Blue Green Algae

This class of food belongs in a unique niche. Edible algae belong to a number of different species. From the sea comes the nori wrapped around your sushi or the kombu in miso soup. The peoples who live in areas adjacent to the sea, especially the Japanese and Irish, use seaweed as an important addition to their daily diets. From fresh water come three different edible algae which may be used as a food supplemen,t and may be made into capsules, tablets, or powder and added to drinks, smoothies or nutritious food bars.

All of them are safe to eat, high in chlorophyll and protein and contain omega-3 essential fatty acids. In addition, all contain a blue pigment, phycocyanin, thought by some researchers to be an anti-cancer compound.

There are essential differences between these fresh water algae. I have personally tried all three and also tried recommending them to my patients. My personal preference and my choice for recommendation to may patients is AFA, which my family and I have been eating daily, more or less continuously since 1985.

Aphanizominon flos-aqua (a.k.a. AFA or Super Blue Green Algae® )

This algae is extraordinary because of all the algae it has the highest protein and chlorophyll content. It also has a glycogen-like cell wall, (glycogen is the starchy sugar thick our livers use to store energy). This makes AFA easy to digest and, other than cleaning and drying, requires no processing. Spirulina has a tougher cell wall and Chlorella has a cell wall so tough that it needs to be cracked before it can be digested.

Please look carefully at the photo of AFA.


I took it lying on a dock in Upper klamath Lake in Oregon, the source of AFA. Each of the leaf-like structures you see in the photo is made up of a colony of about 200 cells. These beautiful leaf-like structures float freely in the water, rising to the surface to catch the sunlight, or sinking deeper to pick up mineral nutrients.

This algae grows wild in huge, spring-fed, Upper Klamath Lake. In the winter, the lake freezes. Much of the algae dies off. In the spring, the algae cells which have been strong enough to survive, bloom and multiply in such quantities that there would be enough algae in this lake to feed everyone on the planet two grams daily.

The lake is clean. No chemicals or heavy metals have ever been detected in the water of Upper Klamath Lake nor in the algae from it. AFA is unique because, is the only algae proven to have a humanly effective vitamin B12. Other algae have a vitamin B12 analog which cannot perform the crucial role which this nutrient performs in our systems. This feature has been a boon to vegans (who don't eat any animal products and who don't want to take synthetic vitamins).

AFA is also the richest source of the blue pigment, phycocyanin. AFA, out of the three, also seems to have the most beneficial effect on the immune system. In a study in which immunizations were injected into lab animals fed on one of the three different algae, the effectiveness of the immunization was highest in the group which consumed AFA. This means that the AFA fed animals were able to mount the most effective immune response.

In a Harvard University study in which rats were fed AFA as a supplement to their diet, the animals fed AFA had cholesterol levels which were significantly lower than the group fed no algae. The brand which my family and I have been eating is certified organic, kosher, and harvested, cleaned, dried and packaged according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and sold by New Earth.

Click here for help in obtaining AFA.

Chlorella Chlorella

It looks like this under a microscope.

This single cell algae is cultivated in huge ponds (see below), primarily in Japan, where it has long been consumed as a part of a healthy diet.

Chlorella pools In most cases, the water used is pure. The nutrients on which the algae grows are added to the water. Before is can be digested, the chlorella cells go through an ultrasound process to crack open the tough membrane around the cells. Chlorella would be my second choice of algae. It appears to be highly beneficial for large numbers of people.


This blue green algae is also generally cultivated in huge Spirulinaponds and fed a man-made concoction of nutrients. It is also a beneficial food, high in protein and chlorophyll. Its cell membrane is soft and requires no processing to become digestible.

No matter which algae product you use, you will be getting micronutrients not likely available in the foods you eat. You will get good quantities of beneficial chlorophyll and some omega-3 fatty acids.

I recommend AFA of these three algae.

Because there are large variations in the quality of AFA produced from this lake, depending on the producer, I recommend that you get it from New Earth™ because it is the only company's algae that consistently has the highest quality and nutrients. I have visited Upper Klamath Lake and inspected the production facilities of this company on a number of occasions and can vouch for this company's performance.