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Klamath algae (Alphanizomenon flos-aquae) belongs to the large family of blue-green algae.
It receives its name from the lake where it grows, the Klamath, south of the state of Oregon, USA, at 1,300 meters. Immersed in a volcanic belt of more than 6,500 square kilometers, protected from any pollution, the waters of this lake benefit from the dissolution of the minerals in the surrounding rocks.
During the summer months, the algae reproduce every 4 days, creating a massive flowering of up to 50 million kilos per year. They are collected daily in a fresh state and frozen at a temperature of -30oC until they are processed. Klamath algae, consequently, are dried by freezing, never by heat, to keep all their nutrients intact and biologically active.
A characteristic of the cell wall of this microalgae is its soft texture, which favors rapid digestion and allows the absorption of 95% of its nutrients.
Klamath and Spirulina develop in similar media in terms of concentration of minerals, but different in their characteristics.
- Regarding the first characteristic, the optimum pH of the environment for Klamath is considered to be rather neutral (between 6’9 and 7’4), while it must be totally basic or alkaline in the case of Spirulina (between 8 ‘3 and 10). In addition, the salinity of the waters in which Spirulina grows can be up to one hundred times higher than in Lake Klamath.
- Regarding the second characteristic, growth conditions are considered to be diverse: Spirulina algae seems to be able to adapt to very different environments and colonize certain environments in which the life of other microorganisms is, if not impossible, very difficult , while the Klamath need great light intensity, which explains its richness in chlorophyll (;). Precisely because of these peculiarities, the Klamath seaweed has very remarkable properties, and some scientists already put it before Spirulina, considering it much more effective.
Let’s see, below, what these properties are (Almuhtaram, Cui, Zamyadi and Hofmann, 2018; Peng, Lin, Fan and Wang, 2017; Nicoletti, 2016; De Caro, Murgia, Seidita, Bologna, Alotta, Zingales and Campisi, 2019 ; Lyon-Colbert, Su and Cude, 2018).
Properties of Klamath seaweed
Many are the properties of this blue-green cyanobacterium little known in our country, but of all of them, we highlight the following:
- It helps digest and activate the enzymes of the body that are involved in the assimilation of nutrients to transform them into energy, which increases the formation of hemoglobin and prevents the contraction of blood vessels, so that, as a direct consequence, increases the muscular and nervous performance.
- Metabolizes molecular nitrogen directly from the air. This growth scheme allows the biosynthesis of four groups of low molecular weight proteins: alpha, beta, gamma and epsilon (). These proteins are the precursors of neurotransmitters, used by different areas of the brain to initiate the secretion of other substances (such as hormones), which influence metabolic functions.
- It contains 8 essential amino acids (that is, the amino acids that cannot be synthesized within our body, and that must be incorporated with the food we eat in our diet), two essential in childhood (therefore, necessary for proper growth of children), and 6 non-essential amino acids (produced by the body itself). To maintain optimal health, it is necessary to have the correct and balanced amounts of essential and non-essential amino acids, so that the consumption of Klamath algae is an important aid to our health.
- The vitamins of the Klamath seaweed are very similar to those of Spirulina, but the Klamath stands out above its highest proportion of Vitamin C (333 mg per 100 grams of dry product, compared to the 12 mg presented by the Spirulina), Vitamin E (13.33 mg per 100 grams of dry product, compared to 1.5-10 mg presented by Spirulina), and Vitamin B12 (0.6 mg per 100 grams of dry product, versus at 0.07-0.25 mg presented by Spirulina), as well as in the rest of the Group B Vitamins, where it greatly exceeds Spirulina.
- In its composition, it stands out especially for the great variety of minerals it possesses, as well as the balance between them: 6 of the minerals and trace elements that comprise it are known to be totally synergistic in metabolism. These minerals are: calcium, fluorine, silicon, magnesium, molybdenum and vanadium. Molybdenum, rare in the rest of algae, improves fluoride absorption, participates in the metabolism of proteins and, especially, helps in the transformation of the residues that these proteins generate.
- In addition to this, it is found that the Klamath carotenoids, has high amounts of beta-carotene, which makes it a great antioxidant.
- It is highly recommended in slimming diets, since it has numerous Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Klamath seaweed applications
At the therapeutic level, Klamath is beneficial for fighting stress and fatigue, in addition to strengthening the immune system. Similarly, it can overcome asthenia, malnutrition deficiency states, and all kinds of anemias (Fellows Maxwell, Wahls, Browne, Rubenstein, Bisht, Chenard and Ramanathan, 2019).
Highlights are its benefits in terms of delaying the cell aging process, also highlighting because it helps maintain blood glucose, lowers cholesterol, and improves nutrient absorption.
Moreover, according to studies consulted, the Klamath seaweed is beneficial for the human being as far as:
- Guarantees a large amount of arginine in the body, helping to maintain muscle tissue and promoting its definition and strengthening.
- Regulates the immune system and makes it more resistant to possible attacks.
- Improves brain functions, memory and headaches thanks to its vitamins and amino acids.
- Collaborates in stress management, and helps to moderate the behavior of oppositional, authoritarian and / or attention deficit children.
- It is useful for people suffering from depression, since it has a high content of phenylethylamine, so that its intake can produce feelings of happiness and euphoria.
- Due to its regenerative values, it can also be used to fight allergies, relieving them quickly.
- As a powerful antioxidant, it also prevents digestive inflammations. In addition, the fatty acids it has, such as Omega 3, also help this digestion process.
- Controls and prevents increases in cholesterol and triglycerides.
- It is able to avoid diseases such as diabetes or obesity, since it controls blood sugar and glucose levels (Roy-Lachapelle, Solliec, Bouchard and Sauvé, 2017), so that in weight loss diets it is recommended use the Klamath seaweed.
- It helps tone and strengthen the muscles thanks to its high protein content, something that makes it very useful when trying to define and tone the body.
- It is a great detoxifier and, due to its high mineral content, it helps the cellular regeneration of the organism.
From all the above it is evident that, due to its composition and content in trace elements, amino acids, minerals and vitamins, Klamath algae is indicated as an ideal nutritional supplement for vegetarians and vegans, athletes, children of growing age, pregnant women and the elderly (Rzymski and Jaśkiewicz, 2017), which are the groups that need more regulation in nutrient balance, since possible deficits of them would have a negative impact on their health.
In addition, as we have just seen, it is beneficial to enhance the improvement of brain functions, has an important anti-inflammatory action, reduces cholesterol levels, is an important detoxifier, and its antioxidant and antiaging properties have been investigated in the referenced studies.
If this is so, we believe that the right time has come to incorporate Klamath algae into our diet, starting the new year with the goal of taking care of ourselves more simply, naturally and effectively.
Almuhtaram, H., Cui, Y., Zamyadi, A. and Hofmann, R. (2018). Cyanotoxins and Cyanobacteria Cell Accumulations in Drinking Water Treatment Plants with a Low Risk of Bloom Formation at the Source. Toxins, 10 (11), 430. DOI 10.3390 / toxins10110430
De Caro, V., Murgia, D., Seidita, F., Bologna, E., Alotta, G., Zingales, M. and Campisi, G. (2019). Enhanced In Situ Availability of Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Constituents Entrapped in Buccal Films for the Treatment of Oxidative Stress-Related Oral Diseases: Biomechanical Characterization and In Vitro / Ex Vivo Evaluation. Pharmaceutics, 11 (1), 35. DOI 10.3390 / pharmaceutics11010035
Fellows Maxwell, K., Wahls, T., Browne, R. W., Rubenstein, L., Bisht, B., Chenard, C. A. and Ramanathan, M. (2019). Lipid profile is associated with decreased fatigue in individuals with progressive multiple sclerosis following a diet-based intervention: Results from a pilot study. PloS one, 14 (6), e0218075. DOI 10.1371 / journal.pone.0218075
Lyon-Colbert, A., Su, S. and Cude, C. (2018). A Systematic Literature Review for Evidence of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae Toxigenicity in Recreational Waters and Toxicity of Dietary Supplements: 2000-2017. Toxins, 10 (7), 254. DOI 10.3390 / toxins10070254
Nicoletti, M. (2016). Microalgae Nutraceuticals. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 5 (3), 54. DOI 10.3390 / foods5030054
Peng, G., Lin, S., Fan, Z. and Wang, X. (2017). Transcriptional and Physiological Responses to Nutrient Loading on Toxin Form