Algae preparations: Afa algae contain toxins

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The Stiftung Warentest warns of algae preparations that contain bacterial toxins.

Numerous algae agents have been offered in drug stores and shops in Germany for some time. They promise a long life and a lot of health. But according to consumer advocates, some varieties of manufacturers contain toxic substances that are carcinogenic. The product testers strongly warn against the purchase and consumption of the tested algae preparations.

Algae (especially seaweed) are mainly used as food in Asia. Algae are tasteless or taste slightly salty. In this country consumers know algae from sushi and nori. These algae are harmless and contain a lot of iodine, minerals and vitamins. But there are also algae that should be avoided because they contain toxic substances that are carcinogenic. They can also cause damage to the kidneys, liver and brain. So-called "Afa algae" are particularly harmful. This species of blue-green algae grows in a lake in Oregon, America. During an investigation by the Stiftung Warentest, the testers mainly took the products "Afa-Algae" (GSE, 60 pieces 21.30 euros), "Blue Green Alge" (Hannes Pharma, 120 pieces 51 euros) and "Blue-green Afa-Algae" (Wilco, 150 pieces 31.50 euros) under the magnifying glass. The Stiftung Warentest found traces of a bacterial poison in all products.

Colloquially, these types of algae are also known as blue-green or blue "primary algae". These algae contain bacteria. Some strains of bacteria develop poisons that permanently damage the nervous system, liver and brain. The World Health Organization recently classified the Afa algae as "possibly" carcinogenic. The goods testers warned of the consumption, otherwise the health of the consumer could be endangered. Studies to date have not been able to prove any information about a curative effect, which is said to be effective in infectious diseases, depression or for weight loss.

In Germany, the Afa algae are not listed as medicinal products, but only as food supplements. In contrast to nutritional supplements, medicinal products are subject to constant testing.

Not all algae are harmful. In any case, kelp at the Japanese around the corner can be consumed without a guilty conscience. Kelp contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and hardly any fat. Due to the very high content of iodine, the algae should only be consumed moderately by Europeans, as otherwise there is a risk of hyperthyroidism. (sb)

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Picture: Günter Havlena /

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