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Super Blue Green® Algae (SBGA) vs. Spirulina and Chlorella

By definition, both SBGA and Spirulina are blue-green algae; Chlorella is a green algae. While they all contain similar (and exceptional) concentrations of phytochemicals, proteins, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and chlorophyll, there are a few variances that account for a notable difference.

  • Natural Environment: Unlike Spirulina and Chlorella, SBGA grows wild in a lake containing a large number and concentration of minerals. Upper Klamath Lake is the only location where wild, natural Aphanizomenon flos-aquae grows in quantities large enough to harvest. It is unique in that the geological terrain pours into it numerous streams of water carrying minerals from the surrounding mountains. The array of nutrients found in SBGA is not limited by those minerals artificially added to the growing environment.

  • Protein: SBGA, Spirulina, and Chlorella live in filamentous colonies. However, only SBGA contains heterocysts. Heterocysts are specialized cells inside the colony, which are able to convert normally unavailable dissolved nitrogen, a building block of protein, to a usable form. Thus, nitrogen is not a limiting factor for the growth of SBGA, which means that SBGA contains a very high protein content.

  • Vitamin B12: Scientific studies (Lancet, Jan. 30, 1988; JAMA, Dec. 17, 1982) using different brands of Spirulina demonstrated that nearly 80% of Spirulina's vitamin B12 content is not bio-available, meaning that the body is unable to utilize it. Vitamin B12, which is in the corrinoid family, contains many variations or "analogs," some of which are active in humans and some of which are not active in humans. The conclusion of these reports was a warning against over-consumption of Spirulina because it induced pernicious anemia in a number of people. However, an unpublished preliminary study conducted at the University of Connecticut confirmed the bio-availability of the vitamin B12 found in SBGA. SBGA has also been tested by independent laboratories for B12 analog levels using microbiological testing methods of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC). The testing results on SBGA, while not discerning exactly which corrinoids are present, indicate significant B12 activity. Therefore, unlike other plant foods that contain corrinoids with virtually no vitamin B12 activity, SBGA is believed to be a reliable source for vegetarians seeking to supplement their diets with a bioactive form of this important nutrient.

  • Processing: SBGA is harvested using proprietary cleaning and cooling steps that results in premium quality algae. Simplexity Health's harvester cools the algae to less than 40°F within one minute of its harvesting from the water, thus preserving its essential nutritional properties. As for drying, with some Spirulina and Chlorella found on the market, the drying process involves relatively high heat. Even when freeze-drying is used, there is a tendency to employ excessive heat in order to significantly decrease the expense involved. Heat destroys many micronutrients along with the enzymatic activity. SBGA is dried via Bioactive Dehydration™, a low temperature, organic- and kosher-certified drying process that preserves natural vitamins, enzymes, and other phytonutrients. It is a very gentle process, protecting botanical essences, that uses a proprietary system called Oxy-Guard™ to prevent oxidation during the delicate stages of drying to ensure a full nutritional profile and high enzymatic activity.

  • Research: Studies involving various beneficial characteristics of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae have been conducted in cooperation with such prestigious institutions as Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

  • Organic Certification: SBGA has been certified organic to USDA NOP standards since 2001. Domestic Spirulina products are not organic certified. As reported in Nutraceuticals World (May 2005), the National Organics Standards Board disallowed the use of the nitrogen source used by domestic Spirulina farms. Some Asian Spirulina products that are organic certified have safety and quality concerns due to their use of animal manure as a nitrogen source.

  • Environmental Responsibility: Simplexity Health takes environmental responsibility seriously, and has reinvested a portion of its resources into restoring environmental land use and has performed studies on the potential ecological impact that harvesting may have on the lake's ecosystem. Simplexity Health has performed extensive studies to evaluate the impact of its activities on the environment while also contributing enormously to local efforts for restoration projects. Simplexity Health has worked with ecological groups in the northern area of the lake to return agricultural ground to natural wetlands.

  • Testing Procedures: This is an extremely important aspect of algae manufacturing. Simplexity Health is by far the leading company for testing the quality and safety of its products. If you could visit the various harvest and production sites for yourself, there would be no question as to the quality of the products. However, if you do not have this opportunity, then we recommend that you observe the differences in taste, texture, color, and smell of the final product, and then ask the company what tests are performed and how often these tests are conducted on their products. This will give you some idea as to the quality as well as safety of the product. Some questions to ask are:

    • Does their production facility pass USDA inspections?
    • Do they test for pheophorbides? A true concern with all algae products is the possible toxic breakdown of chlorophyll into compounds called pheophorbides. Pheophorbides are produced when the algae is left sitting in warm temperatures. Simplexity Health is particularly careful to chill its algae immediately after harvesting, and then to freeze it within a few hours of harvesting to ensure that the chlorophyll does not break down. To verify that this breakdown has not occurred, each and every batch is subjected to independent laboratory analysis. Be sure to request verification of pheophorbide testing by any company that produces algae and does not ensure rapid freezing of their product.
    • Do they conduct heavy metal analyses (cadmium, lead, and mercury)?
    • What bacteriological testing (for example: E-coli, coliforms, aerobic bacteria, Staphylococci, Salmonella, Listeria, yeasts, molds, and Shigella) is performed and are these counts maintained below FDA Food Grade standards?
    • Do they regularly conduct pesticide analyses?
    • Do they routinely test for microcystins, and what method do they use? (It is important to know that this test cannot be effectively conducted by visually examining the product.)
    • Do they test for neurotoxins, and what methods do they use?

  • Results: Finally, the most noticeable difference is the one experienced by hundreds of thousands of individuals who have consumed other algae products but noticed results only when they tried SBGA.

The bottom line: The facts indicate that Super Blue Green Algae is a wise choice for those seeking nutritional support in the form of a natural whole-food supplement that is unmatched for quality, safety, and reliability.