AFA, A powerhouse of nutrition.


I consider AFA a remarkable food. This is a photo of the algae I took from a dock in Upper Klamath Lake. This algae is a one cell (unicellular) organism. The cells organize themselves into colonies of the tiny delicate leaf-like structures you see below.

These filaments circulate independently through the water. They rise to the surface of the lake when they need sunlight and sink when they need to pick up minerals from the mineral-rich sediment at the bottom of the lake.

AFA is BlueGreen Algae

AFA is a rich vegetarian source of protein and has the same amino acid (protein) profile as human breast milk. AFA contains readily absorbable vitamin B12, the only useful vegetarian source of this vitamin. There are other plants which contain compounds that have the same structure as vitamin B12 but they do not aid in human health. AFA is a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and contains a blue pigment, which a number of cancer researchers have suspected, is a potent anti-cancer agent.

The World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the United Nations commissioned a study which detailed the nutritional requirements for humans. Different age ranges were studied and there are differences in quantities of essential amino acids (those elements of proteins which must be consumed in order to be healthy) but the ratios remain constant over the different ages. The following chart lists the essential amino acids and compares these to those found in AFA. The fit is just about perfect. AFA supplies all the essential amino acids, and in the same proportion as we require. A list of the essential amino acids in human breast milk has the same profile.

Comparison of Essential Amino Acids requirements to AFA

AFA is one of the exciting nutritional "discoveries" of the 20th century. The discovery was however made by many indigenous peoples millennia ago.

AFA or Aphanizomenon flos aquae used to be found in a number of freshwater lakes around the world. One, Lake Chad in Africa, used to have clean water and was a wonderful source of AFA. Anthropologists tell us stories about the peoples of this area harvesting AFA and adding it to their daily diet. The peoples there were healthier and possible more advanced than many of their counterparts (possibly due to the protein and the Omega-3 oils found in AFA). They are said to have been the first people who used written pictograms early in history.

Similarly, AFA from Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon has been present in the lake for millennia and is thought to have survived the last ice age. It has been eaten by the local indigenous people for thousands of years, who scooped algae out of the lake and dried it on lakeside stones, for their use in the harsh winter months when green vegetables were impossible to obtain.

Upper Klamath Lake is protected to the west by the Cascade Mountains to the West and, to the South, by legendary Mount Shasta and by spectacular Crater Lake to the North. (Map and photos )

Set at about 4200 feet in what is otherwise a high desert. The watershed feeding upper Klamath Lake depends greatly on the winter snows which often reach over sixty feet at Crater Lake.
Spring feeding Upper Klamath Lake

Springs, like the one pictured above, gush from the earth, between boulders at the feet of the mountains and feed, ice cold and rich in minerals, into sparking rivers like the Jameson and Sprague.


Jameson River

Downstream, they wander, crystal clear, into Upper Klamath Lake, pictured below.
View of Upper Klamath Lake

This lake is vast, covering about 240 square miles and is about 32 miles long. The water is clean. There is no industry in the watershed except a small sawmill. The farms in the fertile soil around the lake are fertilized by the algae when irrigation provides water which is drawn from the lake. There are cattle, but they range freely and in numbers which do not threaten the purity of the water. Boating is mostly wind powered. Because the algae is so prevalent in the lake, when you swim, you come out green, thus the lake is not sought after for lakeside residences and there are virtually none around the lake.

AFA 'blooms' best in cool water and is harvested by several companies. Only one uses state of the art equipment, designed by them, and in at least in one case, patented by them.New Earth has designed, and patented, specialized barges which use paddle wheels for propulsion. Propellers would break up and harm the algae. The barges are large and contain very sophisticated equipment. The algae harvest is gently lifted out of the water by revolving screens which sieve out the algae. The harvest then drops onto a collection system which feeds into specialized pumps. These pumps are unlike the high speed pumps with which we are familiar but which would injure the algae, and are more like the pumping action of the heart. The wet products are then rapidly cooled and transported cold for cleaning and processing.
This method of harvesting is done by only one company, New Earth and I would encourage you to only use algae from this company.

The barge used for algae harvest also contains a laboratory in which a quality control expert examines the harvest several times per hour.

AFA, Neuroplasticity and "Brain Healing"

While the biological requirements for healing a traumatized brain have not been fully elucidated, perhaps I can share some clinical observations about this process which I have observed over the past two decades.

Auntie Nettie was 98 and although frail, was generally in good health when she had a massive stroke. This left her with no use of her whole left side. Her doctors advised us that her case was hopeless. My wife, Diane, not willing to accept this, stayed by her side in the emergency department and then with her in her hospital room feeding her food and AFA. At first this was a tiny amount dissolved in water or in food like applesauce. Nettie began to respond. As she grew in strength, Diane continued to ply her with AFA and Coenzyme Q10. Nettie began to move all her limbs, progressed to transferring to a chair, learned to use a wheelchair and then against all the odds, began to walk. All the time eating AFA. Her doctors had never seen anything like it.

Eventually she returned to independent living in her own apartment. At 99 she was dancing around in her living room when she fell and broke her wrist. This too healed in record time. Nettie died just before her 100th. She got pneumonia and decided she had lived long enough.

This 'miracle' illustrates some things we know about the brain; that it can heal, that it can create new neural pathways to bypass the damaged areas, and that it functions better when certain biological conditions have been met.

I have observed that the eating of AFA has contributed to enhancing brain development in children who are facing hurdles, assists in performance of academic achievement and athletic performance.

What is it about the algae that might have these abilities? Certainly the algae is rich in micronutrients, essential fatty acids and chlorophyll. But I believe that it is possibly the glycoprotein in the cell wall of the algae that also contributes to it's remarkable healing ability. Our brains work because they 'connect'. The AFA, growing in the wild, creates cells which form connected colonies. I believe that by eating this algae we can help to keep out brains healthy, heal damaged nervous systems and help to keep our immune systems healthy.

If you would like more information about the other freshwater algae, please see this page.

One caution

AFA has the effect of activating immunity. In the case of people with hyper stimulated immune systems like those with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis etc. this might be a problem. Also, for people with a history of gastric or duodenal ulcers, or who have H. pylori, there may be an increase in symptoms of hyperacidity when they take AFA.

For information about obtaining AFA, please click here.

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