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Health & Nutrition

AFA: From Horse Food to Wellness Trend

August 11, 2016
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Photo: http://nordicmicroalgae.org

Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Photo: nordicmicroalgae.org

kdropcapsatie Van Syckle writes in New York Magazine that, as a heath-food trend, many swear by blue-green algae’s (BGA’s) energy-boosting properties. In health-food circles, BGA usually refers to spirolina, chlorella, or a quickly rising star by the name of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA).

Spirulina has been on the market for over a decade, but AFA has only become popular recently. One of the best-known forms of AFA is E3Live, an organic BGA harvested from the Upper Klamath Lake in south central Oregon. E3Live shots are now available to the mainstream wellness community at places like Juice Press and Juice Generation.

In its natural form, AFA looks like fine, grasslike, green hairs composed of single cells. It reportedly contains over 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, complex carbohydrates, phytochemicals, and trace amounts of essential fatty acids.

The strain that appears in E3Live was discovered in the 1970s by Victor Colman, who as legend has it, was looking for a way to feed NASA scientists.

In the 1990s, it became a popular racehorse supplement after Tamera Campbell, now CEO of E3Live, began selling it to trainers for their Kentucky Derby–bound thoroughbreds. Due to popular equine demand, Ms. Campbell eventually began marketing the supplement to humans. “We had tons of horse owners that were eating the algae, and people kept saying what would it take to sell this for humans?” she said.

Now E3Live is sold in powder, capsule, or frozen form at health-food stores and on Amazon. According to Ms. Campbell, the company uses a mechanical filtration system and meets all standards set by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. (A handful of other companies now also sell AFA from Upper Klamath Lake.)

“I would say that the majority of all people notice that they have more sustained energy, they feel better overall, they feel more mentally alert, they notice that their digestion and elimination improve,” Ms. Campbell said. “They notice an improvement in their hair, skin, and fingernails. And if you work out in a gym they notice their energy is sustained longer.”

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