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A Statement on BMAA in Spirulina (press release)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: spirulina, microalgae, BMAA

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In response to the article, "Diverse taxa of cyanobacteria produce b-N-methylamino-L-Alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid" by Cox et al., which appears in the April 2005 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS 102: 5074-5078), Earthrise Nutritionals, LLC and Cyanotech Corporation provide the following response to alleviate concern among consumers of Spirulina.

1. While the study shows that a potential toxin, BMAA, occurs in diverse groups of cyanobacteria, it did not test BMAA in Spirulina (Arthrospira). Spirulina is not mentioned in the list of 30 types of cyanobacteria tested.

2. The analysis of BMAA was done on live laboratory cultures of cyanobacteria. It is, therefore, impossible to make a correlation between this study and Spirulina, the dietary supplement that has a recorded history of safe use.

3. It should also be pointed out that the connection between BMAA and Alzheimer's disease is far from certain. Dr. Paul Alan Cox's group has not made any definite connection in their report, and other experts in the field have expressed their reservations.

4. We have requested that Dr. Cox test our Spirulina products in his laboratory in order to determine the presence or absence of BMAA.

5. When similar studies found that microcystins were present in a wide variety of cyanobacteria, Earthrise and Cyanotech took the proactive step of funding research toward the development of methods for the analysis of microcystins and began certifying their products as microcystin-free. We have been doing so for almost 10 years. Our microcystin method was developed in cooperation with Dr. Wayne Carmichael, a leading expert in cyanobacterial toxins. We will approach leading experts in this area and take similar steps to address the current problem.

Highlighted Links www.earthrise.com www.spirulina.com

6. The following statement from Health Canada (www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/media/releases/1999/99114ebk.htm) is further proof that Spirulina does not contain microcystins: "As a blue-green algae, Spirulina products were included in the sampling and testing conducted by Health Canada. Results of the testing, conducted at two separate laboratories, indicate that no microcystins were detected in blue-green algal products containing only Spirulina. Based on these results, products made only from Spirulina are no longer being considered a microcystin-related health risk."

7. We have not received any complaint concerning health problems related to neurological conditions. On the contrary, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of Spirulina have been demonstrated in several animal studies. These studies have shown that the antioxidants in Spirulina scavenge oxygen radicals and help promote brain health.

8. Moreover, the safety of Spirulina has been confirmed in many ways:

-- Centuries of safe human use as food by the Aztecs in Mexico and the Kanembu in Chad.

-- Rigorous safety testing including one of the most comprehensive Spirulina animal studies sponsored by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) using rats and mice. In this study, Spirulina was incorporated into the food at 10-35% of the total diet. There were no problems with second- or third-generation reproduction, fertility, lactation or birth defects found. No cancer-causing properties were found, as well as no significant problems with heavy metals, nucleic acids, pesticides or bacteria. Subsequent tests in many countries have proven the safety of Spirulina.

9. In conclusion, we also want to stress that Spirulina produced by the two companies is determined GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by scientific procedures and after FDA review. For details, please refer to the following FDA website: www.cfsan.fda.gov/~rdb/opa-g127.html

Earthrise Nutritionals, LLC is the leading producer and a 25-year pioneer in the field of Spirulina production and marketing, and a leader in research on various applications of Spirulina. Corporate offices are located in Irvine, California, with production facilities in Calipatria, California. Earthrise is part of the worldwide DIC Group of companies, based in Tokyo. For more information on Earthrise products, visit www.earthrise.com or contact Lance Sigal, Director of Marketing, or Ron Henson, V.P. Bulk Sales, 2151 Michelson Drive, Suite 258, Irvine, CA 91612, 800-949-7473.

Note to Editors: In the first sentence, the "b" in "b-N-methylamino-L-Alanine" is being used to represent the Greek letter beta.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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