Diet Saboteurs?            How to Slow Aging            Interstitial CystitisMedications and Weight Loss   A Specialist’s ...
‘Why Blue-Green Algae Makes Me       Tired’: Perspective, 15 Years Later                                            by Chr...
goitrogenic activity. 18 Sweet potatoes   several studies and by more than 30         Anabaena species can be unclear, or ...
Blue-Green Algae                            antioxidant, protecting the cell from                                         ...
23.	 Stemtech.     Frequently     Asked    Questions      [website].                      ...
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Townsend letters==

  1. 1. Diet Saboteurs? How to Slow Aging Interstitial CystitisMedications and Weight Loss A Specialist’s Strategies Effective Natural Treatments The Examiner of Alternative MedicineBlue-Green AlgaeAn Updated ViewpointProstate CancerTreatment DECEMBER 2010 ISSUE #329 | 7.50An East-West ApproachA Successful German Protocol
  2. 2. ‘Why Blue-Green Algae Makes Me Tired’: Perspective, 15 Years Later by Christian Drapeau In 1996, John McPartland wrote an to serve readers is to look back at these vein! Intravenous and oral intakes are article that was published in Townsend writings from the perspective of an two completely different things when Letter (“Why Blue-Green Algae updated viewpoint. But before doing talking about exposure to a substance. Makes Me Tired”), expressing his so, it remains important to revisit And it’s not that proper information exasperation at being approached by McPartland’s original contentions, was lacking; studies already distributors from what was then called as they maintain a deceptive sense published at the time had reported Cell Tech, a multilevel marketing of validity when published in the a no observable adverse effect level company selling the blue-green absence of my original response. (NOAEL) – that is, not a toxic but a algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae McPartland listed several safe level – ranging between 40 and (AFA). Although his exasperation was references reporting the neurotoxicity 280 µg/kg.9,10 Gary Flamm, PhD, understandable, given the aggressive of AFA strains collected in various former director of toxicology at the Food and Drug Administration, So the concern is not the existence or even published an opinion in which he the presence of toxins in food but rather their established, based on a review of the study by Fawell et al., a NOEAL of concentration. 100 µg/kg.9,11 Later studies established a NOAEL of 333 to 500 µg/kg.12 As business practice of some distributors parts of the world, leading the reader for the oral LD 50 for microcystins, at times, the information in his to believe that AFA from Klamath already published at the time of these article was extremely misleading: Lake was producing a series of writings, it is in fact 8000 to 12,000 a very negative report about AFA, neurotoxins such as neosaxitoxin µg/kg.13,14 It is also important to attributing to this blue-green algae a and anatoxin.1–5 He also claimed that mention that the potential presence slew of problems and suggesting that AFA was producing microcystin with of microcystin does not come from consumers were taking significant risks an LD 50 of 50µg/kg.6 He further AFA, but rather from co-occurring by simply consuming this species of suggested that AFA could be a vector Microcystis spp. at times present in algae as a dietary supplement – which for Legionella pneumophila, the cause Klamath Lake.15 was completely untrue. I then wrote of Legionnaires’ disease, and Vibrio Based on all this information, a a response correcting the various cholerae, which causes cholera, even safe level has been established by assertions made by McPartland, which though the quoted literature pertained Oregon Department of Agriculture was also published in Townsend to other species of blue-green algae as 1 µg/g.16 This value can be put in Letter in 1997. growing in entirely other parts of the perspective when considering that There would really be no point world.7,8 Flamm recommended a safe limit of in raising this issue, nearly 15 years Aside from its overall tone, the 5 µg/g, and that the actual safe limit, later, were it not for the fact that intent of this original letter can be prior to the application of safety McPartland’s article continues to easily appreciated when information factors, is nearly 20,000 µg/day.12 resurface prominently on the Web, of this nature is thus presented. Many foods contain a wide variety of unaccompanied by my response. While microcystins are indeed potent very potent toxins such as aflatoxins, Having both articles linked together toxins when consumed in significant a mycotoxin present in corn, peanuts, would allow the readers to peruse levels, the LD 50 reported is that of and other crops that is such a potent both arguments and decide for intravenous injection of the toxins, liver carcinogen that it is regulated themselves, but this is not the case; which cannot in any way be compared at 20 µg/kg, 50 times lower than the only McPartland’s is made available. to oral intake. Just think; the LD 50 limit established for microcystins.17 Yet given that so much has been done for intravenous table salt is less than Cabbage and related vegetables in terms of research on AFA since the a tablespoon. Or imagine injecting a contain glucosinolates, which have writing of these articles, the best way tablespoon of peanut butter in your56 TOWNSEND LETTER – DECEMBER 2010
  3. 3. goitrogenic activity. 18 Sweet potatoes several studies and by more than 30 Anabaena species can be unclear, or legumes may produce hepatotoxins years of consumption. and proper of the algal as well as compounds able to produce Regarding the neurotoxicity of AFA, species can at times be problematic. neuropathy and mental confusion. 19 the concern was certainly legitimate Anabaena spp . is known to produce Solanine may be found in potatoes, at the time due to observation of various kinds of neurotoxins. especially when improperly stored, strains of AFA elsewhere in the world Subsequent developments in genetics which may result in headaches, that had proven able to produce have provided the tools to determine incoherence, hallucination, and neurotoxins. For that reason, a whether the toxic and nontoxic strains dizziness. 20,21 Many sources of wild- stringent quality-control program had of AFA belonged to the same species. harvested contain already been developed whereby It was shown that all the levels of mercury, and shell sh may every single lot of AFA was tested for toxic strains of AFA were genetically contain potent toxins responsible for the possible presence of neurotoxins. dissimilar to the nontoxic strains such several deaths every year. 22 So the As mentioned by McPartland and later as the Klamath Lake AFA, and most concern is not the existence or even reported, neurotoxicity was never likely belonged to the Anabaena the presence of toxins in food but observed in Klamath Lake. 15,23 genera.25 rather their concentration. When a One aspect that caught the As for the suggestion that AFA compound is found below levels that attention of several scientists could be a carrier of cholera and have been established as safe, then a regarding the toxic strains of AFA was Legionnaires’ disease, I believe that the food is considered safe. The original that they were described as atypical absence of any such case after more letter presented the data pertaining to non-colony-forming AFA. 24 In other than 30 years of continued presence microcystin in a manner that intimated words, the toxic strains originally in the marketplace should to that AFA sold in the marketplace and as AFA were refute this claim; otherwise we would was potentially toxic, which was not typical of AFA, which is a colony- have to cast the same presumption entirely inaccurate. AFA present in forming cyanophyta, of health risk on Spirulina spp . and the marketplace is thoroughly tested so the original could Nostoc Spp ., two other species of and meets all standards of safety. The have been inaccurate. Indeed, the blue-green algae widely used and safety of AFA has been established in boundary between AFA and some well known for their safety. ➤ Klamath Lake, OregonTOWNSEND LETTER – DECEMBER 2010 57
  4. 4. Blue-Green Algae antioxidant, protecting the cell from certain wavelengths. Phycocyanin 3. Gentile JH. (1971) Blue green and green algal toxins, pp. 27–67 in vol. 7 of Microbial Toxins, Kadis S, Ciegler A, Ajl SJ, Eds., Academic Press, ➤ has been shown to have strong NY. antioxidant and anti-inflammatory 4. Carmichael WA, Biggs DA, Peterson MA. (1979) But the focus of McPartland’s Pharmacology of anatoxin-a, produced by the 1996 letter entirely put the emphasis properties. In various animal models freshwater cyanophyte Anabaena flos-aquae. on presumed or potential health risk, of inflammation, phycocyanin Toxicon 17:229–236. 5. Phinney HK, Peek CA. Klamath Lake, an ignoring the significant health benefits, was shown to reduce or prevent instance of natural enrichment. In: Transcript which were in fact derided. At the inflammation.35,36 Phycocyanin has of 1960 Seminar on Algae and Metropolitan time, little research had been done to been shown to prevent certain forms Wastes. Robert A. Taft Sanitary Engineering Center, Cincinnati, OH; 1961. document AFA’s health benefits, so of colitis.37 The mechanism of action 6. Hunter PR. Cyanobacteria and human health. J little could be said from a scientific was identified as the ability to block Med Microb. 1992;36:301–302. the production of the inflammatory 7. Tison DL, Pope DH, Cherry WB, Fliermans CB. standpoint. However, since 1996, a Growth of Legionella pneumophila in association significant research effort has focused eicosanoids LTB4 and PGE2.38,39 with blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). Appl on AFA and produced compelling Phycocyanin has also been shown to Environ Microbiol. 1980;39:456–459. be one of the strongest natural COX-2 8. Islam MS, Miah MA, Hasan MK, Sack RB, Albert data pertaining to its health-promoting MJ. Detection of non-culturable Vibrio cholerae effects. First, AFA was shown in (cyclooxygenase) inhibitors.40 O1 associated with a cyanobacterium from an a double-blind crossover study to More recently, AFA was shown aquatic environment in Bangladesh. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1994;88:298–299. trigger the migration of natural killer to contain an L-selectin blocker that 9. Fawell JK. Toxins from blue-green algae: (NK) cells from the blood to tissues, acts as a mild stem cell mobilizer. toxicological assessment of microcystin-LR and within one hour of consumption.26 Consumption of a proprietary extract a method for its determination in water. WRC Foundation for Water Research; 1994. AFA was also shown to stimulate of AFA that concentrates the L-selectin 10. Falconer IR, Burch MD, Steffensen DA, Choice NK cell activity.27 NK cells are a blocker was shown to lead to an M, Coverdale OR. Toxicity of blue-green alga average increase of 25% to 30% in (cyanobacterium) Microcystis aeruginosa in type of cytotoxic lymphocyte that drinking water to growing pigs, as an animal constitutes a major component of the number of circulating stem cells model for human injury and risk assessment. the innate immune system. They within one hour of consumption.41 Environ Toxicol Water Qual. 1994;9:131–139. 11. Oregon Department of Agriculture, December play an important role in eliminating The ability of bone marrow stem 1997. cancerous cells as well as cells infected cells to differentiate into a wide 12. Schaeffer DJ, Malpas PB, Barton LL. Risk by viruses. AFA was also shown variety of specialized somatic cells assessment of microcystin in dietary Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. Ecotoxicol Environ to contain polysaccharides having such as cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, Saf. 1999;44(1):73–80. immune-enhancing properties.28,29 pancreatic ß-cells, skin cells and skin 13. Falconer IR, Smith, JV, Jackson ARB, Jones A, appendages, and even neurons has Runnegar, MTC. Oral toxicity of a bloom of Over the years, one of the most the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa commonly reported benefits of been well documented.42–47 In essence, administered to mice over periods up to 1 year. consuming AFA has been mood bone marrow stem cells constitute the J Toxicol Environ Health. 1988;24:291–305. 14. Yoshida T, Makita Y, Nagata S, et al. Acute oral elevation, as well as a feeling of mental natural repair system of the body.48 toxicity of microcystin-LR, a cyanobacterial energy and clarity, both suggestive of It is not surprising, therefore, that a hepatotoxin, in mice. Nat Toxins. 1997;5(3):91– the presence of a neuroactive amino higher number of circulating stem 95. 15. Carmichael WW, Drapeau C, Anderson acid or a biogenic amine. In spite cells has been linked to greater health DM. Harvesting and quality control of of extensive testing demonstrating outcomes.48–58 When tested in an Aphanizomenon flos-aquae from Klamath animal model, this proprietary extract Lake for human dietary use. J Appl Phycol. the contrary, McPartland had stated 2000;12:585–595. that this effect was likely due to the of AFA was shown to enhance tissue 16. Oregon Department of Agriculture. Statutory presence of anatoxin in AFA, which repair after cardiotoxin-induced injury Reference 603-25-190. to the tibialis muscle.59 17. Stoloff L, Van Egmond HP, Park DL. Rationales he claimed acted like cocaine.15 But for the establishment of limits and regulations further investigation later revealed Although some of the concerns for mycotoxins. Food Addit Contam. that AFA is a significant source of the raised nearly 15 years ago were 1991;8(2):213–221. 18. Fahey JW, Zalcmann AT, Talalay P. The chemical biogenic amine phenylethylamine legitimate, in spite of a lack of diversity and distribution of glucosinolates and (PEA).30 PEA has been coined the evidence of negative effects, the isothiocyanates among plants. Phytochemistry. “molecule of love” and is well known past decade has clearly established 2001;56(1):5–51. 19. Wilson BJ, Yang DT, Boyd MR. Toxicity of to alleviate depression and elevate the safety of AFA and has put into mould-damaged sweet potatoes (Ipomoea mood, and it plays an important role evidence significant health-promoting batatas). Nature 1970;227(5257):521–522. properties. 20. Barceloux DG. Potatoes, tomatoes, and solanine in affective behavior as well as the toxicity (Solanum tuberosum L., Solanum pathogenesis of learning disabilities lycopersicum L.). Dis Mon. 2009;55(6):391– and attention deficit/hyperactivity Notes 402. 1. Gorham PR. Toxic algae. In: Jackson DF, ed. Algae 21. Beier RC. Natural pesticides and bioactive disorder. 31–34 and Man. NY: Plenum Press; 1964:307–336. components in foods. Rev Environ Contam Phycocyanin is the blue pigment 2. Alam M, Euler KL. Chemical studies on toxins Toxicol. 1990;113:47–137. from the blue-green alga Aphanizomenon 22. Kumar KP, Kumar SP, Nair GA. Risk assessment present in all cyanophyta. In the flos-aquae. In: WW Carichael, ed. The Water of the amnesic shellfish poison, domoic living algal cell, phycocyanin serves Environment: Algal Toxins and Health. New acid, on animals and humans. J Environ Biol. as a protein storage unit and an York: Plenum Press; 1981:405–414. 2009;30(3):319–325.58 TOWNSEND LETTER – DECEMBER 2010
  5. 5. 23. Stemtech. Frequently Asked Questions [website]. biliprotein from Spirulina platensis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000;277(3):599–603. Blue Green Algae sub.aspx#review_neurotoxicity. 41. Jensen GS, Hart AN, Zaske LA, et al. Mobilization 24. Sawyer PJ, Gentile JH, Sasner JJ. Demonstration of human CD34+ CD133+ and CD34+ of a toxin from Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (L.) CD133(-) stem cells in vivo by consumption with hyperhomocysteinemia. Arch Med Res. Ralfs. Can J Microbiol. 1968;14(11):1199–1204 of an extract from Aphanizomenon flos-aquae- 2006;37(4):484–489. 25. Li, R, Carmichael, WW, Liu, Y, and -related to modulation of CXCR4 expression by 56. Westerweel PE, Luijten RK, Hoefer IE, Koomans Watanabe, MM. Taxonomic re-evaluation of an L-selectin ligand? Cardiovasc Revasc Med. HA, Derksen RH, Verhaar MC. Hematopoietic Aphanizomenon flos-aquae NH-5 based on 2007;8(3):189–202. and endothelial progenitor cells are deficient in morphological and 16 rRNA gene sequences. 42. Deb A, Wang S, Skelding KA, et al. Bone quiescent systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Hydrobiologica. 2000;438:99–105. marrow-derived cardiomyocytes are present Rheum Dis. 2007;66(7):865–870. 26. Jensen GS, Ginsberg DI, Huerta P, Citton M, in adult human heart: A study of gender- 57. Moonen JR, de Leeuw K, van Seijen XJ, et al. Drapeau C. Consumption of Aphanizomenon mismatched bone marrow transplantation Reduced number and impaired function of fl os-aquae has rapid effects on the circulation patients. Circulation. 2003;107(9):1247–1249. circulating progenitor cells in patients with and function of immune cells in humans. JANA. 43. Körbling M, Katz RL, Khanna A, et al. systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Res 2000;2(3):50–58. Hepatocytes and epithelial cells of donor origin Ther. 2007;9(4):R84. 27. Hart AN, Zaske LA, Patterson KM, Drapeau in recipients of peripheral-blood stem cells. N 58. Choi JH, Kim KL, Huh W, et al. Decreased C, Jensen GS. Natural killer cell activation Engl. J Med. 2002;346(10):738–746. number and impaired angiogenic function of and modulation of chemokine receptor profile 44. Ianus A, Holz GG, Theise ND, Hussain MA. endothelial progenitor cells in patients with in vitro by an extract from the cyanophyta In vivo derivation of glucose-competent chronic renal failure. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. J Med Food. pancreatic endocrine cells from bone marrow Biol. 2004;24(7):1246–1252. 2007;10(3):435–441. without evidence of cell fusion. J Clin Invest. 59. Drapeau C, Antarr D, Ma H, et al. Mobilization 28. Pugh N, Ross SA, ElSohly HN, ElSohly MA, 2003;111:843–850. of bone marrow stem cells with StemEnhance® Pasco DS. Isolation of three high molecular 45. Hasegawa Y, Ogihara T, Yamada T, et al. Bone improves muscle regeneration in cardiotoxin- weight polysaccharide preparations with marrow (BM) transplantation promotes beta-cell induced muscle injury. Cell Cycle. potent immunostimulatory activity from regeneration after acute injury through BM cell 2010;May;9(9):1819–1823. Spirulina platensis, aphanizomenon flos- mobilization. Endocrinology 2007;148(5):2006– aquae and Chlorella pyrenoidosa. Planta Med. 2015. Christian Drapeau 2001;67(8):737–742. 46. Cantürk NZ, Vural B, Esen N, et al. Effects of 29. Pugh N, Pasco DS. Characterization of human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating 1011 Calle Amanecer monocyte activation by a water soluble factor on incisional wound healing in an San Clemente, California 92673 preparation of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. experimental diabetic rat model. Endocr Res. Phytomedicine. 2001;8(6):445–453. 1999;25(1):105–116. 30. Drapeau C. Antidepressant properties of the 47. Mezey E, Key S, Vogelsang G, Szalayova I, blue-green alga Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. Lange GD, Crain B. Transplanted bone marrow Annual meeting of the American Holistic generates new neurons in human brains. Proc Medicine Association. Toronto; May 2002. Natl Acad Sci USA. 2003;100, 1364–1369. 31. Sabelli H, Fink P, Fawcett J, Tom C. Sustained 48. Drapeau C. Cracking the Stem Cell Code. antidepressant effect of PEA replacement. J Sutton Hart Press; 2010:254. Christian Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1996;8(2):168– 48. Werner N, Kosiol S, Schiegl T, et al. Circulating 171. endothelial progenitor cells and cardiovascular Drapeau is an 32. Sabelli HC, Fawcett J, Gusovsky F, Javaid J, outcomes. N Engl J Med. 2005;353(10):999– author, research Edwards J, Jeffriess H. Urinary phenyl acetate: 1007. scientist a diagnostic test for depression? Science. 49. Vasa M, Fichtlscherer S, Aicher A, et al. Number and neuro­ 1983;220(4602):1187–1188. and migratory activity of circulating endothelial physiologist 33. Sabelli HC, Mosnaim AD. Phenylethylamine progenitor cells inversely correlate with risk with over 13 hypothesis of affective behavior. Am J Psychiat. factors for coronary artery disease. Circ Res. years of research 1974;131:695–699. 2001;89(1):E1–7. experience in 34. Baker GB, Bornstein RA, Rouget AC, Ashton SE, 50. Marchesi C, Belicchi M, Meregalli M, et al. the fields of van Muyden JC, Coutts RT. Phenylethylaminergic Correlation of circulating CD133+ progenitor natural foods mechanisms in attention-deficit disorder. Biol subclasses with a mild phenotype in Duchenne and nutrition. While pursuing scientific research Psychiatry. 1991;29(1):15–22. muscular dystrophy patients. PLoS ONE. in collaboration with various universities and 35. Romay C, Armesto J, Remirez D, González 2008;3(5):e2218. R, Ledon N, García I. Antioxidant and anti- 51. Diller GP, van Eijl S, Okonko DO, et al. research centers on the health benefits of inflammatory properties of C-phycocyanin from Circulating endothelial progenitor cells in certain botanical raw materials, he has lectured blue-green algae. Inflamm Res. 1998;47(1):36– patients with Eisenmenger syndrome and on nutrition to thousands of people since 1994, 41. idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. presenting profound health information and 36. Romay C, Ledón N, González R. Further studies Circulation. 2008;117(23):3020–3030. insights with clarity and humor. on anti-inflammatory activity of phycocyanin in 52. Junhui Z, Xingxiang W, Guosheng F, Yunpeng Mr. Drapeau has been the director of research some animal models of inflammation. Inflamm S, Furong Z, Junzhu C. Reduced number and Res. 1998;47(8):334–338. activity of circulating endothelial progenitor cells and development at Cell Tech International 37. González R, Rodríguez S, Romay C, et al. Anti- in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial and then Desert Lake Technologies, before inflammatory activity of phycocyanin extract in hypertension. Respir Med. 2008;102(7):1073– cofounding Stemtech HealthSciences and acetic acid-induced colitis in rats. Pharmacol 1079. becoming its chief science officer. Based on his Res. 1999;39(1):55–59. 53. Herbrig K, Haensel S, Oelschlaegel U, Pistrosch own research as well as the review of research 38. Romay C, Ledón N, González R. Phycocyanin F, Foerster S, Passauer J. Endothelial dysfunction done by numerous other scientific teams, Mr. extract reduces leukotriene B4 levels in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is associated Drapeau and his collaborators proposed in in arachidonic acid-induced mouse-ear with a reduced number and impaired function 2001 a breakthrough theory on adult stem inflammation test. J Pharm Pharmacol. of endothelial progenitor cells. Ann Rheum Dis. cell physiology. He is the coinventor of the 1999;51(5):641–642. 2006;65(2):157–163. revolutionary product StemEnhance. 39. Romay C, Ledón N, González R. Effects 54. Grisar J, Aletaha D, Steiner CW, et al. Depletion of phycocyanin extract on prostaglandin of endothelial progenitor cells in the peripheral Mr. Drapeau received a bachelor’s degree E2 levels in mouse ear inflammation test. blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. in neurophysiology from McGill University, Arzneimittelforschung. 2000;50(12):1106– Circulation. 2005;111(2):204–211. Montreal, in 1987 and a master’s degree from 1109. 55. Zhu J, Wang X, Chen J, Sun J, Zhang F. the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery 40. Reddy CM, Bhat VB, Kiranmai G, Reddy MN, Reduced number and activity of circulating from the Montreal Neurological Institute, Reddanna P, Madyastha KM. Selective inhibition endothelial progenitor cells from patients McGill University, Montreal, in 1991. of cyclooxygenase-2 by C-phycocyanin, a uTOWNSEND LETTER – DECEMBER 2010 59