Contrary to popular belief, phytoplankton are not ocean plants but single-celled aquatic organisms found in freshwater and saltwater. These microorganisms are to thank for creating Earth’s atmosphere and allowing life on Earth to flourish—so imagine what they can do for your health and vibrancy! In this article, we’re sharing the top health benefits of phytoplankton for ultimate wellness and vitality.
What are Phytoplankton?
Phytoplankton: derived from the Greek words phyto (plant) and plantos (wandering)
Phytoplankton are microorganisms rich in nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body and assimilated at the cellular level. They are loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids (both EPA and DHA), protein, amino acids, antioxidants, carotenoids, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll.
These rich microorganisms absorb energy from the sun via photosynthesis and nutrients from the water to make their own food, and it’s estimated that 50-85 percent of Earth’s oxygen comes from phytoplankton photosynthesis. Pretty wild, right? This fact alone makes phytoplankton a green superfood must in your daily routine.
Like seaweed, phytoplankton aren’t actually plants. Phytoplankton is a micro-algae and a type of plankton, while seaweed is a macro-algae. Plankton are too small and weak to swim against the current, so they exist in a floating or wandering state.
Plankton thrives in both ocean and freshwater environments—and are the foundation to the ocean’s food chain.
6 Health Benefits of Phytoplankton
Similar to how marine phytoplankton have oxygenating and detoxifying effects on the ocean, they have the same effects on the body. Researchers believe that phytoplankton are one of the best bioavailable sources of superoxide dismutase, the body’s most powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative damage, inflammation, and detox heavy metals (1).
Phytoplankton supplementation can strengthen cell membranes and stimulate new cellular growth. Researchers found an incredible strain of phytoplankton called Nannochloropsis gaditana that may hold the greatest nutritional value for human consumption. This phytoplankton contains more than 65 compounds, including all of the amino acids and essential fats, vitamins, key minerals, rare antioxidants, electrolytes, enzymes and coenzymes, trace elements are more.
This type of phytoplankton is able to multiply rapidly, helping humans restore their health so quickly at a cellular level (2).
Liver and Immunity Booster
Phytoplankton can help restore liver health without taxing detox pathways. This is because phytoplankton are absorbed on a cellular level and doesn’t have to go through the digestive system or liver for processing.
Studies that looked at phytoplankton effects on human immunity found that those taking phytoplankton had higher levels of CD3 and T cells or T-lymphocytes in their bloodstream, all indications of a healthy immune system (3).
Heart Health Support
To support heart health, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, and antioxidants are crucial! But when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA and DHA), which are especially important, the body can’t make them on its own, so we need to make sure we supplement with a good source.
According to a Harvard Heart Letter, EPA and DHA from marine fatty acids can lower triglyceride levels and ease inflammation, supporting a steady heartbeat and preventing the formation of blood clots. Supplementing with phytoplankton can help increase DHA and EPA levels, helping to support a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease (4).
Phytoplankton may be able to help support a balanced, better mood. The University of Utah conducted a study that showed significant improvements in subjects’ depression symptoms after consistently taking a phytoplankton supplement.
Participants reported lots of energy, feelings of calm, peace, and full of life (5).
Phytoplankton are rich in antioxidants, which are known to fight free radicals and oxidative stress that can result in diseases like cancer (6).
“Drugs of the Deep: Treasures of the Sea Yield Some Medical Answers and Hint at Others,” a USDA publication, evaluated sea-based organisms that exhibit anti-tumor properties. The research highlighted phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, which showed cancer-killing effects in National Cancer Institute tests (7).
How to Consume Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton can be found in liquid or powdered form. Before you buy, you want to make sure you are purchasing high-quality, non-GMO, unprocessed, organic, and raw phytoplankton.
If you love the convenience of taking a greens powder supplement, you may be able to find a product on the market with phytoplankton. We’ve searched high and low for a greens powder that included only the best of the best ingredients and actually tasted good. When we couldn’t find one, we formulated one ourselves.
This powder is so convenient and tasty that adding it to water, smoothies, and oatmeal, it almost makes ultimate health too easy.