What is Marine Phytoplankton – Benefits & Uses

Phytoplankton beneftis for cell health-liver health-brain and heart health-energy and more

Micro-algae like Spirulina and Chlorella are well known for their health and detoxification benefits, but another ancient micro-algae, specifically certain strains of marine phytoplankton, can be hundreds of times more potent and have even more profound benefits.

This specialized phytoplankton is probably the most foul-tasting thing I’ve ever consumed, yet I’ve been taking it for months and don’t plan to ever stop… here’s why:

What is Marine Phytoplankton?

It is a micro-algae single-celled organism that is rich in trace minerals, chlorophyll, essential amino acids, DHA, EPA, carotenoids, antioxidants, nucleic acids and necessary vitamins. As the name suggests, it is originally derived from the ocean, where it is responsible for creating over 90% of the earth’s oxygen supply.

In fact, NASA called Marine Phytoplankton the most important plant in the world, providing almost all of the Earth’s oxygen and serving as a vital food supply for marine life (and humans!). It makes up about 25% of all vegetation on the planet, but is unique in how quickly it can reproduce itself, making it a highly sustainable food source. (The most pure forms are grown in specialized labs, rather than the ocean, as this allows scientists to maximize the levels of potent phytochemicals and avoid heavy metal contamination).

Marine Phytoplankton has this same oxygenating and detoxifying effect on the body as it does on the ocean. The presence of hundreds of synergistic elements in phytoplankton have led researchers and scientists to call it the future of natural medicine with the combined power of other superfoods like spirulina, chlorella, astaxanthin and other potent antioxidants.

Antioxidant & Nutrient Rich

Lab testing revealed hundreds of nutritional chemicals in marine phytoplankton, including every known nutritional molecule and dozens that had not been identified or studied until its discovery.

This unique composition and the fact that MP molecules are 5 times smaller than a red blood cell makes it able to penetrate and nourish cells in a unique way.

These single-celled phytoplankton don’t depend on the digestive system or liver for processing, making them an extremely bioavailable source of nutrients on a cellular level.

The Superpower of SOD

Scientists have identified a substance found in living things that seems to correlate directly with a creature’s lifespan. Mice have very low levels of this compound, while Galapagos Tortoises have some of the highest levels (and can routinely live over 150 years).

This substance is an antioxidant-enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). SOD is usually created internally and while all humans have it, our levels can vary widely, and researchers speculate that this may be part of the puzzle of why some people (and cultures) live longer than others.

SOD is important for protecting cells and it helps control the cell’s ability to remove toxins. Those with high levels of SOD have an increased ability to remove toxins and repair cells, which is perhaps the reason it is correlated with longevity.

It deactivates a free radical called superoxide with a process called dismutation, turning the free radical into hydrogen peroxide which breaks down into harmless oxygen and water.

SOD is said to be 3,500 times more potent than Vitamin C, and is so important to health that production begins in the womb, before a baby is even born.

We’ve known for years that free radicals can contribute to disease and lead to premature death, and antioxidants like SOD can help slow this process.

Essential Minerals

Trace minerals are a popular supplement in natural health circles, as an estimated 80+% of us are deficient in certain vital trace minerals.

Though there are specific trace mineral supplements, marine phytoplankton is an excellent source of all of the trace minerals that the body needs in the most bioavailable form.

Liver Support

The liver is the master organ for detoxification in the body and is vital for absorption of nutrients. As we age or experience health problems, the liver’s ability to accomplish these jobs can be reduced, making it even more difficult to absorb vital nutrients.

Phytoplankton can be absorbed on a cellular level, so the body doesn’t have to rely on the digestive system or liver for processing. This not only helps the body obtain necessary nutrients when liver function is impaired, but can help restore liver health without taxing the body’s detoxification pathways.

Consumption of a high quality phytoplankton triggers the body to create and regenerate healthy cells.

Healthy Cell Membranes & Regeneration

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of Marine Phytoplankton is its unique ability to strengthen cell membranes and induce cell regeneration. This is why doctors and NDs who have used MP with patients noted drastic improvements in patients with chronic disease within days.

The explanation for this may lie in phytoplankton’s unique ability to rapidly proliferate and encourage cell regeneration in the body.

Many of us have weakened cell walls for various reasons. I wrote about this before when I talked about the dangers of processed and rancid vegetable oils and how if these are all we consume and all that the body has available, it must use these to build new tissue and cell walls. There is some research that when these plasticized fats are incorporated into cells, there is a higher chance of cell mutation and other problems, but there is an even more imminent problem…

A healthy cell should have a good number of extra electrons, which correlates to the amount of oxygen the cells have available. The more electrons and oxygen the cells have, the healthier the cell and the higher the cell’s ability to regenerate. When the cell walls have been built by artificial fats because that is all the body has available, the cell can’t hold onto these extra electrons and the cell’s health is compromised.

Marine Phytoplankton helps improve cellular health in two ways:

  1. By providing necessary electrons to the cells for increased oxygen and ability to regenerate
  2. Providing essential amino acids and fatty acids that the body needs to build healthy cell walls that can regenerate correctly

Correct Methylation

From the time of conception, the body is undergoing a process of methylation at all times. This Methylation process is a vital metabolic process that happens billions of times per second in the body. (Check out this post about methylation defects and this interview with methylation expert Dr. Ben Lynch for a good primer on Methylation)

In short, methylation happens when one molecule passes a methyl group to another molecule. This process is vital for the assimilation of various nutrients (like folate, B12 and others) in the body.

It is easy to see why impaired methylation could have a negative effect on the body, and many of us suffer from this without even knowing it. On a practical level, methylation helps repair DNA, remove toxins from the body and reduce inflammation.

De-methylation, on the other hand, is associated with cellular breakdown, cancer proliferation and cell mutations.

Due to the presence of all essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids, Marine Phytoplankton supports the body’s natural methylation process and helps proper cell division and growth. This also helps explain why MP may rapidly help with chronic disease and increase longevity.

Immune and Energy Boosting

A study at the University of Utah found that those taking marine phytoplankton regularly had higher measurements of CD3, an indicator of immune cells responsible for fighting viruses and bacteria. Participants taking the phytoplankton also scored higher on mental health tests.

Look for High Quality Phytoplankton

Not all phytoplankton is created equal. Some forms of phytoplankton can be contaminated, diluted or inactive. It is important to find a Phytoplankton containing the Nannochloropsis Gaditana strain of marine phytoplankton from a reputable source that has been genetically selected to be the highest quality. Ideally, this phytoplankton should also contain the “Gala” strain as well, named after the Galapagos Tortoise, as this strain is the highest in Superoxide Dismutase (correlated to longevity).

Genetic Selection in MP

Phytoplankton’s unique ability to rapidly proliferate makes it possible for scientists to create an extremely high quality strain. The process is complicated and expensive, but the basic idea is this…

If you had an organic, non-GMO heirloom garden of the top strains of each fruit and vegetable, and each year you were able to hire scientists to test and identify the top producing seeds from your crops so that only those seeds were planted the next year, you would be able to continually improve your garden year after year. In a couple of decades, you would have an amazing crop of organic, non-GMO and heirloom plants that were optimized for the best growth, flavor, nutrients and hardiness.

With phytoplankton, a “growing season” is only 24 hours because it reproduces so quickly, so scientists can quickly optimize for the best strains of phytoplankton, making good brands thousands of times more potent.

Non Contaminated

Phytoplankton should also be grown in a non-contaminated environment. Unfortunately, ocean water is now often contaminated with heavy metals, plastic chemicals and even radiation from nuclear fallout.

The highest quality phytoplankton can be grown in a photo-bioreactor, which creates the optimal conditions for marine phytoplankton proliferation in quality controlled tanks, using only clean seawater, CO2, and sunlight with the specific strains of desired phytoplankton.

What I Take

My friend Ian Clark (who I interviewed in this podcast) was suffering from several chronic (and fatal) illnesses, including liver disease a decade ago. He was told he didn’t have long to live and he set out to find health answers for himself when doctors said there was nothing else they could do.

Ian went from overweight and terminally ill to thriving, and now, a decade later, he is healthier than he has ever been and all of his diseases are gone. Marine phytoplankton was one of the major keys to his health journey.

Though he didn’t set out to start a health products company, Ian found a unique way to preserve phytoplankton in its pure and raw form and wanted to share with others.

I take Ian’s Ocean’s Alive 2.0 Marine Phytoplankton and you can hear him explain more about it here. (Use the code MAMA10 to get 10% off)

I specifically like this strain, since even though it is technically a marine product, it contains no iodine and is safe for those with autoimmune thyroid disease who can’t tolerate iodine.

Have you ever heard of phytoplankton? Ever taken it?

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Reader Comments

  1. I purchased several bottles of Oceans Alive 2.0 almost a year ago but never even opened them because I worried anything related to algae might be unwise because I have toxic mold-related illness. (I also have slow methylation and other problems that seemed Oceans Alive 2.0 would really help.)

    Do you know if there is any reason a person with fungal colinization and an immune system that doesn’t recognize fungus as an invader should not take marine phytoplankton?

    Also, I do well with chlorella, but I’m told people with high mercury levels — like me — should not take it because it pulls mercury from the body and causes it to recirculate. Would marine phytoplankton present similar problems?

    • I haven’t seen anything about this being an issue, though I’d check with a local naturopathic doc if you have one. It is a really pure marine algae and it shouldn’t aggregate a mold related illness, but again, I’d check with an expert.

      • Look into liquid zeolight. We use Results RNA, but recently learned that Coseva is superior. It binds to heavy metals so you would not need to worry about mercury recirculating. My husband has found it to be highly effective for helping him detox from heavy metal poisoning. If he begins to have a bad detox reaction during one of his cleanses, or if a stressful day triggers a detox reaction, the zeolight neutralizes it for the most part in minutes! It is awesome stuff! He also has methylation issues. I would guess that combining zeolight with this phytoplankton product you would see tremendous benefit! Def want to get this for my husband!

        • Update: we purchased this product for my husband and have been taking it for about 2 weeks. We are Blown Away by he results already!!! He has so much more life in him, bounces back faster from detox reactions, is more cheerful…. We are so pleased!! He takes the Coseva Advanced TRS zeolight as well, and the combo is fantastic! Our toddler lost the TRS bottle, which made me worried that my husband would get sick again, but, though we are wanting him back on it ASAP the phytoplankton is keeping him from crashing and he is feeling amazingly good! Katie, thank you thank you thank you!! This is definitely proving to be a key player in my husbands healing journey! God bless you!!

          • O – the taste makes him gag like crazy so we put it in 2 gelatin caps – 00 size. Works like a charm!

          • Thanks for all the info Elyse…I was considering resultsRNA re: Lyme and mold issues but then also ran across the phytoplankton article here so this is good news that they seem to work ok together. I will consider both of these.

    • Katie…Would you please do an article on the supplement L- Argenine…..
      Do you take it???
      wbat are the benefits and zide effects??
      I would love to know ur take on this supplement.
      Thank you! kindly!!!

  2. Hi Katie! How do you take it? Do you put the drops in water and take it that way? Can you mix it with something else to make it taste better? Do you take it with food, on an empty stomach, etc.? I would love to buy some, but I am trying to figure out how to fit it in with the rest of my supplements and how to make it taste tolerable 🙂 Thank you for your help and, as always, your great info!

    • I just mix in water but it definitely does taste better in juice. I take in the morning while I’m making breakfast.

      • okay, thank you! So it’s fine to have with food then? I am wondering if heat affects it… like if you wanted to add it to tea or coffee…..

        • I think heat might affect it… I wouldn’t add to tea or coffee for the taste though

      • Hi Katie,
        I was wondering if there is an optimal time of day or method to take the phytoplankton. eg empty stomach, bedtime vs morning?

  3. Hi! I just ordered my first bottle of oceans alive. Can’t wait to start it! Was curious if this was something you give to your children or could? Always looking for new natural things to give them!

    • Yes, I give 1 drop per 10 pounds of bodyweight per day to my kids… they don’t love the taste though, so this is one thing I will use juice for.

      • A bit frustrated as I can’t find dosing information on the website. The 30 mL bottle doesn’t say how much is one serving and how many servings are in one bottle. Can you answer that? Thanks!

  4. I would like to be able to contact the people who are doing the website for Oceans Alive. I am a proofreader. There are glaring punctuation and grammatical errors as I followed along. It detracts from the message. I would like to help.

    • I think you should be able to contact them through the form on this page: http://store.activationproducts.com/contact and feel free to email me if you ever find any errors in my content, as I’m often writing under the influence of small children and often miss errors that I should correct 😉

  5. I’m curious how you take it, since it’s so foul tasting? Can you mask it in tea or a smoothie, or do you just add to water and then chase it with something more flavorful?

    • I just mix in a tiny amount of water and drink without breathing through my nose 🙂 You could definitely put in juice though

  6. Hi, Katie! Thanks for all the hard work you put into your website! Do you know if it is safe to consume while pregnant?

    • From what I’ve read, it is. It doesn’t have a detox effect like some supplements and I read one case of a woman successfully using it to fight morning sickness.

      • Wish I knew this. During my 3rd pregnancy I had severe morning sickness every day up until the day my son was born.
        Nothing at all helped. Not even a Paleo based diet and using magnesium. It was awful!
        Finding this out, I shall pass this info along to my pregnant friends:)

  7. I take astaxanthin, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and bio kult everyday….I ordered a bottle of this phytoplankton today, my questions are: can I just take the phytoplankton, with spirulina and chlorella all at the same time ALSO should I stop taking the astaxanthin, vit D, and vit K2, and bio kult….every product listed above are the ones you recommended on your website.
    Thank you for your time.

    • One more question; If I can take the phytoplankton, spirulina, and chlorella together, how much should I take of each?

      • I’m really sorry for commenting so much….I don’t have chlorella I have chlorophyll.

      • Yes, I still take the others, but reduced my dose to about half of spirulina and chlorella

    • You can take them together 🙂 The biggest effect I notice from the phytoplankton is more energy and focus throughout the day and it should actually help absorption of other supplements

  8. Wow, awesome article Katie! I had no idea that phytoplankton were so nutritious. I have gotten so much value from your articles these past few years – I really appreciate everything that you give to your readers. It has definitely helped me in my health journey. One thing I’ve been wondering: what is your usual supplement spend each month? I know you are a big fan of cod liver oil / butter oil blend capsules, topical magnesium, phytoplankton, etc. Any idea what you typically spend each month on supplements? Or (if that is difficult to measure), if you could only choose six supplements, which ones do you think have the highest impact that you’ve noticed? Thanks again for everything!

    • Great idea for a post, I’ll think about the best one’s and write about it soon. The amount we spend per month varies depending on the time of year, but it’s usually a few hundred dollars each month.

      • I would love a post like that! I’m willing to drop some dime for good supplements and quality food, but I’m continually researching and experimenting to find which supplements offer the biggest “bang” for the buck. It might be cool to see a post like “Katie’s Top Five” and break it down to your top five supplements, five food sources (bone broth, or keifer, etc.), five beauty products/recipes, five home care concoctions, and five pieces of equipment (water filters, cookware etc.). Just an idea! 🙂

      • How do you travel with the Oceans Alive? I will be going out of town for a week.

  9. Hi Katie. On the website it says that there is iodine. I do have thyroid issues and would not want to create more problems. This supplement sounds great but need to know if it has iodine in it or not. Can you please clarify? Thanks.

    • I am extremely sensitive to iodine as well and can’t tolerate it. I sent this to my doctor for approval before taking it and have had no problem with it. The levels are much lower than the levels in any seafood and almost non-existant.

      • Thank you. I was hoping that was the case. I wanted to benefit from the other nutrients but was afraid of the iodine. Thanks for looking into this!

  10. Hi Katie! I just ordered a bottle and can’t wait to get started! Question, do you use the other supplements they were promoting…….specifically the amaranth? Was tempted to purchase but held back. Do you have any experience or knowledge of the numerous halts claims?

  11. Thank you for this post:) I may purchase this…
    I have only 3 children and at times it feels like 6. I am learning more and more regarding ADD/ADHD. I listened to your podcast with John Gray, bought/reading his book and purchased some supplements as well. (I have also located a lady that sells her bone broth so I am just getting them started on this) However, I am in need of a little help/advice/examples for what a sample days menu might look like for your kids…including the supplementations. This is a lot to ask, right? I apologize. But I figured if I never ask I will just keep chasing my tail.

    Thank you again!

  12. Hi Katie, Your articles are very informative. thank you for your service. I have been taking Marine phytoplankton for a few years. I purchase Pure. Are you familiar with this brand and how would it compare to any other brands you have experience with.
    Thank you for your input.

  13. Thanks for the information!! Love your blog!! Do you think this would be safe for someone going through chemo? I don’t see why it wouldn’t be, but I was planning on making her lots of fresh juice smoothies with this. Anyway, so glad I found your blog!!

  14. Hey Katie, so would this be taken in place of multivitamins or in addition to it?

  15. Katie, I’ve seen the capsules of marine phytoplankton, by trusted brands such as Swanson and Physician’s Blend. For those averse to the taste, is there any reason why a swallowable form wouldn’t be as effective?

    • They could potentially be great, just make sure they come from a tested source and are verified still bioavailable

  16. I am wondering if it is made in the lab, how is it able to absorb all the trace minerals that are cited to come from sea water?

    • I have done some research and believe I have answered this question from the video on the Oceans Alive site. . They use a purified, concentrated sea mineral product to reproduce oceanic conditions when growing the phytoplankton. They also use rel sunlight, co2 and oxygen in the growth process.

      Kate, thanks for introducing me to this nutrient source. I can’t wait to give it a try!

  17. Hi Katie,

    I’d the photo used for this post representative of how dark your drink is? What is the size of that glass? Is it a shot glass?

  18. Could this be harmful? I read phytoplankton is poisonous.

  19. I placed an order for the Oceans Alive product based on your recommendation, despite the cheezy sales pressure on the website (hate that so unprofessional… “only opportunity” “last chance”…blah blah blah) anyway I got the Oceans Alive 2.0, guess that’s all they have now? Instantly aggravated my Hashimoto’s. Felt like a steam roller hit me. It must have a high about of iodine to do this… can’t imagine what else would have such a horrific negative effect within 4 hours, I stayed on it 5 days hoping it would get better…but it didn’t.

    • That is so strange. I’ve emailed the company about it. I did verify that it had trace to no iodine in it though before taking it, as I have Hashimotos too. I’ll let you know what I find out.

      • I appreciate that, the company didn’t seem to want to communicate with me. I really need any help with physical & mental energy.

  20. Would you recommend still taking this while nursing?

  21. Hi Katie,

    At the end of this article you note that the phytoplankton Oceans Alive 2.0 contains no Iodine. This confused me because when I looked up more info about what it does contain, Iodine is definitely listed. I personally am glad because I don’t think we get enough, but am just wanting to get to the bottom of whether or not it does contain Iodine. Thanks

  22. Hello,
    Im looking for a trusted source of a folate(not folic acid) supplement for someone to take pre-pregnancy. Do you suggest a company? Im definitely looking into Oceans Alive 2.O and magnesium Spray you mentioned. If there is a spot on your page where you mention more about vitamins and supplements, I would appreciate that info.
    Thank you

    • Metagenics FolaPro is a great folate, not folic acid, for pre-pregnancy that I myself am taking with my doctor’s recommendation, to boost my pre pregnancy internal stores.

  23. I’ve had a chronic cough for the last year which I’ve needed antibiotics for three times. I’ve been referred to a specialist and they are planning on running all sorts of tests, scans etc.

    After taking 15 drops daily in cloudy apple juice my cough is 90% better after 3 days!!!!!!!

    I’m a believer!!

  24. Hi… can you tell me how you started off taking it. Did you start off using more than the daily rec. I noticed that it had a fast track for health ( 3 bottles) then after this drop down to usual dosage.

  25. Hi please can you tell me what form of vitamin K is contained in Phytoplankton?


    • Well it’s an algae, it’s suitable for vegans, so if it has any K vitamins it would be K1. But if you eat enough K1 from green leafy veg, your body should convert K1 to K2 for it’s needs.

  26. Katie, I have Systemic Candida and herx on everything I take for it. I ordered the Oceans Phytoplankton in hopes I would benefit from the energy and mental clarity, If I do herx do you know what I could take to help with the herx process, I am so ill and go to a naturopath doctor but nothing has helped me. I lost my job, my home and friends because of this illness. Thank you for your site of health information. Jackie

    • I am so sorry for your struggles! I am not a doc and can’t offer an specific advice, but I have had herx reactions in the past and did not have any reaction to the phytoplankton, so hopefully you will have the same experience. Hugs to you!

  27. I am so excited to be starting Ocean Alive 2.0 today! I have to agree with other criticisms that the web site and video are very poor – it comes off like a suspicious infomercial for snake oil. It would be ashame to put people off from such a quality supplement with cheap sales tactics.
    As for when and how to take it I was thinking I will take it with my morning home brew Kombucha when I take other supplements. Katie – Do you think this sounds like a good idea? I always wonder about interactions when taking food and supplements – I guess it’s anyone’s guess if Phytoplanton and Kombucha bacteria get along. Thanks for such a great resource! I really appreciate your work and find it really valuable.

    • Agreeing with the sleazy sales pitch-y type of video and site. It needs to be changed. If it wasn’t for wellness mama’s recommendation I would close the window and not spend another second. I ended up checking my local health food store if they had a marine phytoplankton and it turned out they sell the Ocean’s alive brand exactly as recommended here. It was cheaper, already in Canadian dollars, plus I wouldn’t have to pay shipping so I drove over and got it and have been using it for 2 days. I can’t say I feel any different, but I have many issues I’m working through.

      I will try to remember to report back after some time if I truly feel like any difference is attributable to taking this product. Though a lack of result also can’t be blamed on the product because as I said above, I have many health issues I’m battling that cause me ups and downs for years, long before taking the MP. Crossing my fingers for positive results!

  28. In your post, you mention “cell wall” but we humans don’t have cell walls. I believe you meant to say “cell membrane”. Just wanted to clarify.

  29. Hi Katie,
    Thank you for all the information. I wanted to find out if this can be given to a dog? He is a 70 pound boxer.

    Thank you so much.

  30. you never answered if this can be used with chemo? With this detox would you lose weight? He can’t afford to lose weight and he is in stage 4 lung cancer and has spread to his shoulder and tail bone. We just had another pet scan to see if it has spread anywhere else.

    • I’m sure a proper oncologist or at least a naturopath with experience in cancer could best answer your question. Also a functional medicine doctor listing can be found on the IFM site, they too have some medical practitioners specializing in cancer. Good luck.

  31. Hello Ketie,

    Just came across your read, I was wondering whats the difference between the phytoplanton you buy at the fish store and the one you get at the pharmacy or online?

    Best regards,

  32. I never heard of phytoplankton until a friend referred me to your website…I’m curious to try it as I suffer from a fatty liver and high blood pressure. Your advertisement is correct is warning people of its awful taste, it tastes disgusting….
    One thing i would change about your advertising…don’t bombard your customers with additional product when trying to purchase the one product that they require…I almost deleted my order, it sounded more like a money making website rather than a website trying to promote the actual goodness of a product. (very unprofessional and kinda cheesy)
    Lastly, your directions on how to take the phytoplankton should be reconsidered…there’s no mention as to when or how much/day to take or if there’s any side effects that may occur. More info would be appreciated by your customers, I’m sure.

    • It isn’t her advertising, it’s Ian Clark’s, whom she has researched and interviewed. Link above. He’s actually a good guy but you’re right it’s super cheesy, I also made mention of that in another comment.

  33. I have been reading about phytoplankton a lot now(not just from your site) and am still confused on a few things. I read that phytoplankton is about 5 times smaller than red blood cells and have the ability to penetrate cell walls/membranes easily as opposed to going through our digestive system to be absorbed into our bodies. Does that mean it is too small and doesn’t get absorbed through our digestive system, and penetrates our cells directly? How do we know our cells are absorbing them? Or is it simply stating that it’s super small enough to assure that it’s easily being absorbed with no problem? How do we know our bodies are absorbing the benefits of the phytoplankton and not just taking it in and getting rid of it? It’s one thing to be packed with nutrients, but if our bodies aren’t absorbing and converting it, then it’s not doing anything. I really would love to start supplementing this into my diet, however I am just still skeptical and was wondering if you had more information on this, or have sources I can read up on to shed more light on this topic. Thank you in advance!

  34. I am on Valium and a couple of anti depressants. I was taking phytoplankton before this and loved it, but now Inought I better stop it case they didn’t interact well. But I really miss it. What do you think? Don’t tell me to ask my doctor. He wouldn’t have a clue.