Everything You Need To Know About How To Use A Slimy Green Plant to Slow Aging, Decrease Cravings and Recover Incredibly Faster.

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Regardless of whether you think that us land-dwelling creatures at some point evolved from ocean-dwelling life (a belief espoused by my previous podcast guest Jack Kruse to encourage people spend time in the cold and to eat more seafood), it can’t be denied that fish, turtles, and millions of other large and small inhabitants of water rely on one extremely dense nutrition source for sustenance of life…

algae.

Those fish are pretty darn smart, huh?

But algae isn’t just something that our ocean dwelling neighbors can eat and thrive upon.

Algae has been used by tens of millions of people in Asia for over 50 years – and even Olympic athletes and NASA astronauts have relied on algae for decades as a way to pack a lot of nutrients into a very small volume of food – since algae contains 1,000 times more nutrition than anything else in the world (or if you’d like to think about it this way, one gram of algae – about the equivalent in  a tiny tablet – has the nutrition of 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables).

Yet, for some strange reason, although it meets all FDA requirements and has been sold in the USA for four decades, algae remains virtually unknown to mainstream America.

Seriously – ask yourself – when was the last time you thought of extremely energy dense foods like steak, nut butter, blueberries, kale and pictured algae along in there with that stuff?

Fact is, you’re missing out if you’re not eating some form of algae. So today, I’m going to tell you exactly how to find and use algae in your diet – and it does not involve sticking your head into fish tank and gulping down slimy green plants.

OK here we go…

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Algae Tab

One of these algae tabs gives you the same nutrition as eating salads all day long.

 

What Is Algae And Why Is It Good For Me?

A quick word of warning: if you (like me), get bored and glossed over eyes from reading laundry lists of “beneficial vitamins, minerals and nutrients” in certain foods, feel free to skip this chlorella and spirulina stuff and jump down to “What Algae Is Best?” and “What Are Good Sources To Buy Algae?” sections of this article.

So…

…there’s two basic forms of algae that you can easily get your hands on at health food stores, on the internet, or in supplements: the two forms are chlorella and spirulina.

Here’s the skinny on both:

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Chlorella

Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater micro-algae that contains the highest known quality of chlorophyll found in a nature. Chlorophyll has a chemical structure very similar to hemoglobin, and because of these properties, it can carry oxygen around in the blood and increase your red blood cell count.

That means you can get bigger lungs when you’re eating algae.

Compared to other commercial sources of chlorophyll like wheat grass, barley, and alfalfa (all popular ingredients in “greens” supplements), chlorella has five times more chlorophyll than wheat grass, twelve times more than barley and nearly ten times more than alfalfa. Because of it’s extreme photosynthetic efficiency from the high levels of chlorophyll, chlorella is a very attractive potential food and energy source (it is also high in protein and other essential nutrients, and when dried, is about 45% protein, 20%fat, 20% carbohydrate, 5% fiber, and 10% minerals and vitamins).

In other words, chlorella is an energy powerhouse.

Interestingly, chlorella also seems to be programmed for ultimate survival and replication, and has a very unique ability to quadruple in quantity every 20 hours, which is something that no other plant or substance on earth can do. This unique ability exists because chlorella is 3% RNA and 0.3% DNA by weight (which means that it contains some of the highest RNA/DNA nucleic acid components of any other food on the planet).

What this means for you is that in your own body, these nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) are responsible for cellular renewal, growth and repair – and these same nucleic acids significantly decline with age – which means that not having enough nucleic acid on board leads to aging, a weakened immune system and an inability to recovery quickly.

Chlorella, by virtue of its superior RNA/DNA content, can assist in slowing this aging process and preventing the onset of many chronic, degenerative illnesses associated with getting older (and these same hyperspeed repair mechanisms help you to recovery from workouts with lightning speed).

And that’s not the whole story on chlorella.

The indigestible cellulose of chlorella’s cell wall can attract and bind with heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium and literally remove them from your body. These detoxification properties mean that chlorella is a good way to reverse the damage from environmental pollutants. In addition to leaching heavy metals, chlorella can assist with the removal of hydrocarbon pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, and can also have protective effect on the liver, your body’s valuable toxin filter.

Summary: You’ve heard me talk about anti-aging before. At this point, chorella’s potential is huge in that department, as well as in the area of oxygen capacity, muscle repair, detoxification and liver protection.

Now let’s look at chlorella’s close cousin: spirulina.

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Spirulina

Spirulina is also a microalgae, but it’s actually higher than chlorella in protein content, at about 60% protein, with all the essential amino acids. Although spirulina’s slightly reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine make it (or chlorella) not quite as complete a protein source as meat, eggs or milk, algae is still highly superior to any other plant protein, like legumes or grains.

Spirulina is also about 7% lipid, and high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), along with other essential fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). For a vegan or vegetarian who doesn’t eat fish, or has a hard time getting enough fats or proteins, this is really good news – an ocean chock full of what you need to keep your brain and nervous system from deteriorating.

And spirulina is a rich source of vitamins, including vitamin B (but not B12, so you’ll still need another source of that), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and minerals like like potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc (yes, this is the part where you get glossy-eyed reading laundry lists of nutrients, but I’m just sayin’…)

Compared to any other plant, spirulina also has the highest concentration of antioxidants in the world, the highest concentration of beta carotene in the world, is a great source of fuel for the good bacteria in your gut, and has the second highest concentration of omega 3 fatty acids (second only to mother’s milk). On top of that, it has over 40 vitamins and minerals despite having only one calorie per serving.

Summary: Even though chlorella is high in protein, spirulina is even higher in protein, and also an excellent dietary source for muscle recovery and repair, amino acids and fatty acids (especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan and don’t eat meats or have a hard time getting enough fats – which is why I think it’s crazy that algae isn’t discussed in articles like this: Can A Vegan Diet Fuel A High Performance Athlete?). 

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So What Algae Is Best?

Now wait a minute.

Even if you’re drooling over the benefits of algae, you can’t just go rushing to your local bargain supplements outlet or bulk foods website to grab just any old algae source.

When it comes to algae, if you’re serious about what you put into your body, the source matters.

So here are 8 very important considerations for you if you don’t want to waste money on a bunch of completely ineffective algae  - you should read and follow these 8 tips if you don’t want to do more harm than good to your body in the process of introducing algae into your diet.

1. Get certified, organic non-genetically modified (non GMO) algae. Purity is important with this stuff, and you don’t want to be eating genetic mutants that have been dosed repeatedly in herbicides and pesticides.

2. Don’t get algae from spirulina and chlorella companies that put “fillers” in their algae. This means you would need 10-20 times the algae necessary to actually get a positive effect – and that amount with completely flip your stomach. Just get 100% pure spirulina and chlorella. Similarly, do not get chlorella or spirulina in any kind of gel cap, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan, since most of those gel caps are made from fish oil. In most cases, you have no idea what other fillers are in those gelatin capsules.

3. Just like beef, there are different grades of spirulina and chlorella. The lower quality grades have fewer nutrients, lower concentration of protein and less potency, and once again, you would need 10-20 times the normal amount of an inferior grade of algae to get any good effect.

4. The country of origin where spirulina and chlorella are grown is very important. For example, many suppliers of spirulina in China have been found to falsify their paper work and claims about being organic (in fact, there are a lot of products that come out of China that are falsely certified). Yet a company that just wants to make sales will usually go with the cheapest suppliers – and often that means they are buying the algae from China. This is very dangerous because you really don’t know what you are getting, and you could be harming your health more than helping your health if you buy cheaper spirulina or chlorella that was grown in China – and may in fact contain not only a high concentration of contaminants, but also a lower grade of algae.

5. Similarly, due to the ongoing radiation problems from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, be careful with any spirulina or chlorella that was grown in Japan. Spirulina and chlorella are grown hydroponically (in water), so any radiation could potentially be in the Japanese water in small amounts.

6. Be careful with your source, because extraction techniques vary when it comes to algae. One technique that can be used to “crack” the exterior shell of chlorella (so that the nutrients can be absorbed by your body) is via passing the chlorella through a sound chamber and using sound wave vibrations for extraction. This is a relatively new technique and preserves all the nutrition in the chlorella. This is in contrast to all the Japanese and most other growers of chlorella in Asia, who use a 50 year old technique in which they tumble the chlorella with glass beads to crack it. This method is dangerous – primarily because the chlorella can be contaminated by the lead in the glass and also because the process produces high amounts of heat, which damages the nutritional quality of the chlorella.

7. Do not use spirulina or chlorella that has been exposed to heat drying. This is very important because heat damages the active enzymes in the algae, and prevents it from being a truly “raw” food. A process called air drying involves shooting the algae into the air and allowing it to fall into piles of powder, which are then packed into the small “pellets” or “bits”, and this process is considered low heat and much safer.

8. Pay attention to the algae preservation methods. For example, algae can easily and safely be stored in vacuum packed, non-transparent bags or containers, which have a stable shelf life of over two years. These type of containers can also be specially coated to protect the algae from UV rays. This is important because algae has the highest concentration of chlorophyll on the planet (which is what makes it green) but chlorophyll is very light sensitive. As soon as light starts to hit the algae, the nutrients in the chlorophyll start to lose their potency. So if your spirulina or chlorella is coming in a transparent container or bag, that is not a good thing.

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energybitsWhat Are Good Sources To Buy Algae?

In our recent healthy travel tips video, my wife Jessa showed you some spirulina and chlorella energy tablets she was packing her bag. Her weapon of choice in this case is a brand called EnergyBits.

When we’re traveling, she eats a handful of these each day to give her all her nutrition and protein needs, and this will also keep her appetite satiated and limit mindless snacking while sitting on the plane (remember, algae tablets are just one calorie per serving).

Jessa can also use these pre-workout for a ridiculously high source of energy and focus, without the same crash-and-burn effect of caffeine or energy drinks.

It’s pretty amazing what a tiny handful of little green tablets can do.

A word of warning: no matter which source of algae you choose, if you get chewable spirulina or chlorella tablets like my wife uses, they will turn your mouth temporarily green. But you can easily rinse with water if you want to get your adorable, kissable face back.

Anyways, as you can probably tell, I like EnergyBits, because they fulfill all 8 criteria I listed above. But I’ve personally tried a few other very potent and safe sources of chlorella and spirulina, and below are the other brands I trust to contain good forms of algae without being laced with heavy metals or contaminants:

Livingfuel SuperGreens-LivingFuel SuperGreens: this is a “meal replacement powder” that contains algae sources, along with digestive enzymes, probiotics and a bunch of other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients. But Supergreens is an actual meal – so if you’re looking for something low calorie to munch on, this wouldn’t necessarily be the best option.

-Enerprime: Like Supergreens, Enerprime contains a huge cocktail of adaptogenic herbs, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants – but without the higher calorie count. It comes in capsule or powder form, so there’s a “swallow and don’t taste it capsule option” for you if you don’t enjoy the ground-up-salad-like flavor of the powder. But pricewise, Enerprime is bottled gold, and definitely not the least expensive option out there. I’ll vouch for it’s quality and extreme efficacy, however.

-Mt. Capra Capagreens- this is a powder blend of minerals, organic broccoli, acerola cherries, organic spinach, garlic, cinnamon – and of course, broken cell wall chlorella and spirulina. At 80 calories per serving, it falls between Supergreens meal replacement and lower calorie options such as Enerprime or EnergyBits. I personally keep a canister of this around for post-hot workouts because of the combination of minerals, algae, and potent antioxidants.

In summary, when it comes to good sources to buy algae, I’d look at things this way:

-If you want calories and meal replacement along with your algae, use Supergreens.

-If you want something fun to eat that you can pop into your mouth like popcorn, use EnergyBits.

-If you don’t mind paying more, and want an option for either capsules or powder, use Enerprime.

-If you want a good-priced powder that packs a punch of other veggies too, use Capragreens

I personally use Supergreens for workout fueling and meal replacement, Enerprime capsules as a daily go-to supplement, and Capragreens after hot workouts where I need the minerals too  (yeah, I’m an algae addict and like having multiple options around). Jessa uses EnergyBits because A) she thinks she’s cooler than me with her fun little algae tins and B) she doesn’t like powders and large amounts capsules.

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Are There Any Algae Discounts?

So now that you’re an expert of algae and brands of algae, here are some discount codes for you:

-EnergyBits Discount: Use 10% discount code “BEN” at http://www.EnergyBits.com

-Supergreens Discount: Use 10% discount code “BENGREENS” at http://pacificfit.net/items/living-fuel-supergreens/

EnerPrime-Enerprime Discount: Get it on monthly autoship and get a 10% discount at http://bengreenfield.impaxworld.com

-Capragreens Discount: Use 10% discount code “BENGREENS” at http://pacificfit.net/items/capragreens

I hope that helps you in your algae quest.

Is Algae Safe To Eat?

By the way, I’ve been asked before if any of this stuff can be toxic.

Fact is, toxicological studies of the effects of algae (primarily spirulina) consumption on humans and animals, including feeding as much as 800mg/kg, and replacing up to 60% of protein intake with algae sources, have shown no toxic effects, and in contrast, algae intake has actually been found to prevent damage caused by toxins that affect the heart, liver, kidneys, neurons, eyes, ovaries, DNA, and testicles. Dozens of human clinical studies have shown no harmful effects of algae supplementation.

What Do You Think About Algae?

Do you have questions, comments or feedback on algae, spirulina, chlorella, EnergyBits, Supergreens, Capragreens, Enerprime, or any other seaweed, greens or anything else algae related? Leave your thoughts below, and I’ll be happy to answer.

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52 thoughts on “Everything You Need To Know About How To Use A Slimy Green Plant to Slow Aging, Decrease Cravings and Recover Incredibly Faster.

  1. My wife and 2 sons have Lyme disease and our lyme doctor has recommended a BioPure product enhanced with Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF Chlorella). What would the growth factor be referring to? When we had all our amalgam fillings removed we also used it to remove heavy metals with it. Now I see I need to get back on it daily, thanks for the insightful info! I'm going out to get "grounded" because of one of your podcasts. Thanks for being my personal motivator. Brent from ND

      1. Hi Ben, this is a great topic on superfood greens, i was taking "SUN" clorella and spirlina for about 9 months, 10 tablets of chlorella and 6 tablets of spirulina. i was searching for somthing easier than 16 pills everyday on top of that i am taking 2 omegas 1 chaga mushroom, and 1 vitamin D. I discovered the oceans alive marine phytoplankton, the bioavailability in liquid form is much easier, 10 drops daily in water. it has been life changing.

  2. Hi Ben,

    I'm vegan and I'm a fan of both types of algae you mention. I stopped eating products with 'blue green algae' about a year ago due to recent articles such as the one in Scientific American that pointed to blue green algae as a possible (if not likely) player in ALS. So, do you have an opinion on this third type of algae (blue green)?

    Thanks for your work!

    Kevin

    1. Yes, that is linked to the potential neurotoxicity of β-Methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA, which is an amino acid produced by cyanobacteria (like in algae). However, A) as you can see in the study, you'd have to feed monkeys literally TONS (thousands of pounds) of the stuff to see anything (http://www.neurology.org/content/40/5/767.short) and B) you can feed mice lots and lots of BMAA and none of it appears in the brain.

      1. Thank you for the comment. There's some wonderful products out there that have blue green algae in them as one of many cool ingredients. Seems crazy to completely shy away from them. I was pretty close to a guy that recently passed from ALS and it may have been too impacting on me. Not that he ever had algae of any kind.

  3. How many mg of each do you recommend daily?
    2 days prior to your post I received my first bottle of a spirulina specific supplement (spirulina pacifica). Their suggestion serving is 3 grams/day.

      1. I’m a big fan of the Raw Rev bars but haven’t tried this flavor. My froavite is the Spirulina and Cashew which only contains, like, 4 ingredients and always makes me feel amazing. In general, I’d agree with you on liking the smoother bars better.

  4. ben, thanks for this article. the energybits and other products from their website look awesome and great quality, but they’re pretty expensive! what do you think of nutrex-hawaii spirulina? mike adams rates that product very high – he’s been out there and has seen the production of it. however, it’s not completely organic. thanks.

    1. I'm not familiar with Nutrex Jackie. But Mike Adams is a relatively trustworthy guy (the "Health Ranger" I think he is called, right?). However, the fact that it's not organic would give me pause…

  5. Ive been using NOW spirulina and other super greens from them for a long while now. No fillers and they’re $7.99 for a small bottle. Good stuff.

  6. Hi Ben!
    A quick question: do you have some references that provide evidence for the higher bioavailability of 'cracked' spirulina? What about pure, whole, spray dried spirulina?
    Cheers

    1. Spirulina doesn't need to be cracked at all, Olivier. But Chlorella does. Here's a good article from EnergyBits:

      “Chlorella’s cell wall is comprised of 3 layers. The middle layer contains the thickest cellulose microfiber. The outer layer is extremely resistant to tearing or breakage. The characteristics of this fiber are unique to Chlorella and why it is so important that we consistently have Chlorella in our diet because it is not found in any other food source. Even dead Chlorella has the ability to soak up toxins after it has bonded with them. ”
      This fiber that surrounds the cells must be cracked or broken so that the nutrients inside can be completely absorbed by the body. If the Chlorella cell is not opened, then only a small amount of nutrients would be available to the body. All Chlorella that is imported into the United States must be cracked or open cell according to FDA regulations.
      Much has been said about how the cell wall of Chlorella pyrenoidosa is cracked or opened. Chlorella’s outer cell wall is composed of thick layers of dietary fiber that is excellent for digestion and binds with heavy metals and other synthetic toxins and removes them from the body but this tough outer wall needs to be cracked in order for all of the other nutrients to be available to the body.
      TECHNOLOGIES FOR CRACKING THE CHLORELLA CELL WALL
      The Dyno®-Mill technique is the technique still being used by most chlorella companies (but NOT ours). This technique to open Chlorella’s cell wall was first developed in Japan in the mid-1970’s. This technology was originally developed for use in the meat industry and was subsequently used in other food industries including Chlorella production. The use of Dyno®-Mill techniques in Chlorella production was a breakthrough technology in its time since no other technology had been developed that effectively broke open Chlorella’s thick cell wall. But that was forty years ago
      The Dyno®-Mill process uses thousands of very small glass beads (2 mm in diameter) such as those pictured here that are placed in a drum with the Chlorella and spun together for several minutes. It is an effective way to open the Chlorella cell wall. However, the Chlorella cells are exposed to potential lead and other contamination from the glass beads that are used in the process, especially if some of the glass beads are cracked or broken. This milling process, which can be compared to milling wheat into flour, pulverizes the Chlorella cell rather than just gently cracking it open. When the Chlorella cell is pulverized it immediately becomes susceptible to oxidation, which leads to degradation of its nutrients. The Dyno®-Mill process also destroys the cell’s membrane, chloroplast, mitochondria and nucleus. The main problem with this archaic method of opening Chlorella’s cell wall is that the scrambling of its nutrients significantly decrease its self-life, which is critical with regard to the marketing, nutritional integrity and consumption of Chlorella. Many leading chlorella companies still use this 40 year old technique for cracking the chlorella cell wall however not our company for we use a much more advanced process that preserves more nutrients and protects you from contamination.
      We use a more sophisticated and superior method of opening chlorella’s cell wall which allows your body to absorb more nutrients and be protected from any contaminants.
      Far more effective methods of opening Chlorella’s cell wall have been developed since the 1970’s and the Dyno®-Mill cracking technology. At the Naughty Nutritionist, the chlorella that is in our Naughty Bits has been cracked using a much more advanced, state-of-the-art technology. Our technology to crack open the chlorella cell wall is called the Pressure-Release® method and is an entirely new approach to opening Chlorella’s cell wall. The way this works is that as the Chlorella cells pass through a specially designed Pressure-Release® chamber they rupture, or crack open, due to the sudden and extreme changes in pressure. A few of the many advantages to our technique over the old process include:
      1.First, and most importantly, nothing comes in contact with the chlorella cells, therefore OUR process is 100% natural and organic and makes sure that all the nutrients from the chlorella cells can now be available to you for digestion by your body.
      2.Second, OUR process ensures that the Chlorella cells are not exposed to any heavy metals from glass or other impurities that may be present within the glass. And since they have not been pulverized, their unique nutrients remain in tact.
      3.Third, OUR process ensures that oxidation and nutrient degradation are significantly reduced which not only gives you and your body access to more nutrients but it also significantly extends our chlorella’s shelf life and nutritional integrity.
      We are committed to ensuring that you and your body gain all of the benefits from chlorella and by using a superior technology to open the chlorella outer wall and ensuring a growth culture that is pristine, we are able to assure you the highest quality product with the highest level of digestibility. When you take our chlorella, your body will thank you!

  7. Hi Ben, I’m really trying to get some specifics as how to buy Retail and wholesale of 100% pure top quality chlorella in Bulk in Montreal , Canada? Any suggestions that might help?

    1. I talked to EnergyBits, Mike. If youto buy “bulk” from them 1) you purchase it directly from us and get 30% off the $115 retail price (plus shipping) but u have to purchase a minimum of 10 bags at a time.2) For every ten bags u purchase, u get oneone free. 3) For every 10 bags u purchase u are also provided with marketing collateral with your name on it (postcards).

  8. Ben, what are your thoughts on Hydrilla verticilata (HV) as a subsitute for Spirulina? Hammer Nutrition sells/promotes Hydrilla verticilata via Hammer's product Phytomax: http://www.hammernutrition.com/products/phytomax…..
    I've compared at Hydrilla verticilata to Spirulina a couple times over the years. Though, HV has a few key nutrients in larger doses, Spirulina seemed to win out overall in nurtient load. Your thoughts?

    1. Spirulina has almost FIVE TIMES more protein
      Spirulina has over FIVE TIMES more beta carotene (an important antioxidant)
      Spirulina has FIFTEEN times more GLA (which converts to Omega 3)
      Spirulina has almost FOUR times more chlorophyll

      The only thing that HYdrilla appears to have over spirulina is B12. HOWEVER ALL RESEARCH I have read suggests that the B12 that is found in Hydrilla OR in ANY algae is in a form that the body cannot use. SO DO NOT BE FOOLED by claims otherwise. As you may know, B12 is formed ONLY BY BACTERIA in your gut and these bacteria are active ONLY as a result of you eating animal protein.

      So…my summary is that spirulina is 99% better than hydrilla

      1. Ben, the EnergyBits info page indicates that it actually does have B12. I noticed this when ordered some EnergyBits today (thanks for the 10% off!) after I saw you recommended it for vegetarians in another post. I'm a vegatarian, runner and have issues with anemia (probably because I'm a vegetarian :/ ). I'm confused now by the B12…

        Thanks!
        Erin

          1. Exactly. Which is why I'm wondering why EnergyBits info page states it does have B12. Kind of makes me question the entire product a little. But I'm still going to try it for a month.

  9. I'm a little skeptical of this energy bits website. i think I'd heard of them a while back marketed as "naughty bits." All of their bits seem to be the same thing repackaged in a little marketing ploy. I, as a self-conscious female, went immediately to the "skinny bits" page, but the nutrition profile really didn't look different.

    Another user mentioned this, but I've been using the much more reasonably priced "NOW" greens for a while. Is there any issue with how they crack chlorella walls?

    1. Hi Mer!

      Here is the bio on the "designer" of EnergyBits. I hope this helps. Also, regarding NOW Greens, I'd just make sure they're organic and well sourced. I can't personally vouch for them, especially if they are "cheap". You get what you pay for often…

      Catharine is passionate about showing you how to be healthy and how to have fun with nutrition. Catharine
      totally changed her career four years ago when her younger sister developed breast cancer and was informed by her oncologist that she needed to eat an alkaline diet to help her heal. Not knowing what an alkaline diet was, Catharine’s sister called her asking for help. At the time, Catharine was an international development executive and knew nothing about nutrition, but she dove in anyway. It turns out an alkaline diet is food that is fresh and green and brings enzymes, phytonutrients, chlorophyll into the body (which build the immune system) and oxygen to the cells (cancer can’t exist in oxygen). Catharine shared all her research with her sister, who changed her diet and four years later is still fully healed and cancer free. The experience was life changing for Catharine who watched her sister’s health be restored by changing her diet to one that was alkaline. Why hadn’t anyone told her about this before? And why wasn’t anyone telling the rest of America? She decided someone should. She would. So, Catharine gave up her career and went back to school to study nutrition so she could help others learn about the importance of green nutrition and an alkaline diet. She became a Board Certified Health Coach at New York’s prestigious Institute of Integrative Nutrition/SUNY where her instructors included health visionaries Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Walter Willett, The Dean of Public Health at Harvard, Dr. Barry Sears,the Founder of the Zone Die and, Dr. Mark Hyman just to name a few. After graduating July 2009, Catharine founded Stealthealth, a consulting company with 25 health coaches that provided nutritional coaching to individuals and nutrition workshops for employers.

      But after seeing that most people were overwhelmed by the enormity and complexity of changing their diet to a greener, fresher, healthier one, Catharine decided she had to make eating greens easier, faster and definitely more fun. She changed her company name to The Naughty Nutritionist® (during her nutrition workshops she had became known as the “not eat” or “naught eat” nutritionist which sounded like naughty nutritionist and since it put a smile on people’s face, it became the company’s new name). Next she researched an endless number of green products, searching for something so perfect, so simple and so nutritionally dense, it would provide all the nutrients that were missing from most people’s diet. She finally found it. Algae. To make algae easy she put it in tab form so people could carry it around with them. One handful provides instant energy, and all the greens, protein and nutrition you need for the day.

      Four years after beginning her journey to help her sister, people all across the USA are now discovering algae and Catharine’s story. As a result, her company is on the cusp of taking off and has just changed it’s name to Bits of Health Inc to better reflect all the great things algae does. Their growing list of fans include consumers, athletes, colleges, bands, teams, non profits, models, celebrities, fashionistas, moms, and well just about everyone. Their algae is sold in bags of 1,000 tabs for $115 and each bag comes with a matching travel tin. A bag lasts one month (if you take the minimum amount of 30 tabs/day) and the tabs contain so many vitamins and minerals that you can throw away all your other supplements. But algae isn’t a supplement. It’s FOOD that satisfies your hunger, gives you energy and all the nutrition you need for just ONE calorie per tab. The more you take, the better you feel. The company donates a large portion of their sales to their partner non profits and organizations. Giving back to a big part of the company’s vision. There are five distinct algae brands, each with its own playful personality, website, Facebook page, Twitter handle and team. The five brands are ENERGYbits®, SKINNYbits®, VITALITYbits®, RECOVERYbits® and the original NAUGHTYbits® have sophisticated packaging which makes it fast, stylish and easy to naturally boost one’s energy and health.

  10. Ben, thanks very much for this post. I've tried both Enerprime and Living Fuel Supergreens due to your recommendations, and because of the exact concerns you mentioned, I am trying a different greens supplement now, which is Mt. Capra CapraGreens — it has 80 calories per serving (about a third of SuperGreens) and a much lower price point than Enerprime. Plus, I figured that you generally endorse Mt. Capra's products so it is likely that the sources of the algae and the other components are decent in other Mt. Capra products.

    But it gives me pause that you don't regularly endorse CapraGreens when you endorse Enerprime and Supergreens, even though you endorse other Mt. Capra supplements. Is there a reason why? And all I know about the algae in CapraGreens is that the label lists organic spirulina and "broken cell cholella" among 4150 mg of a basket of superfood botanicals. It means that unless I try to get more from the company, I do not know the sourcing of the algae or its precise quantity. Do you have any information or perspective I should consider? Thanks very much!

    1. Oversight on my part Steven. Thank you for your correction, and the post has been updated. I use Capragreens every week, but had completely forgotten that they have spirulina and chlorella in it! And Capra is a trustworthy company.

    1. Marie, I will give you same response as to Katsun below: there are multiple companies out there that harvest algae or buy it wholesale and produce supplements from it. You just need to call the company or check their website and find out whether or not they are organic, what their extraction methods are, and from where they get their raw ingredients…

      The ones I mention in the post are the ones I can currently vouch for!

    1. Hi Katsun! I will give you same response as to Marie above: there are multiple companies out there that harvest algae or buy it wholesale and produce supplements from it. You just need to call the company or check their website and find out whether or not they are organic, what their extraction methods are, and from where they get their raw ingredients…

      The ones I mention in the post are the ones I can currently vouch for!

  11. What do you think of kinesiology? I have a doctor from the Paleo Physicians Network…that practices kinesiology….I don't understand how its supposed to work at all, but she came to the conclusion that the Dr. Mercola Organic Broken Cell Wall Chlorella I had wasn't "testing" well for me.

    It says all it has is the Chlorella..no fillers why would it be bad for me.

    1. Jonathan, a can of worms indeed. There's different forms of kinesiology and muscle testing, and I'm working on getting someone on the podcast (Dr. Ken Best) to discuss. I don't put much credence in the form where they simply do things like hold a note up with a random vitamin or nutrient written on it, then test your muscles, and if you test poorly they say you're deficient in that item. I think that's bunk. But if you have worn something or eating something or thought something and you perform better in muscle testing, I do think there *can* be something to it.

      1. She holds a bottle of the stuff she is testing not just the word…I wouldn't even give it a second though if it were just a word..it feels much to weird with just a bottle…but at least the substance is in the bottle…its not quite the same.

        I'm gonna start taking my Chlorella because it says Organic…I think I should be able to tell if its doing anything majorly wrong..I'll try to keep my feelings in mind when I'm taking it.

  12. Ben do you feel that these two products offered at nuts.com are a good and safe source? I was looking at the organic ones.

  13. Just an FYI – not all Japanese Chlorella is cracked by glass beads. Yaeyama chlorella is cracked by a jet spray process at low temperature. You can go to the Japanese patent office and search for patent 2916909 to read the technical details. I don't believe it's organic though so it has other shortcomings.

  14. Hi, I love your podcasts and cannot give you enough praise for your hard work.

    My question is : what countries that produce algea are in your opinion the cleanest. I presume good air is important as well or sea water ? or are the commercial algae commercially farmed?

    Please can you provide references after your articles as I think it gives a much better impression and would be a great source of further reading for those medical geeks like me.
    I am humbled by your knowledge and thirst for the truth and admire your fantastic work.
    I don't live in America and find it sometimes tricky to get the same quality of products. So with as much knowledge I try to identify a close second to your recommendations
    Many thanks for you work.
    sincerely
    Elisabeth

  15. Hi Ben,

    Surely it can’t satisfy much of a persons daily protein requirements at only 1kcal/g (1g of protein is 4kcal, right?), or am I missing something? Loving your work keep it up!
    David – UK

  16. Hi Ben,
    My daughter (now 21) has had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since she was five years old. For many years, now
    I've been giving her algae as a nutritional supplement but I read recently (at http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-use-spirulina-fo… ) that–
    "This substance has the potential to stimulate the immune system. For many people, this is an excellent benefit, but individuals who have particular autoimmune conditions, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, generally should not take spirulina for weight loss, because it can aggravate these diseases. "
    What say you? She takes about four capsules a day. She's currently going thru a flare-up of her arthritis which the docs are having a hard time controlling. Should she STOP the algea???
    Would appreciate your opinion,
    Rukman Anandani

  17. Ben,

    I am really excited about both spirulina and chlorella and all the health benefits they offer. I would like to purchase both but really don't know where to go due to all the cautions you listed. Your suggestions are great but is there an option to buy just spirulina or just chlorella? There all several companies that sell them individually in powders or tablets but most of the products come from china.

  18. One of the special traits of spirulina is its rich protein content—it's 50 to 70 percent protein by weight and contains all of the essential amino acids. Records of the Spanish conquistadors suggest that the Aztecs consumed spirulina as a food source, and the Kanembu people of Central Africa harvested it from what is now called Lake Chad.

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