Algae, Health

How Blue-Green Algae Is a Lot Like a Multi-Vitamin – Only Better!

Multivitamins come in all shapes and sizes yet they all share one common feature – they’re meant to deliver essential vitamins and minerals to support your health. In this way, blue-green algae are a lot like multivitamins. They’re a robust source of vitamins and minerals. In many ways they’re better in that they offer even more.

That’s not to say multivitamins don’t have advantages. They do, and this article will explore those advantages, along with the many benefits that make blue-green algae a great way to get your vitamins and minerals. 

The Big Advantage of Multivitamins

A multivitamin has one big advantage over all-natural nutrients like those delivered by blue-green algae. When you look at the label of a multivitamin, you can see exactly how much of any given vitamin or mineral you’ll get in a single dose. This is valuable, especially if you’re deficient or in need of specific nutrient. This advantage, however, is also the big disadvantage of most multivitamins.

 

The Big Disadvantage of Multivitamins

How can the ability to know the exact amount of a given vitamin or mineral a disadvantage? It’s because in many, and possibly most cases, the vitamins and minerals are synthetic. They are not naturally occurring forms.

This can pose several problems for people.

1. Your body may need to go through extra steps to convert the synthetic vitamin into one your body can use, as is the case with folic acid.[i] This requires extra energy and just as importantly, every extra biochemical reaction that takes place in your body increases the number of free radicals present that speed aging.

2. If you don’t digest, absorb and convert enough of it into the useful form, the vitamin can pass through your system unused, making it worthless.

3. Some synthetic forms of vitamins can be hard on the stomach.

4. They may not deliver the results you want.

This final item deserves a closer examination, doesn’t it? After all, you don’t take a multivitamin because you want to or to spend the extra money on it. You take it because it’s supposed to improve your health.

So, how do you know if it’s working?

 

How You Can Know Your Multivitamin is Working

You should expect results from your daily multivitamin. What kind of results?

At a minimum, you should get sick less, right? If you’re body’s getting the nutrients it needs, you’re fueling your immune system and your metabolism. Together, these would improve your ability to fight illness.

You should also have more energy since you are getting the nutrients that keep your metabolism running.

Less illness and more energy are why many who take blue-green algae supplements take them regularly. These results have everything to do with the nutritional content of the algae.

 

The Nutritional Content of Blue-green Algae

There are a few different types of blue-green algae. The most common are AFA, spirulina, and chlorella. Each is considered a superfood for their high concentration of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals. In fact, NASA even researched spirulina as a way to ensure astronauts got the nutrition they needed while in space!

Here’s an overview of the nutritional values in each type of blue-green algae.

AFA

Klamath Lake blue-green algae, also known as AFA, supplies a wide range of nutrients. They include[i]:

– Vitamins: A, C, E, K, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B5, B6, B9 (folate/folic acid), B12

– Choline

– Biotin

– Minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, chromium, sodium, manganese

AFA is also an excellent source of plant protein with 60% of its dry weight being protein. It also supplies omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Plus, AFA contains phycocyanin and phenylethylamine (PEA).

–  Phycocyanin is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties which has been shown to protect the brain and memory.[ii]

–  PEA is known for its ability to support mental health and a positive mood, having been shown to be more effective in relieving depression than standard therapies.[iii]

And since AFA is a “plant” and all-natural, it also contains many antioxidants like lycopene and lutein.

Spirulina

This blue-green alga undoubtedly got NASA’s attention as it’s an excellent source of protein, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, including[iv],[v]:

– Vitamins: A, C, E, K, the complete B complex

– Choline

– Minerals: calcium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium, zinc, potassium, magnesium

It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants including phycocyanin. Research has shown many of the nutrients in spirulina help lower cholesterol, protect the heart, fight disease, improve healing and support weight loss.[vi]

Chlorella

Chlorella is another algae loaded with nutrition, but only if it’s cell wall is cracked first. The reason for this is that this algae’s cell wall is hard and thick and undigestible. To make its nutrients available, the manufacturer’s must crack the cell wall. When they do, you get[vii]:

–  Vitamins: A, C, E, and the B-complex vitamins

–  Minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc

It’s also a great source of protein and amino acids. Chlorella also provides chlorophyll, the molecule that makes it green and offers detoxing properties, making chlorella an excellent way to support the body’s natural waste and toxin removal.

 

The One Drawback of Blue-green Algae

In terms of nutrition, blue-green algae would seem to have the edge. So, what is its drawback? It’s all natural, which means the actual amount of any given vitamin or mineral in a blue-green supplement can vary depending on the growing conditions. This drawback, however, is also its big advantage.

What Makes Blue-green Algae Better Than a Multi-vitamin?

The vitamins and minerals in blue-green algae are all-natural. Not produced in a lab, they are more readily available to the body, so most people can digest and absorb more of those that are present. In this way, even if the amount of a nutrient may be less than a multivitamin, the amount the individual gets could be more. And isn’t that why you would take a multivitamin in the first place?

Of course it is. That’s why it’s generally recommended to take blue-green algae supplements that combine AFA, spirulina, and chlorella. You’ll get the maximum nutritional content for the best possible results – your good health.

 

[1] Bailey SW, Ayling JE. The extremely slow and variable activity of dihydrofolate reductase in human liver and its implications for high folic acid intake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2009;106(36):15424-15429. doi:10.1073/pnas.0902072106.

[1] Kay RA1. Microalgae as food and supplement. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1991;30(6):555-73.

[1] Liu Q, Huang Y, Zhang R, Cai T, Cai Y. Medical Application of Spirulina platensis Derived C-Phycocyanin. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2016;2016:7803846. doi:10.1155/2016/7803846.

[1] Sabelli H1, et al. Sustained antidepressant effect of PEA replacement. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1996 Spring;8(2):168-71.

[1] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2765/2

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/blue-green-algae

[1] Ibid.

[1] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/569428/2

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