A very special edible algae AFA...

by Dr Kate James, MBBS, Integrative Medical Doctor

AFA, which stands for Aphanizomenon flos-aque is one of a number of species of Blue Green Algae. I discovered this amazing substance about three years ago and feel it to be one of the most gentle yet profound natural substances on the planet. Of all of the amazing things I have discovered I think it is AFA which has guided me most powerfully on my own journey alongside Grace to where we are today. I would recommend a daily dose of AFA for adults and children alike!

Algae has been used intuitively by people, and animals alike in many different parts of the world for centuries. It has thrived on the earth longer than any other life form known to human kind.

It has the potential to restore an individual on so many different levels, helping us to heal ourselves at our very core.

Its most powerful effect appears to be allowing us to be more in touch with our own inner guidance/ knowing . We find we are able to listen to ourselves more clearly , and our innate ability to spontaneously rebalance, and find our natural human state of equilibrium comes to us more easily.

Perhaps another way to put it is that algae helps to always take us back to where we need to be. If we listen, it even tells us when we need more or less of it.

Its blue green pigments and bitter flavour helps specifically to open and clear the throat and heart chakras guiding us towards being true to ourselves by opening our hearts. Its sour taste penetrates the liver and gallbladder encouraging us to allow our emotions to flow freely and its synergy with the kidneys, in part due to its salty nature and also its origin, helps us to release them.

Thus, as we welcome blue green algae into our bodies we are able to be more aware of what it is that we feel, experience it fully , and allow ourselves to release it . This allows us to feel, and let go without fear, leading us to a place where we find it unnecessary to repress or suppress our emotions.

In summary by incorporating blue green algae into our diet we find ourselves guided towards a way of journeying through life so much freer of fear, and more able to fully experience true inner peace and enjoy a sense of deep self acceptance.

Algae is a powerful builder of the yin (female essence), therefore helping us to maintain a sense of being cool and calm , whilst finding a slow, steady inner strength. It embodies both serenity and power, and allows those who consciously consume it to enjoy the same.

Nourishing ourselves with this amazing food , as it flows to reach each and every part of us, we find ourselves surrendering to its wisdom...... , being soothed by the gentle, constant rhythm of its waves....experiencing a feeling of being supported effortlessly, carrying us towards that sense of oneness with the universe, with no concept of being in any way separate or alone.

That sense of belonging is to be found inside each and every one of us and leads us to a place in which our mind, body and soul live once more in freedom, in their natural state of harmony .

When we are at one, love always flows freely.

The Kalmath Lake AFA’s most healthful source is situated in Oregon, America. The area is a true haven, nestled between 3 of America’s Natural Parks, Crater Lake National Park to the north, Winema National Forest to the east, and the Cascade Mountains to the west.

The lake contains about 30ft of mineral-rich sediment as a result of ancient volcanic activity thus providing a very unique growth medium for the AFA. It is a sanctuary for many types of wildlife and remains untouched by humankind .

It has a deeply spiritual feel, and has to be visited, if only by means of photographs!

At first thought the idea of eating algae may seem rather strange. It is important to clarify that there are only a very few strains of algae that are in fact toxic, and AFA is entirely safe, and very carefully collected and prepared. It has a taste quite different from anything else we have perhaps been used to here in the UK. In fact when I first tried Kalmath Algae I was pregnant with our third child and really wasn’t sure.

However I persevered and have used it for three or so years now. All of our children aged 7,5 and 3 have it every day and often have days where they ask for more particularly our youngest who got a taste for it through breast milk! My husband and other family members take it, as do many of my close friends and many, many patients.

How best to take it

It is best to take the algae in the morning, shortly before or with your breakfast, and depending on how much you are taking again midmorning and/or early afternoon. Our digestive system is at its strongest earlier in the day and so the earlier the better!

For most people it is best to take a cup of herbal tea on waking to warm the body and help our digestive system to wake up. This is wonderful preparation for taking algae.

The 2 best ways to take the algae to help your body to use it optimally are either about 20-30 minutes before meals, or as part of a simple meal including fruit, and or vegetables in some form. (This is ideal however not essential.)

I give our children their algae by opening a capsule and mixing it with about an egg cup full of water before they tuck into their breakfast. In fact as I now edit this article I realise the elder two just swallow it whole and Theo likes his in Cherry juice.


I have taken my algae in many different ways at different times. What feels right to us now often changes over time. A big factor here in the North of England is often the weather and seasons. Sometimes I’ve taken algae in green vegetable juices or sometimes in fruit based smoothies and sometimes sprinkled on berries or other seasonal fruit together with my porridge!.

The key points are to take it before or early in the meal, ideally as part of a simple meal, and with some fruit or vegetables in some form as algae has what’s called an enormous synergy with those types of foods. In other words it is able to work to its best effect in our bodies, being absorbed an assimilated to its maximal potential, and thus it can work even better than if we took it on its own. It is interesting to note that AFA is understood to be 97 % assimilable as opposed to vitamin and mineral supplements which at best tend to be only 30-50% assimilable ie you can only absorb 30% of their content.

It is also very important to avoid taking it with black tea or coffee, and ideally best taken at a different time to eating meat and fish.

A focus on AFA’s nutritional Properties

AFA, like wheatgrass is extremely rich in chlorophyll in fact it is the most concentrated source known to mankind!

It contains all of the amino acids making it complete protein. Amino acids are vital for the production of serotonin based neurotransmitters which means that AFA is the perfect food for calming and soothing the nervous system.

Algae contains a wide array of healthful compounds, most importantly in a form that allows them to be easily absorbed and assimilated. These include Beta-Carotene, and other Carotenoids, ( Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants thus able to support the growth of healthy normal tissue and help to overpower and destroy abnormal cells) AFA is also a good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

It also contains a substance called PEA which has been widely researched and is known to support mental focus, mental energy, and balance mood. It is well recognised for reducing cravings for alcohol and drugs and balancing blood sugar levels too.

Further, we know AFA contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called Phycocyanin, a selective COX-2 inhibitor which also gives AFA it’s blue colour. This assists our bodies to heal and support any internal inflammatory processes by working naturally on the same pathways as anti inflammatory prescription drugs.

Algae contains a number of substances which support the body in its excretion of toxins including heavy metals, pesticide residues, and also drug residues.

Further exciting properties of AFA

AFA seems to stimulates the migration of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell involved in eliminating cancerous and virally infected cells.

The release of stem cells from the bone marrow and the migration of these cells to tissues is the mechanism the human body has developed over thousands of years to heal and regenerate. In his book Primordial Food Christian Drapeau states AFA is the only natural compound that has been shown to stimulate stem cell release and migration and theorizes AFA could support our bodies in any form of cell regeneration and repair.

The research into this area is in its early stages and very much on going.

I hope you will enjoy the many many benefits of AFA, in fact I’m sure there are many we haven’t yet proved scientifically, and perhaps we never will. Some may take the view that perhaps we don’t need to and that the results of taking it speak for themselves.

Lastly I recently read that it is currently being studied by NASA as a possible food source for space missons and that the Russians have used a similar species of algae to treat patients exposed to radiation in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Further reading

Primordial Food, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae A Wild Blue-Green Alga with Unique Health Properties by Christian Drapeau, Msc

www.e3live.com ( one of my favorite suppliers of AFA algae. They collect it and dry it using very careful methods to preserve it’s amazing properties.)

http://www.healthy.co.uk/ another excellent supplier of AFA whoʼ s products beautifully preserve the amazing qualities of AFA. They are based in the UK and their MD first brought AFA to the UK several decades ago.

I have no interest in any company who supplies AFA. 

Book a consultation with Dr Kate James

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