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2021 January

Klamath Blue Green Algae in 2021: A functional food worth considering

30th January 2021

Olivier Sanchez ND NT Dip rCNHC MGNC MNNA MGNI  /  


"Blue-green algae" refers to those species of bacteria that produce blue-green coloured pigments, including chlorophyll, by harnessing the energy from the sun, in the same way plants do. Algae can be found in both salt and fresh water, such as the algae that grows in Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon.


Klamath Lake receives an average of 300 days of sunlight per year, with very hot summers and very cold winters. This environment is perfect for allowing Klamath Algae to become the most nutrient rich strain of blue-green algae available today.

The very mineral rich waters of Upper Klamath Lake provide plenty of nutrients for the algae to grow quickly and in high numbers. Under these perfect conditions, Klamath Algae can reproduce every 20 minutes which means that you do not deplete Klamath Lake of this precious commodity.


KLAMATH BLUE-GREEN ALGAE (Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae, or AFA for short) is a type of micro-algae that grows wild in a rich and preserved environment in the Pacific Northwest part of the United States. The natural layout of Klamath Lake allows for its water to be filtered through volcanic and mineral-rich rocks, bringing a nutrient-rich flow of pure water that the algae can feed on and grow.

Other microalgae commonly known, such as spirulina and chlorella tend to be ‘unnaturally’ grown, or farmed in ponds, (aquaculture), tanks or tall glass tubes, indoors. They are usually fed a soup of synthetic nutrients, phosphates and nitrates. there are still some examples of spirulina being harvested commercially from naturally occurring populations (e.g., Lake Texcoco in Mexico), however, these are only few.[1]

In certain countries, spirulina is cultured in different agro-industrial wastes such as sugar mill waste effluent, poultry industry waste, fertilizer factory waste, and urban waste and organic matter, including swine and industrial waste and/or mixed with a soup of synthetic chemicals (e.g., nitrate-N, phosphate-P, potassium and sodium carbonate)[1,2] and/or with the addition of urea (usually from livestock)[3].

Also, the fragile microalgae are often harvested by being pumped through a filter or a centrifuge and then dried in the sunlight or with hot air, and/or spray dried into a powder. And so, the nutrient profile of certain blue green algae products may therefore, be relatively insignificant and of little value for the body.

The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is carefully harvested in cloth. The water content is then slowly reduced via a state-of-the-art low-temperature dehydrator-like system, also known as BioActive dehydration, to ensure that all the nutrients are preserved and concentrated inside the algae membrane.

The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is Certified Organic. We also ensure our Klamath Algae is of the highest purity and quality since first introducing it into the UK 30 years ago.


Gram for gram, The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is one of the most vital, functional and nutrient-dense foods in the health food market today. Growing wild and harvested in a way that preserves its nutrient profile, The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is one of the richest sources of protein (up to 60%) on the planet. Much of the protein content is in the form of glycoprotein, which means the proteins are in a form the body can recognise and absorb fully. Klamath Algae also contains 8 of the essential amino acids, closely matching the human body’s requirements.

The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is an excellent source of B vitamins (vegan)[4,5], particularly B12, and is the highest plant source of Beta-carotene and non-toxic vitamin A. It is also rich in vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E and K.

The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is highly assimilable and superior in digestibility and absorption. It has a perfect synthesis of proteins, complex carbohydrates and lipids, (including a balance of linoleic acid (LA), omega-6 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and omega-3 fatty acid). In fact, Klamath Algae has been shown to raise blood levels of ‘good fatty acids’ more than one would expect from its ALA content alone. And it appears that other micronutrients may be at work enhancing the fatty acid and enzyme utilisation. Furthermore, the unique environment surrounding Klamath Lake nourishes the algae with a full-spectrum of minerals that are readily available to the body once ingested.

Due to their ability to photosynthesis (harvest the energy of the sun), The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is rich in chlorophyll and other pigments , as well as compounds that display antioxidant activity, like phycocyanins and carotenoids. Because chlorophyll is closely related to the chemical structure of the human blood, Klamath Algae is able to balance blood alkalinity and help purify it, as well as oxygenate body tissues. Some of the pigments also display anti-inflammatory capabilities. The nutrient-rich profile of Klamath Algae may also support liver detoxification processes.


Not only is Klamath Blue Green Algae® one of the only plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, it also contains phenylethylamine (PEA) and other brain-supporting nutrients. For example, B vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system and mood. The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® contains the entire spectrum of B vitamins. It is also the only algae providing assimilable B12 ―― not usually found in the plant world (vegetarians and vegans can be deficient in this important vitamin), and is vital to keep homocysteine levels under check.[6]

Klamath Blue-Green Algae is well known for its amazing effect on the nervous system, particularly due to its ability to metabolize nitrogen and produce neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are precursors for neurotransmitters. And, neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that relay information from the brain to the body and from the body back to the brain. And so, play a vital role in memory and concentration, as well as supporting the central nervous system. In fact, Klamath Algae is shown to provide sharper mental focus, alertness and improve endurance and stamina.

Further to its action of the brain and mood, Klamath Blue Green Algae® is particularly rich in phenylethylamine also known as PEA (synthesised from phenylalanine), which is not found in any other algae. PEA is known as the ‘molecule of love’. It is also shown to improve attention and mood.[7] A neuromodulator, it acts on neurons in a local region of the central nervous system by modulating their response to neurotransmitters.[8] Klamath is known to readily cross the blood brain barrier and its nutrients therefore become immediately available to our brain cells.

PEA is also useful for improving stress tolerance and adrenal fatigue, as it helps regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) response to stress, which plays immensely on mood and clarity of mind. (Symptoms of chronic stress can include digestive discomfort (and sometimes pain), reduced cognitive ability and brain fog).[9]


It is in its ability to modulate serotonin and catecholamines, especially dopamine (PEA stimulates its release and inhibits reuptake), which gives PEA from Klamath remarkable nutritional capabilities for any mood and neurological imbalance. The role of dopamine has been implicated in depression, age-related neurological disorders[10], mood disorders[11], Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases[12]; Parkinson’s patients have in fact been found to be PEA defficient.[13,14]

Moreover, phycocyanins and MMAs (mycosporine-like amino acids) contained in Klamath, significantly inhibit monoaminoxidase (MAO-B), the enzymes that are responsible to break down neuroamines, extending the life and activity of PEA (without side effects).1,2Moreover, phycocyanins and MMAs (mycosporine-like amino acids) contained in Klamath, significantly inhibit monoaminoxidase (MAO-B), the enzymes that are responsible to break down neuroamines, extending the life and activity of PEA (without side effects).[15,16]

he effect of PEA contained in The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is stronger when added to physical activity.


The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is put through every possible control for purity and is compliant with current regulations. It is free of contaminants, microcystins, toxic metals, man-made chemicals (e.g., fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and more), and other bacteria.

There has never been a recorded case of any adverse reaction at the recommended doses. Some people may, however, experience mild detox side effects like a runny nose or a detox headache. This is a rarity and doesn’t last long, however if it happens, we would recommend using less algae until the detox passes and/or drinking more fluids.


The Really Healthy Company Klamath Blue Green Algae® is an excellent source of chlorophyll, an important blood cleanser, high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, and minerals, which are readily-absorbed by the body.

Klamath Algae also contains PEA, which is shown to support mental clarity, alertness, physical endurance and stamina, and reduces the effect of stress on the body and the central nervous system, as well as the recovery time after exercise.

Blue-Green Algae is being further researched for its potential effects on the immune system as well as its role in containing inflammation and viral infections. Klamath Algae is also shown to encourage healthy hair, nails and skin. Further studies are necessary to prove the efficacy of Klamath Blue Green Algae® for some specific health issues. So far, early research suggests that taking Klamath Blue Green Algae® show promising results for:

  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In children, they have been used as an alternative, natural therapy to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorders.[17,18]
  • Diabetes (blood sugar levels lowering effect).[19]
  • Physical and mental performance ̶ increases stamina, endurance, and reduces the recovery time after exercise.
  • Hyperlipidaemia/High blood cholesterol. Some studies reveal that Klamath Blue Green Algae® lowers cholesterol in healthy people with normal or slightly elevated cholesterol levels. Some other small studies show that Klamath Algae can lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol).[20,21]
  • Anxiety, depression and low mood (also symptoms associated with menopause)[22].
  • Inflammatory disorders.[23,24,25,26]
  • Early-ageing (via its antioxidant activity)[27,28]
  • Increase memory and concentration, and may prevent neurodegeneration[29]
  • Support the immune system[30]
  • Wound healing


  1. Habib, MAB. Huntington, TC. Hasan, MR.. (2008). A review on culture production and use of spirulina as food for humans and feeds for domestic animals and fish. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO). Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1034. ISSN 2070-6065
  2. Canizares, RO. et al. (1993). Free and immobilized cultures of Spirulina maxima for swine waste. Biotech. Lett., 15: 321–326.
  3. Sanchez-Luna, LD. et al. (2004). Continuous and pulse feedings of urea as a nitrogen source in fed-batch cultivation of Spirulina platensis. Aquacultural Engineering. 31, pp. 237–245.
  4. Baroni, L. et al. (2009). Effect of a Klamath algae product (“AFA-B12”) on blood levels of vitamin B12 and homo-cysteine in vegan subjects: A pilot study. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 79(2), pp. 117–123.
  5. Pawlak, R. Lester, SE. Babatunde, T. (2014). The prevalence of cobalamin deficiency among vegetarians assessed by serum vitamin B12: A review of literature. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 68(5), pp. 541–548.
  6. Baroni, L. et al. (2009). Effect of a Klamath algae product ("AFA-B12") on blood levels of vitamin B12 and homocysteine in vegan subjects: A pilot study. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 79(2), pp. 117-23. doi:10.1024/0300-9831.79.2.117.
  7. Sabelli, H. et al. (1996). Sustained antidepressant effect of PEA replacement. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 8(2), pp. 168–171.
  8. Sabelli, HC. Mosnaim, AD. (1974). Phenylethylamine hypothesis of affective behavior. American Journal of Psychiatry. 131(6), pp. 695–699.
  9. Kosa, E. et al. (2000). Effects of beta-phenylethylamine on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in the male rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 67(3), pp. 527-35. doi:10.1016/s0091-3057(00)00383-x.
  10. Kaasinen, V. et al. (2002). Age-related loss of extrastriatal dopamine D2-like receptors in women. Journal of Neurochemistry. 81(5), pp. 1005–1010. doi:10.1046/j.1471-4159.2002.00895.x
  11. Paola DB and Scoglio S. Complementary treatment of mood disorders associated with oncological diseases by using the Klamath algae (Aphanizomenonflos aquae) extract Klamin: a pilot study. Submitted.
  12. Zissimopoulos, JM. et al. (2018). The impact of changes in population health and mortality on future prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in the United States. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, 73(Suppl 1), pp. S38–S47.
  13. Zhou, G. et al. (2001). Platelet monoamine oxidase B and plasma β-phenylethylamine in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. 70, pp. 229-231.
  14. Tsuboi, H. et al. (2004). Depressive symptoms are independently correlated with lipid peroxidation in a female population: Comparison with vitamins and carotenoids. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 56(1), pp. 53-58. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00567-1.
  15. Ishida, K. et al. (2005). Beta-phenylethylamine stimulates striatal acetylcholine release through activation of the AMPA glutamatergic pathway. Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin. 28(9), pp. 1626-9. doi:10.1248/bpb.28.1626.
  16. Shick, JM. Dunlap, WC. (2002). Mycosporine-like amino acids and related gadusols: biosynthesis, accumulation, and UV-protective functions in aquatic organisms. Annual Review of Physiology. 64(1). pp. 223–262.
  17. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2015). Health Effects Support Document for the Cyanobacterial Toxin Cylindrospermopsin. Available online: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-06/documents/cylindrospermopsin-support-report-2015.pdf.
  18. Kusaga A. (2002). [Decreased beta-phenylethylamine in urine of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autistic disorder]. No To Hattatsu. 34(3), pp. 243-248. Japanese. PMID: 12030014.
  19. Ou, Y. et al. (2013). Antidiabetic potential of phycocyanin: effects on KKAy mice. Pharmaceutical Biology. 51(5), pp. 539-44. doi:10.3109/13880209.2012.747545
  20. Singh, S. Kate, BN. Banerjee, UC. (2005). Bioactive compounds from cyanobacteria and microalgae: an overview. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 25(3), pp. 73-95. doi: 10.1080/07388550500248498.
  21. Kushak, RI. et al. (2000). Favorable Effects of Blue-Green Algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae on Rat Plasma Lipids. Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association. 2(3), pp. 59-65.
  22. Scoglio, S. et al. (2009). Effect of a 2-month treatment with Klamin, a Klamath algae extract, on the general well-being, antioxidant profile and oxidative status of postmenopausal women. Gynecological Endocrinology. 25(4), pp. 235-40. doi:10.1080/09513590802632506.
  23. Ku, CS. et al. (2013). Health benefits of blue-green algae: prevention of cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of medicinal food. 16(2), pp. 103–111. doi:10.1089/jmf.2012.2468
  24. Romay, C. et al. (1998). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of C-phycocyanin from blue-green algae. Inflammation Research. 47(1), pp. 36–41.
  25. Romay, C. Ledón, N. González, R. (2018). Further studies on anti-inflammatory activity of phycocyanin in some animal models of inflammation. Inflammation Research. 47(8), pp. 334–338.
  26. Wada, N. Sakamoto, T. Matsugo, S. (2013). Multiple roles of photosynthetic and sunscreen pigments in cyanobacteria focusing on the oxidative stress. Metabolites. 3(2), pp. 463–483.
  27. Nuzzo, D. et al. (2018). Effects of the Aphanizomenon flos-aquae Extract (Klamin®) on a Neurodegeneration Cellular Model. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2018 (Article ID 9089016). doi:10.1155/2018/9089016
  28. Benedetti, S. et al. (2010). Oxygen radical absorbance capacity of phycocyanin and phycocyanobilin from the food supplement Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. Journal of Medicinal Food. 13(1), pp. 223–227.
  29. Sgarbossa, A. Giacomazza, D. Di Carlo, M. (2015). Ferulic acid: a hope for Alzheimer’s disease therapy from plants. Nutrients. 7(7), pp. 5764–5782.
  30. Babusyte, A. et al. (2013). Biogenic amines activate blood leukocytes via trace amine-associated receptors TAAR1 and TAAR2. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 93(3), pp. 387–394.
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