AFA is a Unique Source of PEA (Phenylethylamine)
It has been discovered that phycocyanin, the unique blue pigment in AFA, has the ability to reduce two compounds COX-2 and Lipoxygenase, both are considered inflammatory enzymes, AFA has been found to inhibit both these enzymes hence has the ability to reduce inflammation.
Phycocyanin has been shown in various animal models to significantly reduce inflammation. It also inhibits the formation of leukotriene B4, a compound involved in the pathophysiology of asthma. Recent drugs developed for the treatment of asthma are inhibitors of leukotriene B4 action.
Individuals have reported discontinuing their antidepressant medications after a few months of AFA consumption. More generally, people have been reporting an elevation of mood, an enhancement of mental energy and mental clarity with an increase in quality of life.
PEA is well known to alleviate depression and elevate mood, and it plays an important role in the pathogenesis of learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. PEA, a compound naturally produced by the brain, is responsible for the feeling of experiences associated with pleasure and mental awareness. For example, when one is absorbed by an activity like painting, sculpting, or reading a fascinating book, when the world around seems suspended and nothing can disturb us, when worries vanish and hunger goes away, in such moments PEA is being produced by the brain. Likewise, PEA is released in the brain when one experiences the feelings of love and joy. For this reason, PEA has been noted as “the molecule of love.” When taken orally, PEA is known to readily cross the blood-brain barrier and become immediately available in the brain. Consumption of one gram a day of AFA extract could constitute an effective therapeutic approach in the treatment of depression.
The ability to modulate dopamine and norepinephrine transmission provides PEA with interesting properties in alleviating depression and Attention Deficit Disorder, while increasing concentration and elevating mood.
It was discovered nearly two decades ago that the amount of PEA in the brains of depressed patients was less than that of normal individuals, and that PEA given orally to individuals suffering from depression was able to reverse the depressive condition. Oral intake of PEA may increase PEA levels in the brain and may alleviate subclinical symptoms of depression. Increase in the brain levels and/or turnover of endogenous PEA may therefore play a major role in the etiology of certain forms of depression. In fact, it has been observed that many antidepressant drug treatments act by increasing the level of PEA in the brain.
In one study, when taken orally (10 mg/day), PEA was shown to decrease the symptoms of depression in 60 percent of the patients tested. The patients did not develop tolerance, and PEA remained effective over time.
None of the side effects associated with conventional antidepressant therapy was experienced (i.e., nausea, fatigue, decreased libido, cardiovascular problems). AFA contains on average 2 mg/g of PEA, and an AFA extract has been developed that contains up to 10 mg/g of PEA. Daily consumption of one gram a day of AFA extract could constitute an effective therapeutic approach in the treatment of depression and other effective disorders.
Attention Deficit Disorder –
PEA is synthesized in the brain from the two amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. It is degraded by the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) into phenylacetic acid (PAA), which is eliminated in the urine. Both PEA and PAA were found to be decreased in the urine of patients suffering from depression and ADD. The PEA precursor’s phenylalanine and tyrosine were also both decreased in the plasma of children suffering from ADD. The Phenylethylamine hypothesis of effective behavior states that PEA is an endogenous neuromodulator responsible for triggering or sustaining wakefulness, alertness, and excitement.
Structurally, PEA is closely related to amphetamine and to a lesser extent to catecholamines. PEA induces behavioral and electrophysiological effects similar to those of some amphetamine derivatives, which are already sold under the name Adderall® for the treatment of ADD. However, unlike amphetamines, PEA is endogenous to the brain and PEA may prove to be a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of ADD.
It does not develop tolerance or dependency, nor does it produce any side effects. Likewise, methylphenidate (Ritalin®), the most prescribed drug for the management of ADD, is believed to act by stimulating the release of endogenous norepinephrine and PEA. PEA may therefore prove to be a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of ADD. In fact, preliminary data indicates that AFA has been effective at significantly improving concentration and mental performance shortly after consumption.