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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #129 - Catharine Arnston

Catharine Arnston is an expert in algae nutrition, a wellness thought leader, and experienced entrepreneur, and sought after speaker. She has an MBA, BA Hons and is a Board Certified Health Coach.

Catherine's journey into the fascinating world of algae began in 2008 when her younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and advised by her oncologist that an alkaline diet would improve her healing. Catharine left her 25-year corporate career to help her sister identify which foods were alkaline and this led her to algae - the most alkaline, chlorophyll-rich, high-protein, nutrient-dense food in the world. When Catharine learned that algae's vast healing properties were documented in tends of thousands of scientific studies but that none of these studies or benefits were known outside of Asia, she knew she needed to do something. And so ENERGYbits was born.

Catharine has spent the last ten years researching algae, writing papers, giving presentations, lecturing at conferences, and speaking on 150+ podcasts to explain the benefits of algae. To do this, she read thousands of scientific papers that detailed, validated, and confirmed algae's nutritional, health, longevity, and global benefits. Remarkably none of these findings are known by consumers. It is Catharine's vision and passion to change this and while she is not a Ph.D., her scientific fluency allows her to explain algae with such simplicity and clarity, it quickly becomes obvious why algae is something we all urgently need.

Catharine's passion for algae is contagious, inspiring and thought-provoking. Her efforts have led to algae being better understood by educators, consumers, doctors and wellness practitioners. Even the United Nations and NASA endorse algae as the most nutrient-dense food in the world and the answer to world hunger. Catharine's extensive knowledge and playful personality is both entertaining and educating and her speaking style leaves audiences informed, uplifted, and hopeful. She looks forwards to doing the same for you.



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5:15 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Non-Toxic Beauty Products Tested For Heavy Metals, Which Support Skin Health And Look Amazing! Shop At Beautycounter.Com/MelanieAvalon For Something Magical! For Exclusive Offers And Discounts, And More On The Science Of Skincare, Get On Melanie's Private Beautycounter Email List At MelanieAvalon.Com/CleanBeauty! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
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8:45 - Catharine's Beginning's In Algae Research

11:40 - the popularity in asian countries

13:00 - what is algae?

14:45 - macro and micro algae

16:05 - nutrient density

17:35 - why algae is NOT a supplement

19:00 - the lack of oxalates and lectins

20:15 - which was first, spirulina or chlorella

gundry episode 

21:15 - why are spirulina and chlorella non-toxic when other algaes are?

24:45 - the debate on toxins in algae

26:05 - spirulina

26:30 - the protein and other nutrients in spirulina

32:20 - B12

33:25 - can it be a meal replacement?

34:45 BLUBLOX: Blue-light Blocking Glasses For Sleep, Stress, And Health! Go To BluBlox.com And Use The Code melanieavalon For 15% Off!

38:40 - Chlorella

39:45 - chlorophyll

41:55 - Hemoglobin

47:00 - Chelation

51:15 - Vitamin K2

52:55 - Chlorella's Binding Action

54:40 - pregnant and nursing moms

55:55 - accumulation of disease

pompa episode

57:15 - contamination and detox

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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #38 - Connie Zack
The Science Of Sauna: Heat Shock Proteins, Heart Health, Chronic Pain, Detox, Weight Loss, Immunity, Traditional Vs. Infrared, And More!

1:01:15 - immunological interaction and protection

1:08:35 - Is it safe for people with autoimmune?

1:13:05 - Energy Bits Production Standards

1:14:00 - the Quality of energy bits

1:15:05 - powder vs tablets

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Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, welcome back to the show. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I am about to have. It is about a topic that I have been fascinated by and experimented with for years now, and that is the topic of algae, specifically, chlorella and spirulina. And what's interesting about this whole world is being in like the holistic health world, you see discussion surrounding these supplements, and we could discuss if it's a supplement or a food. 

Catharine Arnston: It's definitely a food and I'll explain why. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, surrounding this food, there's a lot of discussion in it in the holistic health world. There's little bit of controversy, and there's a lot of potential amazing benefits but also skepticism. So, I have been dying for quite a while to dive deep into the science of what is going on here, and is this something that we should be integrating into our life? Like I said, it was a topic I wanted to cover anyways, and then, I was reached out to by the incredible team for Catharine Arnston, who runs a company that actually makes ENERGYbits, and they are these chlorella and spirulina- 

Catharine Arnston: Tablets. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: -tablets. Yeah. [laughs] So, I'm so excited, I have so many questions about all of this, I think listeners are really going to enjoy it and hopefully integrate it into their own life. So, Catharine, thank you so much for being here. 

Catharine Arnston: Yeah. Well, I'm sure your listeners are wondering, "Well, how do you become an algae expert?" I certainly didn't plan on this and I'm not sure if we were going to cover this. But I'm Canadian although I've lived in Boston, 33 years, and I have an MBA, and I was doing international business, and then 13 years ago, my younger sister in Canada who I'm very close to developed breast cancer. She's fine now, by the way, completely healed, and we celebrate her being cancer free every year, which is the best news. But her oncologist, when she was preparing for chemo recommended, she changed her diet to an alkaline diet. They didn't tell her what it was or why it was good for her. So, her first call was to me, her big sister who loves her. I didn't have any science background or any nutrition background because I'm an MBA. But I'm a very good researcher and I probably should have been a scientist. But anyways, I said, "Well, I don't know what this stuff is but I'll find out, and I did, and it was mostly a plant-based diet." 

So, she took my recommendations, and then I started reading about plant-based nutrition and found out how the power of plant-based foods which led me to algae, because I found out most people know they should eat more vegetables but they didn't have time, or it was too much work, or maybe their kids wouldn't eat them. So, I found algae by researching plant-based foods, which originally was to just help my sister get better. And then, I stumbled into, I was like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole because as you're going to find out algae, algae is going to save the world. Algae does everything and the only controversy that is on the internet or within discussions, because nobody has properly explained what algae does, how it works. It is strict biochemistry, it is strict nutrition, it is back to science. There are 100,000 studies. A 100,000. Not one, not 10, not a hundred, not a thousand, not even 10,000, a 100,000. That is the most studied food in the world. And it is food, we'll talk about that as well.  

So, it is completely science based, but the problem is, scientists like to talk to other scientists just like biohackers like to talk to other biohackers. So, the science of algae has not made its way out from the science community into the consumer, or biohacking, or practitioner community even, until, I came along. I regretted at first that I didn't have a science background, although I'm bigger, I've got like a peak equivalent of a PhD on algae now. But because I didn't come from science, I know where the hang ups are, the language not to use when you're speaking to consumers who know nothing about even how their body functions. So, I've been able to take the science, I can geek out with you and I will a bit today, but I could also make it very easy so people can understand. But the only controversy that exists is because nobody has helped you understand what algae is and why it works. Just so you know, it's a multibillion-dollar agricultural crop in Asia again, just to make sure you understand it's a food. It's no different than kale or broccoli. It's grown in freshwater and we'll talk about that in a minute.  

But it says, big as the beef industry is here in Asia. The only reason you don't know about algae yet, although, you will soon is because it's not grown here. So, you didn't grow up with it, you didn't see being transported on trucks on the way to get dried, it's not in your grocery stores. In Asia, especially, in Japan, they don't leave their house without taking chlorella algae. It is so normal to them. It's like water. They don't even know how to explain it to people. It's just so normal there. So, just like other foods like maybe kale, or CBD, or collagen, or quinoa, or matcha, there are foods in other parts of the world that have existed indigenously for centuries. In America, we weren't aware of them until some, usually an entrepreneur, who's ready to take a lot of beatings realized it was needed here too, and took it upon themselves to educate people. That's what I've done. The algae isn't new, it is just new to you. So, that being said, I'm ready to roll. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: I love all of that so much and you already touched on so many things I'd love to explore even further. So, I guess stepping back, can we paint just a broad picture of you? This is a very simple question, but I think it's really important of what is algae. So, macro algae, micro algae, the evolution, what is it? 

Catharine Arnston: You got it. Well, first of all, I want everybody to know that algae was the first life on earth. Not just the first food, the first life. This was three and a half billion years ago and they even have fossils to prove it and it was spirulina algae. Before spirulina algae, Earth was just water and gas. Nothing lived. I have no idea why spirulina which by the way is a bacteria started growing but it did. Algae releases oxygen when it's growing. It is responsible for 80% of the oxygen on Earth. Everyone thinks it's the Amazon rainforest. Nope, it's algae. So, after about a billion years of algae, spirulina algae growing chlorella algae, which does belong to the plant kingdom, spirulina is part of the bacterial kingdom, chlorella started growing and of course it's an algae, so it released oxygen as well. Eventually, more life forms started growing fast forward, two or three billion years later to humans showing up and whatever. We now have life as we know it, but algae is still here.  

Algae was the first one here. It doesn't get any lower on the food chain. Algae is everywhere. Algae is actually, its own food category because it is technically not a plant. If you have to call it something, it's a sea vegetable. But as you're going to learn our algae and all the spirulina and chlorella that you purchase is not grown in the sea. It's harvested as an agricultural crop in freshwater. It's called hydroponically. But anyways, algae is everywhere, it is its own food category. It generally breaks down into two main categories. One is called macro algae and the other one is micro algae. Macro algae, basically is that big stringy stuff that washes up on shore also known as seaweed, kelp, dulse. It's very high in fiber and very high in iodine. So, those are two good things. But virtually, zero nutrition. I buy kelp noodles from a company actually in San Diego. I laugh because the entire bag, which would be a meal for two people has, I think, 10 calories in it and zero nutrition. It's just fiber. That's not what we're talking about today.  

We're talking about micro algae, which is completely opposite. Spirulina has no fiber because it has no cellulose wall because it's bacteria. Chlorella has a teeny bit. So, complete opposite. Virtually, no fiber and loaded with nutrition. There is so much nutrition in algae. There is nothing else that is more nutrient dense. We have a quote from NASA that says, "One gram of algae, spirulina or chlorella has the same nutrition as thousand grams of fruits or vegetables." One to a thousand. Do you have any idea just mentally what that looks like and we sell our algae in tiny little tablets are about the size of a baby aspirin? I'm sorry, you don't have any visuals here. But there's so much nutrition in these tablets. One tablet has the same nutrition as an entire plate of vegetables. We also sell them on our website in bags of a thousand tablets. In one bag, I did the measurement using that quote from NASA. One bag of thousand tablets has the same nutrition equal to 551 pounds of vegetables. 

By the way, 551 pounds of vegetables you didn't have to carry home from the grocery store, clean, cook, or eat, and at $3 a pound which organic food is these days, it would have been $1,500. So, it's very efficient nutrition. So, micro algae is so tiny. It's called micro because it's microscopic and a million of these cells would fit on the head of a pin. That's how tiny it is and it's everywhere. It's in the lakes, the oceans, the rivers, the soil, your swimming pool, your aquarium, all of those algae that are in all those places are fine for the fish, and the whales, and the animals who eat them. They are toxic to humans. So, the only two algae that are harvested in large quantities as agricultural crops are the two we're going to talk about today, spirulina and chlorella. We're world renowned and we'll get maybe to some of this later on about for having the highest quality, safest, purest, because we do extra things to ensure that are nutrient density and is toxin free.  

But basically, if you go to Target, or Walmart, or even Whole Foods, the two algae that are sold everywhere are spirulina and chlorella, and they are all grown in freshwater. There's a huge misunderstanding that algae is a supplement. Supplements are made in factories with extracts from other things. Usually, artificial but there are some good companies out there making extracts from real food. But nonetheless, they're still made in factories with high heat, which of course, changes the nutritional profile, and those kinds of extracts don't exist in nature like that. We're from nature, our bodies are from nature, and food is from nature like algae. So, algae is far more bioavailable and more rapidly absorbed. I remind people, why do you think on your supplement's bottles, the numbers are so high like 10,000 IUs of vitamin C and 10,000 of this, and 12,000 of that? It's because your body only absorbs about 5% or 10% of what's in there because it doesn't exist like that in nature. So, it just doesn't recognize it and it can't absorb it.  

With algae, the numbers are lower, but it's efficient nutrition, because you get 99% of it. But it's very important that you understand that algae is food, it is just a dried type of vegetable, even though, it's technically a vegetable. And a little sidebar on that is, I was on Dr. Gundry's Podcast a few months ago, and he loves algae, because he also understands that algae offer you all the benefits of plants but none of the downsides. Those of you who know Dr. Gundry, he's very big on warning people about oxalates and lectins, which can be very damaging to your stomach lining and puncture holes in it which can lead to autoimmune. Well, guess what? Algae doesn't have lectins or oxalates. The reason why there's lectins and oxalates in plants is because plants are land-based organisms. Evolutionary, they develop these lectins and oxalates, which are basically poisons to deflect any predators, bugs, animals, or say they taste terrible when they are eaten, so the bugs and animals go away, and in humans they cause all kinds of other health and stomach issues.  

But algae started in the water. It didn't have to develop lectins and oxalates to protect itself. Because it's not a land crop. It's never been land crop. It never will be. [laughs] So, that's the evolution of algae. Its own category, really doesn't fit in anywhere else and each one, spirulina and chlorella are quite different from each other. They offer completely different benefits. We're going to get into that. They're taken at different times a day for different purposes. They aren't a plant although, they have plant like benefits and none of the plant like downsides and they're certainly not a supplement. 

Melanie Avalon: Do chlorella evolve from spirulina or did they evolve tangentially? 

Catharine Arnston: No, its own species.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, they're completely separate.  

Catharine Arnston: Yeah. Spirulina is a bacteria. No cellulose wall, which is one of the reasons why it gets absorbed so quickly. No nucleus. Chlorella, evolutionary, I mean, I guess, I'm going to back up probably everything evolved on Earth from spirulina. It is the original life on Earth. Evolutionarily, it did lead to chlorella but it was a billion years later, and different properties evolved, I'm not an evolution expert, but I do have a chart. If I find it one day, that shows the evolution of algae in life. It's just an evolution of life. But it all started in the water in the sea. But chlorella is completely different from spirulina. 

Melanie Avalon: I as well had Dr. Gundry on this show. So, for listeners, yeah, he's wonderful. I'll put a link in the show notes to that. So, a question. So, you were speaking about how all the other micro algae is actually toxic. Why is spirulina and chlorella not toxic? How do they protect themselves if the other algae have toxins? 

Catharine Arnston: Because algae absorb whatever is in the water. We all know that the ocean, and rivers, and lakes are toxic. That's why I caution people or I'm just going to educate you a little bit not necessarily caution you that maybe after our talk or they hear this, you might go on the internet and Google, blue-green algae. The spirulina is a blue-green algae and chlorella is a green algae. Maybe, you'll see something about toxic blue-green algae or science about micro toxins being found even in spirulina. And let me tell you, so, the toxic algae is from the ocean because that's where the toxins are. There aren't any toxins in spirulina or chlorella because they are harvested in freshwater. Ours in particular are carefully managed. I personally hand selected the company. We grow ours in Taiwan. So, the irony about the toxic algae blooms that you read about very often, particularly, in the summertime, poor algae gets the bum rap because algae only shows up. It is the cleanup crew. It only shows up when there's already toxins and bacteria, because algae kills bacteria. You probably don't know this but virtually, every single water treatment plant in North America, probably, the world uses algae.  

If you've ever noticed a slight green hue to your water, if you run your tap and you might see a little ring of green on a white plate because it's more visible that way. Guess what? That's algae. It's used globally and certainly in every single municipal water treatment plant in America because it kills bacteria. In fact, it's been used that way, especially, chlorophyll has been used that way for centuries because it kills bacteria. So, it shows up in the ocean when there's bacteria. Algae didn't create the bacteria, it's the cleanup crew to get rid of it. But it's the most visible part. You can't necessarily see the bacteria. If you'll notice, most of the blooms occur in the summer because there's more runoff from either agricultural or people not doing good things in the water, shall we say? So, there's more toxins that the algae need to clean up.  

Now there is some science, I've read like probably this point thousands of scientific articles, and there is one paper that did analysis of spirulina samples, but they used spirulina from Klamath Lake, which is where E3live grows their algae, and they found mycotoxins in the algae. Of course. Because they then subsequently tested the lake and found mycotoxins. There are no mycotoxins in our algae. I can't speak for any other algae company, but it took me two years to find a lab to test for these because it's a very specific test, and there aren't any in ours because of the cleanliness of the water that we grow it in. So, the reason why algae is toxic from other sources is because of the toxins that are already there in the water, whether it's the lake, the river, or the soil. But they're not in the water when it's harvested in freshwater and it's particularly not in ours, which is carefully harvested.  

Melanie Avalon: So, it's not about the species. It's about the environment. That's the controversy that I was referring to. There's this whole controversy surrounding the contamination, and then, there's a lot of debate, especially, when you go deep into the interwebs with people who have heavy metal toxicity, because on the one side, half of the people say that it's really great for chelating and detoxing heavy metals. But then, other people say that it might redistribute or actually introduce heavy metals. This question, I was seeing over and over, and I think it's the question a lot of people, especially, like I said with heavy metal toxicity worry about. So, how do these algae work with chelation and attaching the metals, and is there the potential for redistribution?  

Catharine Arnston: No is the answer. Well, no, as long as you take enough to get it pulled out. We do need to cover the difference between spirulina and chlorella, because spirulina is not a detoxing algae. It is cleansing but it is not a chelator. Only chlorella is a chelator. Only chlorella, okay? I'm hoping at one point, we will go into some greater detail about the difference between the two of them, because as I say and I'll say multiple times, they are completely different and you use them for completely different reasons at different times a day. 

Melanie Avalon: Would you like to do that first, so, then listeners--?  

Catharine Arnston: Yeah, why don't we do that because I'd rather have people understand what the two algae are so that you can put things in context. Okay. So, let's deal with spirulina first. It's a blue-green algae, and it's called a blue-green algae because there are two pigments. One, which you will never remember or pronounce correctly, is called phycocyanin. But I want to point it out because it's a beautiful jean blue color. I wish I had visuals to show you but trust me or if you have some, put it on a plate with some water and you'll see this gorgeous color. Now, it's a water-based pigment and that phycocyanin which if we have time, we'll dig into some deeper benefits but it has enormous health benefits. But in general, spirulina is used for energy, focus, and hunger. The reason for that is because spirulina algae has the highest concentration of protein in the world. First of all, it's 64% protein compared animal protein, which average is about 22%.  

Number two, all the protein is already in amino acid form. When you eat animal protein, your body has to break it down into aminos, which can take up to two or three days, and very often you don't have all the factors and cofactors, so you end up absorbing about 10% of it. So, if you ate 15 grams of chicken, you would probably on average absorb about five grams as amino acids. It's just the way, hence, you know, we maybe your Biohacking Community is more efficient because you have a better digestive process and all that good stuff. But on average, the average person gets only 10% as aminos. With spirulina, not only does it have the highest concentration of protein that is already in amino acids, and it's also a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids your body cannot make, and it has 18 of the 20. So, you get all the aminos highest concentration in the world and because spirulina does not have a cellulose wall, it's absorbed almost instantly.  

Now, if you've ever seen an energy drink, you'll see that it's always loaded with the B vitamins because Bs convert glucose into energy. So, you get the energy from the spirulina because you get all this rich protein that's absorbed almost 99% bioavailable, and all the Bs converted instantly into energy. Now, it's not lightning bolts from the sky kind of energy, and it's not jittery, because it's not sugar or caffeine, it's a very steady energy. You might not even notice it because it's very subtle. The best way I describe how you feel is you feel fresh. That's it. Nothing more dramatic than that, just very alert and fresh. It sounds pretty good to me. That's how I like to feel every day. But the other aspects of energy are brought to you from other attributes of spirulina. So, it's not just the high amino acids and the high B vitamins, spirulina is also a vasodilator, which means it opens up your blood vessels, so your blood can move faster and bring nutrition and oxygen to your body into your brain, which gives you energy.  

Spirulina also has a very high amount of iron, in fact, the highest amount in the world, and iron is what carries oxygen in your blood. So, that gives you energy. If you're oxygenated, you'll have more energy, mentally and physically. It has a lot of essential fatty acids, including omega-3, not a ton of omega-3, but it has another essential fatty acid called GLA which stands for gamma linoleic acid, which is technically an omega-6. Before you shutter me mentioning about omega-6, yes, omega-6 is we want to stay away from them in processed foods, because it's the heat. I keep coming back to the heat issue. That's a cause of so many of the problems because it scrambles the nutrients. When you have GLA, like our algae, most other algae companies use heat to dry their algae. We do not. We do not use high heat. So, our GLA is untouched and it behaves just like an omega-3, which means it reduces inflammation. Just so that you know how important this GLA is, which is an omega-6 and again you're probably not believing me, but wait until you hear what I have to tell you.  

The only place that has more GLA than spirulina is mother's breast milk. We all know that mother's breast milk is considered the perfect food. Now, why does a mother's breast milk has so much GLA? Because it builds the brain. The baby's brain doubles or triples in size within the first couple of years. It needs this important essential fatty acid for brain health. Now, none of us can get mother's breast milk after the age of two, unless maybe you live on some sort of island and who knows. Oh, I did see some sort of celebrity woman. She's feeding her five-year-old with breast milk but whatever. But in most of us we can't get it. So, spirulina is virtually, in fact, I even have a chart which we've send you, I did an analysis and I saw the amino profile of mother's breast milk and I thought, "Gosh, that looks awfully familiar." Sure enough, it's virtually identical to spirulina. Same aminos in the same proportions and don't let anyone else fool you. It's the proportions of the amino acids that are most critical. So, the fact that it's virtually identical to mother's breast milk was enough to convince me that this was very, very important, the spirulina.  

Let's not forget that Mother Nature created spirulina, and it was the first life on Earth, and since the profile is virtually same as mother's breast milk, I consider spirulina as Mother Earth's breast milk for us. It's crazy, it's that amazing. So, anyway, spirulina, very nourishing 40 vitamins and minerals, gives you energy mentally and physically as things like boron that helps with synapses and coordination. It has lots of other nutrients that overall couldn't be a replacement for supplements. It has so much protein, it can be a replacement for snacks, it can be a meal replacement. You could take 10 or 20, and for 20 calories or even 10, 10 would even would satisfy your hunger. I don't know anything else that you could eat for 10 calories with no sugar, no caffeine, no preservatives, no heat, nothing. Raw, vegan, keto, paleo [laughs] that satisfies your hunger for one calorie per tablet. So, for 10 calories, your hunger can be satisfied for a couple of hours and it is effortless. You just open your mouth and swallow a few, you're done, boom. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Quick question. So, it even has the B12? 

Catharine Arnston: Yes. Now, there are lots of discussions about whether this B12 is available or not and I'm not going to take a position on that, because I've read half of the science that says, it is available, and half of the science says, it isn't. Because those who don't know, B12 is created in our bodies by bacteria in our gut. It doesn't exist out in the universe as its own vitamin. But here's the thing, spirulina is a bacteria. We've had people tell us that their B12 levels have increased after taking it. So, I don't get on a pedestal and promote the B12 benefits of spirulina, because I will only talk about things I have NIH documented proven, substantially cross-referenced points, and I don't have an opinion yet on B12. It's in the spirulina, it's also in the chlorella. I don't know whether it's working or not. I'm just going to leave it at that. [giggles]  

Melanie Avalon: So, speaking about how it is a food and you just mentioned that in theory, it could be a meal replacement. With that super high saturation of all those nutrients, if we just ate spirulina and chlorella as our source of food, would it over saturate our body with nutrients?  

Catharine Arnston: No. Because it's what's called an adaptogen. You only absorb whatever you need. Again, this separates it from a supplement because supplements don't exist in nature. So, when you take a supplement, I please beg you not to take particularly. Do not take calcium or iron supplements. You take them and your body doesn't know what to do with them, so, it stores them, and you can easily get to a toxicity situation with either one of those two, because it doesn't exist like that by itself.  

But with algae because it is food and because it's an adaptogen, if you don't need it, you don't absorb it. It's that simple. I call algae intelligent food for actually two reasons. You have to be intelligent to take it and it knows what to do in your body. So, that's why I also consider it the safest food in the world. I call it your nutritional insurance. This way you are getting all the nutrients your body needs and by the way, they are the only two foods that you could live on that and mother's breast milk forever. I'm not encouraging you to but you could, because it is such a complete food. It gives you everything that you need. 

Melanie Avalon: That is really fascinating. Actually, speaking to the iron, what is the role of chlorophyll and how does it potentially affect our iron? 

Catharine Arnston: Well, that's a whole another topic. Can I get to chlorella first, because we haven't had a chance to? So, just want to circle back spirulina. Blue-green algae, technically bacteria, highest protein in the world, endorsed by United Nations for that reason. Back in 1974 they had a global conference and it endorsed spirulina algae as the answer to world hunger because it is the highest concentration of protein in the world and the most ecofriendly sustainable crop in the world. So, that was 47 years ago. [laughs] So, it's got high endorsements all around the world and it's going to probably, eventually change the world. But anyways, very great for nourishing, replacing supplements, great for the morning, intermittent fasting, afternoon slump, before your workout, it replaces your need for fuel for workouts, and you can take as much as you want as few as two or three tablets a day. We have NHL players that put 75 in their smoothie before a game. So, there's no upper limit because it's food. Okay, so that's spirulina. 

Back over to chlorella now. Chlorella is a green algae, spirulina is a blue-green. Chlorella has the hardest cell wall in the plant kingdom, spirulina has none. Chlorella has the highest concentration of chlorophyll in the world, spirulina has the highest protein in the world. Chlorella is known as a wellness algae. By the way, we call our spirulina ENERGYbits, because of the energy it gives you. So, we want to make it easy for people to understand what spirulina did. We also have a second brand of spirulina called BEAUTYbits, which because all that high protein and collagen build your skin and your hair. By the way, it has more collagen, builds more collagen, and has more protein than collagen powder does. You want to up level-- you're thinking collagen now, up level the algae and you'll get so many more benefits. So, for chlorella and the high chlorophyll, it has more chlorophyll than liquid chlorophyll. So, if you're taking liquid chlorophyll water, up level and get all the other 40 vitamins and minerals in chlorella.  

Chlorella is known as a wellness algae for a number of reasons. Number one, that high chlorophyll. Now, we get to talk about chlorophyll. What does chlorophyll do? Chlorophyll is a pigment, it is a very cleansing pigment. It's actually a fat-based pigment. The reason why that's important because all the health of your body starts at the cellular level, and the cell walls are part of that important chain of command for your health. They need to be permeable because you need to get nutrients into the cell and toxins to get out of the cell. The way you do that is with healthy fats. Now, because chlorophyll is a fat-based pigment, it helps heal the cell walls. The best analogy I've come up with people to help them understand this is, when you have dirty windows, you can't see out and sunlight can't get in. So, think of chlorophyll as window washers for your cell walls. It keeps everything working, so that those mitochondria inside the cells can get the nutrients that they need, and they can get rid of all the free radicals that are part of the metabolic process of generating ATP, and not get damaged, and not become acidic, and not lose oxygen. So, that's number one, heals your cell walls.  

Number two, we will send you some literature but you can also go online to find this. The chemical composition of chlorophyll is virtually identical to the chemical composition of your hemoglobin. There're 40 different bonds, and micro atoms, and they're absolutely identical. There's only one difference. In hemoglobin, you have iron in the middle and that's what carries oxygen in your blood. In chlorophyll, you have magnesium. Otherwise, they're absolutely identical. This is why chlorophyll has been used for centuries, whenever anyone is sick or has surgery, because it builds your blood as much as a blood transfusion. It is virtually exactly the same as your blood. By the way, a little side note, we see chlorophyll as green, right? It's the green pigment in plants. But when you put chlorophyll under a red light, it's red just like your blood. [laughs] We only see green because of the way it reflects.  

Another interesting side note is that, there's some science has been done about 10 or 15 years ago that showed that when you have chlorophyll and you expose your body to red light, either red light therapy or sunlight, it generates ATP at the part of what's called the mitochondria transport chain level at the very, very deep cellular level. It generates its own ATP. Because what it does is it recycles the CoQ10 molecule, which is part of that process. Pretty powerful stuff. So, chlorophyll is a goldmine for making you healthy. But here's the problem. If you're on a keto diet, you're probably not eating vegetables, you're not getting any chlorophyll. Or if you're vegan, even if you are eating vegetables, and nobody's eating enough vegetables. The CDC says that 97% of Americans are not getting the fiber which comes from vegetables. 97% are not getting their daily requirement of fiber. 97% are not getting enough vegetables. So, the 3% of you that are, bravo to you. But even if you are eating vegetables, here's the problem. Our soils are dead. [laughs] It is no other way to tell you. We have over cropped our soils to death. There are no nutrients, there are no minerals in our soils. So, the plants that are growing on our soil, it doesn't matter whether it's here, Costa Rica, Mexico, they are growing foods that don't have the same nutrition that they had 50 years ago, and they never will, well, unless you get into some regenerative farming.  

The other problem is, these crops are very often grown far, far away. So, they're harvested before they're even fully grown, which means the enzymes and nutrients haven't made their way out to the blossoms, or the fruits, or the leaves, or whatever it is that we're eating. So, you're getting fiber and you're getting calories but you're not getting nutrition. You could fill up whatever room you're sitting in with arugula and you wouldn't get half of what the amount of chlorophyll that's in probably 10 tablets of either one of the algae, particularly chlorella. Not even half. So, chlorella is your only choice or spirulina, but it has more chlorophyll because there's only one pigment is your sole last shot at getting chlorophyll. I'll tell you a few more things what chlorophyll does for you. It's called chlorella because it's got so much chlorophyll. Chlorella and chlorophyll, right? It is 500 times more chlorophyll than arugula, 25 times more chlorophyll than liquid chlorophyll, thousand times more chlorophyll than Chinese greens, and these numbers come from the Linus Pauling Institute. So, I don't make this stuff up. It's just it is what it is. So, chlorophyll is very healing. They even used it during World War II when they would run on blood transfusions for the injured. They would give them liquid chlorophyll because they would heal just as fast as if they'd had a blood transfusion.  

By the way, chlorophyll also kills bacteria. So, you can use it topically on injuries, or cuts, or whatever. A lot of functional medicine doctors are well aware of this. They know about chlorophyll, they know about both spirulina and chlorella, but unfortunately 99% of the rest of the world outside of Asia doesn't know about it. So, back to chlorella. Very healing because of the chlorophyll, heals the cell walls, heals your blood, it also has a little bit of fiber in it, which we're going to get to in a minute. It has a hard cell wall and that fiber feeds your gut biome. They need fiber to feed the bacteria so that'll release short chain fatty acids like butyrate to make sure you have a healthy gut, and of course, your mental state is so related to your gut health, thanks to the vagus nerve that communicates back and forth. So, when you heal your gut, you also are healing your brain at the same time. They've used chlorella for IBS and Crohn's disease for decades because of the chlorophyll being cleansing, the fiber heals the gut biome, and the third part, which is we're going to get to now is chlorella has the hardest cell wall in the plant kingdom.  

Spirulina has none, but the importance with chlorella, what contributes to being wellness algae is that, this is getting to a question you asked earlier, that hard cell wall attaches to toxins. It doesn't matter whether it's a heavy metal, lead, mercury, radiation, aluminum, or alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin. It detects lactic acid as a toxin, it detects mycotoxins or if you have fungus or Lyme, it pulls them out, and chelates them all the way out of your body. I urge people-- I encourage people, not urge but encourage you, not to use something like activated charcoal to remove toxins. Because here's the thing. Activated charcoal pulls out minerals. It pulls everything out. So, it pulls out the toxins and the good stuff like magnesium, potassium, calcium. Very often, you end up doing more harm than good because you deplete yourself of your important electrolytes when you do very often if you aren't careful when you're doing activated charcoal.  

But with algae, especially, chlorella which is a detoxing algae, it only pulls out the toxins. Again, I call it intelligent food because it knows which toxins to go after, it leaves all the good stuff and it has 40 vitamins and minerals. So, it's pulling out the bad stuff and introducing the good stuff. But here's the thing, chlorella, you can use chlorella for wellness. Even five or 10 tablets a day would give you the wellness benefits of boosting your immune system and boosting your blood. But if you're doing it for detox, you need to take the 20 or 30 tablets because if you don't, and this is probably where some of this controversy comes about whether it works or not. If you don't have enough chlorella to pull the toxins all the way out because it'll pull them out of the cells, and if there's not enough, it will not be able to chelate them all the way out of your body. There's a doctor by the name of Dr. Klinghardt, is German. He's based up in Seattle. He's running a wellness clinic for 30 years, and he's a huge proponent of chlorella. He says the same thing. Anyone who knows anything about chlorella knows that you need to take enough to do the deep proper detox. So, that's probably why some people are confused. You can take it just for the wellness benefits but if you want it for the detox benefits, you need to take enough of it.  

Let me just throw a few more nutrients at you that are in chlorella because it contributes to why it's a health and wellness algae. By the way, we call our chlorella RECOVERYbits. It's in a green bag because it's a green algae and spirulina is in a blue bag because it's a blue algae. Chlorella helps you recover from your day. It helps you recover from sports because it pulls out lactic acid. It recovers from drinking, because it pulls out alcohol. It recovers from any kind of health or toxicity of your day. By the way, the toxins aren't just outside and God knows there's enough of them. There's everything from pesticides, to glyphosate, to chemicals in our cosmetics and fumes from our carpet. We're in a toxic soup. Let's just face it. So, you need to be getting rid of those toxins because if you don't, they are going to cause silent damage. But if that wasn't bad enough, I learned recently that as I'm sure all of you know, your body is constantly regenerating itself, remodeling itself. Your bones, your skin, your stomach lining, your organs, everything is constantly changing. So, what you give your body on a daily basis affects which DNA are triggered or not triggered to help with that growth. It's either going to grow into a healthier version of you or an unhealthier version of you.  

But what I want you to understand is because there's all that growth going on, where do you think the old stuff goes? Every day, we have 30 trillion cells that die in our bodies, 30 trillion cells, that's a lot. If you don't get rid of dead cells, they are toxic, too. They attract bacteria, which causes acidity, which causes more bacteria that cause your cells to become less communicative, less oxygenated, and it becomes an opportunity for disease to take place. So, you got to get rid of the toxins inside and you also have to get rid of the toxins outside because dead cells are toxic. So, I remind people, we take a shower every day to clean our bodies on the outside. Well, taking chlorella every day is like giving your body a shower from the inside. You can't just do detox once a year, even once a month. This is a daily thing. I need people to understand that. Here's the great news. You might be taking chlorella for the detox benefits, but guess what? You also get all the chlorophyll, you get 60% protein, you get 40 other vitamins and minerals. You may never have to eat a vegetable again in your life because it gives you all the nutrients and none of the downsides of plants or vegetables, and Dr. Gundry will confirm that.  

I used to eat vegetables all the time. But after three or four days, my arugula would go yellow, my broccoli would go limp, and you know what? I hardly buy them anymore. So, it saves you money and it saves you time because you don't cook, clean, or eat the darn things, and it never goes bad. We put a three-year expiry date on our products, so we have to according to FDA, and it's always three years. But algae, you could have it for 10 or 20. It never goes bad. It's the strangest type of plant in the world that never dies. When the growing conditions deteriorate, it just goes dormant until they return. It's fascinating. But chlorella has also the highest RNA and DNA in the world, they used to think sardines did. Nope, it is chlorella. It has the highest tryptophan in the world. Some people think it's turkey. Nope, it's chlorella. It has something called chlorella growth factor which speeds up the growth of your cells. You know anything about biofuel?  

It was always with chlorella, because it's the fastest growing organism in the world and it helps your cells to grow faster as well, healthy cells, by the way. It has something called vitamin K2, which most people may or may not know about. K2 clears out excess calcium from soft tissue like your blood vessels and moves it into your bones where it should be, the calcium should be in your bones. If you have too much calcium in your blood vessels, this is what's it causes the blood vessels to harden, also known as arteriosclerosis. It's the calcium that's hardening. You know what kidney stones are? It's calcium. Calcium also damages your elastin and your collagen, so your skin collapses and you get wrinkles. K2 prevents all that. But the trouble is virtually everybody is short of K2 and the only sources are grass-fed animal protein or algae. From a food source, you can buy them as supplements, but they're not the same. So, having chlorella is like having a doctor in the house every day looking after you. So, we generally recommend people take the chlorella at night because your body goes through a detox and cleanse cycle and repair cycle while you're sleeping.  

So, if you have chlorella in your bloodstream while you're sleeping, your detox and your DNA repair, everything's going to be more efficient, better. It also stimulates peristalsis, also known as bowel movements, and that's a very important part of health. So, you'll have a nice trip to the bathroom in the morning when you wake up. As far as I'm concerned, everybody in the entire universe should be taking chlorella every single day. Spirulina in the morning, chlorella at night. But you can take either one of them, together, alone in any quantity with food, instead of food forever and you should. It replaces so many things. Spirulina will replace your need for most supplements, chlorella will replace your need for vegetables and keep you out of the hospital. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Well, that is all incredible, especially, the K2 thing because that's just one of the nutrients like chlorophyll that it just so hard to find in other food sources. I'm a huge fan of Dr. Klinghardt, like major fan. One more last question about the heavy metals and the chelation, and the redistribution just because I've just been in so many rabbit holes about this. So, does chlorella, when it attaches to heavy metals, does it ever drop those metals? 

Catharine Arnston: No, no. As long as you have enough, like I say, you need about 20, probably, a minimum of 20 tablets, will do the detox of the metals. Here's the thing. Your blood because it's liquid detoxes in an hour and a half. That's why if you take-- You're welcome to take an experiment. It works every single time. If you have any kind of alcohol, wine, beer, spirits whatever, you are sober in an hour and a half. It takes an hour and a half to cleanse your blood. Your cells are made of denser material. So, they take an average about seven days, sometimes, 10 to detox. Your organs can take up to anywhere from three to six months to detox because it's the density of the cells. So, people ask, "Well, what if I'm pregnant and will the baby get the toxins?" No, you and the baby are a unit and it doesn't deposit toxins from you into the baby. It pulls toxins out of the baby at the same time they're pulling it out of you. Even after you have had your baby and you're breastfeeding, chlorella has been shown to keep nipples healthy, free of bacteria.  

Spirulina is really great for pregnant and nursing moms as well because of A, you get tired when you're pregnant and nursing, but B of the nutrient density, and it's got that extra GLA. If you want your baby to have the healthiest brain in the world, you want to be taking spirulina while you're pregnant because start getting that GLA into the baby before they're even born. It's a fascinating topic and we have to get rid of toxins. There's lots of other companies out there that offer I'm sure company supplementary ways to do that. Dr. Pompa has a product called CytoDetox. I don't know exactly how it works, but I'm a big believer in Dr. Pompa. His name is Dr. Dan Pompa and I've been on his podcast, and I've known him for seven or eight years. Lots of really great people and there's lots of things that you can do. The only thing I'm cautious of is that is the activated charcoal because sometimes when you don't know enough about something you can do is more harm than good. I'm very bullish on coffee enemas.  

By the way, I've tried everything virtually. So, I don't just talk about stuff. I experiment myself. So, colon cleanses, I've done it all. So, it's all part of making sure that your body is performing optimally, you're giving it its best shot, it will heal if you get out of the way. But lots of times, illness doesn't just show up one day. It accumulates slowly and quietly over years, decades, and then, suddenly the symptoms become so significant. You suddenly start noticing them. That's when people panic and they want to unravel it like tomorrow. Well, it didn't take one day to manifest. It is not going to take one day to correct. So, it's one of these things that you have to do just like working out. If you have six pack abs, you can't just them that you have to go and do it and will take probably four or six months before something really significantly starts to show up.  

Your nutrition and your health is the same way you've got to-- if you fall down and lots of us do, and I'm not perfect either, you have to realize it's the daily things that you do. That's why I like algae so much is because it's effortless. It is science based. It works. You don't have to buy expensive equipment to improve your longevity, your beauty, your digestion, your sleep. It is the best hack in the world and it's a gift to us for Mother Nature and it works. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: So, I've also had Dr. Pompa on the show. We're like an exact same world. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes as well. So would that imply that even if the chlorella was contaminated, if it doesn't drop the contaminants. 

Catharine Arnston: Yeah. So, the toxins, once it pulls them out of your cells or your organs, and it's circulating through your blood, and while they're circulating, you might have some detox symptoms like headaches or stomach distress, not significant, but pulling toxins out is not a pleasant thing. We've worked with biological dentists who use chlorella to pull out mercury when they're taking fillings out from their patients. They take the chlorella because of the fumes, they give it to their patients as well. So, while the toxins are circulating in your blood, you might have some discomfort, and then, you generally eliminate it through bowel movements, urination, breathing, and sweating. That's why, again, I refer to algae as an adaptogen because it facilitates your body's need and desire to be healthy, and achieve homeostasis.  

Remember I said at the very beginning. I'm not a scientist. I've taught myself as much as I can to understand the body biology, and why the nutrients in chlorella and spirulina meet the needs. But I can't give you a biological step by step process because I don't have a PhD in biology. I can't go any further on my explanation than what I've done because I don't know it. If I have the time, unfortunately, I run a company and we're expanding really rapidly. I'm sure I could find the answer for you, but I don't have time right now to do that. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: It sounds like the analogy, the algae analogy I would make is, if you are cleaning up a dusty room, and you bring in a clean rag, and you're cleaning up the dust, you're moving it around, and it's going to be more present and everything, but you're ultimately cleaning it up compared to you could also bring in a dirty rag and clean it up. But you also in the process brought in you know toxins with that dirty rag. Maybe that's the difference between contaminated algae versus a non-contaminated algae and the detox process. I don't know. I'm just-- 

Catharine Arnston: I'm sure if I really can work with that analogy. First of all, swishing around and causing a room to be more dusty, algae doesn't do that. It locks in on a toxin and attaches itself. It's no different than what happens with the COVID virus that locks into your cell and stays there. It doesn't swish around. It just stays there. The unfortunate thing, the COVID virus enters your cell and uses your DNA to replicate itself, but it doesn't swish around. It goes there, it identifies it, and attaches in it, and it stays there. Chlorella does the same thing. It identifies the toxin, it attaches to it, and then it pulls it out. 

Melanie Avalon: So, you did mention a lot about the immune system. How does it affect the immune system and is there the potential for allergies, or autoimmune reactions, or what happens with all of that? 

Catharine Arnston: I'll step back a little bit because a lot of people don't even know how the immune system works. So, I've come up with my own definition. The immune system has two components. One, I call the visible part of your immune system, and one, the invisible. So, what's the visible? Part that you can see, you can point to it, you can go open a medical book, and you can see it and first part is like your early warning, is like your alarm system at your house. So, it identifies when there's an invader of any kind. Pathogen, virus, doesn't really matter. And those parts of your immune system are your skin, your nose, your throat, your lungs. So, that's where invaders like the COVID virus enter. But it's the same way for any invader, period. So, this is what triggers your immune system, it says, "Oops, somebody in here that shouldn't be here." It's your home alarm system, okay, that's number one.  

Number two is the second part, which would if you make the house analogy, that would be the police. Once the alarms have been triggered, it may be connected directly to the police force and they come and take your invader in your house out. They tie them up or do whatever they need to do, and they get rid of them. So, that part in your body, you cannot see because what they are, are cells that are made in your gut. Now, 70% to 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Now, these cells are things called T cells, B cells, killer cells, macrophages, or white blood cells. Once they have been alerted that there is a invader, these cells are created by your body, by your immune system to find the invader, kill it, remove it, and remember it. That's what a vaccine does. It triggers this so that, it all happens. So, that's the two components to your immune system.  

All right, now that you have that as the background, let's talk about how algae facilitate both of them. The first part is the invader that comes into your body. Well, let's take the COVID, since it's still quite present. So, we've all seen pictures of the COVID virus. It's got that round circular thing with the prongs that stick out, and those prongs are what attach to your cells so they can enter your cell and use your DNA to replicate it, because it's just an RNA. So, here's the cool thing. Spirulina, remember, I talked about that blue pigment called phycocyanin. By the way, I am only sharing with you the science that is existing. Some of this is on our website, but it's also available-- COVID stuff is all on our website. So, if you have any question, you can just read the science. I'm just telling you what the scientists have discovered. It's not my opinion. It's just what the scientists have discovered. What they've discovered is that phycocyanin, that blue pigment that is in spirulina acts as a shield. It stops the COVID virus from entering your cells. How does it do that? For whatever reason, phycocyanin sits on top of what's called the ACE2 receptor cells.  

These are the cells that the COVID virus, this is how the COVID virus enters your body is through these ACE2 receptor cells, which are predominantly in your nose, your lungs, and your throat. That's where the virus gets in. Because the phycocyanin sits on top of those cells, it's a shield. So, the virus can't get in and it just washes out. It's like when someone takes your parking spot, somebody is already there, no room for you. That's what phycocyanin does. So, that's pretty cool. In fact, just to further validate that the University of Pittsburgh's pharmacology department has developed a nose vaccine, nose spray vaccine using algae. I'm pretty sure, it's using this phycocyanin and because of what it does. So, phycocyanin and spirulina are one way proven to prevent the virus from getting in your body. So, that's pretty cool.  

So, let's say, you already got the virus or you got any kind of pathogen or whatever, and now, it's in your system, the way to either reduce symptoms, whether it's just your average cold, or the COVID virus, or anything. You need to be sure that that second part that I talked about which is the invisible part that makes all the cells, the B cells, T cells, killer cells, you need to be sure that it can spring to action and do its best for you because your body does want to protect you. But here's the thing. Your body and your immune system cannot make those T cells, B cells, killer cells, macrophages for you out of air. It needs nutrients. So, algae have all the nutrients that your body needs to create all those cells. There're about 12 that includes things like vitamin A, B6, B9, B12, vitamin D, E, iron, zinc, copper, I'm reading a list, essential fatty acids, amino acids, chlorophyll, they do different things like build antibodies, and reduce inflammation, and boost T cells.  

So, the analogy I make for people is, when you have a dinner party, what's the first thing you do other than cleaning up, of course? You go grocery shopping, because without any food, you don't have an entrĂ©e, you don't have a dessert, nothing. You don't have a dinner party. Well, if you don't give your body and your immune system the food that it needs to defend you, you don't have a strong immune system. You can't protect yourself as well as you should be able to. That's why people who are dying from COVID or in general, tend to have a weakened immune system because they already have a preexisting condition, or they have diabetes, or they're obese. I can promise you, they're not eating well, and they don't have the nutrients that their immune system needs. So, you don't have to go out and buy a thousand different nutrients, you don't have to go out and buy thousand different foods. It's all in the algae. So, if you have a strong immune system, it will protect you and it will also preserve your health in so many other ways, which will ensure longevity, brain health, and gut health, and lots of other things.  

So, whether it's protecting you from getting a virus, or a cold, or once you have it, or stuff comes through our bodies all the time, and we don't get sick because your immune system is functioning optimally. You don't even notice it. It is like cancer. We all have cancer cells in our bodies at all times. Cancer cells are just cells that are not healthy. If you have a strong immune system, it identifies when the cell is unhealthy and it will either go correct the cell or kill it. Now, autophagy is or the cell will kill itself because it knows it's unhealthy. But if you don't have a strong immune system because you don't have the nutrients that it needs to defend you, this is when these cancer cells or other viruses, bacteria grab hold and start to grow, and can eventually, first it starts with inflammation, and then fatigue, and it can evolve into a more serious illness. So, algae is the most effortless, at least ours is, effortless, safe, pure, simple way to nourish your immune system so it can protect you.  

Melanie Avalon: Now, that's absolutely incredible. Do people ever have-- especially, people have like autoimmune conditions or supersensitive reactions to things, do people tolerate them pretty well? 

Catharine Arnston: Well, spirulina has been used forever. Literally, the Egyptians used these to wrap themselves in it. It is so safe and easily absorbed because again, it doesn't have a cellulose wall. Remember, Japanese give it to the newborns if they can't digest mother's breast milk. So, full on spirulina can be used by newborns, children, pets, teenagers, granddad's, everybody. No interactions, no autoimmune issues, zero. Chlorella, because it's an immune builder two things and pulls out toxins. If you are on any kind of medication, lots of times there're metals in medications, I don't have any science about this, but I just always err on caution. I would just encourage people to take the chlorella two hours before or two hours after your medication. I don't know whether it will interfere with your medication but just to be sure, that's what we recommend because the chlorella as I mentioned takes about an hour and a half to get fully absorbed. Because of that hard cell wall. Spirulina gets absorbed within seconds or minutes, but it's not a detoxing. So, that's one thing.  

The other thing, I know, there's also discussion because chlorella builds your immune system, spirulina does a little bit, but it's really chlorella that's the immune health algae. There're so many people with autoimmune. We've had tons of customers tell us that it's helped them. Because autoimmune manifests in different ways. For some people, skin issues, other people it's arthritis, other people it's inflammation, it attacks really where the weakest part of your body is. But as you probably have learned because you interviewed Dr. Gundry, a lot of autoimmune is a result of your gut lining being punctured by things like lectins and oxalates, and food getting into your bloodstream and your blood, and that shouldn't be there, so your body starts attacking itself. Because algae help restore homeostasis to your body and it helps heal the gut wall, I have yet to have anyone tell me that it has not helped them, put it that way.  

I haven't seen any specific science saying you should not have chlorella for autoimmune. My suggestion is, if you have autoimmune and you're concerned rather than buying a big bag of thousand tablets on our website, go to Amazon, buy a $5 single pack of 30 tablets, try it out, see how you feel. Of course, one packet won't last too long but it's more affordable. But I have not yet found anybody who didn’t have any improvements from it. So, I'm pretty bullish on it being helpful for autoimmune, but the thing is everybody is different. So, you have to experiment. Anytime, anyone tells you that it works 100% of the time, where everybody is not telling you the truth.  

Melanie Avalon: Run away. [giggles]  

Catharine Arnston: Yeah, fast. It's experimental. But the only thing I can assure you is that, algae has both spirulina and chlorella, have been used for 75 years safely. The Japanese do not leave their house without chlorella every single day. Japanese have the lowest cancer rates, the lowest obesity rates, the best longevity rates, and the best skin and hair. They take chlorella every single day. They do other things like they walk every day, and your strong community and blah, blah, blah, but they take chlorella every single day and have since the 50s. If you want to mimic a healthy community, I would start mimicking them. [laughs] Because they've got it figured out. If chlorella is part of the formula that works, then, I'm all in. And also, I've taken chlorella every single day for the last 11 years. I don't want to tell you how much I take. It's a main food for me. I couldn't live without it. Couldn't live without it. I am the poster child for chlorella. I take spirulina too, but not as much, but I take a lot of chlorella. And I feel great, I have great digestion, great elimination, and my skin is clear, no wrinkles, nobody can ever guess my age. This stuff works. I just want the same benefits for everybody else. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm like you. I'm definitely the type that when I'm having it. I'm assuming you have a good amount, [giggles] which is what I do as well. So, you touched on this all throughout the interview, but could you just tell listeners, the production methods that you go through. 

Catharine Arnston: Yeah, sure. So, algae as I mentioned is grown in freshwater. Number one is, I mentioned also that algae absorb whatever's in the water. So, we grow ours in Taiwan, which is world renowned for having highest-quality standards for growing algae, and also India starting to come along as well. But do not buy any algae from China. I would never throw our algae in China and I would caution you because they just don't have the same standards, they're not always telling the complete truth. So, just be careful there. But our water is triple filtered spring mountain water. So, number one, it's clean, super clean, and it's tested every day. Number two, I can't speak for other algae companies, but most of the other algae companies are low priced, high volume. You can target Walmart, you can get spirulina tablets probably for $10. But I can assure you, there's other stuff in there that is just filler. So, you're not getting the high-quality like you would for us we don't use any binders.  

But more importantly, because we are not a high-volume company, we don't need to get to market quickly like they do. They use heat to dry their algae because they need to get it out there faster. We don't use high heat to dry our algae. So, all of the enzymes that are algae are preserved because we don't use high heat. So, it's a raw food. That means it is easier for your body to recognize and to absorb. So, that's number two. Clean water and no heat to dry it.  

Number three is, we don't use as I mentioned, binders or fillers of any kind. What happens is, we grow it, it takes about a month to six weeks to grow, then it's air dried, and then it's just pressed into these little tablets sort of visualize if you can like a bunch of muffin tins, and they just press the algae into these tiny little tablets about the size of baby aspirin. Other companies often use binders. Be careful of anything that's in a gel cap because there're usually lots of other stuff in there. You can buy it as a powder. But we're a small company, I didn't have enough inventory or money for inventory, I've powder and tablets. Powder's just messy. You can't travel with powder, you can't avoid the flavor of spirulina in powder, it just is what it is. With the tablets, you can grind them up and make them into powder if you want. You can swallow them and when you swallow them you never taste anything. So, if you do not like the flavor of spirulina and most don't, I will say that, chlorella is better, it's drier, and when you eat it with nuts or something, it's actually quite good, but you can swallow it. There is no repeat. I tried for years like fish oil and it just didn't work for me because I would be burping up fish oil for the rest of the day. Never happens with spirulina or chlorella. So, the tablets are the next step from drying it into powder because we don’t have any binders, very clean, very pure.  

Now, there's an extra step with chlorella, which as I mentioned has the hard cell wall, which has to be cracked in production, so, your body wouldn't absorb the nutrients. It still attached to toxins but you wouldn't get the nutrients. Almost everybody uses the original technique, which is to tumble the glass that chlorella with glass beads. Unfortunately, glass heats up and lead from the glass leaks into the chlorella, so, now, you've got contaminated chlorella. I'm very grateful to the company that started the entire chlorella movement, Sun Chlorella based in Japan, 40, 50 years old or longer, and they patented their technique and almost everybody in the industry uses it, which is this glass tumbling technique I said. When I started the company and I heard that there could be lead in the chlorella, so, it is not going to work for us. So, I found a new technique, which was just coming out and that's what we use. We pass our chlorella through a sound chamber and it's the vibrations that crack the chlorella. So, there's absolutely no heat, definitely no lead. Someone said, "Oh, good vibrations in your chlorella." [laughs] That's just another indication of the extra effort I go to and that we go through to make sure that our algae is clean, and pure, and safe.  

Now, the other thing is, we get all these lab tests from the companies that grow for us, but we sell our algae not through CVS or lots of these no retail chains. Only through doctors, functional medicine, chiropractors, longevity centers, bio hack centers, spas, and they need to see the science, and they need to see third party lab tests done here in the United States. Not from some foreign countries. So, I think we're the only company that does third party lab tests here in the United States. We also test for mycotoxins and we make those tests available to the docs because if they're going to recommend and subscribe basically our algae to their patients, they need to be 100% sure, that it's safe, toxin free, and that the nutrients are exactly what we say they are. So that should give you some assurance, again, that it's safe and pure, and good for you, and good for your children, your pets who are like family members, etc.  

Then, on top of that, we do all the packaging here at an FDA approved facility. The packaging is all sustainable. It's paper, we have canisters made of cardboard, of course, algae is the most sustainable crop in the world anyways. The bags, what's called UV protected. So, they protect the sunlight, 99.9% sunlight from getting into the bag. Other companies, who might put them in bottles, even if they're amber color. If the light gets into the chlorella, it pulls out the chlorophyll. The rest of the nutrients are still there, but you're missing the chlorophyll. So, our packaging protects that and as I said, they even though with average three-year expiry date, they never go bad. We have [unintelligible [01:07:21] who buy 20 or 50 bags and I think the world's falling apart, so they could live on the algae forever. [laughs]  

One day when we're bigger and we have a foundation, we'll donate this to disaster areas, they can airlift it anywhere, and it could last for years. So, we have very big plans to make a big difference in the world once we're bigger and more accomplished, and I also plan to grow it here ourselves. But that's going to take a lot of money and we're bootstrapped. So, I've turned down venture capital because I wanted to be sure we could control our own destiny. But when we're bigger, we're going to do a lot of great things and donate the algae to schools, and nursing homes, and all that sort of stuff. Because algae will change the world, and it just needs to be understood better, and that's what we've tried to do. I design everything. So, I made the packaging welcoming, and attractive so that you felt happy and comforted when you buy it because once you get the algae in your body, it knows what to do. "I just have to get it into your body."  

Between the quality of the agriculture and the packaging, which is hopefully encouraging and welcoming. And the science, so, I'm the only company and I'm the only person in the entire country that's educating people about algae. I'm the Chief Scientific Officer. I spend all my weekends doing research, writing papers, I have been published, I was on 150 podcast last year, I just need to get the word out, so that you can catch up to what the Asians already know and have known for 75 years as once more and more people understand how easy it is to be health, you won't need medications, you won't get obesity, you won't get diabetes, you won't have heart attacks, you won't have cancer. Your body will protect you but it needs some help. It needs the nutrients. We can't do everything for you. You still need to exercise, and get good sleep, and meditate, and be loved. But we can cover the nutritional piece for you slam dunk, no question. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: So, for listeners, I bet they're super, super excited about trying it for themselves. I'm so grateful because you actually have a code just for our audience. So, listeners, your website is energybits.com and you can use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON to get 20% off which is absolutely amazing. I am just so grateful for that. And Catharine, I'm so grateful for everything that you're doing. It's absolutely amazing. Just listening to everything that you said, it's shocking the potential benefits this can have for everybody. 

Catharine Arnston: When you go to the website, I'm sorry for interrupting, just so you know what you're buying. Remember I said, ENERGYbits and BEAUTYbits are both spirulina. They're exactly the same. I only have the second brand because women, they weren't relating to ENERGYbits, and I started this because of my sister. So, I want women to feel comfortable. But they are identical. Someone said, you got a boy spirulina, girl spirulina. But those are the two spirulina. The chlorella is called RECOVERYbits and it's in a green package, because it's green bag and helps you recover your health. We have a fourth brand which is called VITALITYbits, which is a blend of the two algae. If you can buy them separately, that's what I encourage you to do because spirulina is the only one that will give you energy and satisfy your hunger. So, generally, you want energy, and focus, and your hunger satisfied in the morning, in the afternoon, maybe as a meal or before a workout, so, that gives you more of that, because that's what it does. Then, the chlorella is the one that builds your immune system and pulls out toxins, and you definitely want that before you go to bed. And also, after workout, so, it pulls out lactic acid or after drinking, so it pulls out alcohol. But if you can't buy them separately. The VITALITYbits is a good option because you get the benefits of both of them.  

The other thing I'd like to say is that, we've bags of a thousand tablets or boxes, which have single pouches in them but they're $120. I don't want to have sticker shock the 20% discount code MELANIEAVALON brings it down to $96. But before you gasp at the cost of that, consider this. Using that quote from NASA that one gram of algae has a nutrition of a thousand grams of fruits and vegetables, I calculated that each bag of our thousand tablets has the equivalent of 551 pounds of vegetables. Now, $3 a pound that would have been at least over $1,500. So, now, you're not getting the fiber, but you're getting the nutrition of 551 pounds of vegetables. And that's 581 pounds. You didn't have to carry home from the grocery store, shove into your fridge, clean, cook, eat, or beg your children or husbands to eat. So, it's efficient nutrition.  

You can travel anywhere. I don't know anybody can throw a bunch of broccolis in their carryon bag, but you can sure carry some spirulina or chlorella tablets with you on the plane with checking bag in the single servings or even the big bags. But even still, if that's still too much for you to receive, you can buy them on Amazon in single pouches for $5 each. So, try them out, see if you like them, and then come back to the website energybits.com and use the MELANIEAVALON for 20% off. Also come and visit us. We're very active on social, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Our handle is @energybits and we have a second handle on Instagram @beautybits. It's very girly, very pink. So, it's @beautybits for that one. Visit it. We do a fantastic blog every month, lots of research, all science referenced, you'll learn tons on our blog, which is access through the website energybits.com. So, we're doing our best to help you understand this, use it, and enjoy the same benefits that other countries in other parts of the world have been enjoying for decades. I just tell people it's your turn now. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you so much, Catharine. This has been absolutely amazing and I'm just so grateful for everything that you're doing. The last question that I ask every single guest on this show relates to all of that and it's just because I realized more and more each day how important mindset is. So, what is something that you're grateful for? 

Catharine Arnston: Algae. It truly gave me a purpose. This is exactly what I was placed on Earth for and I am so lucky that I found my path. I know what it's like to search for your path and to search for your purpose, and I found my purpose, and it brings me so much joy every single day, and I've done this now for 12 years, and there's at least another 12 to come, and I couldn't be happier. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, I love that so much. Again, for listeners, the show notes for this show will be at melanieavalon.com/algae. I know we talked about a lot. So, there will be a full transcript there. We'll put links to everything that we talked about and the code MELANIEAVALON, again will get you 20% off. Thank you so much, Catharine. This is amazing. I look forward to all of your future endeavors with everything. This has been incredible. 

Catharine Arnston: Well, thank you for everything that you do, Melanie. It's terrific. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Thanks. Bye. 

Catharine Arnston: Bye. 

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