Pond Scum Is Good for You: Hippocrates Heals With Blue-Green Algae and Spirulina Supplements
|A kale smoothie with blue-green algae.|
At Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, there's lots of talk about the benefits of eating a raw vegan diet. If you've been following our series over the past few weeks, you've learned a lot about some pretty healthy, nourishing foods -- including how to grow your own sprouts.
But if the idea of eating some sprouted mung beans seems totally unappetizing, just wait until you hear about Hippocrates spirulina and blue-green algae drinks. Otherwise known as cyanobacteria, algae are an essential part of the global food chain -- just not what many would consider part of the human food chain. Really, who wants to eat something that's basically nothing more than floating pond scum? And does it really have any special nutritional or medicinal benefit?
However, according to Tom Fisher, an RN for Hippocrates Health Institute, consuming blue-green algae is one of the most powerful healing supplements used at the institute, and it can have an incredibly positive effect on the human constitution.
"[Algae] is one of our richest sources of minerals and phytochemicals. They are true superfoods and provide a wide array of health benefits," Fisher told Clean Plate Charlie recently. "There has been a lot of interesting research in recent years, including some we've done here at Hippocrates, and over the past 20 years, we've only seen phenomenal results form using these supplements to treat a variety of disease and illness."
When it comes to human consumption, the two main types of blue-green algae are spirulina and aphanizomenon flos-aquae (commonly referred to as AFAs or aphanins), both of which grow naturally in lakes and streams. Here in the U.S., blue-green algae are harvested from a single source known as Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon. From there, it is flash frozen and packaged into powders, pills, and capsules and sold in health-food stores and drugstores and on the Internet.
As with any other food or supplement that purports health-benefit claims -- and although blue-green algae supplements are widely consumed in the U.S., Canada, and Europe -- some argue about the potential for the presence of microcystin, a toxic byproduct of blue-green algae. In response, the Oregon Health Division and the Oregon Department of Agriculture established regulatory limits on microcystin content, which is why it's important to buy only from trusted and reputable suppliers such as E3Live, an organic, wild-grown "aquabotanical" containing 65-plus vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It's also a rich source of chlorophyll. (If you're pregnant, nursing, or have a compromised immune system, it's probably best you consult your doctor before consuming any blue-green algae).
|Blue-green algae is considered a "superfood" at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach.|
During the course of his studies he came across Hippocrates Health Institute Executive Director Brian Clement, and began eating a raw vegan diet. He began to eat only raw, living foods -- including the blue-green algae -- and had a "total transformation." Over the past decade he has remained in full remission, and considers himself healthier than he has ever been.
"Working as a nurse here has been very rewarding, because I get to see others leave here just as happy and healthy," said Fisher. "I used to work in hospitals where people never seemed to get better, or worse. Here, we teach people how to heal themselves, and live a healthier life."
Fisher currently uses four different algae supplements daily, including Hippocrates own LifeGive brand, an aphanin supplement that helps provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and is considered a powerful antioxidant to relieve oxidative stress. Another supplement, made specifically for Hippocrates known as "Brain Boost," provides a dose of algae extracts that boost mental clarity, and relive symptoms of anxiety and depression. Yet another, known as "Stem Enhance," is used to help the body repair damaged cells, and possibly supports the growth of new ones.
If you're interested in adding a blue-green algae supplement into your diet, Fisher suggests starting with a single, full-spectrum product -- such as the flash-frozen whole algae from E3Live which can be found locally at the Hippocrates health store, or online.
Keep reading for a creamy pesto recipe that will allow you to use blue-green algae with your daily meals.