Chlorella is a serious contender for the world’s most nutritious food. It’s a fresh-water algae with an unusually nutrient-dense combination of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. In fact, so health-giving is chlorella, that it’s now the most health popular supplement in Japan.
But what few are talking about, is the way in which chlorella is produced and brought to the market.
In the quest to produce cheap mass market products, have the majority of the world’s producers created something of dubious purity?
We talk to Phytality founder Mark Pages about why the brand has worked hard to solve this problem.
Most Chlorella is Grown in Open Ponds which Can Lead to Contamination
“The vast majority of chlorella that you’re going to find in supplements in your local health food store is grown in open concrete-lined ponds’ explains Mark Pages, MD of Phytality.‘
And the vast majority of these ponds are in China. So in these scenarios there is no way to control the ambient air, meaning if it is near any factories or industry this can blow right into the ponds, depending on whether the wind is blowing north, south, east or west,
In addition, the water sources which feed the ponds are often contaminated. Whether they’re fed by fresh water or bore holes, much of the water supply in China contains contaminants at a parts per million that you simply do not want in your body.
‘With Phytality, we are never going to produce an algae from an open pond for this very reason. We want to ensure there can be no contamination from the air or the water and, by this logic, open ponds are an extremely imperfect way to produce a health food. Instead, we use the more expensive method which is called a ‘bioreactor’. This is a large series of glass tubes where we can ensure that the algae is grown within a closed loop, thus ensuring the end result is clean and absolutely pure. We can then control the environment completely, ensuring the end product is second to none.’
What about Fermented Chlorella vs. Broken Cell Wall?
In our quest to make the best chlorella product on the market, ‘Mark Pages explains ‘we looked deeply into ways in which the fairly indigestible cell wall of the chlorella plant can be improved. Did you know chlorella has the hardest cell wall in the entire plant kingdom! Now the common way to do this is via puliverization or by using sound waves. While many producers would have you believe that this method is optimum, the fact is that cell walls are not designed to be mechanically ruptured, and especially where you have a cell with a high fatty acid lipid content, this opens up the lipids to oxidisation. So we quickly concluded that a careful fermentation was the optimum way to help release the goodness of chlorella whilst keeping the nutrients sealed in a single cellulose cell wall.
Do You Feel Your Chlorella Product is Better than Other Brands?
‘Well approximately 30% of the chlorella market is just straight chlorella, with an unbroken cell wall. These people are getting zero absorption of key nutrients.
Then approximately 65% is cracked cell wall which means users are getting potentially 20 to 30% access to the nutrients within the cell.
Perhaps 5% is what is called pulverised meaning there is a higher degree of nutrient bioavailability, but then it has an oxidised or degraded lipid profile.
As far as we know, we are one of the very few producers in the world producing fermented chlorella that comes from a closed loop bioreactor. We are offering close to 100% absorption of the key nutrients.
Can You Tell Us a Bit About How you Ferment the Chlorella?
Phytality use a process called heterotrophic fermentation. It is a process similar to brewing beer where you put in the Chlorella and you put in your nutrients and the chlorella absorbs those nutrients and starts growing, it is like a fermentation process, but you are using nutrients that support cell division. I'm confident this is the best way to produce chlorella of the highest quality.