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Algae Calcium
Lithothamnion Algae

One of the best marine calcium sources. 

What is Red Algae Calcium? 

 

Algae are a diverse group of aquatic organisms found in various marine and freshwater environments. Some species of algae can absorb and accumulate minerals, including calcium, from their environment. One of those species is the Lithothamnion algae.

Lithothamnion is a genus of red algae that belongs to the family Corallinaceae. They are commonly referred to as maerl or coralline algae. Lithothamnion algae are unique in that they can grow in shallow and deep waters and form large calcareous structures resembling corals.

The algae form a hard, chalky crust that can be found in various forms, such as free-living, branched, encrusting, or nodding. These structures comprise calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, and other trace minerals, which the algae extract from seawater and deposit in their cell walls. The color of Lithothamnion algae can vary from pink to purple or white, depending on the species and environmental conditions.

As the algae ages and dies, it calcifies, with the living algae growing on top of the calcified remains. Extracting the algae's remains and then transplanting living algae on the last remnants can sustain a continued cycle of algae growth.

Calcified remains of algae are commonly used in the food industry as a source of high-quality, vegan calcium supplements and in cosmetic products as a natural exfoliant and skin conditioner.

Why use Red Algae Calcium?

There are several reasons why calcified remains of red algae are superior to lime rock algae, from bone health to sustainability. Here is a list of reasons.

1. Better bone health.

 

The most exciting benefit of algae calcium is its ability to prevent and even restore bone loss. As we age, we begin to lose bone density as new bone formation can no longer keep up with old bone deterioration.  For many people, this process results in osteoporosis. Several studies have shown that algae-based calcium can restore some bone density to people, which traditional calcium supplements cannot do. One such study found that a mineral supplement made from algae calcium increased bone density by more than 2% on average [1], and another showed that women in their mid 60's gained 7.3% more bone over a 7-year period [2]. These results are stunning, as osteoporosis is a huge health problem, and no other calcium supplement has shown any ability to restore bone density, only slowing down or at best halting bone loss.

This unique ability of algae calcium is believed to lie in the unique mineral composition of the calcified algae, and the crystal structure of the calcium minerals which is the same as the structure in our bones.

Typical Mineral Composition of Calcified Lithothamnion Algae.

Mineral

Calcium

Magnesium

Sulphur

Potassium

Phosphorus

Sodium

Manganese

Zinc

Iron

Iodine

Boron

Copper

Cobalt

Selenium

Other Trace Minerals*

Dry weight

34%

2.4%

0.7%

0.6%

0.05%

0.25%

100 ppm

20 ppm

800 ppm

30 ppm

17 ppm

8 ppm

0.1 ppm

1.0 ppm

2.0%

* A wide range of trace minerals from seawater.

 

J.Frestedt et. al., Nutrition Journal, 2008.

Image of Lithothamnion algae, the source of algae calcium

2. Reduce symptoms of knee arthritis.

 

Another exciting benefit of algae calcium is its effect on joint pain. In clinical research done by Frestedt et al. [3], a supplement made from calcified algae was shown to reduce the symptoms of knee arthritis, resulting in a 50% reduction of NSAID medication. While being a small preliminary study, the study highlights the possibility that algae-based calcium could significantly contribute to knee arthritis therapy in the future. ​ 

3. Improvements in Overall Gut Health

More recent studies also have shown that algae-based calcium can benefit gut health overall. Possible beneficial alterations in the colonic microbial community and the attendant metabolomic profile were found in human participants[4], and both animal and in vitro studies have found gastroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects from the use of algae-based calcium[5-6].

4. Reduced environmental impact.

Calcium carbonate, derived from rocks such as limestone and marble, requires mining and other energy-intensive processes to extract and purify the calcium. The entire process is energy intensive and can leave scars on the landscape.

Algae calcium, on the other hand, is a natural and renewable source of calcium, and its production has a lower environmental impact than other calcium supplements. Our way of sourcing the calcified algae ensures the continued growth of the algae on the seabed.

5. Vegan and vegetarian-friendly.

Algae calcium supplements are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, as they are not derived from animal sources.

References:

1. Michalek JE, et al., Nutrition Journal, 2011.

2. Kaats, GR, et al., Journal of American College of Nutrition, 2016.

3. Frestedt JL, et al. Nutrition Journal. 2009.

4. Aslam MN, et al. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2020.

5. Almeida F, et al. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012.

6. Denise MO, et al. Phyto Res. 2012.

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