When you think of Algae you probably think of dirty pond water and all the scum that floats around in the water but guess what this age old form of life has its health benefits. Initial reports claim that Algae can help fight cancer, AIDS, heart disease, lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, and detoxify the body. These claims are very encouraging and enlightening for something that floats around in the pond. And although there still needs to be more research done to validate those claims, there are supplements available to see if those benefits are a fact.
Here is a brief explanation of the different types of algae that are currently available.
The popular blue-green algae really aren’t algae at all, but bacteria called cyanobacteria. Although, algae doesn’t produce any byproducts that can be toxic to humans, cyanobacteria does, which is why you should be very careful when purchasing and using blue-green algae supplements. Spirulina is the most popular, and the safest, type of blue-green algae available. Many supplement companies grow spirulina in controlled ponds that are regularly screened for toxins. Even those that harvest it from nature make sure it is a pure product. So, you’re asking yourself what are the benefits in taking algae. The benefit is that it is a great source of complete protein because it has all the amino acids and contains a good range of vitamins and minerals. Also, spirulina is a vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids and is a good source of antioxidants.
When one mentions green algae, they are generally referring to chlorella. Like spirulina, chlorella contains a wide range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, as well as high levels of chlorophyll. Most people prefer spirulina to chlorella in terms of protein because spirulina is about 50-75 percent protein and chlorella only contains 45 percent protein. However, green alga has other benefits. Chlorella helps build red blood cells and is a good detoxifier eliminating waste from the kidneys and liver. Chlorella also has something else spirulina doesn’t have and that’s a compound called CGF, chlorella growth factor. There are theories that chlorella can protect and repair tissue and slow aging. Red marine algae may help in fighting chronic viruses like the flu or herpes. Another red algae called, Irish Moss, increases the thyroid. Red algae is less popular than the first two and harder to find.
When taking algae start slowly and build up but don’t use all the time. Also, take algae in powder form instead of a pill. The powder lets you control how much you are getting. You can also get your algae from foods such as barley, wheat and alfalfa grasses. Whichever one you use you can’t go wrong, algae is a health benefit for all.