place to separate and remove any unwanted toxins (like microcystins) from the beneficial AFA. From the moment the AFA is harvested, to its final packaging, the AFA should be handled with care ensuring the highest quality AFA. Factors contributing to this quality include: where and how the AFA is harvested, keeping the AFA cold at all times, superior filtration and storage, and ongoing quality-control testing of all AFA products. Look for a company that tests their AFA products thoroughly by independent USDA certified labs for food safety, shelf-life and various other purity tests.
The benefits of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae are directly related to the care and attention given to sourcing and harvesting the product. The quality begins with the selection of the freshest AFA "blooms" from pristine waters. Then harvesting should be quickly followed by rapid chilling of the AFA to 34 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, the AFA should be further purified by careful centrifugation, leaving a product chilled and scrupulously clean. Some AFA is handled more expeditiously from harvest to freezer than others - you need to be certain that you choose a reputable and qualified harvester for your source of AFA. If corners are cut, quality may be inferior as well.
So the next time you have a smoothie, add in some AFA and start reaping the benefits that some have known for thousands of years!
Michael Saiber & Tamera Campbell, harvesters of Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae
What Cecilia Says- This stuff is awesome! When I take it on a regular basis I notice a difference. I like to put it in my smoothies. Orange juice, blueberry, banana, and E3live is a good mix.