The simple answer is, Yes, there is a difference. Here's the more complex answer.
Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is the type known as Wild Bluegreen algae. Spirulina are blue-green algae. Chlorella is a green algae. Each of these contain phytochemicals, proteins, minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and chlorophyll. There are differences however that make Wild Bluegreen algae superior to Spirulina or Chlorella. Here are some of the differences for you to weigh for yourself.
1. Where do they come from –
Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, Wild Bluegreen algae, grows wild in Upper Klamath Lake fed by geothermal springs. Here within an abundance of minerals accumulated over thousands of years, the algae completes its life cycle in the Fall adding to the natural sediment at the bottom of the lake. The most virile algae cells that survive the winter, reproduce again in the Spring. Upper Klamath Lake has a sediment bed of 35 feet. One inch of this bed contains enough nutrients to support 60 years of algae growth. 200 million pounds of algae grows here every year.
In comparison, Spirulina and Chlorella are artificially grown in concrete raceways, ponds and tanks.
2. Added Chemicals –
Nothing is added to the water at Upper Klamath Lake. This is one reason Wild Bluegreen algae is certified organic.
Domestic suppliers of Spirulina are not certified organic due to the addition of chemicals to their culture ponds. Foreign Spirulina growers that are organic-certified reportedly have animal manure added to culture ponds as a nutrient source.
Wild Bluegreen algae nutrients come only from the sediment and soil in Upper Klamath Lake.
3. Processing –
Wild Bluegreen algae is harvested such that the algae is cooled to less than 40 degrees within a minute of being taken from the water. This preserves the nutritional properties.
Most Spirulina and Chlorella products utilize a drying process involving high heat even when freeze-drying is used. Heat destroys micronutrients and the enzymatic activity.
Wild Bluegreen algae is dried by Bioactive Dehydration which is a low temperature, organic and kosher certified drying process that preserves natural vitamins, enzymes and other phytonutrients.
The choice is yours. If you are looking for a whole food supplement that is chemical-free, manure-free, 100% from nature, certified organic/kosher/halal, grown wild with more nutrients and protein; Wild Bluegreen algae is the choice for you.
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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/prozacblues/2586332693/