by Mark Edwards

Can Algae Remove Pesticide Poisons in Children’s Brains?

An Algae Secrets series last year addressed the challenge of solving the problem of lead poisoning inflicted on children and adults in Flint Michigan. Flint Michigan regained new attention in September 2017 with a report by David Slusky and Daniel Grossman that fetal death rates rose by a horrifying 58% while the fertility rate among the city’s women declined by 12%.

The CDC estimates that at least four million households with children are being exposed to high levels of lead daily. The USDA estimates over 50 million people in the US obtain their drinking water from groundwater that is potentially contaminated by pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, including arsenic.

Pesticides are “chemical substances used to prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate any pest ranging from insects (i.e., insecticides), rodents (i.e., rodenticides) and weeds (herbicides) to microorganisms (i.e., fungicides or bactericides).” Heavy metals poisoning and pesticide poisons cause similar fertility crashes, birth defects, miscarriages and developmental disorders, such as ASD.

Janie F. Shelton at U.C. Davis, who is also a U.N. consultant, leads the excellent CHARGE series of studies that examine pesticide exposure based on proximity to pesticide treated fields. These studies provide metrics that show that pregnant mothers who happen to live within a mile of treated fields has substantially higher probabilities than others of having a newborn with ASD. The lesson from the CHARGE research is the knowledge of how mobile pesticides are after they are applied. Additional research will provide answers to whether this poison’s mobility comes from wind, water or other mechanisms.

The World Health Organization, (WHO) notes the effects of lead on young brains are “untreatable and irreversible.” The same holds true for pesticide poisoning. Thousands of children currently suffer from organophosphates, (OP) neurotoxins or other endocrine-disrupter pesticides in their brains and body tissues. The CDC warns that no safe blood OP level in children has been identified.

Pesticides are a cumulative toxicant that affect multiple body systems and the major organs. The longer pesticides persist in vital organs, the more those organs are damaged – especially the brain. An effective, safe and low-cost lead poisoning treatment that removes pesticides from their bodies could save thousands of children in the US, and millions globally from the devastating brain and body abnormalities.

Algae’s ability to chelate with heavy metal ions makes it ideal for removing poisons. Algae’s tiny cell size allows cells to pass through the blood-brain barrier while other medical treatments cannot. This safe and simple solution that mimics nature should improve the health of children inflicted with pesticide poisoning. Best of all, it is likely to enable healthier babies whose stronger brains and bodies are prepared to solve future challenges.

Algae flushes poisons

The team at the University of South Australia identified five green and five blue-green algae for their ability for biodegradation of an OP pesticide, fenamiphos from wastewater. They found all 10 species had the ability to detoxify fenamiphos and bioremediate the pesticide and its toxic metabolites.

The same algae bioactive compounds that biodegrade OP pesticides in wastewater in the University of South Australia study can do the same in people or animals. (Note: no citation exists for this because there have been no human studies yet.) Failing direct evidence, related research on algae chelation with heavy metals supports this premise.

Spirulina has been shown to chelate with heavy metals such as arsenic and remove them from the brain and body tissues. Mir Misbahuddin and team at the Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh performed a series of studies showing spirulina chelated effectively with arsenic and removed most of the poison from animal body tissues. The team did a double blind and placebo test on forty-one chronic arsenic poisoning patients who were treated orally by placebo or spirulina, (250 mg) plus zinc, (2 mg) twice daily for 16 weeks. The spirulina extract plus zinc removed 47% of the arsenic from scalp hair, while the placebo did not. Spirulina extract had no noticeable side effects. Results showed that spirulina plus zinc offers a natural treatment of chronic arsenic poisoning.

Animal studies

Several studies have demonstrated that blue-green algae spirulina acts as an effective chelator for lead in animals. Experimental animals with lead poisoning were fed on a standard laboratory diet with or without spirulina 5% for several weeks.

The results showed that spirulina prevented the expected lead acetate-induced changes on plasma and liver lipid levels. Spirulina succeeded to improve the biochemical parameters of the liver and kidney towards the normal values of the control group. Spirulina demonstrated protective effects on lead acetate-induced damage.

Chlorella vulgaris extract (CVE), has been shown to have strong chelating effects on the myelosuppression induced by lead in Listeria monocytogenes-infected mice. Treatment with CVE, given simultaneously or following lead exposure, restored to control values the myelosuppression observed in infected/lead-exposed mice and produced a significant increase in serum colony-stimulating activity.

The benefits of the chlorella treatment was also evident in the recovery of thymus weight, since the reduction produced by the infection was further affected by lead exposure. Therefore, CVE administration indicated that the immunomodulation effect of CVE plays an important role in the ability of algae to reduce heavy metals such as lead in the blood.

The reason there are no human studies comes down to money. Human clinical trials may cost several hundred thousand dollars and medical research sponsors want a return on their investment. Companies cannot patent an algae species because it is a naturally occurring organism. In addition, medical school faculty members are judged not only on their publications but also on how much they receive in grant support.

Spirulina and other algae species are excellent candidates for heavy metal removal from human tissues but no company wants to sponsor such research. Algae natural products can be gathered or grown on every continent. Therefore, clinical trials will benefit all people, because the findings are not patent-protectable.

Other algae solutions

Algae offer several other novel solutions to reduce exposure to OPs and other pesticides. Algae biofertilizers enhance crop vitality and induce plants to produce natural biopesticides, which reduces or eliminates the need for industrial pesticides. Algae biofertilizers improve soil structure. Algae crusts can hold topsoil and prevent or mitigate migration of poisons by winds. Algae-based animal feeds are pesticide free and are natural, diverse and GMO free. Algae foods offer an alternative or supplement to field grains, and are grown without pesticides, leaving no poison residuals in or on foods, in the food supply or natural ecosystems.

Hippocrates: Do no harm

A thoughtful reminder from Hippocrates applies to algae therapeutics to flush toxins and heavy metals.

Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.

Algae are natural products and induce no side effects. This natural “no harm” advantage makes them a first choice for heavy metals or pesticide poisoning treatment over pharmaceutical drugs that impose significant side effects.

The path forward

Mark Edwards

The longer heavy metals stay in the human body, the more damage they inflict on vital organs. If my child had exposure risk to lead, pesticides or other heavy metals, I would supplement their daily diet with algae.

Spirulina and other algae species appear to offer a simple, safe and inexpensive solution for reducing the heavy metals and pesticides in the brains and body tissues of children and adults. The algae taken orally should act as an effective biosorbent, chelate with the poisonous heavy metal, and allow it to pass harmlessly out of the body in the urine.

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