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Favorable Effects of Blue-Green Algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae on Rat Plasma Lipids

Rafail I. Kushak, PhD, 1* Christian Drapeau, MS, 2 Elizabeth M. Van Cott, 1 Harland H. Winter1 1Combined Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Division of Laboratory Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 2Cell Tech, Klamath Falls, Oregon

JANA vol. 2 (3): 59-65

ABSTRACT

Background: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential for human health. There are indications that the lipid fraction of blue-green algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae contains about 50% PUFA and may be a good dietary source of PUFA. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of diets supplemented with algae on blood plasma lipids.

Methods: Rats were fed with four different semi synthetic diets: 1) standard, with 5% soybean oil; 2) PUFA-free with 5% coconut oil; 3) PUFA-free with 10% algae; 4) PUFA-free with 15% algae. After 32 days the levels of plasma fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol were studied.

Results: Rats fed the PUFA-free diet demonstrated an absence of linolenic acid (LNA) in plasma; however, supplementation with algae resulted in the same level of LNA as controls, increased levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, and a decreased level of arachidonic acid. Dietary supplementation with 10% and 15% algae decreased the plasma cholesterol to 54% and 25% of the control level, respectively (p<0.0005). Plasma triglyceride levels decreased significantly (p<0.005) after diet supplementation with 15% algae.

Conclusion:Algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is a good source of PUFA and because of potential hypocholesterolemic properties should be a valuable nutritional resource.

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TESTIMONIES

"As I reflect on our experience with Julia, the word that comes to mind is "resilience." Julia is our 19-year-old cat, and she has been on Bluegreen Body algae for over a year. We began feeding her the product when we noticed some decline in her attitude that we attributed to old age. Since then, she has had a number of diagnoses that are common in old cats (hyperthyroidism, cardiomyopathy, recurrent cystitis, and renal disease). We treated her medically and continued the Bluegreen Body. With each new episode of illness, we know it might be her last. But, she has repeatedly surprised me by bouncing back and continuing her highly spoiled lifestyle. In recent months, we have added a sprinkle of enzymes to her food. With this addition, her appetite improved (a plus!) and she has had less of a problem with constipation. In my experience, it´s unusual that an old animal is able to repeatedly survive several different health problems. I attribute Julia´s survival to both good medical management and to lots of TLC. One of the ways our TLC is manifested is by including algae and enzymes in her diet."
- Dr. Mary Walser, VMD, Ph.D
Professor of Pathology, Univ. of Minnesota

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