Effects of Blue-green Algae Extracts on the Proliferation of Human Adult Stem Cells in Vitro: A Preliminary Study

Shytle RD, Tan J, Ehrhart J, et al. Med Sci Monit. 2010; 16(1): BR1-5.

Conclusion: When Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) algae is combined with NT-020, proliferation and increased health of stem cells may occur.

Summary: As a person ages their stems cells aren’t as healthy and do not regenerate as well. The stem cells also become much more susceptible to oxidative stress. Stem cells are cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. They are found all over the body in many organs including bone marrow, peripheral blood, umbilical cord blood, spleen and more. Stem cells serve as a repair system for the body, so oxidation and reduction of stem cells results in a reduction in the body’s ability to heal itself.

NT-020 is a formulation that has previously been tested for its ability to proliferate adult stem cells. NT-020 is made up of blueberry extract, green tea extract, carnosine and vitamin D3. Like NT-020, AFA research indicates that it may also have the ability to proliferate adult stem cells. Water and ethanol extracts of whole or cellular AFA was used to study in vitro, AFA’s effect on adult stem cells. Various doses of AFA (0.0625 – 0.5 mg/mL) were tested alone and in combination with NT-020.

AFA, in high doses, alone had moderate results on the proliferation of adult stem cells. However, when a high dose of AFA was combined with NT-020 it increased the proliferation. The ethanol extract of cellular AFA had the best results. These results suggest that NT-020 combined with a high dose (0.5mg/mL) of ethanol extract of AFA may increase proliferation of stem cells.

Educational Note: Stem cells are cells that can differentiate into different specialized cells. They also act as a repair system in various tissues. There are two types of stem cells, embryonic and adult stem cells. Embryonic stems cells are just that, stem cells from an embryo and adult stems cells are from adults.

The stem cells main role is to maintain and repair tissues and organs in which they are located. As a person ages, these stem cells do not regenerate as well and become oxidized. Oxidation is when a free radical steals an electron, stabilizing itself but in turn making the other cell an unstable free radical. If a stem cell is oxidized it can no longer do its job of repairing tissues.

Stem cells treatments are currently a hot topic in research. The embryonic stem cells are the center of the controversial stem cell research, since harvesting the cells often kills the embryo. In stem cell treatment healthy stem cells are used and introduced to damaged tissue, diseased areas or injury. This treatment has the potential to treat cancer, Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, Celiac disease, cardiac failure and more.

Stem cells are very important to our health and to the future of medicine. AFA extract has been shown to have the ability to increase stems cell proliferation and inhibit oxidation. So supplementation of AFA can be beneficial to those who are aging and losing the ability to regenerate and maintain the health of their stem cells.