How To Eat Algae (The Ultimate Guide To Fueling With Spirulina And Chlorella).

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Every morning I put about 30 tiny chorella tablets on top of my morning smoothie.

Then, later in the day, I often swallow another 30-50 tiny spirulina tablets pre-workout.

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 – particularly from spirulina and chlorella sources.

Algae Tab

One tab of algae about the size of the one pictured above gives you the same nutrition as eating salads all day long.

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, probably 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 – contains the nutritional equivalent 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 nutrient dense foods like steak, nut butter, blueberries, kale and then pictured algae along in there with those other oft-mentioned foods?

Fact is, you’re missing out on a big nutritional hack 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 no, it does not involve sticking your head into fish tank and gulping down slimy green plants.

OK here we go…


What Is Algae And Why Is It Good For Me?

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

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. There is even recent research that shows that a combination of chlorophyll in your bloodstream and exposure to sunlight can allow you to produce ATP without actually eating any calories.

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).

Interestingly, chlorella also seems to be programmed for ultimate survival and replication, with a very unique ability to nearly 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 and DNA content, could 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).

But 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 help to remove them from your body. These natural detoxification properties mean that chlorella is a good way to reverse the damage from environmental pollutants and toxins found in many foods. In addition to leaching 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.

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

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.

A small amount of spirulina not only increases physical energy and mental focus, but the nutrient density can replace the need for taking large amounts of other supplements, and both spirulina and chlorella algae sources are safe for children. Spirulina’s high concentration of antioxidants and essential fatty acids contribute to heart and brain health, normalize blood pressure, correct anemia, normalize healthy cholesterol levels, and even reduce cancer risk. Most importantly, spirulina can do this without caffeine, sugar, chemicals or a prescription.

Spirulina contains over forty vitamins and minerals and has over 60% protein, the highest concentration of protein by weight in the world and over three times that of steak. Spirulina is also hailed as the answer to world hunger by The United Nations, and endorsed by NASA, who says that spirulina has approximately one thousand times more nutrition than other fruit or vegetable.

The protein in spirulina contains eighteen of the twenty amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids your body can’t produce, making it a complete protein. The aminos are unstructured, which means they are quickly and easily absorbed. Spirulina also boasts more beta carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach; more antioxidants than blueberries, more chlorophyll than liquid chlorophyll and has a nutritional profile that is almost identical to breastmilk, nature’s other perfect food.

So 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?). 


A History Of Algae

Despite it's enormous nutrient density, algae is no overnight success. Although it was among the first plant life on earth, algae didn’t really attract much attention until 1890, when Dutch microbiologist Martinus Beijerinck began to study chlorella algae and grow it in his lab.

A few years later, German scientists discovered that algae has an extremely high concentration of edible protein, a discovery that later led to Otto Heinrich Warburg winning the Nobel Prize for his work on photosynthesis in chlorella. The German discovery also ultimately proved to be somewhat lifesaving, when World War I left them without food or livestock and the German Government used chlorella algae to feed their starving nation.

After the war, algae seemed to be forgotten as a food source, and interest in it didn’t resurface again until World War II, when the Hiroshima bomb destroyed Japan’s food supply and the US Government sent chlorella algae along with other food supplies to help them avoid starvation. The chlorella was a desperately needed source of protein, and to everyone’s surprise, it also seemed to alleviate some of the effects of radiation poisoning. The US Government took note of this, and in the late 1940’s began extensive research on algae. Algae’s ability to assist with remediation of radiation poisoning has since been confirmed and used at other radiation disasters including Chernobyl.

By the early 1950’s, algae’s nutritional profile began to draw significant attention in the USA. Even NASA threw their support behind algae and announced their intention to grow it in space. Algae’s nutritional pedigree was further solidified when The Carnegie Institute declared it was the answer to America’s growing nutrition crisis and recommended algae be put into production immediately for mass consumption. The only problem was that algae had never been produced for mass consumption, so The Carnegie Institute funded the world’s first pilot plant to do it. However, the algae proved too complicated to grow and the pilot plant was shut down after just one year.

But the algae story doesn’t end there. The Rockefeller Foundation stepped in and offered financial support to the Japanese so they could learn how to grow algae for mass consumption. The Japanese accepted the challenge and, although it took them ten years, by the early 1960’s algae production in Japan was a vibrant industry and well on its way to becoming a multi-billion dollar industry.

Spirulina and chlorella algae are now firmly entrenched in Japan’s food supply. Algae’s nutritional profile and agricultural efficiency, on an acre-per-acre basis, provides two hundred times more protein than cattle while using one tenth of the water, making it an eco-friendly and sustainable food crop.

Algae is still relatively unheard of in the USA, but over the last fifty years, it has grown into a substantial industry in Asia, where tens of millions of folks take algae every day instead of vitamins. Asian athletes use it to improve their performance, and entire Asian countries use it as a source of protein and to increase their energy, focus, vitality, remove toxins, speed recovery and prevent hangovers.

Algae is not only an important crop in Asia, but it has now quickly become one of the most studied food sources in the world. There are over 100,000 scientific reports documenting algae's hundreds of benefits and nutritional properties.



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. There is a wide variance in the quality of spirulina and chlorella algae. Not all algae is grown using the same level of quality control.

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.



How To Use Algae During Exercise

So now we get to the million dollar question: can you actually get any benefits by eatiing algae during exercise, such as marathons, triathlons, obstacle races, tennis matches, hunting, or any other form of physical activity?

I asked Catharine Arnston, the Founder and CEO of ENERGYbits, about the feedback she's gotten from athletes who have experimented with using algae during competition. She supplied me with the following fun facts.

1) Algae is a slow-release form of energy. Algae sources such as spirulina provide steady energy compared to fructose or maltodextrin-based carbohydrate gels, which can provide a short burst of energy followed by a crash. Research shows endurance athletes can perform just fine using fuel sources that provide steady energy, and I also wrote about this topic in my article on fat-based energy gels.

2) Algae does not create stomach distress. Sugar and caffeine can tend to irritate the stomach when an athlete uses them during a race or workout. This is because the blood flow normally used for digestion is supplying oxygen and nutrients to the athlete’s muscles. High calorie compounds low in nutrient density can enter the gastrointestinal tract undigested where bacteria can ferment the undigested matter and where blood flow must be diverted for digestion. This can lead to fermentation, gas, cramps and an urge to empty the bowels. Algae does not contain ingredients that irritate the stomach and all the nutrients in spirulina are quickly absorbed, so algae does not contribute to indigestion or GI distress during exercise.

3) Algae has an extremely high concentration of protein (64%). Most other energy products designed for exercise (such as gels) either contain no protein or less protein (see chart below). In contrast, protein from algae is exclusively in the form of unstructured amino acids. It contains eighteen of the twenty amino acids, including the eight essential aminos your body cannot produce, making it a complete protein. Since spirulina does not have a cellulose wall, these amino acids are absorbed quickly and enter the bloodstream instantly. The high concentration of B vitamins in spirulina also help convert the amino acids to glucose, along with assisting in muscle repair and recovery post-workout.

energy bits comparison

4) Algae contains all nine B Vitamins. A lack of B Vitamins can potentially to poor athletic performance and a decreased ability to build or repair muscle. If other energy products contain B Vitamins, they tend to be in lower amounts and are usually artificially produced and not easily absorbed.

5) Algae contains the highest concentration of iron in the world – up to 48 times more iron than raw spinach and 28 times more iron than beef liver. Insufficient amounts of iron reduce oxygen uptake and can lead to anemia-like symptoms and less oxygen, which can lower athletic performance. Most other energy products such as gels or sports drinks do not contain iron.

6) Algae provide naturally occurring nitric oxide, a vasodilator that opens blood vessels and facilitates blood flow to improve athletic performance. As the blood flow increases, more oxygen is delivered to the athlete’s muscles and brain, fatigue is reduced and focus is enhanced. Other energy products such as gels and sports drinks do not contain this type of natural nitric oxide.

7) Algae can increase mental focus and decrease cognitive fatigue due to many factors, including nitric oxide as well as a high concentration of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) such as Omega-3. Fish has long been referred to as a helpful brain food due to its high concentration of Omega-3, but a little known fact is that fish don’t create Omega-3: they get it from eating algae. The brain in particular is almost 60% fat and requires EFA's to perform optimally.. Virtually no other energy gels or sports drinks contain such high amount of EFA's.

8) Algae is alkaline, and an alkaline diet can improve an athlete’s performance. When athletes perform, they release high amounts of free radicals and hydrogen ions from lactic acid, which can cause a net acidic effect. The acidity strips the negative charge from the outside of the hemoglobin, causing it the hemoglobin to clump. This clumping not only reduces the hemoglobin’s ability to carry iron or oxygen, but also prevents the hemoglobin from fitting into the body’s 19 billion+ microscopic capillaries. The net result is an athlete’s muscles and brain are deprived of vital oxygen, so performance potentially decreases and muscle fatigue increases. Alkaline compounds can help restore the pH balance to an athlete’s blood so that this clumping does not occur. The high concentration of iron in spirulina can further improve performance by increasing the amount of oxygen in the hemoglobin.

9) Algae has the highest known concentration of antioxidants and an ORAC value 100 times higher than cherries. Antioxidants are necessary to fight free radicals, which can cause long term damage to cells and DNA, both of which contribute to decreased energy and rapid aging. Although antioxidants have not conclusively been found to drastically improve a professional athlete’s performance, many weekend warriors have seen some benefits. Algae contains a higher concentration of antioxidants than most other energy products, all in a form that is naturally occurring, such as beta carotene.

10) Algae is an eco-friendly, sustainable crop. Algae releases oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from the air as it is growing, and requires very little land or water to grow, making it one of the most eco-friendly, efficient crops in the world. It produces two hundred times more protein per acre than beef while using only one tenth of the water. And since it is a crop that is grown in fresh water tanks, algae is a more sustainable, eco-friendly source of Omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil. It preserves ocean wildlife and doesn’t damage the delicate ocean eco-system in the same way as overfishing, making it an ethical sports nutrition compound too.

In my discussion with her, Catharine also noted that athletes add in too many bars, gels, sports drinks or chews, primarily because they don’t believe that algae can provide them with enough energy (because most athletes still believe that calories are the only substance that can provide energy). But most athletes find they are able to rely on 1/2 to 1/4 of their normal calorie intake when consuming a small handful of spirulina each hour, primarily due to factors such as fatty acids, nitric oxide, B-vitamins, amino acids and chlorophyll – rather than simply sugar.

She recommends you swallow spirulina algae bits with water because most people do not like the green taste or the chewy consistency (the chewiness is due to the high concentration of protein and Essential Fatty Acids). On the other hand, chlorella algae bits (more of a recovery algae) are not chewy and many athletes like to eat them by the handful like nuts. Some people also like to grind them up and add them to a smoothie, or toss them into a salad, yogurt or spoonful of peanut butter.

For basic algae usage during exercise, Catharine recommends taking 30-50 algae bits (preferably ENERGYbits, which are the spirulina form) 15-30 minutes before any workout, run or race and then 15- 30 more ENERGYbits every hour, or whenever you feel fatigued. You can also take 30-50 RECOVERYbits (the chlorella form) before a race or big workout if you want the chlorella to start buffering lactic acid while you are racing, although most athletes take RECOVERYbits post race. 30-50 tablets may sound like a huge amount, but remember that each tablet is very tiny, and a handful is actually quite easy to swallow (here are a few videos that show you how).



Finally, 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.

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

It’s pretty amazing what a tiny handful of little green tablets can do (and remember, these algae tablets are just one calorie per serving).

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to use algae? Leave your thoughts below. You can also click here and use code BEN to save 10% on any of the algae products I personally use, including spirulina ENERGYbits and chlorella RECOVERYbits.

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64 thoughts on “How To Eat Algae (The Ultimate Guide To Fueling With Spirulina And Chlorella).

  1. Mediachowk says:

    Really well said Herbal things help especilly spirulina.

    1. KAIT says:

      chal jhoota

  2. suzanne says:

    I just started sauna use (130degrees for 45min.) every other day. When would it be best to take chlorella to help detox?

  3. Scott says:

    Since Chlorella is so good at removing toxins from the body, is there any concern in regards to taking Chlorella with other supplements? I have read that it may potentially interfere with the absorption of synthetic medicines (which makes total sense), but just want to make sure that it won’t interfere with the absorption of other natural supplements?

  4. Mackenzie Stratton says:

    Hi! I am confused on a good brand to buy, as many do not explicate if their chlorella is cracked using sound or not. Also, energybits has great reviews but at $100+ per 9 oz bag, it costs too much. Also, apparently Mercola’s sources from South Korea, which I don’t know if I trust. Does anyone have specific brands they trust?

    1. Tara says:

      Hi, Mickenzie! I’m not sure if you’ve gotten your answer yet, but the source I can find is from

  5. Scott H says:

    I wanted to know about the lipopolysaccharides in your chlorella. I’m taking it off my menu for the foreseeable future at this point.

    1. Carefully harvested chlorella and spirulina BOTH have beneficial affects on the immune system and in fact have been found to mediate NOT create lipopolysaccharides. The current concerns about chlorella containing gram-negative bacteria are simply untrue and are one more example of misinformation being shared on the internet. If you ever want to truly do a reality test on any concern you have, you can always search the NIH data base to find evidence-based reports. In this case, there are lots of reports that confirm that chlorella and algae do not have gram-negative bacteria. In fact, the cell walls in chlorella are primarily monosaccharides rhamnose (31.8%), glucose (20.42%), galactose (10.28%), mannose (5.23%), and xylose (1.27%):…

      1. Leslie says:

        Do you recommend Spirulina or Chlorella for someone with HPA Axis dysfunction? I am extremely sensitive to almost all supplements and can take only small amounts. Symptoms range from insomnia, extreme food sensitivities, waking up feeling poisoned, nervous system reaction when I touch certain items like foods, fabrics, supplements etc. Have found that many supplements for adrenal fatigue make me feel awful even when trying tiny amounts. Has been several years and have gone from not being able to function at all to functioning 60% of the time. Many practitioners perplexed and targeting one symptom only. Finally found your HPA Axis article which explains almost all my symptoms. So could Spirulina or Chlorella help? Any suggestions in general ?

        1. I am not a doctor and this is not to be taken, interpreted or construed as medical advice. Please talk with a licensed medical professional about this. Out of the two, spirulina would be best for increasing energy. For removing toxins, I would recommend chlorella. You may want to TEST a small quantity instead of investing in a full bag. You can find those here: However, just a few servings won’t make a huge difference. Algae is something you need to take every day but since it contains so many vitamins and minerals and is an organic FOOD, it is a replacement for other supplements. These are just my own personal thoughts and not a prescription or a diagnosis or any form of health care whatsoever.

  6. Rich says:

    With the super antioxidant profile of spirulina and even chlorella, is there any concern taking these pre-workout due to the the anti-oxidants reducing the efficacy of the good ROS? There have been plenty of claims lately about blunting this hormetic response to training and how it can be detrimental and my take away was to basically be wary of taking anti-oxidants pre, intra, or post workout.

    1. Short answer is no. The algae is a complete and whole food and it is also an adaptogen so it knows what to do in your body. Most of the antioxidant properties of algae are from the pigments – chlorophyll and beta carotene. They do not interfere with beneficial ROS.

  7. It even helps mitochondria ATP with a fuel source that is cleaner than glucose (with the addition of sunshine). The structure of chlorophyll is nearly identical to that of hemoglobin in our blood. The center atom of chlorophyll is magnesium (green) while the center atom of hemoglobin is iron (red). Magnesium is what helps alkalize the body and deliver oxygen to cells & tissues.

  8. Marie Gray says:

    What country does your Chlorella & Spirulina originate from?

  9. Hi Linus the bottom line, is you need to listen to your own body, NOT some isolated piece of research like this which is questionable at best, not to mention published fourteen years ago.

    Before you accept at face value like the findings of this study, which is not only 14 years old, it contradicts virtually 99.9% of the 40,000 studies about the health and athletic benefits of chlorella, you need to understand three things:

    1) WHAT WAS THE QUALITY and PURITY of the product being evaluated in the study. If the source of their chlorella was a lake (like Klamath Lake) or ANY other wild source (ocean, swamp, swimming pool), OF COURSE there are going to be toxins in it because there will always be poisons and toxins found in water bodies that not controlled like swamps, oceans or lakes like Klamath Lake (in total contrast, we (we grow our algae in pristine fresh water tanks that are tested daily for purity). Algae absorbs whatever is in the water, so if a contaminated source of algae was used for this study (ie. NOT from a reputable source of algae like us who grow our algae with strictest controls including ISO-9000 and GMP certification) of course there will be LOTS of things found in it that could cause health problems – and might even contain mercury or other metals

    2) WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY AND WHO FUNDED IT: Very often you will find results from a study that was done by a highly qualified, PhD or scientific expert with results like this one that fly in the face of the tens of thousands of other studies that suggest a totally opposite opinion (as this study appears to do). That’s when you need to see WHO funded the study and WHAT they were trying to prove. There is a lot of research that is quietly funded by large organizations that have a vested interest in scarring people so they will not use the product- in this case chlorella since it reduces or eliminates the need for many or most pharmaceutical drugs.

    3) WHAT IS THE FREQUENCY OF THE OCCURRENCE FOUND IN THE STUDY? Is it ONE in a billion? If so, I would suggest that you ignore these findings and only listen to your OWN body (and check out the rest of the research that confirm the hundreds of amazing health benefits of chlorella). I would also like to point out that there is absolutely nothing in this world that is 100% guaranteed safe. Nothing – not air, not water and certainly not the food that has been sold to us for the last 2-3 decades by big corporate food companies who only want to make a sale, many of whom have been quietly using ingredients that are known to be harmful to your health .

    That is why you need to use your OWN own judgement and decide if the findings from a report like this one are true, even though it ignores the hundreds of health benefits of chlorella that are PROVEN in tens of thousands of studies. IF (and this is a big if) these findings were true (which they do not appear to me to be), you then have to find out if there is a ONE in billion chance that chlorella MIGHT over-stimulate your immune system in a way that was detrimental to your health. I suspect the likelihood of this happening (IF the report was even believable) would be SO rare (1 in a billion) that the findings are nothing short of a misrepresentation. And this is even before you take into account that fact you don’t know the quality of the chlorella that was used in the study (maybe it came from the researchers swimming pool and was just pond scum) and you also don’t know who funded the study and if their goal was indeed to try and find anything, anything at all that was wrong with chlorella.

    I would strongly suggest that before you or anyone else decides that chlorella is a BAD thing, that they read the thousands of studies that are available, some even from NIH that endorse and support the use of chlorella for building the immune system, removing toxins of any kind and even helping people who have radiation poisoning or lead poisoning or mercury poisoning or who simply want to stop having colds every year or would like to recover from sports faster since chlorella pulls out lactic acid too! The MOUNTAIN of research that strongly and consistently supports the use of chlorella, not to mention the fifty years of safe use of it (primarily in Asia but also in the USA and globally) and NOT ONE single death from it (unlike virtually every drug on the market). This will allow you to come to the same conclusion that I did – the findings presented in this study/blog do not tell the full story and indeed misrepresent truth. Frankly the truth is that if you use a contaminated source for any study, you will always find something wrong with it. And yes, there will always be a few people who do not digest chlorella very well – just as there are some babies who can’t digest mother’s milk but we don’t find anyone writing scientific documents condemning mother’s milk do we? It is so important to understand the basis and details of ANY science so it can’t be used inappropriately as I feel this study does, to instill fear about something that is so good

    All these reasons (and there are hundreds more I would suggest that this report is questionable at best. The only positive outcome of this study/blog post is that it reconfirms the NEED for you and everyone to purchase their chlorella and spirulina algae from a VERY reputable source (like our company We guarantee the purity and safety of both our spirulina and chlorella algae and I can assure you that you will not find high quality, clean, safe and pure algae if you purchase it from a cheap source.

    If you would like further clarification regarding this answer or indeed information about our company ENERGYbits I would be more than delighted to share research with you so you can see that scientific reports like this one are questionable at best by fostering fear which prevent an important food like chlorella and spirulina algae from being properly understood so it can help more people with their health, longevity, energy, sports and more. Chlorella has done all this for fifty years and its health benefits has been proven in tens of thousands of studies. The only thing this report accurately DOES point out, is that the algae you purchase and the quality/safety of the algae is ONLY as good as the company you purchase it from – but that can be said about almost everything. We are considered the gold standard for chlorella and spirulina and I would love to have you test it out to see for yourself. Thank you for this opportunity to respond to your inquiry, All the best, Catharine Arnston, Founder/CEO ENERGYbits Inc.

    Thank you for giving me the chance to comment on this.

    1. Luke says:

      Sounds like your intimidation tactics are only intended to direct sales to your company which calls into question the very nature of your report.

  10. Linus says:

    I was researching Chlorella because I wanted a good vegan source of omega 3, but what I found was a bit disturbing..

    Chlorella is potentially a powerful healer (and can even fight cancer) because it contains LPS (lipopolysaccharide) that puts our immune system on high alert.

    But that is not all good. Here is what Roman Sasik, Ph.D. has to say about it:

    “While activated immune system may be beneficial in situations such as during an infectious disease outbreak, one must ask what happens to us when we make chlorella a regular part of diet, indeed, a food. Chronic exposure to LPS leads to chronic systemic inflammation. // Specifically, systemic LPS-activated macrophages in the brain have been implicated in progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and are responsible for Parkinson’s disease [1].”

    But what about these darn smart fish, they are eating it, so w¬hy can’t we?

    “It turns out that animals that eat algae in general, such as the horseshoe crab or shrimp, have evolved a mechanism, a unique protein, to bind and neutralize LPS. We have not. In the case of Chlorella we see another manifestation of a well-known evolutionary story, that of grains and birds that eat them, and people who eat the birds. People, unlike birds, do not do well when eating grains directly. It is the same with Chlorella, shrimp that eat it, and people who eat the shrimp.”

    The solution for this would be eating Chlorella but only for short periods of time, only Chlorella also has potential for contamination with viruses. For those who are interested he talks more about that in the article.

    (From Sasik’s article Trojan horses of Chlorella “superfood”, which can be found here:… )

    [1] Qin L, Wu X, Block ML, Liu Y, Breese GR, Hong JS, Knapp DJ, Crews FT, Systemic LPS causes chronic neuroinflammation and progressive neurodegeneration, Glia. 2007 Apr 1;55(5):453-62.

    1. Scott H says:

      You are right on. I don’t really tolerate it.

  11. Gina says:

    After listening to the pod cast I added Energybits to my daily diet. It was a total life saver when I was pregnant and needed to muster up the energy to round up my toddler and head to the gym. (My toddler lovers to eat the little green tables). My question it, if I’m consuming alge do I need to continue supplementing with fish oil?

    1. Ideally, yes, you use both unless you are vegan or can't tolerate fish oil. I personally use spirulina, chlorella and fish oil.

  12. Vesna says:

    Hi, thank you for this thorough explanation. I have one question regarding taking algae if one has thyroid dysfunction. I have been told to avoid spirulina but chlorella should be ok. Can you advice anything on that? Thank you!

  13. Shannon says:

    Thats about $115 a month. Is it a meal replacement? Because if it is, thats reasonable. If not, how do you afford them? Is it a good investment?

    1. It's not a meal replacement, no. And yes, definitely worth it.

  14. gareth says:

    I have haemochromatosis so it was all looking great until you mentioned the iron

    1. Donate blood to get your serum feritin lowered, Dr Mercola talks about this in “fat for fuel”

      I have high iron and this is not going to bean issue because I donate blood. You can even get your doc
      to write a script to have more blood drawn (a therapeutic plebotmamy) if need be.

  15. Angela Shaw says:

    Ben, how would you use this in coordination with sauna use for detoxification? I was thinking of taking 10 spiralina tablets before the sauna, and then 10 chlorella afterwards (I’m aware this is short of the recommended daily amount, but my budget won’t allow me to spring an additional $250 a month on supplements.).

  16. David says:

    Can you comment on the Vitamin A content in Spirulina – not mentioned anywhere in the article that I can see.

    Taking the amounts recommended for exercise would be CRAZY high levels of vitamin A and could surely lead to osteoporosis etc. if taken regularly. The Spirulina tabs I have contained nearly 1.5g of vitamin A per 6 tabs, similar to EnergyBITS I believe.

    1.5g is the daily limit given to prevent impacting bone density by the NHS in the UK? I must be missing something… @:-)

    Thanks – David

    1. David says:

      1.5milligrams not grams sorry. 6 tabs contains 1380ug, recommended daily limit is 1500ug (1.5mg).

  17. Alisa says:

    While we’re at it, could you please also tell me if it’s necessary to continue to take extra B12 and folate if I have the MTHFR issue? Also, I take extra magnesium and potassium, would these two still be necessary too? Thank you so much!

  18. Alisa says:


    Your reply about hypothyroidism only addressed chlorella. Is spirulina safe for the thyroid? Thank you.

  19. jas says:

    hey ben,

    you mentioned toxicological studies show no side effects on adults and children, would it be safe and beneficial for pregnancy as well?

  20. Sree Chandra says:

    I have heard that green algae can be contaminated by toxins called microcystins that can cause kidney failure, liver toxicity and nervous system toxicity. Can you please confirm if the tablets have microcystins content?

    1. There are NO microsystins in this algae. Email [email protected] if you want a more detailed answer!

  21. Tinkforpink says:

    Has anyone else experienced vomiting or nausea after taking Chlorella? I took it on 2 different occasions (2 different brands) and vomited violently!

    1. lehnerto93 says:

      Wow… I have never experienced that severe of symptoms. When I took it, my body was already detoxed though, so I didn't suffer many "detox" symptoms. Did you make sure it fit the specificities laid out by Ben? Here's the link to my brand and source:

  22. heather says:

    Is there any reason not to just buy Vitalitybits? They are a mix of the two algaes…

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Hi Heather, We encourage athletes and most consumers to purchase their algae separately because it gives them more control. For example if you were getting ready to run a marathon, you might want to double up on ENERGYbits so you could have more energy. Or if you are coming down with a cold, you would want to double up on RECOVERYbits. Or if you didn't want to have a hangover after drinking wine (or any alcohol) you would want to take just RECOVERYbits. On the other hand, if you are looking for a food-based replacement for your vitamins then YES VITALITYbits are your best solution because they are half spirulina (which gives you the energy and focus) and half chlorella (which detox you and build your immune system). And this way, you only need to purchase ONE bag! We have a lot of customers who love VITALITYbits and consider them a better investment than health insurance because it improves their health and vitality naturally! Let Ben or I know if you have any other questions. Be well! Catharine Arnston, Founder/CEO and Chief Scientific Officer ENERGYbits.

  23. That's amazing! I need to get some Algae in my daily routine ASAP!

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Yes they are amazing and once you start taking them every day like I do (and have done so for the last five years), you'll see what I mean. The best way to describe how you feel when you take ENERGYbits every day is that you feel "FRESH" -both physically and mentally. You feel like you just had a great night sleep! There is no rush or no crash – you just feel fresh. And RECOVERYbits will keep you healthy so no more colds and no more toxin overload. Let Ben or I know if you have any questions and don't forget to use his discount code BEN to get 10% discount when you make a purchase! All the best Catharine Arnston, Founder/CEO ENERGYbits

  24. offofthecouch says:

    You didn't mention Klamath Lake Blue Green Algae. Some of us older folks were involved in a company called Cell Tech, which sold AFA, as well as probiotics, ahead of it's time. Unfortunately the owners divorced and it seems to have disappeared.

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Klamath Lake Algae was disbanded after a long investigation into their questionable activities. I think they started the company up again under a different name however I would encourage you not to use their algae for a very simple reason. Their algae is grown wild in a like and you cannot control the environmental conditions of a lake (or the ocean) and if there are contaminants in the water, the algae will absorb them. In fact, it was found that Klamath Lake was on the flight path of the Canadian Geese and as they flew overhead of the lake they pooped (sorry) into the lake, which affected the purity of the water. Trust me – you do not want to buy algae that is grown wild. There is no way of knowing what's in there. In contrast, we grow our algae in fresh water tanks that are carefully monitored and tested every day for purity so our algae is not only the most nutrient dense food but also the safest and purest food you'll ever have. Hope you'll get to try some soon! Thanks for your great question. All the best, Catharine Arnston, Founder/CEO and Chief Scientific Officer ENERGYbits

  25. wendybolt says:

    I have read that spirulina is not a good idea for those with thyroid disease (I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis). What is your take on that. Chlorella seems to be a good option.

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      We always recommend chlorella for any thyroid conditions which are often caused by chemicals like fluoride or aluminum and chlorella will remove those. It take a while though. Let Ben or I know if you have any other questions and I'd be happy to answer them. All the best, Catharine Arnston, Founder/CEO ENERGYbits

  26. Ben says:

    Sounds great.

    These Bits are real expensive though. At the beginning of the article you mention that one tab is like eating salads all day. Yet you later say, and the manufacturer suggests, that 30 tabs are a serving. This product get real pricey at the suggested serving. Is this a product you suggest using daily or what?

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Thanks for your question! We recommend 30 ENERGYbits tabs prior to a workout or run in order to feel the energy from the nutrition in the algae. And we also recommend 30 tabs per day in order to experience improved energy, focus and health. When you take 30 tabs per day, a bag of 1,000 tabs will last about a month and if you use Ben's discount code, you get 10% off the price, so a bag will cost you $103. On a per serving basis this works out to about $3.00 per day which is pretty much the cost of a Red Bull or Starbucks Latte except neither of them will improve your health like algae will. Also, you can stop buying all other supplements, vitamins and fish oil because the algae contains over forty vitamins and minerals (including Omega-3) and your body absorbs all of these vitamins because they are from whole food. ALgae is a plant. Its not something made in a factory like supplements are (your body only absorbs a small percentage of the nutrients in supplements). So while it may appear "pricey", its actually not. Taking algae will ultimately save you money because your health will improve and you can eliminate the cost and bother of all those other vitamins or energy stimulants. ENERGYbits are spirulia and they give you energy. RECOVERYbits are chlorella and they build your immune system, remove toxins and fight aging. If you take RECOVERYbits every day you will probably never have a cold again which means you won't miss any work and that saves you money too! If you have any other questions, I am more than happy to answer them directly or send you some of our research. Feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. I am the Founder/CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of ENERGYbits. Thanks for your great question!

    2. Al says:

      Forget about those useless bits, they are pricy yet lose thier potential.

      All you need is to get a real powdered form of Chlorella and Spirulina. As spirullina I suggest Nutrex, as chlorella I suggest Jarrow formula.

      Take care.

  27. dnd1980 says:

    Great article. I just added spirulina & chlorella to my supplement. Two questions:
    Can algae remove mold & mycotoxins from your body, as well as heavy metals?
    Do you need to take algae away from taking other supplements/medications?

  28. Diane says:

    Great article. I just added Chlorella & Spiru-Blue ( to my daily supplement practice. I was exposed to mold and some other environmental toxins/heavy metals. I am using the algae to reduce any of those toxins from my body, not to mention all the toxins we are all exposed to, daily. Your article helped me understand there are other nutritional benefits when taking algae. Two questions: Can these supplements remove mold & any mycotoxins from my body? Do you need to take these products away from the time you take other supplements & medications so they don’t rid your body of your other supplements & medications? Thanks, Ben

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Hi Diane, good to hear you are already familiar with a few of the benefits of chlorella and sprirulina. I am a big fan of Dr. Mercola and while I know I am biased, I feel that ours is of an even higher quality because that's all we do or sell,is algae! But to answer your question about the mold and mycotoxins, yes the chlorella will detox you of that. It takes time. Generally chlorella will clear your blood of toxins in 2 hours, it takes 1 week – 2 weeks to clear your cells and about 6-8 months to clear organs. The reason for the differences in time are due to the increased density of your cells. Your organs are the most dense hence they take the longest to detox. WHen you take chlorella and spirulina every day (with our brand our recommended daioly amount is 30 tabs per day), you don't need to take ANY other supplements or vitamins (other than D3 in the winter months if you live in the northern hemisphere). And regarding any implications with other medications – the spirulina won't affect them for sure so that's a slam dunk. But when it comes to chlorella, I honestly don't know because it could detect the medication as something that doesn't belong there (since all medications are artificially produced so it thinks its a toxin). So you would need to experiment. Frankly all I can tell you is that our customers who have run into similar situations take the chlorella even while continuing to take their medication and as the chlorella removes the toxins and begins to heal them, they start reducing their medication until they don't need the medication any longer. But please keep in mind that while I am a Board Certified Health Counselor, I am not a doctor and would not want you to do anything without checking first with yours or whoever oversees your health. If you have any other questions please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. Best of luck with everything, Warmly, Catharine Arnston Founder/CEO ENERGYbits.

  29. Dan says:

    Powerful write up! Everyone should read it. I use both as a scoop of each in my post fasted workout smoothie.

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Hey Dan thanks for the great feedback. And maybe you could help spread the news about how amazing algae is! Thanks! All the best, Catharine Arnston Founder/CEO ENERGYbits

  30. Jason Vincent says:

    Great article Ben I have recently been thinking about adding these to my daily supplement regimen so great timing! Two questions on this. Do you know of any other brands that are good to go with and how many of each per day would give a beneficial amount? I know you mentioned what you typically take but does a lesser amount do the trick too? Would hate to take a lesser amount and find out it is a waste.

    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Hi Jason, there are lots of other brands but most of them do not offer the same high quality as ENERGYbits. Generally we recommend 30 bits a day to see an improvement in your health and energy. You can always take more because they are a plant and are like a highly nutritious bowl of kale so there is no risk of toxicity. And if you take 30 tabs a day you can stop taking all your other vitamins and supplements including fish oil. This is because algae contains over 40 vitamins and minerals and is a food-based source so your body absorbs 99% of them. You can also take less if you like – its really your choice. Any amount per day will benefit you. It really depends on your needs, health and activity level. For example we have learned that some of our NHL players and Olympic athletes take 75-100 tabs prior to a big competition while others who may not be very active and who are anemic have found increased energy with just 5-10 tabs per day. The best thing is to experience with your own body to find what is the perfect number for you. I take 75-100 tabs per day and have done so for the last five years. But I am the Founder and CEO of ENERGYbits so my fridge is full of them! Frankly I don't think I could live without them! Once you start taking them, you'll see what I mean! If you have any other questions or would like any of our research emailed to you, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]. Algae is the most amazing food in the world and once you start understanding the science and nutrition of it, you'll see why its considered the superstar of superfoods. Be well! Catharine Arnston Founder/CEO ENERGYbits

  31. Alexander Roan says:

    Hi Ben,

    A few years ago when suffering from fatigue I went on a super healthy diet, 80 percent veggies including some of the better grains and brown rice, lots of fermented foods and some fish. At the time I also took some supplements to try and increase relaxation, cellular energy and detoxification.

    I tried both spirulina & chlorella, this was before Japan disaster and I took the quite respected sun brand.

    Whenever I take chlorella even in small amounts I get flu like sick.. tired, dizzy, achey etc.

    I guess it could be detox symptoms, but spirulina didn’t give me problems.

    The symptoms were similar to those from when I quite all sugars and refined carbs but persisted rather than just being for one week.

    Have you heard of such a reaction, could I be allergic? I’m wondering if I should give up on chlorella for good.

    As a point of interest I get a similar reaction to cordyceps ; another thing I heard works well for some athletes.


    1. ENERGYbitsCEO says:

      Hi Alex, you are absolutely correct – the symptoms you were experiencing when you took chlorella were detox symptoms. They can last up to 2 weeks but usually its about a week, and then once you are fully detoxed, if you keep taking chlorella every day, your body will stay clean and you won't have these detox symptoms ever again. I realize its a bit unpleasant but as I always tell our team (and customers) its better to go through a bit of discomfort for a short period of time and get rid of the toxins, than to have them stay in your body where they are doing silent damage. It's also possible that the chlorella you were using from other companies wasn't as pure as ours is, so maybe if you take smaller amounts of ours, you may not have as bad a detox. And yes Sun CHlorella is the grand daddy of chlorella but they use a very old method for cracking their chlorella (they tumble it with glass beads) and this leaks lead into their chlorella. In fact, the lead in their chlorella is so high that the state of California made them put a warning on their packaging. We use a much more modern technique to crack our chlorella – we pass it through a sound chambe. The vibrations are what crack our chlorella, so there is no chance of lead or any other contaminants in ours. Please feel free to email me directly if you would like me to send you more information about detoxing with chlorella. And yes, you won't feel these kinds of symptoms with spirulina because it is not a detoxing algae like chlorella is. BTW they use chlorella to pull out radiation after nuclear disasters, that's how well it detoxes you! My email is [email protected]. I am the Founder and CEO of ENERGYbits and I have studied algae for the last six years full time and have written over 100 white papers on it so more people could understand what it does. I'd be happy to send you a few. Be well!

      1. alexander roan says:

        Catharine, I just came back to this post, thank you so much for your detailed reply, info and advice. I will look into energybits and I will try out chlorella again.


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