In this episode, I am speaking with algae expert Catharine Arnston about the amazing benefits of the superfoods spirulina and chlorella…for just about everything!
Catharine is offering 20% off on your first order. Go to the website energybits.com and use the code EnergyBlueprint upon checkout.
Table of Contents
In this podcast, Catharine and I discuss:
- The benefits of micro-algae and why you should include them in your diet
- With 1000 times more nutrition than any other vegetable, what is it about spirulina and chlorella that make them the ultimate superfoods?
- How they can be used for weight loss, fasting, detoxing, immune system boosting, and lowering inflammation Why algae can be the perfect alternative to vegetables on your plate (especially if you don’t cope with lectins, fiber, oxalates, etc)
- How algae-based plants may amplify the benefits of red light therapy and cryotherapy
- How spirulina can help someone side-step cancer, to help immunize you against airborne viruses, and a performance enhancer for athletes.
- Correct dosages and timing for chlorella (general health vs detox quantities are very different!)
- Why these two compounds are possibly the two most powerful superfoods on the planet
Listen or download on iTunes
Listen outside iTunes
Ari: Everyone, welcome back to The Energy Blueprint Podcast. With me now is Catharine Arnston, who I am very excited to interview. I’ve been meaning to interview her for several years now. She is the founder of a company called ENERGYbits, and her mission is to help the world be healthier naturally with mother nature’s oldest and original food, which is algae.
She graduated with an MBA from Ivey School of Business and a health coach certificate from Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Her career spans 33 years during which she has been an international attache for the Canadian and British governments, publisher of an international magazine, and founder of three startups. She founded the algae tablet company, ENERGYbits, in Boston, Massachusetts after her younger sister in Canada was diagnosed with breast cancer and advised by her oncologist that an alkaline diet would help her heal.
She then helped her sister research alkaline foods, and the process led her to discover the healing properties of plant-based nutrition. This ultimately led her to algae, the most nutrient-dense alkaline plant in the world with vast medicinal properties unknown, mostly unknown outside of Asia. She realized algae could have a powerful impact on the world if it was only better understood, and she has devoted her life ever since then to researching algae and educating consumers, athletes, wellness, spa, fitness, and beauty professionals about its therapeutic sustainable benefits.
She is now considered one of the country’s leading experts on algae nutrition, a sought-after speaker at wellness conferences, and a frequent guest on podcasts and television.
Welcome to the show, Catharine, such a pleasure to have you.
Catharine: Thanks for having me, Ari. [laughs] I have been listening to your podcasts and reading your materials and books for years, so this is a dream come true. [laughs]
Ari: Wonderful. Yes. It’s a great connection to have for both of us. Let’s talk about how– Well, first of all, what happened with your sister? I read in your bio there about– [crosstalk]
Catharine: Good news. She’s been cancer-free for 11 years. We celebrate every year. Her life changed and sort of mine, which is also an interesting lesson about, there’s always a silver lining if you look for it. It was a scare as it always is when you get a diagnosis of any kind but particularly cancer. Anyways, it all seemed to work out, but it was a rough going for a while, but we both hung in there and happy ending for both of us. [laughs]
The health benefits of algae
Ari: That’s wonderful. Let’s talk about algae. What are some of the–
Catharine: My favorite topic. [laughs]
Ari: What are some of the– I guess we could start with a list of benefits. What is this good for, and is there any science behind it? I know we’re going to talk about that science, but for people who are maybe listening to this and they’ve heard of spirulina, they’ve heard of chlorella, they’ve heard them touted as these superfoods, but maybe they’ve thought, “Oh, that’s a bunch of woo-woo, hippie-dippie nonsense. I doubt there’s any real science to show that these things have actual benefit.” What’s the overarching big picture takeaway about it?
Catharine: Is it okay if I explain what algae is, so we can have a context to understand the benefits?
Ari: Of course.
Catharine: I’m just laughing about the woo-woo because NASA feeds this to the astronauts because it’s the most nutrient dense efficient nutrition in the world, so there’s nothing woo-woo about NASA. [laughs]
Let’s go back in time, as they say, on our time machine to when the earth was first formed and there was nothing on it except gas and water, and I have no idea why, but algae started growing, so algae is the original life on earth. They’ve got fossils proving that spirulina was the first life on earth, three and a half billion years ago, and it’s still here. It’s made its way through a couple of ice ages and dinosaur periods, and it’s going to probably outlive all of us. I only point that out because algae is everywhere, so even old people know a little bit, maybe about spirulina and chlorella. You need to understand that there’s a much bigger universe of algae out there.
In fact, there’s two main categories of algae. I try to help people understand this. There’s one called macroalgae, and what we’re talking about today is microalgae, but let me explain what macroalgae is first so you have the proper context. It’s also known as seaweed, dulse, kelp. It’s basically that big stringy stuff that washes up on shore, and it has some great nutritional value because it has a lot of fiber, and it has a lot of iodine because it comes from the ocean.
In fact, there’s a kelp noodle company out of San Diego whose products I use for that reason, but it’s virtually no nutrition, just great fiber, great iodine. Then there’s microalgae, which is called microalgae because it’s microscopic in size, something like a million cells of microalgae could fit on the head of a pin. That’s how tiny it is. Microalgae, unlike his brother macroalgae, which is only in the oceans, microalgae is everywhere. It’s in the rivers, the lakes, the streams, the soil, your swimming pool, your aquarium, yes, on the beach too, but it’s absolutely everywhere, and there are tens of thousands of strains of microalgae. There’s so many that we don’t even know 99% of them.
Now, two of the most common strains of microalgae are blue-green algae and green algae, and one strain of blue-green algae is spirulina, and one strain of green algae is chlorella. I point this out and I stress this because some people will go to the internet and they’ll Google blue-green algae, and they’ll see something about a blue-green toxic algae bloom in the beaches of blah, blah, blah, and then they’ll panic and think, “Well, I can’t use spirulina.” No, no, no, no, no. As I said, there’s tens of thousands of strains of blue-green algae. The one we’re going to talk about, which is spirulina and the other one is chlorella, are harvested as food crops. They are not from the ocean.
Algae is probably the only food I can think of, the only crop I can think of that it’s better when it’s harvested instead of out in the wild. I’m going to show you a picture. This is a picture of a spirulina farm. I point this out because also a lot of people think that algae, when you see it on our website or anywhere, they’re often in little tablets or powder, they think it’s a supplement, and it’s not a supplement. Supplements are made from extracts with high heat in factories.
Algae is grown as a vegetable, no different than kale or broccoli, and we don’t use high heat when we dry it, so it’s a raw food. It’s also vegan and ketogenic. It’s just a dried vegetable, [laughs] except it’s got a thousand times more nutrition than any other vegetables. I just want to put that in context that it’s everywhere, and the two that we’re talking about are the two that are harvested as food.
In fact, it’s a multi-billion, that’s with a B, multi-billion dollar agricultural crop in Asia. In Japan, they don’t leave their house without taking chlorella. We all take supplements and everything. They don’t take supplements in Asia. They only take chlorella algae, and you’re going to find out why because it’s a wellness algae, build your immune system, pulls out toxins, and improves your longevity. Let’s talk about spirulina first because it’s the one most people know about, and it was the first one here.
Now, as I mentioned, it’s a blue-green algae. Spirulina has been known for years, decades for being an energizing, nourishing algae, and the reason for that is that it has the highest concentration of protein in the world. It has 18 of the 20 amino acids including all the ones that your body can’t make, so it’s a complete protein. This is pretty important because a lot of people who are maybe vegan or vegetarian are not eating meat, and so they’re often having to mix things like beans or rice to get complete protein.
Algae is a complete protein, which is actually in contrast to collagen powder, which has become quite popular. It’s an incomplete protein because it’s missing the [unintelligible 00:08:32]. Anyways, I point that out because not only does spirulina have the highest protein in the world, all of which are in a single amino acids. It gets into your bloodstream very quickly because interestingly, spirulina is actually a bacteria. It has no cellulose wall or nucleus. The reason why that’s important is that there’s nothing for your body to break down, to get access to all the nutrients in it including those rich aminos.
Spirulina is also loaded with B vitamins, which what convert the glucose, and in this case, amino acids, into energy. When we first started, we actually became a sports nutrition product because the runners, the triathletes, the marathon, the Olympic athletes found out how much not only physical energy they got but the focus. It helps with your mental focus. They weren’t expecting that, and that it didn’t upset their stomach like all the other sports products did like Gator– Sorry, I shouldn’t mention any names, but the things that are sugar and carb-based because they cause cramping and diarrhea when you’re in the midst of a sport.
Anyways, back to spirulina. High in protein, high in B vitamins, loaded with iron, which carries oxygen in your blood, and that also gives you energy both mentally and physically. It has a lot of essential fatty acids, a little bit of omega-3, but a lot of something called GLA, which is gamma-linolenic acid, which behaves like an omega-3 because in our case, at least in our algae, does because it’s not processed with heat.
It reduces inflammation just as well as omega-3 does. The only other place that has more GLA than spirulina is mother’s breast milk. The reason why there’s so much of it in mother’s breast milk is because it’s critical for your brain health and your brain development. Of course, the baby’s brain doubles and triples in size in the first couple of years. That and fact there’s boron, which helps with synapses and coordination and mental [unintelligible 00:10:28].
It’s a vasodilator, which opens up your blood vessels. It’s got 40 vitamins and minerals, all of the electrolytes. Again, very nourishing, fills almost all nutritional gaps, and because of that high protein it gives you and the B vitamins, it gives you energy mentally and physically. A lot of people use it for intermittent fasting because it’s ketogenic, there’s zero carbs, or even weight loss or meal replacement, certainly before any workout.
That’s why we recommend the spirulina in the morning, or the afternoon, or before a workout because it satisfies your hunger, it gives you instant energy, easy to digest, it’s safer. Babies, newborns, grandparents, pets– There isn’t one negative outcome documented about spirulina in the 80 years that it’s been carefully documented. By the way, and I know this is your opening question about the science, there’s virtually 100,00 studies on the two algaes, spirulina and chlorella, about 60,000 on spirulina and all of its health benefits.
That’s a big number. That’s not five or 50 or 500 or 5,000. That’s a big number like 50 or 60,000 is almost– It makes you realize that the science makes the benefits that we’re referring today almost irrefutable. The only problem is the scientists like to talk to other scientists, and the science has not made its way out into the public. That’s what I do very well. I used to regret it. It took me so long to get the company going because I don’t have a science background. I’m pretty much self-taught.
I feel like I’ve got a PhD in algae because I’m so determined to help people understand why this stuff works so well. The fact that I don’t have a science background has allowed me to back into the science, which I love reading, and then I reinterpret it in a way that makes it easy for the average person to understand because not everybody’s going to be as passionate about digging into the science as I am. Spirulina could be an easy addition to every single person’s diet without any effort.
I’m going to show you something. These are the [unintelligible 00:12:37] and little tablets, and you can find them in other places too. The darker one is spirulina because it has two pigments in it, chlorophyll and a blue one called phycocyanin. The other one is chlorella, which has just the chlorophyll. You can see the differences in the two of them, but each one of these tablets has so much nutrition in it. Look how tiny they are, that it has the same nutrition as an entire plate of vegetables.
I got into algae because after I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I taught nutrition for a year, and I’m trying to get people to eat more vegetables, and I realized I wasn’t telling them anything that they didn’t already know. Our mothers have been telling us to eat our veggies since we were kids, right? What I found out, it was just too much work for people. They’re so busy, vegetables weigh a lot to carry home. The kids wouldn’t eat them. Their husbands wouldn’t eat them. It was just too much work, took too long to cook, to clean, to eat.
Fast forward to algae, each one of these tablets– I have a quote from NASA that says algae has a thousand times more nutrition than any other fruit or vegetable, one to a thousand. Each one of these tablets has the same nutrition as an entire plate of vegetables except no work. One, I’m done. Most people swallow them, but I like to chew them. [laughs] I’m very, very excited to be able to help people get the nutrition that they need without any work, at least the green nutrition.
It’s more than green nutrition. It’s protein. I was recently on Dr. Steven Gundry’s podcast. He’s been very supportive of algae for a while as well because he, like me, found out that there’s no know lectins or oxalates in algae because it’s not technically a plant. It’s not a land-based plant. There’s virtually no fiber. There’s no fiber in spirulina and only small amount in chlorella. A lot of people have problems with fiber. A lot of people have problems with lectins and oxalates. Problem solved, algae is your go-to. [laughs]
Ari: I’m a huge fan of these personally, both spirulina and chlorella. I’m extremely impressed with the research as you are, enough so that I put them both into my formula, energy essentials and superfoods. I have a sizeable dose of both of those in there, but I also use your products, ENERGYbits and RECOVERYbits, in addition to that because I like my dosage to be somewhere around the five grams mark for each of those, for both spirulina and chlorella.
I have about one and a half or two grams, which is actually a good size dose of both of those compounds in my formula. I’m taking both of them because I’m so impressed with the research. Now, you mentioned one of the compounds, the blue pigment in spirulina, which is my personal favorite phytochemical. I think it’s probably– I think there’s a good case for that to be arguably the most helpful, beneficial phytochemical known to man. Let’s talk about– First of all, I’m curious if you agree with me.
Catharine: Oh, sure. We’re going to get a chance to talk about chlorella later, right?
The amazing health benefits of phycocyanin (found in Spirulina)
Ari: Yes, most definitely. Let’s talk about phycocyanin first. What’s some of the research has shown as far as the benefits of that and the benefits of spirulina more broadly?
Catharine: It’s pretty crazy. Here’s the thing. Even with 60,000 studies on spirulina, there’s still so much yet to learn. One of the reasons I want to be successful is that we could hopefully fund some of that research because there’s other pigments in there, of course, that has the highest beta-carotene, but we’re still learning what these things do. Let’s look at that gorgeous blue phycocyanin. First of all, it’s a water-based pigment.
I mentioned that because when we get to talk about chlorella, I’ll point out the benefits of the fact that chlorophyll is a fat-based pigment. They do completely different things in your body. One of the amazing features of phycocyanin is it has what’s called anti-angiogenesis properties. It’s a mouthful, I know, but what that means is that it intercepts– Let me back up. Tumors and cancers, they basically hijack your blood vessels and reroute them to feed the cancer cells to keep them growing.
Phycocyanin, and for whatever reason, has the– That’s called angiogenesis when that happens. Phycocyanin has the ability to prevent that, to intercept that. I didn’t even know that until about five years ago. There’s an association, a very large association right here in Cambridge, Massachusetts called the Angiogenesis Societies, angiogen.org. They were having their global conference, and they called us and they said, “Did you know that your spirulina can prevent cancer by this anti-angiogenesis process?” I said, “No.”
They invited us to come to their conference for free because they felt so strongly about it. This is a association that’s funded by Bill Gates and Bill Clinton and all the Bill’s so pretty powerful stuff. That’s number one.
Ari: Everybody with the name Bill gathers together to fund– [crosstalk]
Catharine: Yes, all the Bill’s [laughs] including the dollar bills. [laughs] The Bill’s bring their bills. [laughs] Another pretty powerful one. Again, I point out that I’m not a medical profession and anything I say is not to be construed as medical advice. I only reference the science that I have read. That being said, the science shows, and we have examples of the sources for this on our website, that the–
Again, phycocyanin has this remarkable ability to intercept the COVID virus so it cannot enter your blood vessels. The way it does that– We’ve all seen pictures of the COVID virus with those little prongs that stick out, and those prongs attach to your cells. The way it enters your body is through something called an ACE2 receptor cell, and most of those are in your nose, your throat, your lungs.
This phycocyanin sits on top of the ACE2 receptor cell. It’s like a shield. [laughs] It’s like a superhero. It prevents that prong from the COVID virus from attaching so it can’t get into your cell and it just slides through. What’s happened is that the University of Pittsburgh Pharmacology Department has actually developed a nose spray based on this that is being used as a vaccine for COVID. Pretty impressive stuff. Of course, it’s a nose spray because that’s where so many of your ACE2 receptor cells are.
Ari: First of all, I’m glad you brought this up. I was going to ask you if you knew about the research of spirulina and COVID. I’m glad you do. I didn’t know about this nasal spray that you’re talking about. You’re saying they’re using what? They’re using phycocyanin in the nasal spray?
Catharine: They’re using algae, and I have to believe that it’s got the phycocyanin in it. I haven’t read the actual papers. That’s one of maybe a dozen different scientific groups that are pursuing algae as a vaccine. I grew up in Canada and there’s the University of Western Ontario where I did my MBA. They have even a COVID test that’s based on algae. Israel, Italy, lots in Asia, they have developed lots of vaccines all based on algae. Again, I don’t have all of the science. Some of it’s referenced on our website.
We have a whole section, a whole dropdown. If you go to energybits.com, up at the top, it’ll say science about COVID. There’s at least 10 or 12 references on these different science. We explain what COVID is and how it enters your body. We can go deeper into why algae can help not only protect you but can also help you if you do have it for various metabolic activities that occur, and it’s fascinating, so fascinating, but once you understand it, you go, “Well, that makes sense.” That’s the beautiful thing about truth. It just makes sense. [laughs]
Ari: There’s also a research showing– Let me jump back one step for listeners, which is that, one of the big problems, one of the things that really kills with COVID is not just the virus itself, it’s your immune system overreacting, overresponding to it-
Catharine: The cytokines.
Ari: -and to the damage that the virus creates in your body, and so you get a cytokine storm. People with poor immune function, in most cases, due to poor metabolic health, poor nutrition and lifestyle habits, which is a major contributor to that, creates that propensity for the immune system to overreact and to get a cytokine storm. One of the biggest cytokines that’s involved in that is something called TNF alpha, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and it’s a major pro-inflammatory cytokine. There’s research showing spirulina leads to profound levels of reduction, 70% plus levels of reduction in TNF alpha.
Catharine: That’s really cool. I didn’t know that. The other cool thing is we’re talking about COVID. I wasn’t going to because we’re so sick of it, right? It’s not just a lung disorder and, as you mentioned, the inflammatory reaction, it’s a blood disorder. You’ll find that most people who are dying die from a heart attack. Here’s what happens. The COVID virus invade your blood and it injects itself in your hemoglobin and it kicks out the iron atom. Remember, iron is what carries oxygen in your blood. Now, the iron atom is no longer in your hemoglobin, instead, the virus is there. As your blood is circulating, it can no longer carry oxygen to your cells and to your major organs. One of the first ones that gives up is your heart. It’s worse than that.
When the iron is kicked out of the hemoglobin, it doesn’t disappear. It’s still in your blood, but it is no longer protected in the hemoglobin. I compare hemoglobin to a bubble wrap. When the iron is in there, like bubble wrap, it’s carefully protected. If you’ve ever gone to a dock and you see things that are rusting, that’s oxidation. When the iron is kicked out of the hemoglobin, it’s now still in your blood vessel, but it’s a rogue cell and it’s causing oxidation. Wherever it goes, it’s causing damage. It’s like a drunk at a bar. It’s just out of the way. Even with the cytokine inflammation, this rogue iron atom is causing even more damage because it’s no longer protected in the hemoglobin. It’s pretty crazy.
One of the reasons I like algae so much, and I don’t have science about this, I will just tell you that. Because algae is so alkaline and has so much iron in it, I’m thinking that you think it would help restore the iron atom in the blood. Also, the other thing is when, whether it’s viruses, COVID virus, any virus, cancer, any disease, is acidic. Our bodies and mother nature are so intelligent.
The hemoglobin has a negative charge around it. If you’ve ever held magnet stuff, you know how they repel one another? Your hemoglobin is the same way, has a negative charge around it. The reason for that is so that they don’t clump in your blood when they’re traveling. This allows them to A, be nice and round so they can carry the iron atom and carry oxygen and so they don’t clump.
When the virus gets into your blood because it kicks out the iron atom and because it’s acidic, it not only prevents your blood from carrying oxygen, it causes them to clump because now it’s acidic. They have found as they do any kind of– with the cadavers of people who have died, the blood clumping everywhere, and this is one of the reasons. Even fast forward, or even just eliminating this whole COVID situation, and we’re going to talk about this in a minute when we switch over to chlorella, chlorophyll and your hemoglobin are virtually identical in chemical composition. Algae has the highest concentration of chlorophyll in the world. Chlorella has twice as much as spirulina because spirulina has that second blue pigment that we just talked about.
The only difference is your hemoglobin has iron in the middle and chlorophyll has the magnesium in the middle, but it builds your blood. They’ve been using chlorophyll since BC to help people with healing properties. They even gave that to the injured during World War II if they ran out of blood transfusions because it builds your blood. If nothing else, I know we’re getting ahead of ourselves here about the different benefits of algae, but it builds your blood.
Our food supply is so damaged. Our soils are so overcroped. There’s no nitrogen or nutrients in the soil for the plants to have in them. The CO2 is so damaged that they’re finding plants have more sugar in them now. I have all the science references to that too. Even if you ate a room full of arugula, you wouldn’t get the same amount of chlorophyll as you would probably in a single serving of the spirulina tablets. I call it efficient nutrition. [laughs]
Ari: Yes, absolutely. I want to mention just a little follow up on something you were saying about lysing the red blood cells, releasing iron into the blood because I was just reading about that from a researcher a couple of days ago. It’s worth mentioning that it seems to be the spike protein itself, regardless of how that enters your body, that is largely responsible for that effect.
Catharine: The what protein? I’m sorry, the spike?
Ari: The spike protein.
Catharine: I’m sorry, I didn’t get the word. Despite, or–
Catharine: Not familiar.
Ari: S-P-I-K-E. Spike. That protein, which happens with the live virus and is what is being programmed by ourselves to produce from inoculation, contributes to that effect.
Catharine: Interesting thing.
Ari: The increase of free iron in our blood stream contributes to a wide variety of problems. It’s linked with increased viral activity. Basically, it feeds into infections and in people that have chronic or latent infections, for example, Epstein-Barr virus or shingles and things like that. This is likely the mechanism behind the reactivation of a lot of these infections that people were reporting either from the infection or the inoculation.
There’s also potentially a link with many cancers. This is too early for me to say with confidence, but there are a number of oncologists coming out now talking about a shocking increase in the incidence of cancer. There are some very concerning lines of evidence emerging ground, that specific mechanism of lysing red blood cells and leading to the release of iron into the blood stream.
Catharine: I’ve been telling people about it for over a year. [laughs] Rather than get people worried, my approach is always to just say, “Take a deep breath. Lift the hood up. Try to understand what the dynamic is that’s occurring, and be open to some of these nutritional intercepts that could either prevent or correct the situation without drugs or surgery.” That’s why I love algae so much and lots of other things like red light therapy.
There’s a lot of healing things that have been used around the world for so long, and we’re just learning about them here in North America. Probably a good point for me to say that to everybody. Algae isn’t new. It just may be new to you, but it has been used for centuries. As I mentioned earlier, for 75 years, it’s been a multi-billion dollar industry in Asia. It’s just like years ago, we didn’t know about quinoa or chia or macho or CBD or collagen. These things have been around, again, for centuries in other countries, mushrooms. We just need to be educated about these other alternatives. Ironically, I don’t consider them alternative, I consider them original. [laughs]
Ari: Yes. I think it is even longer than centuries in the case of spirulina, in fact, even millennia because I think the– Was it the Mayans or the Aztecs? Didn’t you think they also consume it as well?
Catharine: Yes, absolutely. In fact, an interesting story about that is when the Spanish invaded Mexico, they drained what they thought were swamps because they thought these “swamps” were causing a lot of mess and whatever, and it turns out they were growing algae in those swamps. They brought all of these European food habits to the Spanish, which were sugar and things that cause them all sorts of illness, and it was a disaster. Actually, even the Egyptians, in BC, they used to wrap themselves in algae for healing properly.
It has been around for a very long time, and it was discovered by a Dutch scientist in the late 1800s for having the highest protein in the world. Then the Germans in the early 1900s found it was the best edible protein in the world. There’s an interesting story about why it’s all in Asia.
The reason why people here don’t know about it is because we just don’t grow it here. I remind people that– I’m Canadian, so where I grew up for a while was in British Columbia. You would see trucks driving by with logs on the way to the mills be made into paper, or on the east coast, in the Midwest, you would see trucks driving by with bales of hay on the way to be made into something.
Here in Boston, we have Dunkin’ Donuts, sadly, and we see trucks with their donuts driving all over the place, but nowhere do you ever see trucks driving by with algae on it, but in Asia they do. It’s as normal in Asia as the Dunkin’ Donuts trucks are here. On that note, in 2019, the United States White House and the Senate passed the first Algae Agricultural Act because they have realized that algae is the most eco-friendly, sustainable, nutrient-dense food in the world and virtually none of it is grown here. There is a small amount in Hawaii, but there’s virtually none in main United States, a very small, small percentage. My hope is one day to have my own algae farm. That’s the plan anyways. [laughs]
Ari: Nice, excellent. Also, kind of a little bit of a childhood dream of mine related to that. I was very into coral reef aquariums when I was young, and I always dreamed of having my own aquaculture farm. Now that I’m into spirulina and chlorella so much– [crosstalk]
Catharine: Getting closer. [laughs]
How spirulina can support the immune system
Ari: Similar dreams.
Are there any other immune health benefits that are not specific to COVID but any other things or relevant research we’re talking about as far as spirulina and [unintelligible]?
Catharine: Sorry. I have a little chart here. If we’re going to talk about the immune system, I know your community is pretty well-informed, but there may be people that don’t really understand what the immune system is. I’ll give you a little quick summary. Your immune system is your defense mechanism for your health. There’s two components. I’ve decided to help– when I explained to people that it’s two components, one you can see quite easily and one you can’t.
Let’s talk about the one you can see. That’s basically your skin, your lungs, your mouth, and this is where pathogens would enter your body. They’re the equivalent of your– At home, you have an alarm system, right? Your skin and your mouth and your nose, they’re equivalent of your alarm system. They can determine when something has entered that shouldn’t be there, and they set off an alarm. That part’s easy. You could point to that, see it in a medical book.
The second part is the part where the real action happens. This is the part that most people don’t understand because you can’t point to it. You can’t see it. When there’s an invader in your house, the alarm goes off and it triggers the police to come and take the invader out. In your body, the alarm that is triggered is in your immune system, which happens to be in your guts. 70% to 80% of your immune system is in your gut. What it triggers are cells, things like T cells, B cells, killer cells, macrophages. They are created by your immune system that makes them with nutrients, that if they are in your body, they make them. These cells will go after, identify whatever the pathogen is, kill it and remove it and even better, remember it, so that when it happens next time, they’re much more efficient. That’s what the vaccine concept is based on.
Here’s the thing. I remind people, if you have a dinner party, the first thing you probably usually do is you go out and buy the food for the dinner party. No grocery shopping, no dinner party. Your immune system’s the same way. If you do not give it the nutrients that it needs to defend you and it wants to defend you, it’s on your side, it cannot perform for you as well as it wants to.
Those nutrients, or like the main course, include things like– I got my little chart here. I have an A, B6, B9, B12, D, vitamin E, iron, zinc, copper, essential fatty acids, amino acids, chlorophyll. Guess what? They’re all in the algae. If you want a very easy, effortless, nutritionally dense way to provide your immune system with the nutrients it needs to defend you. It doesn’t get any better than algae. You don’t have to go out and buy 1,000 different supplements. You don’t have to go out and start doing a different meal plan. It just takes the worry out of everything. I call algae your health insurance, your nutritional health insurance.
You can go out and eat whatever you want as well. It’s great if you eat healthy, but even if you didn’t, at least you’re getting the basics. Because algae is so, at least ours, safe and pure third-party lab test endorsed by doctors, you can give it to your children, your newborns, your pets, your grandparents, and it doesn’t require any cooking, cleaning or effort. If you can swallow water, you can get the nutrients you need to give your body the nutrients your immune system need to protect you.
Ari: You don’t even need to swallow the water. I actually like letting the tablets sit in my mouth and just dissolve over 10 or 15 minutes.
Catharine: I chew mine because I’m hardcore. [laughs]
Ari: When I chew them, sometimes they stick to my teeth and stuff like that. I don’t mind the taste. Some people mind not taste. I actually like the taste. It’s funny, my son, my five-year-old son likes the taste as well. He’s not asking me for four tablets every day. He likes to just chew on them.
Catharine: The spirulina is very chewy because again, it has that very high protein and the essential fatty acids. The chlorella, which we’ll talk about next, which we call ours RECOVERYbits because it helps you recover your health, it’s very dry. I’ll tell you, if you haven’t tried chewing chlorella, the RECOVERYbits, with either macadamia nuts or salted pistachios, you are in for a treat. It’s the best snack in the world. I eat them all day long. Chlorella is probably my favorite food in the world, for sure. [laughs]
ENERGYbits and BEAUTYbits
Ari: Nice. Before we get there, let’s talk just about ENERGYbits. You called your spirulina product ENERGYbits.
Catharine: We thought it would be easier for people to remember and say than spirulina, and it implies what the product does. It’s not lightning bolts of energy from the sky. I just want to make sure people understand that. You may not even notice it, but what you will notice is that you just feel alert and fresh and you’re not hungry. [chuckles] It’s a very subtle, steady energy because there’s no caffeine, chemicals or sugar. There’s no rush, and there’s no crash.
If you eat them, it’ll be instant. If you swallow them in five or 10 minutes, because it gets into your bloodstream, there’s literally no digestion because it gets absorbed so quickly. It’s just clean, steady energy. There’s no upper limit. Most people might take five or 10 a day. You can start with two or three tablets.
We have NHL players that put 75 in their smoothie before a game. You don’t have to have that much, but if you’re an elite athlete– We work with a lot of, as I said, Olympic athletes and NFL players, marathon and endurance athletes who will take 30 before a race and they’ll take maybe another 15 to one-hour intervals. We’ve had people go 100 miles on just water and the spirulina ENERGYbits.
I will point out however that– I started the company because my sister had breast cancer, but after a couple of years, I noticed that women weren’t buying the ENERGYbits spirulina. Women’s health is big for me and we’re in Breast Cancer Awareness month right now. I just asked my girl friends. I said, “Why do you think women aren’t buying the spirulina? Men were.” They said, “You got to make it pink and give it a cute name.”
I swear to God.
Catharine: Hey, I’ll do whatever it takes to get this stuff into people. Because spirulina does build your skin and hair because of that high protein, more than collagen, I might add, high in antioxidants, said like, “Okay, sure. We’ll make a second brand and call it BEAUTYbits®. I just want to let people know it’s absolutely identical to spirulina.
Ari: [chuckles] It’s just to get women to buy it.
Catharine: Yes. Someone said, “Well, you’ve got a girl spirulina and a boy spirulina.” Yes, pretty much. [chuckles]
Ari: Well, I have an idea for you on that. There is another plant phytochemical compound, also from another type of algae and it’s called astaxanthin.
Catharine: Yes, I know about that.
Ari: That happens to have a pinkish color, and I will also add–
Catharine: That’s why flamingos are pink because that’s what they eat. [chuckles]
Ari: That’s right, and krill and salmon. This compound also bioaccumulates in our tissues and in our skin and has actually well-researched aesthetic beauty benefits. You could infuse some astaxanthin in there. I’m wondering how much you’re going to pay me for this marketing?
Catharine: I know. [chuckles]
Ari: You could infuse some pink-colored astaxanthin in there and then make pink Energy or pink BEAUTYbits®.
Catharine: Yes. There’s unlimited opportunities. By the way, now that you’re mentioning it, I’ll point out that algae has been the secret ingredient in about 50 or 60 different facial creams. There’s a brand called La Mer, that’s a tiny spoonful costs about $500 and it’s the secret ingredient, laminaria that comes from the ocean is algae. We’re working a lot with the spa community, and I pointed out that, “Why would you treat yourself to your facial skin, to this expensive cream that’s got only extracts when you can ingest the entire algae tablet and give all of the benefits to all of your body, and it’s the real deal and not just a piece of it?”
Ari: That’s my secret, I’m actually 137 years old.
Catharine: That’s what I say. I’m like Benjamin Button, I’m getting younger every year. [laughs]
Ari: Let’s transition into chlorella now.
Catharine: Okay. All right.
The amazing health benefits of Chlorella
Ari: Talk to me about some of the science behind the benefits of chlorella. What has it been shown to be beneficial for?
Catharine: Well, chlorella, I think everybody in the world needs chlorella because just as spirulina, as I mentioned has the highest protein in the world, Chlorella has the highest concentration of chlorophyll in the world. I already pointed out how the chemical composition of chlorophyll is virtually identical to your blood. Number one, even if you are a carnivore or a paleo, none of us are getting the medicinal amounts of chlorophyll that we need to enjoy better health.
The easiest and fastest way to do that is with the chlorella algae, which has 400 times more chlorophyll than arugula, 25 times more than even liquid chlorophyll. I get these numbers from the Linus Pauling Institute, so they’re well researched documented amounts of chlorophyll. That’s number one, is chlorella has the highest chlorophyll in the world. Chlorophyll’s been used for centuries for, as I mentioned, building health and it’s alkaline and very cleansing. It also stimulates peristalsis so a lot of people will use chlorella overall. People who are on a keto diet or often if you’re on a diet period, and as you get older, you have difficulty very often, with bowel movements so this certainly helps with that.
The other amazing thing about chlorella is it has the hardest cell wall in the plant kingdom. I mentioned earlier that spirulina has no hard cellulose wall. What’s the amazing thing about that hard cell wall is it attaches to toxins. It can be any toxin, all the heavy metals, lead, mercury, radiation, aluminum, which of course is in vaccines. Ironically, it identifies alcohol as a toxin so it removes alcohol from your bloodstream in an hour and a half. You’ll be stone sober and never have a hangover.
Ari: Really? I didn’t know that.
Catharine: Yes. It takes an hour and a half because it’s about an hour and a half for you to cleanse your blood because your blood is fluid, it’s about a week to 10 days for your cells and, about 4 to 6 months for your organs. It’s all based on the density of your cells, the more dense they get the longer it takes to pull out toxins. Even folks like Dr. Klinghardt, he’s a homeopath up in the Seattle area, he’s been promoting chlorella for 34 years, he’s originally from Germany.
Chlorella has been endorsed even by groups like United Nations, they used it at Chernobyl to pull out radiation. If people remember the Fukushima disaster from eight or nine years ago, the entire global supply of chlorella was bought up within 24 hours because everybody in Asia knows that chlorella is the only thing that will remove radiation, and it’s a plant.
Ari: That’s a crazy story that the global supply of it was bought up. I had no idea.
Catharine: Yes. We had no product. It’s a plant. Once it was bought up you have to wait for the plant to grow so it’s another month to grow and two weeks to dry and then two or three weeks to ship over here. Everybody was out of stock of chlorella for a couple of months. It was an awakening, trust me. Even quite honestly, right now it’s becoming problematic because there are so many shipping issues.
If you’re not too far from Long Beach and between COVID and just people not working, the ports are so backed up that it’s becoming very difficult to get the supply. Because ours is grown in Taiwan, most, as I mentioned, almost everything’s in Asia, which is the reason why I want to grow it here and get rid of these supply chain problems. Anyways, back to the benefits of the hard cell wall, it pulls out anything, but you need to take enough of it.
Just like spirulina, you could take 5 or 10 tablets a day to increase your energy, fill your nutritional gaps, same with the chlorella. You could take 5 or 10 a day for your wellness needs and your immune system needs but if you want the detox benefits you do need closer to 15, preferably 20 or 30 tablets a day. Because it won’t have enough power to pull and remove the toxins. It can’t pull them out without enough to attach to, and this has been documented.
Fortunately, chlorella tastes darn good, especially when you eat it with sea salt or as I mentioned pistachios. Becuse when you sleep your body goes through a detox and repair cycle, and we’re going to talk more about why chlorella is a repair and wealth or health algae, we generally recommend people take it at night. You can take it any time of day but when you’re sleeping, that’s when your brain shrinks and your lymphatic system cleans out your brain, and if you have chlorella it will help pull aluminum and anything else that’s in your brain. It will pull out the toxins from your brain, it will help any kind of repair in your body. The best time is to take it at night so that you get all of those benefits.
The other nutrients that are wellness-oriented in chlorella algae is it has the highest concentration of RNA and DNA in the world, and as you age, that becomes damaged and contributes to aging. They used to think sardines had the most RNA and DNA but chlorella has more. Chlorella also has a nutrient that most people are deficient in called the Vitamin K2. I’m not sure if your community knows of Vitamin K2 but it’s virtually non-existent in our food supply because really the only foods that have it are grass-fed animal protein, or a dish called Nacho which is a Japanese dish most people don’t eat, and then the algae. Chlorella has twice as much K2 as spirulina.
What’s so important about K2? It removes excess calcium from soft tissue into your blood vessels or into your bones. What a soft tissue is are things like your blood vessels. A lot of heart diseases, which they refer to arteriosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries, and what’s hardening is the calcium. Other things that harden, kidney stones, it’s calcium. A lot of brain issues is related to calcification of the brain. Wrinkles, it’s not just the oxidation that’s causing the– It’s attacking the collagen and the elastin, it’s calcium. This K2 nutrient moves all of that into your bones which also helps prevent osteoporosis.
Now, the reason why there’s no K2 in our diet, if you know anything about K2, it’s related to K1. K1 is in anything that’s green, but animals have a bacteria in their gut that can convert the K1 into K2 and humans do not. In the happy days, back in the ’60s, the animals were grazing on grass and as they ate the grass their body would convert the K1 into K2 and then as we ate the animal protein we were getting K2 into our diet. Then in the ’70s, the farmers realized that if they moved all the cattle off the grazing pastures into enclosures and fed them corn, it would allow them to get fat fasterm and that’s what they did. Overnight, the supply of K2 and our food supply disappeared. They’ve looked at the analysis and growth of heart disease and it mimics the exact timeline of when that occurred. You can buy K2 supplements, they’re made from fermented chickpeas, but K2 is a very complex vitamin. There’s all these different M’s, M1, M2, M4, and the only kind of version of K2 that can also penetrate, not just your cells but your brain is one called M4. That is found only in the food-based sources of K2 which are the grass-fed–
Ari: MK-4, right?
Catharine: MK-4, yes. It’s in the algae and it’s in the grass-fed animal protein, but the other versions that you buy as a supplement tend not to have the MK-4 in it. It’s another version. It’s complicated. Anyway, the bottom line is it’s in the algae. Between the high chlorophyll, the pulling out the toxins, the high DNA and RNA, oh, and I forgot to mention that it also has a nutrient, they didn’t know what to call it ao they called it the chlorella growth factor. What it does is it speeds up the growth of your cells four times faster than anything else. Chlorella happens to also be the fastest-growing organism in the world and it’s used in all the biotech research for biofuels.
It speeds up your healthy cells, not too bad cells, has the chlorophyll, has the RNA and DNA, has the K2, has the highest concentration of tryptophan, seriously, this is like a rockstar. Yet, it tastes pretty good and it’s a great little snack and it’s still got 60% protein and 40% vitamins and minerals. I’m in love, as you can tell with chlorella. I love spirulina too, but we’re so surrounded by toxins, and it’s not just the exogenous toxins, the chemicals, the pollution, the fumes from our carpet and clothes, I learned recently, I was stunned when I read this, that every single day 30 trillion cells in our bodies die.
Because our bodies are constantly regenerating, right, but 30 trillion? Whoa. Dead cells are toxic cells and if you do not get rid of them they gather in your lymphatic system, they attract bacteria, they start to become acidic, oxygenation reduces, the mitochondria get damaged, it’s just a slippery slope. We don’t live in a bubble anyways, but you’ve got to protect yourself from what’s going on from metabolic processes inside, not just from the things that are exogenous. So there you go.
Ari: Yes. I want to get geeky here for a moment. I know that you said you’ve read my book on red light therapy and the infrared light therapy. There was one thing I talked about in that book that is based on a study from 2014. [crosstalk] but is very interesting, extremely. It’s absolutely extraordinary. That is that there’s research showing that certain metabolites of chlorophyll can accumulate in our cells, in mammalian cells.
I just say this to speak to, without inserting my own speculation. It’s been shown that it can accumulate in mammalian cells, the cells of mammals, and that light, and it’s specifically light in the red light and near-infrared light part of the spectrum, that can interact with those chlorophyll metabolites in a way that facilitates the recycling of coenzyme Q. Which is a slow step in the process of mitochondrial energy generation.
In other words, to simplify that for people who don’t know any biochemistry, basically, light photons can help your mitochondria, your cellular energy generators produce more energy more efficiently, and there’s a number of studies that have shown that clearly. One of the mechanisms of how they do that seems to be again, inserting some bit of speculation here, but it is very likely that metabolites of chlorophyll are facilitating some of that energy production that comes from light exposure, from red and near-infrared light exposure.
Given that these compounds, that spirulina and chlorella especially are so rich in chlorophyll, there’s a good possibility that they’re sort of, it wouldn’t be directly, but indirectly facilitating increased energy production from your cells. The benefits may be amplified by pairing it with red light therapy.
Catharine: Yes. I’m glad you brought that up because I studied that, it’s called the electron transport chain, that’s the cycle. It basically does recycle the CoQ10 molecule, which is an important part of the process to generate energy. Because there are, I should have the paper in front of me, but there’s two forms.
Ari: [unintelligible 00:55:35].
Catharine: Yes. It converts because it becomes oxidated in the process. Then what happens is the chlorophyll and the light donate an oxygen molecule back to bring it back to alkaline, so then it just keeps circling around. It’s pretty cool. It makes sense to me because I know we used to get all these testimonials from runners about how much energy they got from the spirulina, and heck they’re outside.
Any sport or any activity outside, or red light therapy even better because you can get it consistently, you take some of the algae before your treatment, you’ll get all the other benefits. Because one of the benefits of red light as you know, is that it starts to heal the mitochondria. Because as you age your mitochondria become damaged and they die. The algae helps improve the health of your mitochondria and it helps generate more energy.
It’s pretty remarkable to me. It’s fascinating. We’re working a lot now with the cryotherapy community, and I’ve done some deep dives in that too because we’re finding that the benefits from cryotherapy are also up-leveled from algae. Here’s why. For people who aren’t familiar with cryotherapy, you go into this capsule, very cold, and it brings your body temperature down for about three minutes.
When that happens your body automatically pulls all the blood to its core because it thinks it’s dying. In your blood are all these nutrients so it’s healing maybe organs or your brain, well, it’s not your brain because your brain’s not in there, but it’s bringing all this rich blood flow to areas that might not have it otherwise. Then when you step out, all of that blood flow rushes back to your hands and feet, and it gives you this buzz of energy because of all the oxygen and the rush.
Well, the spirulina particularly is a vassal dilator. When it facilitates an even better pull of the blood into the core number one, and it’s so rich in nutrients, particularly if you take the chlorella beforehand too. Because as you get out of the cryotherapy treatment and the blood flows back out, all the toxins that have been released in that process can be pulled out by the chlorella. It will give you all the additional healing benefits from the chlorophyll and all the whatever.
It completely up levels cryotherapy and red light therapy if you take it beforehand. It’s probably, certainly for the cryotherapy it’s probably good to take it after as well. I’m hoping to work with some of certainly the red light therapy community and we’re already starting to work with the cryotherapy community a lot because that’s growing very quickly. It’s kind of exciting.
Ari: Great stuff, Catherine. Let me ask you this, getting more practical now, there are a number of concerns around chlorella and spirulina as far as manufacturing processes. One other concern. I think there are three things I want to mention here and get your feedback on. One is with thyroid issues and hypothyroidism and autoimmune hyperthyroidism, in particular Hashimoto’s, there was a concern over too much iodine.
I’ve seen a number of practitioners who specialize in that area actually advising against all algae consumption, including spirulina and chlorella. Now, this seems to be, from what I can tell, greatly misguided. There doesn’t seem to be any research showing that these are a problem and it seems to be, I think, just based on the presumption that all allergies have lots and lots of iodine like people lump it in with seaweed. Therefore there would be a concern to get too much iodine. That’s the first one I’ll let you respond to that and then we’ll move on to [inaudible 01:00:07]—
Catharine: Okay. Well thank you for raising that. Because part of why I’m doing what I’m doing is because there’s so much misinformation out there and nobody has taken the time to explain the reasons that are contrary to stop the misinformation. Here’s the reality, sure there’s iodine in the algae if it came from the ocean, but the two that 99% of the algae that you buy in stores or from us, spirulina and chlorella have no iodine.
We do third-party lab tests, we have no iodine in our algae. Yes, it’s in seaweed, remember I said it was part of the algae community, but there’s zero iodine in spirulina and chlorella, certainly ours. I wish there was because I take iodine drops occasionally myself, just because I wanted to be sure– and I put it on my skin so I absorb it, whatever, but there is no iodine so that problem goes away. If anyone wants our lab tests I’m happy to send them to you because they’re done by a third party FDA approved lab. We have no control over them at all, they just measure what’s there, and measure what’s not, or they can’t measure what’s not, and there is no iodine in our algae.
How to best source Chlorella and Spirulina
Ari: Okay, so that’s one. The other concern is with toxins and contamination. There’s some concern around getting chlorella or spirulina that comes from China, in particular, and maybe there’s a few other places and sources that it could come from that are concerning. I know that there are certain certain countries let’s say Japan, Taiwan, maybe Korea, where my understanding is that they’re much, much less toxic and they’re very clean. Can you differentiate between clean sources versus bad sources?
Catharine: Sure. Well, Taiwan is world renowned for having the highest quality, and I would definitely stay away from anything in China. Even within Taiwan, it’s still the individual company that’s growing the algae. There’s some good algae coming out of India now, for example. The way to find out if there’s toxins is to test for it. I’m very proud that we grow ours very carefully, triple filtered water. We have lab tests that are provided to us by the growers, but I know, because we sell ours through doctors nationwide, naturopaths, chiropractors, they need and believe only documentation that is from the US, from a FDA approved source. That’s what we use for our testing.
Not only do we test for toxins, of which we have none, we also test for all the nutrients so they can see that we’re not faking anything at all. Then it took me two years to find this, but because Dominic Agostino had asked me about this about four years ago, about micro toxins. Those need to be tested from a very special lab, it took me two years to find a lab, but I found one and we test for those two. Again, we don’t have any because our algae has grown in the very carefully controlled freshwater environment.
Yes, there will be Micro toxins in algae that grows in lakes or oceans because they exist in those environments and there are a couple of scientific documents circulating about testing spirulina and chlorella and finding micro toxins. I have combed through those research papers and the source was Klamath Lake. Then there were other research that found out that Klamath Lake was toxic. Oh, no surprise that the algae was toxic.
Just be careful not to make huge assumptions. It’s like going to a swamp with toxic water and declaring, “I’m not going to drink water anymore because that swamp water is toxic.” Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, check your sources, ask for information. There are good suppliers out there just like in any industry, there’s some good ones and not so good ones.
Ari: Got it. My last question to you is specific to chlorella. You brought up that chlorella has, I think, the thickest cell wall or hardest cell wall and in order for it to be digestible and for us to get the full benefits of it, my understanding is the chlorella has to go through some process to either, under pressure crack the cell wall, or I think that there’s another process. I remember reading about one in Korea that has really thin cell walls that isn’t cracked or something like that. My understanding is there’s a couple of different processes that are used. Can you describe that and what is optimal?
Catharine: Yes. Well, the original chlorella company is called Sun Chlorella and I’m very grateful for them because they’re about 50 or 60 years old and they spent 10 years figuring out how to grow chlorella, it’s a very complex plant to grow. They also are the ones that discovered that you had to crack the cell wall in order for your body to be able to absorb all that rich nutrition that’s in there. That being said, I’m very grateful for them doing that.
Then when certain other companies started growing chlorella, they used the techniques that Sun Chlorella developed, which is called DYNO®MILL, which is to crack the cell wall by tumbling it with glass beads. Then research was done and discovered that as the glass heats up, lead from the glass leaks into the chlorella. Which they denied, but then the state of California tested it, and blah, blah, blah.
This knowledge came to me as I was forming the company and I said, “Well, that’s not going to work for me. There’s got to be another way to crack the chlorella,” and there was. There was a new technique that we use, and I’m sure there’s probably a few other companies that may as well, I don’t know, where we pass the chlorella through a, basically a sound chamber, and it’s the vibrations that are cracking the cell wall. There’s no heat, no lead, and the other sad thing about the heat is that, of course, it causes some deterioration of the nutrition. Most importantly is there’s no lead.
Someone said to me, “Oh, your chlorella has got good vibrations.” [chuckles] Very ’60s. I’m very proud of that. We’ve had a lot of people do muscle testing on our chlorella, it passes the test every time if any of you are interested. Some people, there are very few, not many, but occasionally someone who cannot tolerate chlorella. It just is what it is. It’s just like some people have a peanut allergy.
It’s fairly [unintelligible 01:07:02] and universally used by just about anybody, but if you ever have any doubt there’s this technique called muscle testing. You just hold up the item that you are intending to eat and someone will try to press your arm down, and if your arm goes down quickly it means that your body intuitively knows that that’s not good for you. If your arm holds steady then that means that is good for you because your strength is there. If you ever have any doubt, it’s a very simple task, a test costs you nothing. You can do it with any food.
That’s why also, well, on our website, we tend to sell our bags, large bags of a thousand tablets, but we do offer a sample pack and we do sell smaller pouches, we call them travel pouches with 30 tablets on Amazon, they’re only $5 each. If you have any doubt at all I would just encourage people to go to Amazon, spend $5, or $10, there’s the 30 tablets if you take five a day, the last six days, if you take 10 a day, the last two, three. It’s a good value. Then come back to the website, we actually have a 20% discount code, ENERGYBLUEPRINT for your community.
Ari: Thank you very much or doing that.
Catharine: When you come back to our website use ENERGYBLUEPRINT in the discount box. It works all the time on everything, no rush, so don’t panic, and then you’ll enjoy 20% of what you purchase. I’m proud of the fact that I took a lot of care along the way. Our packaging is UV protected, it’s eco-friendly, sustainable made from recyclable paper and our canisters our paper, this is new so that you can shake out the tablets.
It’s because I really honestly wasn’t planning on building a company, I just started this to help my sister and then I thought, “Well, I can help a few more people,” and then I can help a few more, and I just kept going and here I am 12 years later.
I wanted to show you just a couple of things. As I mentioned before, there’s so much nutrition in each one of these tablets that the equivalent of that many vegetables is in each one of those tablets. As I mentioned, I did this because I found people weren’t eating vegetables because it was too much work or they had digestive issues. Problem solved. Your kids, never fight with your kids again, just give them a couple of those a day. Or the spirulina before their soccer game instead of the one of those bars.
Again, this is unprocessed food. Part of the problem with our food supply is so much of it is processed. It’s also the fact that there’s got canola oil and sugar, but it’s the processing. This is a raw food, and you don’t have to ever have to worry about that, and it never goes bad. We put a expiry date on our bags, it’s usually three years, but algae is the strangest thing, it never dies. Any other plant, when the growing conditions deteriorate, tomatoes, corn, it doesn’t matter what it is, they die. Not algae. It will go dormant indefinitely until the growing conditions return again. A short anecdote on that is I read about a National Geographic team that went up to the Antarctic and they chipped away some ice for whatever reason and they found some algae attached to it. They took it to the lab and put the algae in a petri dish and some water and the darn thing started growing again.
Ari: That was what, thousands of years old?
Catharine: Yes. They carbon-dated it and found out it was like 3 billion years old or 2 billion years old. It was on National Geographic. I don’t have that source but you can probably Google it.
Ari: Yes, I remember reading about that.
Catharine: The same thing happens. We have people called preppers who buy 20 bags at a time because it never goes bad. I hope that when we’re bigger we can airlift this stuff to disaster areas, to places around the world where they don’t have any food. I have a much bigger vision about what I want to do with algae than just growing a company. We want to start an algae academy so people can get certified in algae education and set a foundation up where we can donate either the algae or just help people grow it in other parts of the country. It is truly a foundational food and a gift to us from mother nature, it just hasn’t been explained properly.
With that being said, as I mentioned on our website we sell our algae in large bags, and I don’t want people to have sticker shock because a bag is $120, with your discount code it brings it to $96. I have this quote from NASA that says, “One gram of algae has the same nutrition as 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables.” I did the math and figured out that the nutrition, not the fiber, but the nutrition in a bag of our algae is equal to 551 pounds of vegetables. Now at $3 a pound, that works out to about $1,500, and think about it, that’s 551 pounds of vegetables you didn’t have to carry home, clean, cook or eat.
That’s why I call it two things. One, I call it efficient nutrition and I also call it intelligent food. Because you have to be intelligent to take it, nuber one, and it knows what to do in your body. It’s an adaptogen nutrient-dense, never toxic, if you don’t need the nutrient you just don’t absorb it. It’s food, it’s critical that people understand algae is food, [chuckles] not a supplement. We’re only just beginning.
It’s taken me 12 years to get to the starting race of the race. You probably think I’m a little over excited, and I have to admit I get pretty excited about algae, but I’m not alone. There’s a company called Gore-Tex®, it’s a outdoor clothing company, about a year ago they launched an entire clothing line all made of algae because it’s the most sustainable crop in the world. Reebok, here in Boston, two years ago launched a running shoe completely made of plants and the liner was made of algae because algae kills bacteria. In fact, you probably don’t know this but every single water treatment plant in America uses algae to kill bacteria, that’s what that little bit of green is in the water if you ever noticed.
Ari: Wow, I didn’t know that.
Catharine: That’s algae, yes. Also, Unilever just invested in a company in England, who’s making water bottles and condiment materials out of algae because you can eat your bottle after you drink your water or it will decompose in 24 hours.
Ari: I always eat my bottle after drinking the water but I find that the plastic hurts on the way out. Don’t get me started on the glass bottles or the metal ones, even worse.
Catharine: Well, I always knew you had a sharp intellect but now I know it’s because of the sharp molecules in glass.
Catharine: Anyway, there’s a lot going on in algae and it just hasn’t quite made its way to the public domain or public awareness. It’s coming, let me tell you. It’s going to be way bigger than CBD. [chcukles]
Ari: Wonderful. Well, then maybe I have to start that aquaculture/ algae farm.
Catharine: Yes. We’ll do one together. [chuckles]
Ari: I would actually, in all seriousness I would be interested in exploring that with you.
Catharine: Yes. I need a parallel environment that’s similar to where Taiwan is because Taiwan has the best algae.
Ari: It sounds like some tropical climate.
Catharine: Well, yes. I’ve identified either northern Texas or northern Florida but there’s so much that has to be done. I’m not an expert in growing algae, but I will find somebody who is. It might be five to 10 years but It’s definitely going to happen because–
Ari: Well, like I said, I have quite a bit of background in [crosstalk]. The most advanced form of aquarium keeping is live coral reef aquariums and I got to a very high level of doing that. I have a lot of experience in that world and I would imagine that growing algae is much less complex actually than coral reef aquarium keeping.
Catharine: Yes. It’s pretty complex but it is a specialty, and I have people. I’m not sure if you know but there’s a big, I can’t remember the name right now but there’s a big surfboard company in San Diego and their boards are made of algae. There’s a lot of algae research actually in San Diego and also in Arizona. Like I said, it’s coming. I’m just still ahead of my time but it’s very exciting to be part of the solution for our world.
We didn’t even talk about the sustainability issues, which I’m very proud of algae for. If anyone hasn’t yet seen this Netflix movie Seaspiracy, please watch it, they even do a shout out to algae twice in the movie as the answer. Because a lot of overfishing is because of people getting the fish oil for the omega-3, and I remind people as they did, “Where do you think the fish get the omega-3 from?” They get it from algae. Go to the source, cut out the middleman, and you’ll be much safer and so will the ocean. It’s kind of fun.
Ari: Catharine, thank you so much for coming on the show, this was a lot of fun.
Catharine: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Ari: Thank you for the work you’re doing.
Catharine: I can hardly wait to build our algae farm together.
Ari: Indeed, yes.
Ari: Let people know what your website is called and then the discount code that gives them 20% off. You’re going to do one for me, its ENERGYBLUEPRINT, is that all one word or two words?
Catharine: It’s all one word and it’s energybits.com, that’s the main site. We’re very active on social, our handle is @ENERGYbits on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We have a separate handle for BEAUTYbits®, very girly, which is @BEAUTYbits but the main action is over at @ENERGYbits.
Ari: I love that it’s the same product, just more [unintelligible 01:17:20] and with a different name for the women.
Catharine: I wasn’t trying to trick anybody, a little segue is that I used to be, as you mentioned, a publisher. People may not know this but almost every major, certainly in the fashion magazine, there’s always two covers. There’s the one that you see at the newsstand and there’s a completely different cover that’s sent to the subscribers. That allows the magazine to cut two deals with two separate fashion houses for featuring. It’s usually the same model, but it’s a whole different look. Knowing that that already occurs in different industries, and the heck, different colors for different cars appeal to different people.
I just wanted to help people, and because I can’t help them get healthy if I can’t get the product into their body, and therefore the first step is to feel connected to the brand and it’s speaking to you. By the way, I design all the packaging. I’ve taught myself package design, and all of the packaging is my homage to mother nature. This is a leaf, obviously a flower, and ENERGYbits is the little lake, the water. Mother nature is my mentor. People have asked me who do I look to for help and guidance, 100% of the time I say, “Mother Nature, she’s there for us.” [chuckles] Its a good analogy.
Ari: Catharine, thank you so much for your work. This was great. I suspect that a lot of people are going to go out and get some ENERGYbits®, and RECOVERYbits®. For the ladies the-
Ari: – BEAUTYbits®. Thank you so much, I look forward to talking to you again very soon.
Catharine: All right. Let’s stay in touch. All right, we’ll send you some more product too, including some BEAUTYbits®. [chuckles]
Ari: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
Catharine: All right. Bye.
The health benefits of algae (02:46)
The amazing health benefits of phycocyanin (found in Spirulina) (16:00)
How spirulina can support the immune system (32:57)
ENERGYbits and BEAUTYbits (38:00)
The amazing health benefits of Chlorella (42:35)
How to best source Chlorella and Spirulina (59:00)