"Blue-green algae and my new diet have helped me focus and concentrate better in school and on my homework. I am more relaxed and I don’t have stomachaches anymore. I have more friends now and my mom is happier too."
--Chelsea, 8 years old
The brain contains and uses one of the highest concentrations of nutrients of any organ in the body. Oxygen consumption is the best indicator of "fuel use" -- almost everyone recognizes how vital oxygen is to the brain. Unlike many organs (e.g., the liver) that have cellular fuel reserves, the brain is almost entirely dependent upon a continuous blood supply for fuel. Children’s brains are even hungrier, more metabolically active, and proportionally larger than adults’ brains. Per pound of body weight, children eat more food, drink more fluids, and breathe more air than adults, thereby increasing their potential exposure to toxins. Also, younger children’s blood-brain barriers and intestinal linings are not as developed and are therefore less protective than those of most adults. This means that more incompletely digested foods and toxins can leak into a child’s bloodstream and brain.
Beta-carotenes and antioxidants found abundantly in microalgae may contribute to protecting the central nervous system (CNS) from oxidative stress. Lipids, which comprise most of the brain tissue, are especially sensitive to oxidative damage. Researchers in Israel and Japan have demonstrated the protective effects of antioxidants in experimental animal brain trauma models. 43,44 Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of some disorders of the brain; hence antioxidants have become attractive therapeutic agents. 45 Furthermore, brain trauma and injury tends to increase whole-body oxidative stress. 46
In 1985, Gabriel Cousens published two case studies on the use of AFA blue-green algae in the improvement of Alzheimer’s disease. He reported “some significant return of function” such as decreased hand tremors, better balance, and improved short term memory, attention span, judgment, and reasoning in one patient; in the second patient there was no significant return of previously lost function, but there was a halting of the typical “progressive degeneration associated with Alzheimer’s” along with a corresponding improvement in the patient’s marital relationship. 50
Andrew Valencia and colleagues at the Neurolab Clinic associated with the University of New Mexico demonstrated that patients suffering from mild brain injury who ate Aph. flos-aquae showed a 25% improvement in about half the time as patients who did not receive algae. 52 According to Valencia, in his study of more than 150 patients over two years, patients who ate AFA algae alone had improvements similar to those in a two-month hospital-based rehabilitation program. However, the best results were achieved when neuro-rehabilitation was combined with eating Aph. flos-aquae algae, better than Aph. flos-aquae alone or the hospital program alone. Valencia’s research team hypothesized that Aph. flos-aquae algae seems to promote reparative neuroplasticity - or, in lay terms, rewiring of the circuitry of the brain.
Valencia also conducted electrophysiological studies of brain waves and found that the ingestion of Aph. flos-aquae algae was linked with pronounced improvements in brain function, notably in the ability to focus and discriminate between various auditory signals.
At least six research studies have demonstrated the benefits of Aph. flos-aquae on improving children’s cognition, mood, behavior, and academic performance:
Sevilla and Aguiree’s study of 1,567 students at the Monseñor Velez School in Nandaime, Nicaragua, demonstrated an 81% increase in the average standardized test scores among malnourished children eating only .5 to 1 gram of Aph. flos-aquae a day over a six-month period. Subjects showed significantly increased classroom attendance and participation, as well as marked improvement in overall health. Academically, the Velez school went from having one of the lowest national scholastic test scores to achieving one of the best. 53
Claudia Jarratt, family therapist at the Center for Family Wellness in Harvard, Massachusetts, studied 105 children given Aph. flos-aquae and found a significant improvement in behavior as shown by both parent and teacher ratings. The children, who displayed a variety of behavioral problems, consumed between 0.5 and 1 gram of Aph. flos-aquae daily and were observed over a ten-week period. Data from the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklists (parent and teacher versions) and extensive case histories were collected for all participants. Significant improvements were found on all 11 parent rating scales in pre- to post-test behavior. These findings were corroborated by teachers’ ratings, which revealed significant improvements in seven of the ten behavioral problem areas measured. The use of an expectancy scale revealed little correlation between parents’ initial expectations of treatment benefits and final outcomes. 54 Subsequently, Claudia Jarratt has continued to work with an additional 250 children, using an AFA-based program, with similar positive results. 55
My own research team studied 26 students with reading difficulties, who participated in a three-month Aph. flos-aquae supplement study. All were enrolled in the Stilwell Learning Center, a reading tutorial program in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Participants included 18 boys and 14 girls, ranging from 6 to 17 years old, with a mean age of 11. The children were randomly assigned to one of two groups, (1) the low-Aph. flos-aquae, 1.5 grams, treatment group (n = 13) or (2) the high-Aph. flos-aquae, 3 grams, treatment group (n = 13). There was also a non Aph. flos-aquae comparison group.
Both Aph. flos-aquae treatment groups showed significant improvements on the following measures over the three-month trial period: attention and concentration indices, a sequential memory index, standardized academic testing, behavioral parent and teacher reports, health symptoms, tutorial attendance records, and decreased toxic levels of aluminum. Regardless of the assigned treatment group (i.e., high or low), both groups demon-strated significant improvements compared to pre-test baseline measures and a small non-supplemented comparison group. 56
A team of medical researchers headed by Dr. Krylov of the University of Illinois concluded, after examining hundreds of well-documented case histories, that Aph. flos-aquae appears promising for the treatment of depression and AD/HD as well as several other health challenges. 58
John Taylor, Ph.D., psychologist, author, and AD/HD expert states "I have been in a position to talk with thousands of parents and professionals very frankly about AD/HD. And blue-green algae is consistently mentioned to me by parents as being of help for children with AD/HD."