Klamath Algae is reliable source of B12 for Vegans, study supports

Provides active vitamin B12

Provides active vitamin B12

Klamath Lake Algae, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), appears to be an adequate and reliable source of vitamin B12 in humans, according to an Italian study.

It is thought a vegan (plant-based) diet is deficient in vitamin B12.

Often algal or fermented products are used by vegans to supplement B12. But, even if the vegan product contains vitamin B12, it may be found in a biologically inactive form and therefore of no benefit. Spirulina has been shown to contain mainly inactive vitamin B12, whilst research on Chlorella is inconclusive. Klamath Lake Algae, AFA, is a wild food and contains a very high vitamin B12 level versus Spirulina and Chlorella.

A study has shown that Klamath AFA can deliver adequate active vitamin B12.

Testing blood for vitamin B12 can be unreliable. This is because measurements will include both active and inactive forms of B12, and do not show whether or not the B12 is actually usable by the cells.

Whilst laboratory testing may therefore be unreliable, there is a test which can be carried out in vivo.

The body requires vitamin B12 to convert homocysteine to the amino acid methionine, and therefore homocysteine levels in the body can be used to accurately measure the function of vitamin B12 in the body. (Homocysteine levels can be easily measured in the blood by your doctor.)

In vegans, when vitamin B12 levels are inadequate, homocysteine rises. This study, which demonstrated decreased blood homocysteine levels, showed an improvement in the function of vitamin B12 in more than 90% of participants.

Why is this important?

Homocysteine is formed as a breakdown product of protein metabolism.

It’s an amino acid which is toxic to the body in higher than normal amounts.

Substantial scientific evidence has established that high homocysteine levels in the blood are associated with:

  • heart attacks and strokes
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • pulmonary embolism
  • Alzheimer’s disease

The vital nutrients needed to reduce homocysteine levels are:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B6 (not often deficient in Vegans)
  • Folic Acid (not often deficient in Vegans)

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the UK and for decades cholesterol has been considered to be the most significant risk factor. Cholesterol lowering drugs and low cholesterol diets have become the norm for those at risk of heart disease but increasingly the medical community is starting to consider the possibility that their cholesterol theory is in need of updating.

Thirty years ago an American scientist, Dr Kilmer McCully, showed that a little known compound, called homocysteine, could cause artery damage in infants. He also found that this compound was very often elevated in adults with advanced heart disease. It is only now that scientists are admitting that Dr McCully had actually discovered the most destructive agent in heart disease – homocysteine.

Fortunately, the defence against homocysteine is simple and inexpensive and is just a matter of ensuring an adequate intake of the vitamins B6, B12 and Folic acid. Researchers have also found that a phytonutrient known as trimethylglycine (TMG) also helps lower homocysteine.