"In blue-green algae we find three and one-half billion years of life on this planet encoded in their nucleic acids (RNA/DNA). At the same time, all microalgae supply that fresh burst of primal essence that manifested when life was in its birthing stages. At a moment in history when the survival of the human species is in jeopardy, many people have begun instinctively to turn to these original life forms for nutritional support."
Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods, 1993
Eleven areas of research are reviewed, ranging from algae's ability to enhance brain function to issues of safety. A few common components found within microalgae, such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and amino acids, are significant across a range of topics.
Perhaps one of the reasons microalgal nutrients appear to work in so many areas is that nature is conservative in its designs. Solutions that work are retained. For example, chlorophyll, an "invention" that allows organisms to capture sunlight and produce sugars, first appeared in blue-green microalgae billions of years ago and is now used as a survival strategy by all higher plants. Animals in turn depend upon chlorophyll-containing plants, directly or indirectly, as a food source.
Ancient organic molecules
These kinds of threads are repeated countless times throughout nature. Ancient organic molecules, such as amino acids, which were found in blue-green microalgae at the dawn of life, now act as basic building blocks for all of earth?s creatures. Potent antioxidants (e.g., beta-carotene or glutathione) that originated in primitive microalgae are conserved and widely used across nature. Likewise, essential fatty acids (EFAs) are critical structural components of cell membranes and play a foundational role in our brain chemistry. Microalgae are the primary source of EFAs in the food chain! In short, microalgae at the bottom of the food chain provide an ancient biomolecular pharmacopoeia upon which most of cellular life now depends.