The primary function of red blood cells is the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin that actually carries the oxygen. In the capillaries, the oxygen is released to be used by the cells of the body. Ninety-seven percent of the oxygen that is carried by the blood from the lungs is carried by hemoglobin; the other three percent is dissolved in the plasma. Hemoglobin allows the blood to transport 30 to 100 times more oxygen than could be dissolved in the plasma alone. The iron in hemoglobin gives blood its red color.
White blood cells (WBCs) are a part of the immune system that keeps us alive. They help our bodies fight infection and other disorders. They circulate in the blood so that they can be transported to an area where an infection has developed. In a normal adult body there are 4,000 to 10,000 (average 7,000) WBCs per microliter of blood. During infections, these cells divide and are dumped into the blood stream and lymph fluids to combat the infection.
At Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI), I analyze guests? blood under a microscope and generate live blood cell analyses during their health consultations. We also conduct medical blood tests for guests. Of all our medical tests, the blood is the most commonly tested part of the body. Based on these tests, medical history and health objectives, I make recommendations on foods, therapies and whole food supplementation to help guests achieve their health goals.
One supplement that builds blood is blue-green algae, or aphanizomenon flos-aquae (meaning invisible flower of the water, also known as AFA). AFA is a species of blue-green microalgae, which are among the most ancient of all living organisms. Bluegreen microalgae have provided oxygen to Earth?s atmosphere and nutrients to marine life for over 3.5 billion years. Algae are the basis of the entire food chain — the foundational nutrient source for creating and renewing all life on Earth. Blue-green microalgae is one of the richest sources of chlorophyll, a well-known agent for its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and blood building benefits.
AFA are fresh water nutritional plants, referred to as cyanophyta. Cyanophyta grow in nearly all droplets of sunlit water, in every gram of soil, on the bark of trees and on the surfaces of rocks. It is estimated that there are as many as 50,000 species, including various seaweeds and plankton.
What is astonishing is that, collectively, cyanophyta are responsible for 90 percent of the Earth?s oxygen and 80 percent of its food supply. The cyanophyta community is also perhaps the most interesting of the unicellular plants, of which there are about 1500 species. AFA is a very special form of cyanophyta. All foods reflect the environment in which they are grown. The beautiful, unpolluted Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, one of the few remaining alkaline lakes on the planet, holds the key to its remarkable potency.
An extensive research project carried out at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, produced some remarkable results. The project studies the effect of blue-green microalgae (AFA) on the immune and endocrine systems, as well as on general blood physiology. It was discovered that eating AFA had a profound and unique effect on Natural Killer (NK) cells. (1) NK cells have the ability to search for and recognize cells that are cancerous, or have been infected by a virus, and kill them.
A team of research scientists at the Royal Victoria Hospital discovered that eating AFA triggers the movement of 40 percent of the circulating NK cells from the blood to the tissues where their main function is to perform immune surveillance and eliminate cancerous and virally-infected cells. No other substance is known to trigger such a movement of NK cells in the body. Research done at McGill University, Montreal, showed the effects on the immune system after consuming AFA. The consumption of AFA leads to rapid changes in immune cell trafficking, but not direct activation of lymphocytes. Therefore, AFA increases the immune surveillance without directly stimulating the immune system. Thus, AFA strengthens immune function. (2) Chlorophyll is also a very important part of the algae. Its molecular structure is almost the same as that of the hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Chlorophyll is built around a structure known as a porphyrin ring, which is common to a variety of natural organic molecules. The main difference between them is the porphyrin ring of hemoglobin is built around iron (Fe) and the porphyrin ring of chlorophyll is built around magnesium (Mg). Research suggests a relationship between the chlorophyll component pheophytin and hemoglobin generation. Oxygen is the prime nutrient, and chlorophyll is the central molecule for increasing the oxygen availability to one?s system. Algae are the best known source of chlorophyll. (3)
Blue-green algae are one of the foods we recommend at Hippocrates because they are the most nutritious food from fresh water (lakes). Incidentally, HHI?s healthiest food recommendations from the land (wheatgrass and leafy sprouts) and from the sea (sea vegetables) are also chlorophyll-rich blood builders.
Chlorella, a single-celled green algae, is noted for possessing the greatest concentration of chlorophyll in its natural state. Seven percent of the entire weight of this potent blood builder is the chlorophyll pigment. This makes chlorella the best whole food resource for chlorophyll, which can satisfy the human body?s needs. Algae are indispensible in helping treat certain conditions of the blood that are related to the hemoglobin. According to scientists, chlorella helps to increase the number of red blood cells in the blood in cases of anemia.
Wheatgrass juice contains up to 70 percent chlorophyll, which makes it another powerful blood builder. Wheatgrass is high in oxygen, thereby oxygenating the blood. All body cells function best in a well-oxygenated environment. It is good to drink wheatgrass on an empty stomach. For best results, wheatgrass juice should be consumed within 15 minutes from the time it is made. Dr. Bernard Jensen found that, with its high chlorophyll content, wheatgrass juice is superior to all other blood builders.
The body does need other blood builders, such as iron, vitamin B-12 (cobalamin), and folic acid (one of the B group of vitamins), to produce more red blood cells. If there is a lack of one or more of these nutrients, anemia will develop. Anemia due to a lack of vitamin B-12 is also called pernicious anemia. Vitamin B-12 plays a vital role in our bodies? cell function and blood formation, basically helping us make red blood cells and maintain nervous system health. Everyone, no matter what they eat, should supplement their diet with a soil-based form of Vitamin B-12. At Hippocrates, we carry two Vitamin B-12 supplements: Lifegive Ocean Energy and Lifegive B-12 Forte.
Iron is an important blood builder for your body and for the health of your body. It helps your cells “breathe.” Iron works with protein to make the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The body stores iron in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. Without enough iron, you can acquire a condition called iron-deficiency anemia, most common among women and children. Symptoms include feeling weak and tired. Conversely, too much iron can be toxic to the body. Getting the right amount of iron in your diet is important and this can be monitored via blood testing. Good food sources of iron include: sprouted lentils, spinach, quinoa, romaine lettuce, sprouted chick peas, Italian parsley, dandelion greens and Swiss chard, to name a few. If one needs supplemental iron, at Hippocrates we recommend a whole food source of iron such as flora vital.
Another blood building supplement and B vitamin is folate. It helps the body make healthy new cells. Folate is needed to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia. All people need folate, but folate is even more important for women who are trying to get pregnant. When a woman has enough folate in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects. These birth defects include spina bifida and anencephaly. Spina bifida occurs when an unborn baby?s spinal column does not close to protect the spinal cord. As a result, the nerves that control leg movements and other functions do not work. Children with spina bifida often have lifelong disabilities. Anencephaly occurs when most or all of the brain does not develop. Babies with this problem die before or shortly after birth. Good food sources of folate include: wheatgrass, sprouted lentils, romaine lettuce, spinach, sprouted chickpeas, broccoli and sunflower seeds, to name a few. If one needs supplemental folate, I recommend a whole food source of folate such as Lifegive Men?s and Women?s formula. Women considering getting pregnant should consult with their doctor about a whole food based prenatal vitamin.
When I worked in hospitals, there were many patients with severe vitamin B-12 deficiencies. These were disturbing conditions to witness. That?s why, here at Hippocrates, we recommend vitamin B-12 in its soil-based form.
Consuming foods and supplements rich in iron, folate, Vitamin B-12, blue-green algae, chlorella and wheatgrass will help keep your river of life flowing strong.
1. Effects of the Blue Green Algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae on Human Natural Killer Cells. Chapter 3.1 of the IBC Library Series, Volume 1911, Phytoceuticals: Examining the health benefit and pharmaceutical properties of natural antioxidants and
2. JAMA, vol. 2, No. 3, 2000, pp. 50-58.
3. Saunders, C. 1926. The nutritional value of chlorophyll as related to hemoglobin formation. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (3172) pp. 788-789.