Top Ten Worst Diet and Healthcare Choices
& Ten Better Choices
Susun Weed 2016©
10. Blue-green algae
I have saved the best (or worst) of my ten worst, for last: eating blue-green algae, such as spirulina or Klamath Lake AFA. If you eat blue-green algae, you won’t necessarily die (although you might), but your nervous system and your liver will suffer. Blue-green algae will interact with your genes and set the stage for nervous system dysfunction and breakdown in the years to come.
What are the facts?
Cyanobacteria are simple, primitive life forms found in all fresh and salt waters. When the water warms, they “bloom,” going from invisible to teeming with amazing rapidity. Cyanobacteria produce some of the most powerful natural poisons known, called cyanotoxins. With warming climates worldwide, cyanobacteria blooms are increasing, and incidents of poisoning by blue green algae are becoming more and more common and widespread.
When wildlife – including cattle, ducks, geese and other, birds, even marine mammals – drink water contaminated with cyanobacteria, they die “rapidly and terribly.”
Worse yet, as blue-green algae blooms increase, so do neuronal diseases in humans, and there is strong evidence that there is a cause and effect relationship.
Experts agree: Cyanobacteria toxins can be lethal in relatively small amounts.
How lethal? Cyanotoxins "have gained increasing significance as potential candidates for weaponization." (1)
The probability that a bloom will be toxic when consumed is 45-75%. Toxicity is hard to predict. Cyanobacteria that test fine one day can turn toxic the very next day. Only laboratory tests can confirm whether a bloom is toxic or non-toxic. While cyanotoxins are generally contained within the living blue–green algal cell, when the cell is damaged or dies, the toxins are released into the water. Supplements of blue-green algae with “broken cells for better absorption” may be particularly problematic Many cases of human poisoning from algal toxins have occurred after chemical treatments of blue-green blooms.
• 1979, an outbreak of hepato–enteritis in Australia due to an algal bloom treated with copper sulphate – which killed the algae but caused it to release the toxin cylindrospermopsin – resulted in the hospitalization of 150 children and adults with vomiting, headache, painful liver enlargement, constipation, then bloody diarrhea, and dehydration.
• In 1991/92, Australia experienced the world's largest recorded blue–green algal bloom along 1000 km of the Barwon–Darling River. A State of Emergency was declared and drinking water supplies bought in to avoid death and injury.
• In 1988, in Brazil, more than 2,000 people who drank water with blue-green algae suffered from gastro–enteritis; 88 of them died. This is most human deaths reported from cyanotoxins.
• In 1996, eight years later, another 50 people in Brazil died from cyanotoxins when a dialysis clinic used water contaminated with cyanobacteria to treat patients.
Why would anyone intentionally eat such a potentially dangerous substance? Money (of course). A quick look at the history of “the rise of spirulina and chlorella” is more than enough to reveal the crass commercialism involved. In the 1980’s Dr. Christopher Hills wrote books on blue-green algae as a way to promote his special formulas with “potentized” algae. (Remember: You can tell, or you can sell, but doing both is a clear conflict of interest. Buyer beware.) As if that isn’t enough, Hills’ products were not sold in the open market, but by multi-level marketing, which is a huge scam, like a Ponzi scheme.
Gruesome details: Cyanotoxins include microcystins, anatoxin-A, cylindrospermopsin, lipopolysachharides, saxitoxin, and others.
Microcystins -- the most commonly-found cyanobacterial toxins and the one most responsible for human and animal poisonings – are hepatoxins. Hepatotoxins cause blood to collect in the liver causing circulatory shock and can lead to death by internal hemorrhaging. They can cause weakness, vomiting and diarrhea. Microcystins are very stable and last for a long time once released from the algal cells.
Anatoxin-A is a potent neurotoxin which causes lethargy, muscle aches, confusion, memory impairment, and, at sufficiently high concentrations, death. The cyanobacteria neurotoxin BMAA may be an environmental cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease. Neurotoxins interfere with the functioning of the nervous system and can cause death within minutes by paralysing the respiratory muscles.
Cylindrospermopsin is a non-specific, relatively slow-acting toxin that damages most organs in the body including the liver.
Lipopolysachharides have been associated with outbreaks of gastroenteritis, skin and eye irritations, hayfever, asthma, eczema, and blisters in the lining of the nose and mouth in humans. All blue–green algae have lipopolysachharides in their cell walls.
Saxitoxin is produced by the freshwater blue–green algae Anabaena circinalis. Ingesting this blue-green algae can cause tingling and numbness of the mouth, tongue and extremities, nausea and vomiting, and severe neurological symptoms such as ataxia, muscle weakness, and dizziness.
Yet another cyanotoxin, one found in Lyngbya (mermaids hair or fire weed) is known to promote tumors.
The cell walls of all blue–green algae contain contact irritants which can cause gastrointestinal, skin, eye and respiratory irritations to humans and animals. There may be stinging, burning or itching within minutes of exposure with red swellings and blisters common. Those prone to asthma or eczema are most sensitive.
Instead: Have you been led to believe that blue-green algae are nutritious? Commercial spirulina and chlorella products are heated during processing. Their cell walls “carmelize” as they are spray dried, resulting in an increase in toxity and a decrease in assimilation of all nutritional components.
Instead, drink nettle infusion. It contains more protein, more minerals, more vitamins, and no cyanotoxins. It costs a lot lot less too!
Learn More: The first published report that blue-green algae or cyanobacteria could have lethal effects appeared in Nature in 1878.
AFA is Aphanizomenon flos aquae.Nerve and liver damage have been observed following long-term exposure.
(1) Dixit A, Dhaked RK, Alam SI, Singh L (2005). "Military potential of biological neurotoxins". Informa Healthcare. 24 (2): 175–207. doi:10.1081/TXR-200057850