View Full Version : [bio] B12 in Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae (AFA)

May 1st, 2004, 10:04 AM
From http://www.algae-world.com/algae40.html :

"Gram for gram, AFA is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, a close second only to spirulina. Generally speaking their nutrient profiles are roughly similar. Both are full-spectrum nutrients. Spirulina, however, is significantly higher in GLA, phycotene, protein, and beta-carotenoid concentrations. Both have neuropeptide precursors, but AFA has much higher overall neuropeptide precursor concentrations.

Both have high human-active B-12 concentrations, but AFA has about seven times more B-12 per gram than spirulina. The AFA human-active B-12 amount in one gram equals the daily B-12 requirement for most people. I recommend about 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of AFA per day. Spirulina is the second most concentrated vegetarian B-12 source on the planet, 250 percent more than an equal weight of liver, and has 14 times the daily B-12 need in 100 gms. One tablespoon of spirulina (1 to 3 tablespoons is the average daily dose) will give you two-and-one-half times the daily human-active requirement of B-12. Taken together, spirulina and AFA provide many times the human daily requirement of B-12. No vegetarian need ever worry about not getting enough B-12 in their diet if they are taking either or both of these blue-green algae superfoods. "

(This article from 1995 is written by Gabriel Cousens, and we know that his opinions on the need for B12 supplements for vegans have changed since then. We are working on an interview with Dr. Cousens, which hopefully will appear on our site soon...)

Dec 28th, 2010, 03:00 PM
Here's an update from PubMed, mars 2009 re. AFA-B12, a Klamath algae product:
Effect of a Klamath algae product ("AFA-B12") on blood levels of vitamin B12 and homocysteine in vegan subjects: a pilot study. By Baroni L, Scoglio S, Benedetti S, Bonetto C, Pagliarani S, Benedetti Y, Rocchi M, Canestrari F. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20108213)

Vitamin B12 is a critical nutrient that is often inadequate in a plant-based (vegan) diet, thus the inclusion of a reliable vitamin B12 source in a vegan diet is recommended as essential. Unfortunately, many natural sources of vitamin B12 have been proven to contain biologically inactive vitamin B12 analogues, inadequate for human supplementation. The aim of this non-randomized open trial was to determine whether supplementation with a natural Klamath algae-based product ("AFA-B12", Aphanizomenon flos-aquae algae plus a proprietary mix of enzymes) could favorably affect the vitamin B12 status of a group of 15 vegan subjects. By assessing blood concentration of vitamin B12, folate, and more importantly homocysteine (Hcy, a reliable marker in vegans of their B12 absorption), the vitamin B12 status of the participants at the end of the 3-month intervention period, while receiving the Klamath-algae supplement (T2), was compared with their vitamin B12 status at the end of the 3-month control period (T1), when they were not receiving any supplement, having stopped taking their usual vitamin B12 supplement at the beginning of the study (T0). Compared to the control period, in the intervention period participants improved their vitamin B12 status, significantly reducing Hcy blood concentration (p=0.003). In conclusion, the Klamath algae product AFA-B12 appears to be, in a preliminary study, an adequate and reliable source of vitamin B12 in humans. PMID: 20108213

Mar 23rd, 2011, 09:30 AM
Purification and characterization of a corrinoid-compound in an edible cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon flos-aquae as a nutritional supplementary food. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17147452) (Dec 2006)

The vitamin B12 concentration of the dried cells of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae was determined by both microbiological method with Lactobacillus delbrueckeii ATCC7830 and chemiluminescence method with intrinsic factor. The Aphanizomenon cells contained 616.3 +/- 30.3 micro g (n = 4) of vitamin B12 per 100 g of the dried cells by the microbiological method. The values determined with the chemiluminescence method, however, were only about 5.3% of the values determined by the microbiological method. A corrinoid-compound was purified from the dried cells and characterized. The purified corrinoid-compound was identified as pseudovitamin B12 (an inactive corrinoid-compound for humans) by silica gel 60 TLC, C18 reversed-phase HPLC, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, and 1H NMR spectroscopy. The results suggest that the Aphanizomenon cells are not suitable for use as a vitamin B12 source, especially in vegans. PMID: 17147452

Sep 4th, 2012, 11:14 PM
AFA is being discussed here:

The blue-green alga of Klamath Lake (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae,AFA) has also been proposed as a source of true vitamin B12. Since this alga isa wild plant food, it may be a more acceptable alternative to synthetic or technologically produced vitamin B12 for many people. Previous unpublishedlaboratory tests found very high levels of vitamin B12 in Klamath algae.However, these tests did not identify the specific corrinoid content of the algae,and no human study has ever been performed.

A recent study by Miyamoto et al. confirmed this very high content of vitamin B12 in Klamath algae (approximately 6 μg/g, vs. 1-2 μg/g for both Spirulina and Chlorella); yet it found that when tested through the IntrinsicFactor (IF) based chemiluminescence method, Klamath’s algae content of trueB12 is reduced to 0.32 mcg./gr. [12]

However, the IF based chemiluminescence test is generally rejectedby both researchers in the field and vegans/vegetarians as inconclusive andinconsistent. For instance, in the same Miyamoto et al.’s study, the content oftrue B12 of Spirulina was found to be only around 5% of its overall B12content; yet, in a previous study done by the same group of researchers andwith the same method, Spirulina’s content of true-B12 was 17%. [13]. If weapply the same degree of variability to Klamath algae, its content of true B12could vary from 0,320 mcg./gr. to 1,088 mcg./gr., the latter being such asignificant amount that 3 grams of algae would give from 150% to 300% ofthe Italian RDA. Even if the actual amount were somewhere in the middle, it would still probably be able to provide an average daily absorption of 1.5 μg,when consumed regularly.

And, their conclusion:

The variation of Hcy concentration, which in vegans can bereliably considered a better indicator of body content and activity of vitaminB12 than the blood concentration of the vitamin, was more evident. Hcyconcentration increased in one subject and remained stable in another subject.In the remaining 13 subjects (87%) Hcy concentration decreased by up to57%. Taken altogether, this data shows that vitamin B12 status improved, afterAFA-B12 supplementation, in more than two-thirds of the subjects.
In conclusion, the fact that most subjects responded positively tothe AFA-B12 supplementation seems to suggest that this product’s vitaminB12 can be well absorbed and is biologically active in humans. Therefore, theKlamath algae “AFA-B12” product may represent a food source of naturalvitamin B12, and the current preliminary study warrants further, larger andlonger-term randomized trials to confirm such conclusion.