Blue Green Algae Benefits
The blue-green algae are often referred to as Cyanobacteria or Cyanophyta which is a phylum of Bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis.The name "cyanobacteria" comes from the colour of the bacteria, cyan (blue); the bacteria do not use or produce cyanide. Putative fossil traces of cyanobacteria have been found from around 3.8 billion years which surely proves that Blue-green algae are among the most primitive life forms on Earth.
Blue-green algae are present in almost all aquatic ecosystems, including creeks, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Individual cells are quite small, so blue green algae can be present in a water body without being visible. However, as environmental conditions become just right, algae numbers can start to increase rapidly and blooms, or scums, become easily visible across the water surface. The blooms range in color from dark green to yellowish–brown and develop paint like consistency as they dry out around the water’s edge. A blue pigment may also be seen as they dry.They are in fact prokaryotes, not algae.They share abilities of plants, as they can perform photosynthesis. Also, they have some features of primitive bacteria, which lacked the plant cell wall. Interestingly, they also share characteristics of the animal kingdom as they contain (on their cellular membrane) complex sugars which are quite similar to glycogen. Among blue-green algae we find both edible and toxic species, adaptive to the most extreme habitats on Earth, including deep-seas, hot springs, and Antarctic ice. Edible species have been used by humans as food for thousands of years. Habitats with sufficient algae growth include the Pacific Ocean near Japan and Hawaii, and large freshwater lakes in Africa, North and South America and in Mexico.
Blue-green algae contain small amounts of protein, vitamins (including C, E, and folate), beta carotene, and some minerals. But unless you eat huge amounts of algae, they are a negligible source of nutrients. Like green plants, they are rich in chlorophyll, a pigment that enables them to turn sunlight into energy. But chlorophyll is of no use to the human body.
Blue green algae have been used for weight loss and as a nutritional supplement. It has also been used for boosting the immune system and for controlling cholesterol levels. Some herbal/diet supplement products have been found to contain possibly harmful impurities/additives. Its supporters claim health benefits, including increased energy, improved memory, greater mental clarity and focus, improved digestion, control of appetite and cravings, heightened immune function, and relief from fatigue, hypoglycemia, PMS, anxiety and depression. It’s even recently been called a cure for Attention Deficit Disorder. Its detractors say it is nothing more than pricey pond scum and the latest bit of natural health care quackery. Debates have raged fiercely for years between the supporters and detractors, and now, the Canadian government has stepped into the fray.
The near continuous blooms of blue-greens in some tropical lakes are a valuable source of food for humans. Some blue-green species make major contributions to the world food supply by naturally fertilizing soils and rice paddies. R.N. Singh of the Banares Hindu University in India has shown that the introduction of blue-green algae to saline and alkaline soils in the state of Uttar Pradesh increases the soils' content of nitrogen and organic matter and also their capacity for holding water. This treatment has enabled formerly barren soils to grow crops. Astushi Watanabe of the University of Tokyo found the introduction of Tolypothrix tenuis resulted in a 20% increase of rice crop. W.E. Booth of the University of Kansas showed through experiments in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, that a coating of blue-greens on prairie soil binds the particles of the soil to their mucilage coating, maintains a high water content and reduces erosion.
Several areas in North America culture and commercially process certain blue-greens for various food and medicinal products such as vitamins, drug compounds, and growth factors. The unique balance of essential nutrients contained in Blue Green algae provide many people with all kinds of personal health benefits. Every single person reacts differently to the algae, so there are as many benefits as there are people who try it. Generally, some people report a general feeling of wellness, possible boost in energy, less colds and flu, less doctor visits, less down time at work, and general elevated moods, just to name a very few. You might also want to read the section on research for some of the benefits mentioned in the studies. The best way to really find out about how the algae can benefit you is for you to try it yourself.
Clinical data shows that blue green algae is useful for
- Easing life transitions and transformations
- Understanding and accepting life experiences
- Listening to inner voices of guidance
- Rebuilding self-esteem
- Nourishing and creating joy in our lives
The "Children and Algae Report" is a summary of the information of the Center for Family Wellness gathered during their research study of 140 children. This study was designed to investigate the effects of feeding Super Blue Green Algae to children who struggle with learning, social and behavioral problems.
The research team questioned whether the addition of Algae to children's diets would help alleviate these challenges. The statistical analysis of the data gathered during the study demonstrates that eating Algae clearly has a notably positive outcome in those areas of concern for a vast majority of the study sample.
The report also mentions another study involving 1,482 students in Nicaragua, a country where malnutrition impacts about two thirds of the population. The positive results of adding Super Blue Green Algae to the children's diets were noted and qualified, as were the improvements in the children's class participation, academic scores, and overall health. As the study progressed, many children exhibited language and reading skill improvements. Parents and teachers, alike, began reporting that the children had better social and interactive skills, and more self-reliance.
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