What is Marine Phytoplankton – Benefits & Uses

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

Phytoplankton beneftis for cell health-liver health-brain and heart health-energy and more
Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » What is Marine Phytoplankton – Benefits & Uses

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. I also order my transdermal magnesium supplement from Ian’s company.

Have you ever heard of phytoplankton? Ever taken it?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


104 responses to “What is Marine Phytoplankton – Benefits & Uses”

  1. Lori Wuebker Avatar
    Lori Wuebker

    Hi Katie~
    Just wanted to see if you are still taking the phytoplankton supplement? If yes, have you personally noticed benefits to your thyroid health? Have you experienced other benefits? Thank you.

  2. Moneca Dunham Avatar
    Moneca Dunham

    I’ve used this product and it seems to be beneficial, but despite repeated requests, Oceans Alive absolutely refuses to release a complete nutritional analysis of their phytoplankton, The proprietor, Ian, rushes to make sensational claims about his product, yet NEVER backs them up with a nutritional analysis. They just send incomplete analysis that have one or two minerals and omega 3 and 6 content. I don’t trust this company at all because of their lack of transparancy in providing a complete nutritional analysis for their product. I have found that other companies that sell marine phytoplankton provide this information readily.

  3. Maria Avatar

    Wellness Mama, can phytoplankton be taken in place of an omega 3 oil?

  4. Mike Grant Avatar
    Mike Grant

    It is highly misleading to suggest that SOD in your phytoplankton can be beneficial to human health. Firstly, no human trials have ever proven that plant sourced SOD can be absorbed and utilised at the cellular level in humans. It is usually destroyed by gastric acid first. Also, humans produce using specialised enzymes, three unique forms of SOD that are not found in any other species of animal or plant. The fact that a tortoise contains SOD and lives to age 200 has no relevance! This bogus SOD reference is often touted by Ian Clark who sells Oceans Alive – a dangerous liquidised algae that has been discredited by marine scientists. Move on, nothing to see here.

  5. Jennifer Avatar

    Me too! Thanks for sharing!
    The bottle says 17 drops in a glass of cool beverage. What do you actually recommend for daily consumption? I have been taking two dropfuls each morning…

    1. M. J. Avatar

      I’ve been using Oceans Alive for a few years and take 10 drops in a very small amount of orange juice. Katie writes that she usually takes 10-15 drops in water. I couldn’t do water, but the OJ I can tolerate if I just “shoot” it then follow up with some water.

  6. Mike Grant Avatar
    Mike Grant

    Katie, sadly you are deluded! SOD in marine phytoplankton is naturally plant based and has no effect on human health. Ian Clark knows that and he is deliberately misleading people. Yes humans have SOD in their body – but they are three unique forms of HUMAN SOD that are made by specific enzymes within the body. Plants for example, produce their own form of ‘cholesterol’, but it is very different to the form found in us humans. Animals and plants often contain their own unique forms of SOD which does not work in humans. I’m surprised Mr Clark has not been jailed for fraudulent advertising.

  7. Cynthia Avatar

    I take Ian’s phytoplankton and definitely feel better overall. I tried it straight and it’s difficult to take that way. I’d like to find a way to take it that is sugar free (i.e. not in fruit juice).
    Is it ok to take it in apple cider vinegar?
    HOW do you take it??

  8. Cristina Avatar

    I still don’t understand the difference between spirulina, chlorella, astaxanthin and phytoplankton. Which is better?

    1. David James Avatar
      David James

      They are all completely different. Some people don’t understand that unfortunately.

  9. Michele Avatar

    Hi Katie, I just happen to come across this information and recently listen to your podcast with Ian! Thank you!! Super excited to order the product. Question for you – since this product contains omega 3’s as well as EPA and DHA, do you continue to take cod liver oil and/or fish oil? Also, I noted in the comments you take it while making breakfast. From your experience it is ok to take and then continue to have an “empty” stomach (i often practice IF and just have sole with lemon followed by mushroom coffee and fats in it) or do you find you need food soon after. Thanks for ALL you do!!

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I’ve definitely taken on an empty stomach and not eaten after. And I do not take cod liver oil anymore and try to obtain Omega-3s from whole fish sources like salmon and sardines.

      1. Michele Avatar

        Thanks Katie! I’m almost out of CLO, so maybe I’ll do the San e since I’ve been eating more small fish lately! I know you’re super busy and may not even be interested in this, but if you would be up for doing a post on what you’re currently taking as well as giving to your kids, that would be appreciated! I often find your suggestions helpful for looking at new products and reevaluating old ones! Thanks for all you do !

      2. Gaura Avatar

        The fish make the Omega 3s from the algae. There is no need to eat fish if you get your Omega 3s from the same place they do

  10. DA Avatar

    Hi Katie, I have read that algea based supplements should be avoided for auto immune diseases. I have seriously negative rheumatoid arthritis. Do you think this will help? Also I am nursing my 6 month old baby with eczema. Do u see this helping him indirectly through brest milk if it is safe at all to take while nursing?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *