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Phytoplankton: Superfood Of The Sea with Mark Pages (EP#212)

Phytality founder Mark Pages, joins Mason for an illuminating conversation around the profound health promoting benefits of marine phytoplankton and other plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 

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Phytality founder Mark Pages, joins Mason for an illuminating conversation around the profound health promoting benefits of marine phytoplankton and other plant based sources of omega-3. The pair discuss the history and resurgence of marine phytoplankton as a life giving superfood, its primordial origins, and its potential as a sustainable dietary replacement for other more commercialised, processed and anti-environment sources such as those derived from fish and krill oils.

Mark and Mason cover the controversy surrounding marine phytoplankton and the importance of ensuring its purity and quality. Mark breaks down the manufacturing processes used at Phytality to ensure the finished product is both highly bioavailable and nutritionally rich. Emphasizing the vital need for a balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, especially when aiming to reduce inflammation and support cardiovascular health. Mark draws our attention to the potential risks of consuming excess dietary omega-6, highlighting the importance of mindful choices for overall well-being.

The antioxidant properties of phytoplankton are also spoken to, particularly the benefits of zeaxanthin and lutein, and their impact on eye health. With an overall emphasis on the necessity for high-quality, bioavailable sources of omega-3 in the daily diet.

An incredibly informative chat today.

Imagine of green seaweed.

"I hate to say, because I'm a big fan of wild food and wild harvesting on the land where there's a different set of dynamics, but in the ocean, we really need to watch out when it comes to just consuming any type of phytoplankton or seaweed".
- Mark Pages

Mark & Mason discuss:

  • The history and resurgence of marine phytoplankton as a superfood.
  • The primordial origins of marine phytoplankton.
  • The health benefits of marine phytoplankton.
  • The importance of purity and quality when sourcing phytoplankton.
  • Phytoplankton, plant protein & nutrient bioavailability.
  • The importance of maintaining a balanced omega-3 to omega-6 ratio when consuming omega rich foods. 


Who is Mark Pages ?

Mark Pages is a seasoned serial entrepreneur who embarked on his entrepreneurial journey in his early 20s. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Mark's career took off when he became a co-owner of a cutting-edge clean printing technology business that specialised in laser and thermal technology at the tender age of 22.

In the year 2000, Mark made a significant move by selling his stake in the printing technology venture and relocating to The Netherlands to take on a corporate role. After spending five years in the corporate world, Mark found himself disenchanted with its intricacies and yearning to rekindle his entrepreneurial spirit, seeking to make a more meaningful impact.

In 2007, Mark initiated a personal experiment by adopting a plant-based diet to explore its viability. His goal was to craft a plant-based diet founded on wholefoods that could replicate the nutrients he had been accustomed to in a standard diet that included meat and fish. Mark discovered that while he could replace most nutrients with a plant-based wholefood diet, there was a gap when it came to long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, which he had previously obtained from fish. This gap led him to delve into the scientific research surrounding EPA for heart health and DHA for brain health and development.

At the time, in the years 2007-2008, no one was cultivating these phytoplankton plants through a food-grade process suitable for human consumption. This realisation struck a chord with Mark. He saw the implications of overfishing and increased pollution in the oceans, which meant reduced availability of wild fish for an ever-growing global population.

Mark embarked on a journey that involved investing in two green biotech companies, CleanAlgae in Spain (2008), and Algae Biotech in The Netherlands. After five years of extensive research and development, they successfully launched their first phytoplankton products in 2013. Phytoplankton quickly gained attention, particularly from health enthusiasts in the USA and Canada.

In 2016, Mark relocated with his family from Amsterdam back to Australia. Over the course of 2017 and 2018, Mark conceptualised and introduced the Phytality brand, launching it in both the UK and Australia. Fast forward to 2023, Phytality, although relatively new, is poised to expand its production, education efforts, and brand outreach.

Mark's unwavering passion and ultimate goal are to disseminate better knowledge about phytoplankton, as he firmly believes it to be a genuine superfood of the future. Through his entrepreneurial spirit and dedication, Mark is determined to take Phytality to new heights and make a significant impact on the world of nutrition.

 

Resource guide

Guest Links
Phytality Website website
Phytality Instagram
Phytality LinkedIn

Mentioned In This Episode
Phytoplankton Introduction from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Marine Planktonic Cyanobacteria Origin
World’s Biggest Oxygen Producers Living in Swirling Ocean Waters
 
Study: Appearance of Fatty Acids In Human Plasma
Study: Maintaining Low Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio for Reducing the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases, Asthma, and Allergies
Study: Benefits of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Human Health: An Update for 2021
What Impacts The Conversion of Alpha-linolenicacid (ALA) To DHA and EPA?
How Industrial Agriculture Affects Our Soil
Phytality Phytoplankton Growing Process
Phytality Production Facilities
The Biochemistry Of Fats Youtube
Rhonda Patrick On The Benefits of Omega-3s
Superfoods Book, David Avocado Wolfe

Related Podcasts
A Plant Based Approach That Works with James Newbury & Matt Legge (EP#187)

Connect With Us
SuperFeast Instagram
SuperFeast Facebook
SuperFeast TikTok


Check Out The Transcript Below:

 

Mason:

Yes, welcome to the podcast den.

Mark Pages:

Thank you, Mase. Lovely to be here with you.

Mason:

Yeah, it's always nice to get an in-person. You're fresh back from Southeast Asia.

Mark Pages:

Absolutely and I've got a nice suntan to boot.

Mason:

You do. So this is not funny, but nostalgic and full story one for the SuperFeast story because before we even sold reishi and chaga and all these great herbs at SuperFeast, we were selling a bunch of superfoods and one of those were marine phytoplankton and I was buying your marine phytoplankton through someone else's brand and singing its praises at workshops and doing my old raw food and superfood workshops and talking about all my little facts that I had about marine phytoplankton and here we are again. There's a resurgence. Again, you've been fanning the flames of that superfood for a long time. And 12 years later, here we are. The world's ready to take it up, drink it up again.

Mark Pages:

Exactly. The green sludge has arisen. Yeah, no, thanks, Mase, for having me on the podcast, and yeah, it's nice to bring up a subject that you started with and around to the full circle and excited to talk more about it.

Mason:

I'm just going to ask all those questions, even though I need that reminder of, "All right, what are we talking about here? What is marine phytoplankton?" I don't know if a lot of people are thinking about plankton outside of that beach whale skit. So it's been a while, as you know, "I only eat plankton."

Mark Pages:

I remember that hilarious little snippet.

Mason:

Yeah. And so a couple of things, so what are we talking about here? Are we going to talk about marine phytoplankton? And let's start creeping into the history then of why people would consider this being something that you would eat.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, so phytoplankton is a primordial food. Just a quick snippet on phytoplankton 101, so these are said to be some of the first biological organisms on the planet. We believe that they came from cyanobacteria. So cyanobacteria supposedly was one of the first living cells on the planet that came from a volcano. And phytoplankton is an offshoot from cyanobacteria. It's said to be one of the first bearers of chlorophyll on the planet. So yeah, really primordial ancient food from the oceans.

Mason:

Because I remember and I think this is something everyone appreciates in this podcast and it's something I appreciate about you because they're not a controversial superfood, but there's things to talk about. I know there's a group, I think, maybe it was first when I was crazy into my chlorella’s and spirulina’s and phytoplankton’s, even like my AFAs, that's what? Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, the blue-green algae.

Mark Pages:

Wow. Not many people can say that, Mase.

Mason:

That was back in my days, ironically, actually, I was about to say it was Don Tolman who when I first found that book because I used it as a ... Not that I don't think it's still valuable, I used these, the FDR, The Farmacist Desk Reference, but farmacist with an F. I used that just to prop the laptop up here in the podcast room and I think it's in that book that he has a big complaint and whinge around the use of planktons and that kind of thing. That was the first time I was like, "Oh," because up until that point, I was into it and a massive advocate. My good friend Tim McClue, who I still send memes with, he was the distributor of AFA and I remember being over there in his apartment in Rose Bay in Sydney and he was the distributor of, what's AFA business called, the big one? What was it called again? They had the blue, the brain-

Mark Pages:

Brain on from the Klamath Lakes. I've lost the name, but I know exactly the brand that you mean.

Mason:

Okay. But I was over there doing an interview with him and I'd just done Don Tolman's Brain and Memory DVD set, going through a workshop of how to create memory. And so I created this picture in my ... And I could still touch the picture that helped me remember a fan, like [inaudible 00:04:44], floss, flossing teeth and, whatever I came up with there and it's still there. So Don Tolman, being against the AFA and the planktons helped me remember it.

Mark Pages:

So beautiful. So beautiful. Well, let me say that phytoplankton is controversial, just to touch on an introduction to the subject matter. So we're talking about somewhere we estimate between a hundred thousand-

Mason:

E3 live.

Mark Pages:

A3 live, that was it. Yes.

Mason:

That's right, everyone. So now I get to forget.

Mason:

So we're controversial. Sorry to cut you off. We're controversial. We're going back, because when we say food, that's probably the best thing because we've got a bunch of health nerds here who like to get into the nuance. Let's look at how we're referring to this as a food.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, absolutely. So phytoplankton, it's an oceanic plant, a single-cell multicellular. There's a wide variety of phytoplankton. We estimate or scientists estimate between 100,000 to 300,000 strains. We know little about it. We know we're trying to explore and learn just like we are looking out at the stars trying to explore and learn. I think there's about a thousand strains of phytoplankton that have been reviewed, their DNA sequencing to see how they function and what nutrients they make. And there's probably about 40 to 50 strains of phytoplankton and microalgae, which are commercialised.

Mason:

How many, 40 to 50?

Mark Pages:

Only 40 to 50.

Mason:

That's still quite a lot as well.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, there's all these exotic things for new applications coming up.

Mason:

Is this as supplements or within the pharmaceutical industry?

Mark Pages:

A little bit of both. So for some therapeutic attributes, extractable therapeutic attributes, but across I would say biopharma and food.

Mason:

What about in the equine industry quite often when you see a foot in the door for some of these fringe supplements?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, I think the equine industry's type of somehow taken, "Watch what the human industry does." I don't think that the market is high quality, but not high volume. So I guess one of the challenges there is the cost of research specifically for that market is a bit of a challenge. But phytoplankton is a bit controversial, because as we know, phytoplankton could make toxins. We have all these algae blooms out in the ocean, so they create toxins and they create nutrients. So it's type of funny, I'm type of half joking when I say phytoplankton is controversial because it's primordial, but it can be good and bad.

 

And so I think one of the things that I learned in my phytoplankton journey back when I lived in Europe in 2008 was that, when we want to embark on phytoplankton as a food for human nutrition, we really have to make sure that what we're doing is controlled and that we can validate that it will never make toxins, that it only makes nutrients no matter how you grow it.

Mason:

And I think, as we go along in this episode, I'm keen to just continue to find and unearth where that relevant place sits here especially of this supplement. And do you refer to it as a superfood still?

Mark Pages:

Well, I just refer to phytoplankton as a whole plant, whole food. Superfood is such a used and abused subject that ... Yeah, it's a whole plant and analyse it yourself for its nutritional qualities and define it as you will, I say to people.

Mason:

Yeah, and for me, and I imagine everyone listening to this, because some people listening to this, of course it's a wide community, it's just going to be dipping their toes into the world of wellness and cultivation in this and the cultivation of their own personal culture and lifestyle that's going to help support them to get them gracefully into their old age, so that they're nice and healthy and nice and wise and can share their gifts and finding the relevance of things like this, like a supplement like a plankton or a supplement like Jing Herbs and it's something ... One of the best things about this podcast is we can have these open chats. So for me, I had that phase in my early 20s. I was raw foodist, big into superfood. And when people are like, "Kale's a super food and beef livers are superfood," I probably agree with beef liver to an extent, but I'm like, "No."

 

I'm talking about when we referred to superfoods, it was these fringe foods and they were on the fringe of being like a clinical, medicinal. They were out there extraordinary. It's why the liver I'd say, "Oh, you could almost make ... You get that. It was just because we were raw, vegan, raw food."

Mark Pages:

Living the dream.

Mason:

Living that dream that we were like, "No, that's not a superfood." But I remember these superfood smoothies, cacao, marine phytoplankton, chlorella, spirulina, the bee pollens going in there, the propolis going in there and the idea was you could plug these gaps that were there in the micronutrients and some macronutrients as well, as well as these few very exotic compounds that could create some very special things. And for me, I was ambiguously taking a lot of them, so that I could counter the ambiguity of what I felt in being a toxic society. And I went really, really deep into that world, created the company, then moved away from superfood, went to something I found was a bit more grounded in tonic herbalism that the business was aligned to and then likewise for myself became disillusioned with the wellness world and the supplementing excessively and slowly started building a diet that was based on some Chinese medicine, some cooking on the fire, some more primitive things, integrate the clean eating.

 

So I dropped a lot of supplements for a lot of years. Now coming back round, I'm taking some ... I know everything there is, we're going to get into this, guys. I'm just getting the whole contents out for us because Mark and I have talked a lot about this in the past and I have an idea of the map of where I want this to go, so everyone can land in just how much we've both thought about this. There's a lot of stuff around the Ray Peat's work and omega-3s and the excessive demand of omega-3s and them having issues of essentially going rancid and going against metabolism, which is confusing when there's so much good research on fish oils and these vegan omega-3s.

 

And what was the other one? And likewise, I can't remember what the other consideration there was, but now I'm considering that and considering I've got a whole food diet and I don't want to rely on these supplements. I'm back taking some marine phytoplankton and just being like, "Oh man, it's a wild world out there and we need to adapt with the times." And feeling the relevance of this food again just in a capsule form, I'm really starting to find its spot in my lifestyle again and just enjoying the stacking the odds in my favour. I just want to know ... I'm laying that out there, first of all. I don't know if there's anything there for you.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, well, let me first say, where's a good place to start? So a good starting point, not all omega-3s are equal. So when we talk about fish oil or algal oil or seed oil, predominantly we're talking about an extract of free-flowing lipid, xan extractable oil. And in the case of fish oil or an extracted algal oil, they're essentially the same chemical structure, because at the end of the day, all fish oil is algal oil on a journey. Fish don't make omega-3s. So that structure is what we call a triglyceride and that is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. When we look at omega-3s from phytoplankton, they have a totally, the majority of the omega-3 is a totally different structure. So they're called a polar bound lipid and it's like a solid semi-solid waxy compound, type of like butter.

 

And it's not extractable. It's connected to the inner cell membrane of the plant and it behaves very differently than a polyunsaturated fatty acid. So how this behaves is it's like bipolar. So it's water soluble on one end and oil soluble on the other. And how we believe this works from some clinical studies is it works like an oil in water emulsion in the body and this gives us much higher bioavailability than an extracted fish oil or algal oil. And there's some recent studies to measure that.

Mason:

What were they measuring? Sorry.

Mark Pages:

So what we did in ... There was a recent study in the States around the lipid structure from the phytoplankton and we were measuring against bioavailability versus krill oil and fish and algal oil. So, "When you take one gram of this versus one gram of that, what is the bioavailability in terms of the differences based on the same grammage?" And so we knew that phytoplankton has a different lipid profile that is basically water and oil soluble versus fish oil, algal oil extracted, which is only oil soluble. So it was great to see the results of a study versus knowing that the structure is different. So those results were 1.7 times the absorption rate of krill, which was very interesting because it's the same essential structure, which is a polar lipid and it was 2.25 times the absorbability of a triglyceride polyunsaturated omega-3. So sorry if that's quite technical, but I just start by saying not all omega-3s are equal.

Mason:

More technical is good because these are the kinds of things ... I think I know because vibing it and I'm taking the plankton and going, "Yeah." No, I'm vibing it. I know it's like taking a cod liver oil, "Vibe it," taking a fish oil, I'm just like, "Nah, can't handle it." And if that's about absorption, I need to really dive into the research. I've been meaning to dive into Ray Peat's work and all that kind of stuff for a long time. I just haven't got the mind for it at the moment. Just think I might ... Sorry, everyone, for bringing up something I'm not researched in, but I thought it's a great opportunity to get a little bit of understanding that. So whether it is just that omega 3 being absorbed rather than just being a free agent in order to go rancid, having that water soluble aspect is that's what you're saying, "The uptake is higher."

Mark Pages:

Yeah, also yeah, because our body is mainly water, so the theory is that from these studies is that a water and an oil-soluble lipid is easier for our body to absorb.

Mason:

Are you saying that's like what krill has?

Mark Pages:

Well, actually 100% of krill's diet is phytoplankton. So if I go back to how we started the business, literally, our marine biologist, a German lady called Claudia was in the Arctic with a sucker, a little device, and we're actually in the Arctic taking the plants that the krill eats. So, phytoplankton is, for a better terminology, vegan krill and that's why it has the exact same lipid structure.

Mason:

Do you see in those studies or do you plan on looking at inflammatory markers comparatively from plankton to fish? What are the consequences of that fish oil not getting absorbed as well as the krill or plankton? Do you know that

Mark Pages:

Yeah, we're still early days. I think whilst phytoplankton's primordial, we're only just starting to consider this on scale as a human food. So I must say there's a lot more to learn. We're really in the early days. There's only our company in Europe and a few others that are actually doing this, that are growing closed system-controlled, grown phytoplankton. So, we've still got a lot to learn. I've got a lot to learn about this process, but some of the interesting things that I guess we're learning from this experience is that when you take phytoplankton with antioxidants, so with keratinoid, beta-carotene, vitamins, nutrients, choline in a plant-based form, we're seeing from initial studies that it doesn't oxidise because you're taking it with other antioxidants that protect the lipid form.

 

And what you're also seeing, you're protecting the lipid on its journey because we call it nature's form of microencapsulation, so it's in a very thin cellulose cell wall. And with the phytoplankton that we use, the cell wall is strong enough to withstand our manufacturing process, but weak enough to break down quite easily in the gut, which is totally different than chlorella, which you can't break unless you pulverise it.

Mason:

That's why it's like what? Was it cell wall? Every chlorella that has the capacity to be absorbed is, what are they called? Cell wall broken.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, pulverise, cell wall broken, all these lovely terminologies, but if you took chlorella without a post-process step, you would poo it out the other side and not get any benefit because the cell wall is about three to four times as thick as phytoplankton. So phytoplankton is about three micron, the type of phytoplankton we grow. It's very small. Chlorella is about 20 micron. They're about five to six times roughly the thickness difference and the cell wall is also about, pro rata, the same difference.

Mason:

Yeah, it's like ... I don't think we have a reishi in here, but it's the same with the medicinal mushroom. If you just powder it up, which what a lot of people do, they just powder their reishi or their lion's mane or whatever. Lion's mane a bit better and just sell it raw, just a raw powder and it's like you might as well just be eating wood or ...

Mark Pages:

Yeah, wow.

Mason:

... just go straight from one end to the other. Okay, so a few things I do remember from the superfood days, like little rote facts that I never actually fact checked. First of all was the one where the mineral and nutrient and macronutrient profile was seemingly perfectly aligned to what a cell needs to function. Do you remember this fact been thrown around? Do you know what I'm talking about?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, so I guess one of the things we will always ask is, "How can something so microscopic, three micron is smaller than a red or a white blood cell, so how can something so microscopic have 75 nutrients? How can you pack so much into something so small?" And I guess, so one of the things we always say about phytoplankton, it doesn't have a lot of anything, but we believe it's highly bioavailable, primarily due to its microscopic cell size and what we believe the ability to get cellular absorption due to that cell size.

Mason:

Do you remember that fact getting kicked around? Did you hear the health influencers saying that one?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, yeah. I have to say that some of it was like, "Okay, that's"-

Mason:

"That's stretch."

Mark Pages:

"That was a nice bit of thought-up marketing," but yeah, some of it was stretched and some of it's correct.

Mason:

In terms of food, I remember one of the things that we looked at in terms of I guess validating that, well, not that it needs validation because I think one of the things we should be talking about is, "Yes, it's great that there's a renaissance of people coming back to farming and local farming and farmer's markets and foraging and nose-to-tail eating and more wild food, so on and so forth." I've talked to you long enough to know that that's the baseline and the fact also that not everyone is going to live that way and can live that way. And sometimes people are at the time and part of their process where they are looking to supplements and they're looking to something to just really help them and have their back.

 

And that's where the relevance, I think you feel the extreme, probably not sustainability in terms of what people think when we talk about sustainable agendas, but that's where I love I can just see the sweet spot for this, and likewise, I want to take it because I think it's just a little bit of a superhero activator food, but let's talk about that in terms of where it sits in being able to support those that are out there. And we used ... Just to keep them healthy, keep them mineralized while all this is going on and I think the fact I was going to make in terms of saying, "This is we're looking for foods, but at the same time, we did go and validate algae's being foods." I think I remember the Incas eating spirulina in Lake Titicaca.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, Africa, South America, there's this history over thousands of years also in Africa of the tribes scraping up and they knew different types of phytoplankton and consuming them of. So there's this history that we are relearning, so to speak, but I think, Mase, part of my journey around getting into phytoplankton, I was really concerned about the agricultural practises of the industrialised humanity, how monoculture is being more and more rampant, nutrients in food more and more devoid in agriculture. If we looked at any fruit or veg, a tomato as an example, and measured its nutrients, or a cucumber, we see over the last 20, 30 years as monoculture has become more rampant that our food is more devoid of actual nutrients we need.

 

And one of the things that amazed me about phytoplankton is how something so small could be so nutrient-dense. And I see phytoplankton as this sustainable booster, this tiny but mighty plant that can give us all these micronutrients that's highly bioavailable that I think people are missing out in their ... When I say people, the main ... Talking about, "What is the issue here? Look at the mass populace. Look at the West. Look at the inflammation. Look at how they're living too much ultra refined carbs, too much ultra refined sugar, not enough essential nutrients, not enough substance." So I see phytoplankton as a booster, as something that's got these broad spectrum micronutrients that can really boost up a deficient diet.

Mason:

And that's something I guess I left behind and at some point stopped having empathy for just how important that it was during that time when I was coming from a real mainstream diet as well. Now I was ... Maybe because I was in my early 20s as well, didn't empathise with people who were in their 40s, any age and are just they're get caught with their pants down. And it's really ... I remember talking to you, I remember going back and feeling the magic of the spirulinas, the chlorellas, but yeah, the plankton had a real magic to it and just having a sense of relief that we had access to tools like this and supplements like this that yes, even though, I don't even think the word controversial, I think we just need to really find its place within the culture, within the wellness world. And it's just we're so fortunate that we can have foods like this, that we could introduce into people's diets who are coming off the high monocrop and refined carb diet and really this can transform people's lives really quickly.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, looking ... I'm a bit of a really interested personally in psychology and futurism from a psychologist perspective. So if you see trends and traits of where we're going as an industrialised society and you look forward and you magnify some of the what I believe are the bad choices we're making as a collective, you think, "Hang on. We really need something potent nutrient-dense to make up for these poor diets." And the biggest problem out there is the whatever number that may be in the West, the 80, 90%, that's the steam train that needs to be turned.

Mason:

That's the bell curve. Yeah. And I can really see this as ... I don't know, have you found much usage because I know there are practitioners that are using it? I know a lot of naturopaths who, again, they probably went away from it a little bit just because it was involved in that superfood hype in the beginning, the 15 years ago. But now, because that usage as a practitioner and know that it's same way with the adaptogens people, the practitioners are like, "Look. And I just want you to be on an adaptogen just because I know then it's got my back and your nervous system's going to be at least okay, and you'll have some immunity."

 

And then there's like to an extent, "You need to do this within reason." But then there's the liver capsules fall into the category of like, "I just want you to be on this and the oyster capsules." And I feel like the marine phytoplankton sits in that category that you're going to see a huge uptake in, maybe not dietitians, but naturopaths for sure going ... Actually, no, why not dietitians and what's the other word? Nutritionist.

Mark Pages:

Nutritionist.

Mason:

Going like, "I just want you to be on this because it's so highly bioavailable and I know that it's going to have your back." And I'm just curious if you're watching them do mineral analysis and stuff like that and seeing the results start pouring in?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, I think the challenge with phytoplankton, because it's a very biotech-y, it's a green, it's a natural plant, but it's a biotech-y process, you need a certain scale to do the research. And I think where we started with phytoplankton, it was very boutique and small and we had guys out there like David Wolfe that spruiked it and really supported our businesses in terms of that awareness. So it's type of in that early unknown phase, but now what we're trying to do is bring phytoplankton, I'll call it round two or phytoplankton 2.0, so now we're trying to do things on a bigger scale where we can get that sheer scale, allows more education, allows more awareness, allows more accessibility in terms of its price point.

 

And the phytoplankton is grown in Europe, and what we see in Europe, there's a lot more awareness. So in the UK where we sell the product, I think 65% of our sales are through practitioners and naturopaths.

Mason:

Oh, wow.

Mark Pages:

And so what we need to do in Australia and other places in the world is raise that education and awareness. And that's part of what I'm really excited about, because in the next year, we're really attempting to scale the business and make this more accessible, but also scale the education at the same time.

Mason:

Before we go into how it's produced. I find it really cool, and if you want to see a picture of it, go to the show notes and we'll either put a picture in there or we'll link you to the pictures of the vats, tanks.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, so there's multi phases, but basically, we scale up this plant from a Petri dish and it goes from a Petri dish, 50-litre, 100-litre, 1,000-litre and then it goes into glass tubes where we circulate it. And then from a glass tubular, it's type of aquaponics meets hydroponics if I could find some simplistic words for it. And then what we do from there, we actually bring it out to these ponds inside a glass greenhouse. So it's all closed, you can imagine, because we can't let it get contaminated because you can't filtrate off any contaminants that small. But I'm super excited because I think now we get to really ramp up the education because there's that material and product available out there to really get it at a broader level than it's been until now.

Mason:

Yeah, and that's most because I do remember that the liquid form ... At some point, I found out that the liquid forms of marine phytoplankton were extremely diluted. And the shock of the Qi you'd be getting, it would be essentially just because minerals were added in there to give you that quick hit. Not that minerals are the worst thing, but I know the minerals I want to take, and when I'm taking that, I want plankton. So then we got access to powder. I think I was just getting them through, I don't know, maybe it was Gabriel Cousins' website or Longevity Warehouse or whatever it was back in the day, and all of a sudden, we became aware of that, that was the goods.

 

Yeah, I remember the first time I saw David Wolfe, he was becoming aware of that. And my mate, Damo was the distributor of the liquid here in Australia and it was the first thing that he was saying on stage was just like, "Moving away from the liquid and the powder," and he was like, "Oh, David, don't. I've got boxes and boxes of plankton." I just remember a bit in the middle of that, that superfood controversy, but you do the powder. And so is that how you've got it now, that plankton powder that's what's in the capsules and that's what you've just got the straight powder that people take with a bit of other stuff to make it taste-

Mark Pages:

Yeah, absolutely. So, we do a couple of products, but the foundational core product is the phytoplankton, the wholesale 100% phytoplankton powder. And we do that in a veggie hard cap and in a straight powder form. No excipients, no fillers. It's so fine. One of the ... We're lucky in a way that the powder is so microscopic and fine that it actually flows.

Mason:

And that makes it feel luxurious. I love that feel of powder. I don't know, there's something just magical about it.

Mark Pages:

Well, it's so small that you actually can't taste it on your tongue. You normally don't taste a particle size of under, some people say 100, but certainly under 50 micron. And then you've got these ... Yeah, so it's type of silky almost.

Mason:

Can I ... I mean, yeah, I'm really looking forward to going and seeing the production one day. Is it going to happen?

Mark Pages:

So yeah. Yeah, thank you, Mase, for bringing that up. I was, up until recently, a Northern Rivers resident for many years, but yeah, we moved up to Queensland last year and one of the ambitions we have is to manufacture more of our phytoplankton in Australia. So at the moment, we bring it in from Europe where I spent 15 years over in Europe and eight of those years working on this project, but the goal is to manufacture locally. So we're working on a facility at the moment. It's still in the early days, but yeah, the goal is to manufacture Australian-made phytoplankton under the Queensland sun.

Mason:

Heck yeah. Yeah, so that's the thing, it's like a glass house. So you're relying on that Queensland sun to get in there with that production. Yeah. Cool. Now I'd just like to touch upon, I remember, the complete protein thing. Am I right in saying that? What's the deal with the protein aspect of the plankton?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, so phytoplankton has got about 45 to 50% protein. You got, I think if I'm correct, all the essential amino acids. We've really focused on the phytoplankton. There are a lot of green protein out there, some better than others. That's a whole deep dive.

Mason:

Can we go there a little bit?

Mark Pages:

Oh, if you wish, Mase, of course.

Mason:

More controversial, the better.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, exactly. So I guess a lot of these green proteins aren't so absorbable as they're promoted. And one of the things with these green powder fad over the last year a lot of people started, there's a lot of green ...

Mason:

Washing?

Mark Pages:

... stuff out there. No, there's a lot of green ingredients that you can blend. So I think that the whole superfood fad got too many charlatans involved. And I guess, again, so not all algae are equal and I think phytoplankton is a little bit different certainly when we compare things like chlorella. It has a little bit less protein than chlorella, but it has, again, we think, more digestible protein. I really got into phytoplankton around the omega-3 space and I know omega-3s can be a little bit controversial, but really ... I went on a plant-based journey in 2008 and I thought, "Well, looking at all the nutrients, where do I get this? Where do I get that?" and then I got to omega-3 and I'm like, "I want all of my nutrients, if possible, in a whole food, whole plant form."

 

"And so, well, where does EPA and DHA come from?" "Oh, we get it in fish. Oh, there's these exotic extracted oils." "Well, I don't want extracted oil. I want it in its stable original form where there's low chance of oxidisation." And that journey took me down the learning that actually fish don't make omega-3s, they come from these plants in the ocean. I thought, "Well, hey, why isn't someone isolating and growing these?" So that was my type of journey down the phytoplankton rabbit hole.

Mason:

Oh gosh, I had something to ... Oh, yeah, because I know you ... I want to crack this open a little bit more because there is a little bit of bad taste ... Crack cell. There is a bit of bad taste, I feel like, with green powders now due to that, just a bit of cynicism in the wellness scene. And if you're not aware of that, everyone, it's just something that happens when you do this many deep dives for so many years. Because I know you have a good chlorella as well and so are you referring to the fact that noncell wall cracked chlorella? Are you talking ... When you're saying that some products aren't up to scratch because there's going to be another renaissance of green coming soon, so we just want everyone to be on the lookout.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, one of the big issues, particularly in Australia because Southeast Asia is we source a lot of stuff. The supply chain, I would say, is questionable.

Mason:

Like jump on Alibaba and just get ... Yeah.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, people jump on Ali, "Oh, I want ... Green powder's popular," jump on Alibaba. So what we see is the purity, the control mechanism around quality. As a family-owned company, I will only sell what I will take myself, give to my wife and give to my children. But if you look out there, you think, "Hang on a sec, there's so many different quality products," and when I'm looking from an algae or a green powder lens, being on the technical side and co-owning a couple of companies in Europe that were innovative in this space, I know that there's a lot of areas that you need to critique to get things right. And so I just saw that there was too many cowboys out there.

 

So it's all about ... When you talk about microalgae, we're talking about more about purity because it grows in an aqueous environment. You get other microcontamination potentially if it's open, not controlled.

Mason:

Like what happened with the AFA at Klamath Lake, right?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, so AFA is a great example that Mase brings up. So AFA, an amazing product.

Mason:

Amazing.

Mark Pages:

On a good season where there was no contamination up at Klamath Lakes, it was the bomb, but on a bad season where there was a lot of faecal issues in the lake, there was a lot of bacteria load in the lake, they were like, "Oh, we want to sell our season of AFA, but oh, how are we going to do this? There's a high amount of bacterial contamination. Oh, we now have to clean the AFA." So they have to go through a chemical process to wash off or irradiate, get rid of the bacterial load. So I was like, "Hang on a sec. Algae' s a different beast because they're so small that, if you don't control the production, you can let in something that could be an endotoxin or harmful."

 

And going back to my whole story, not all phytoplankton are equal. They create the most nutrient-dense, in my opinion, nutrients from the sea. They're the lungs and the food of the ocean at the base, but they also can create algal blooms and toxins. So we really need ... When we look at phytoplankton, we need to really guarantee purity because it's a tricky organism to work with.

Mason:

And that's why I'm liking ... I mean, there was just a few years back, I remember, and making that distinction between marine phytoplankton in a closed loop system that has standards, especially up to European standards when they're so hectic there, versus a blue-green algae, which you would've heard about blue-green algae, especially if you're in the bush of Australia here and there's a lot of blooms going on. One point, I had a woman call me when I was in a double garage back then for SuperFeast and she'd found my YouTube video talking about AFA and this blue-green algae supplement. And she was like, "My father took a blue-green algae and that was enough ..." There had been a bloom and there was a neurotoxin in there and it had had really severe effects. And so she was on her campaign to bring awareness to it and was asking me, "Do you sell this product?"

 

I remember her being really hectic and just really emotional and I was like, "Oh, no, I've stepped away from all of that," and I was like, "How did you find me?" And she's like, "The interview's still up," the one I referenced earlier and I went, "Oh, and okay." Well, I was just at the point, I was just like, I'm just going to go make that non visible because I don't have anything to do with that product anymore. Making that distinction there because I remember that happening with AFA. I remember that getting a little bit uncomfortable with that industry, but then watching a little bit of the throw the baby out with the bath water with all green powders and all micro algae, which was a shame and I think is where we're getting to now.

Mark Pages:

Well, as you know, Mase, when you do that deep dive into your field of specialty, we need to be more nuanced. We need to like, "Not all omega-3s are the same. Not all phytoplankton is the same." So we really need to critique people. We like people critiquing us, because with that critique, with those questions, that lifelong journey of analysing and learning, there's where the nuggets of knowledge are. And unfortunately, for me, a lot of people misunderstood phytoplankton because they were just going down to the pond and scraping that out, which is super dangerous.

Mason:

Were they really?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, someone said ... This was ...

Mason:

Those days.

Mark Pages:

... probably one of the more extreme stories, but-

Mason:

I can imagine.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, it was quite hilarious.

Mason:

I can imagine. I remember being in those circles.

Mark Pages:

Yeah. So I think, at the end of the day, when you're in a specialised discipline, you really need to know that inside out and I think that's one of the things with Phytality and my 15-year journey, it's really to be methodical, accurate, analyse, and really understand what you're doing. As an example, the phytoplankton strain that we started commercialising in 2013, it took us five years in the EU ...

Mason:

Wow.

Mark Pages:

... to prove to the EU that it would not create a toxin under any variability of nutrient loading when we grow it. So there's a real science behind that and I hate to say, because I'm a big fan of wild food and wild harvesting on the land where there's a different set of dynamics, but in the ocean, we really need to watch out when it comes to just consuming any type of phytoplankton or seaweed. As an example, some seaweed is so potent in iodine, which is actually good for us, but actually so potent that it can actually cause a thyroid collapse. So you want iodine, but you can't have this massive overload of iodine where you take a thousand times the maximum threshold.

Mason:

Well, that's also you have to have a certain amount of baseline metabolic health and capacity to regulate yourself and even then know that there's risks that you're going to have to be mitigating then. You probably had to have a massive selenium deficiency if that happens. Anyway, I'm with you on that. The ... Oh gosh, I feel like I need some plankton because my memory keeps on going away. You keep on sucking me into where you're at with it. That's the thing where I'm at in my life. Oh God, thank goodness, yes, I remember. It's such a good juicy one as well. The foraging, yeah, going to the markets. Heck yeah, the tonic herbalism. My gosh, I'm so excited. I'm cooking on the fire a lot. I'm feeling really engaged and it was almost interesting.

 

Now I'm getting that drawback, the omega-3 thing. I'm trying to think about why is this emerging and why there was such a ... I know that there's a harmonisation, so people get into a counterwork and then go too far into the counterwork before we have these nuanced and open conversations to be like, "All right, everyone just calm down. Stop being so against everything straight away and let's chat because there's something there. Maybe it's in the way... What happens if you aren't absorbing the omega-3? What happens when it's just free there in the body to float around? It's not a water soluble." Anyway, but we'll get there and the science will emerge and I'm looking forward to emerging there.

 

But I remember the rhetoric, and this can go very conspiratorial, which I love doing, but do you remember there was that going like, "Look, yes, we are primates, but there's this aspect of our nervous system, which is marine," and I haven't fact checked this, guys. I just remember this is what we used to say when we were off our heads on superfood smoothies and something always resonated as true with it like, "There's something aquatic about us, so there's something about our nervous system that is related to the whales and the dolphins."

Mark Pages:

Yeah, I guess, in the foetus, we look a little bit aquatic, right at the start of the-

Mason:

Yeah, and we will need to look into this, everyone, of course, grain of sea salt, but I just remember something maybe cherry-picked data, but I just remember there being something. And of course, that goes into, there's big conversations that come in, people go to extreme, how humans were created and the DNA coming from primates and there's all that. I'm not going there, even though that's a fun conversation.

Mark Pages:

That's a five-hour podcast.

Mason:

That's a five-hour podcast and I need to refresh myself there anyway, but that's where I liked, there's something that I remembered that the other day and I was remembering there's something that aquatic ... I just appreciated there was that aquatic part of me, and all of a sudden, I was like, "You know what? I'm going to go start taking that plankton because there's just something really cool about that thought." I don't know if you've ever dove down that area. If not, that could be a podcast too.

Mark Pages:

I have to say, Mase, I haven't thought about my former life as a fish or an aquatic species or a tiny but mighty little single-cell alga plant, but no, it's super interesting. One of the things I'd like to bounce around with you, because I know it's a bit of controversial and I'm learning on that, is around the omega-3 space and there's a lot of controversial discussion around seed oils," Is seed oil good? Is seed oil bad? Is this seed oil good? Is that seed oil bad?" And so yeah, I'm really interested to explore your points of view and type of share where I'm at around omega-3, omega-6.

Mason:

The ratios there.

Mark Pages:

Ratios, and yeah, of course ... Yeah, would you like to come to that subject?

Mason:

Look, all I do, because as I said, I'm using and abusing this podcast to not be well-researched, but to use it as like unplugging. It's been there swimming around in my system when you get a blockage in the gallbladder and then you've got to unplug it and so it can move and get some momentum in the Qi around the thought can get distributed. And that's where I'm at with it. So I've been around swings when the longevity science started coming out about fish oil. I remember where Dave Woynaroski, I don't know if you remember him.

Mark Pages:

I've heard the name. Yeah, yeah.

Mason:

When he came out with the longevity telomere lengthening research and I remember that one of the core aspects ... that was when the TA-65 from one of the Astragalus sides got extracted and that was shown to increase telomere length. But the research around the fish oil was insane and around just how it can contribute to the lengthening of these telomeres. And I remember thinking, "That's interesting. There's a lot of research there that does show how amazing fish oils are," and I was just never really comfortable with fish oils. But I did like the idea of omega-3s. And then I would swing back to hearing the counterculture crew with the Ray Peat kind of stuff and there's a bunch of other people who jumped heavy on the bandwagon who went just complete anti-omega-3.

 

And I don't know if I got swept up on that, but it was just like, "Good, I can just stop thinking about omega-3s for a while and just not get into them." Then when people were talking about how awful almonds are, because they're like a thousand to one omega-6 to omega-3s and so all of a sudden almonds are out. And then I moved along and I get a little bit more comfortable with eating nuts, so on and so forth. And so I needed to almost get rid of all of those talking points. And I really do think now talking to you, there's something there in the form of omega-3 and there are beautiful omega-3s in a steak, in a fish being absorbed, and likewise, in the plankton, so on and so forth. And I feel like I don't need to be in any camp necessarily anymore. I'm just feeling comfortable taking omega-3s. But it just ...

 

There's something hooked me there with that counterculture because I was in a counterculture time, counterculture against the narrative of West and it was just fun to be. I was like teenage rebel against fish oils. But unfortunately, I think plankton got swept up into that same thing and you brought it back. And I think this is where ... And I feel I can feel a solid ground now in terms of my deep dive, in terms of going and looking at what's there in the research, "What form of omega are they actually talking about?" because I actually don't want to think about omega-3. When I think about plankton, I don't think about omega-3 nor do I want to, but not that I don't think it's cool.

 

I like thinking about this primordial plant food. I love green foods. I love greens. I love the ocean. I love the mystery of that. I love working with foods like that. And so that's my download of where I'm at.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, yeah. No, what's beautiful, Mase, you love to go down the rabbit holes and so do I. And that's where if I see a new rabbit hole, I think, "Ooh, what's down there? I want to find out too." So I guess my type of take on omega-3, and of course, I'm being focused around omega-3 for 15 years, but omega-3s, I guess one of the things I looked at a lot is, and it's been spoken about a lot, the omega-3 to 6 ratio and they say that the caveman or the Neanderthal had an omega-3 to 6 ratio of about one to one and then that was the historical ratio. And then what we see over the last decades is that the amount of refined saturated oils and polyunsaturated seed oils has just ramped up dramatically.

 

So I guess what the proposed suitable ratio now is one part omega-3 to three to four parts omega-6. But the fact is, in the States, in the West not only in the States, the current omega-3 to 6 ratio is one part omega-3 to 10 omega-6, and in some cases, even up to 30. So when I'm looking at omega-3 research, and we have to understand like, "Oh, how is the physiology working?" as I understand it. The way I understand it is there are enzymes in our body that their job is to basically convert normally ALA short-chain omega-3 into longer chains.

Mason:

Which is why everyone in the vegan community took chia seeds. Remember that was the thing and everyone was like, "I get all my omega-3s from chia, and it's like it's only ALA!"

Mark Pages:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, so the whole thing is, and I worked for Hemp Foods Australia for three years and so I like hemp and I like a lot of these products, but what we see in society, and particularly in the West, is that this overload of omega-6 versus omega-3 means that the same enzymes that are converting omega-3 ALA to EPA and DHA are now busy over here on the right trying to work with this overload of omega-6. So those same enzymes... So basically the omega-3 is in competition with the omega-6 with regards to what are the enzymes focused on. And so this is why in the West we have very low conversion of ALA, which is a short-chain omega-3 to EPA and DHA.

 

If we compare, say to Japan where they have a low amount of omega-6 and refined fats in their diet, we're seeing still low conversion, but 3 to 5% versus in the West 1 to 2%. So for me, I guess when I'm looking at omega-3s, I'm seeing, "Hey, based on that scientific perspective, we need to take potentially less omega-6," so things that are at a better ratio. Hemp is at three to one. Some of these seeds have 10 to 20 to 30 times the omega-6 of omega-3. So that's my concern basically that we're overloaded with omega-6 and that the enzymes aren't there to do the job.

Mason:

And what's the physiological effect? I'm starting to remember this research, I really appreciate you, but I've lost it. I really can't remember like what besides it being generally inflammation, but specifically what are we seeing is the fallout?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, you said it. Cardiovascular and inflammation. So inflammation is the big issue in the West and you could almost map it out on a graph. If you see someone with an omega-3 to 6 ratio, not uncommon in the States, 1 to 15, one omega-3 to 20 times omega-6 and up to 30. When you're getting into those higher levels, you can see that person has got high inflammatory markers. So for me, one of the things I think is we need a guaranteed clean bioavailable source of omega-3 that is stable. And the great thing about phytoplankton, we deliver omega-3 inside a thin cellulose cell wall where it doesn't oxidise, it doesn't come into contact with the ambient environment. That's how omega-3 oxidises by coming into contact with the in ambient environment.

 

And this is the big issue around fish oils. They're so refined. And we could talk about some of the studies in the States where they've actually taken product off the shelf and tested them about rancidity in product before you even consume it.

Mason:

And I know that's the funny thing with these fish oils is a lot of the time they're unstable, they can go rancid and the rancidity does occur. And so you see people getting, again, guys, sorry, just take this with a grain of salt, I'm really just trying to dig it up and this is great though, I'm going to follow it now, taking fish oil for a long time getting spots like those livery kind of spots and you see the skin health starting to go down. It's those kinds of things that I've always related to when you do have stagnation and rancidity in the body and things are going off in the body and you can see that pop up in the skin and especially ...

Mark Pages:

Absolutely.

Mason:

... you can see ... Yeah. And yes, it's slightly inflammatory, but that seems to be ... And it's confusing to people, there are these benefits that do occur if you only look at one part of the body that you do see with these high-quality fish oils, let's say.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, but let's just understand the process. So ironically, one of my partners in the phytoplankton business was a large extraction company and they'd come from fish oil extraction. They were just like, "We can't continue doing this. This is not sustainable," and from a sustainability aspect and from a quality aspect. So a fish comes in or from a wild catch, it's pressed, you get fishmeal, you get fish oil. Typically, there's a three-step refining process for all oil because we need to remove heavy metals, any toxins and particularly mercury, which is hard to get from bottom-feeding fish. So you need to do three steps minimum just to clean up a crude oil to make it ready for human consumption.

 

Now if we just park that for a second and go to algae oil, even an extracted algae oil, because you're growing algae in a controlled environment, you don't have anything to clean up. So even when you extract an algal oil, you start with a clean material that you don't have to remove anything from because it's a controlled environment and then it's all about just stabilising. So there's none of these extra steps. And so if we go back to, I think it was 2018, 2019, don't hang me on the date, but in the States there was a review of 10 leading fish oil supplement brands. They just went in. It was their choice review.

Mason:

Just fish oil, not cod liver oil?

Mark Pages:

If I'm correct, I think it was just fish oil supplements in this case and they reviewed them and eight out of 10 of the supplements they reviewed had a mild level of oxidisation and one of them was actually quite rancid, which is prolonged oxidisation. So for me, the way I see it, whether you're vegetarian or flexitarian or if you're going to take omega-3, for me, it's all about the quality. So focus on something clean, focus on something that hasn't been heavily refined. And the best solution is in phytoplankton because it comes with antioxidants, it's in a more bioavailable form, it's in nature's microencapsulation. So I just say, "Well, hey, nature knows best. Why don't we try and optimise what we have from nature rather than trying to go down this heavy refining process, which leads to questionable quality when it comes to lipid oxidisation?"

Mason:

Yeah, thank you. Can you ... But then krill oil sits ... Because krill oil never really took off, did it? I remember that. I used to sell it actually at SuperFeast along. I don't know why. Just like-

Mark Pages:

Well, it is much better quality and I look to krill oil research in the early days around my phytoplankton business strategy. So in my learning around phytoplankton, I quickly learned that, "Well, what does krill eat?" Krill eats solely a phytoplankton diet. "How do they process krill?" So krill has got this fin shell and they actually ... I feel sorry. Sorry, krill. They squeeze everything out on onboard. They process krill in the Arctic. They don't bring it to shore.

Mason:

I think it's only wild krill.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, so it's only wild krill. So, they process wild krill and they squeeze out this waxy lipid structure, which is, of course, more bioavailable than fish oil and it's more stable because it's got antioxidants in it to basically preserve it from oxidising. So whilst the quality's better, for me, the question is, is krill sustainable because you are messing with the base of the ocean chain? If you go too far with that, there could be dire consequences. So for me, it was like, "Hey, I want to get the lipids that the krill eat. What is the krill eating? Okay, let's go down there and explore that. Let's take those plants that the krill are eating that have those better bioavailable lipids, that are much more absorbable, that have antioxidants with them and let's grow the whole plant. Let's leave the sea to rejuvenate and regenerate before humans were plundering it and let's take the benefits of the sea, but grow them in a controlled way so we can deliver good quality omega-3."

Mason:

I love it. Are there any interesting outlier types of antioxidants or impacts on systems that you're nerding out at the moment that is there with the plankton before we bring her into land?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, the plankton has some really cool carotenoids. One of the things that I've always ... We've got beta-carotene, good carotenoids, but one of the things that our phytoplankton has, which is I think really amazing and most people aren't aware of this, is it has it's called zeaxanthin ...

Mason:

Does it really?

Mark Pages:

... and lutein. And it has so much zeaxanthin and lutein that it's almost equivalent to a Blackmores zeaxanthin and lutein supplement, but in a whole food in a single gramme. And one interesting thing to me, so I had pretty bad eyesight in my 20s. As we know, zeaxanthin and lutein support the macular eye regeneration. So if you're looking far, if you're looking close, it's supporting that muscle, that lipid is supporting the muscle with your eye focal range. And one of the great things is I had minus, what was it? Minus 175, and just eating copious amounts of phytoplankton over the years, my eyesight's almost perfect.

Mason:

Wow.

Mark Pages:

And I put that down to these really potent keratinoid, the zeaxanthin and lutein fraction in the phytoplankton.

Mason:

That's the thing. With say something like phytoplankton, we're growing it in a tank, and yes, you can see that maybe some people would be like, "The World Health Organisation and the," what's the other one? God, the Schwab, Hans-

Mark Pages:

Mr. Dark Schwab.

Mason:

World Economic Forum and so on and so forth would be like, "Oh yeah, let's go and use this. We'll feed that." Yeah, I can see how it can get framed up and this is going to be like, "I've been there bursting that." What I see is you're talking about those carotenoids. This, as a potent primordial food that's in its whole food formation that is so potent and so in resonance with nature, has so many minerals that just absolutely bring a spark to your machine and just is pure Qi cultivation. It's always what I feel when I take enough plankton and I can feel my Qi really, my vitality really start to return because I do have those baseline micronutrients and minerals there. I don't take a mineral supplement. I think I should when I'm in my CEO mode and not doing as much wild foraging and so on and so forth.

 

What they're doing is they're using GMO crops to deliver these beta-carotenes to these people in these poor Third World countries that come along with contracts, with multinationals, increase the suicide rates of farmers because they get locked into these contracts with the now defunct to Monsanto, so on and so forth. Maybe you like that world. Maybe you could twist my arm, but I don't know, I've got 15 years of going in the other direction of my life. Just imagine a path like this. We've got that many people who are that deficient on basic nutrients and due to industrialisation and due to everything that's gone on, for better or worse, whether it was necessary or whether it wasn't, regardless, "Here's a food that, as long as it's got scalability in order to produce it, you can take it anywhere. You can take it to any local community. You can grow these things in a closed loop system and deliver these baseline nutrients that are like, yeah, potentially, and of course, more data research, not making the claim, just saying potentially bring in amino acids, bring in these macular-nourishing nutrients that people are deficient in, all of these minerals."

 

What a blessing. That's where I've landed with it. We need solutions and we need them hard and we need them fast. And these aren't solutions I'm sitting back and going, oh, "Thank goodness, those angels at the World Economic Forum are thinking of me," and that's not the sustainability we're talking about.

Mark Pages:

They're not part of my future vision.

Mason:

Well, this is too potent to be a part of their vision.

Mark Pages:

Well, this is not GMO. This is nature. The problem I have, and we can touch on it, because they are trying to bring out some genetically modified omega-3, DHA. Sorry if anyone's a fan of the CSIRO, but they are trying to basically using, I think, CRISPR technology, insert the genes of algae and fungi, and they've already done it by the way, into a plant and create DHA in a terrestrial plant. So this is actually already a product. You can actually go and look it up and they're trying to actually get the Australian government to approve this. Now, because I've been asked this on a number of podcasts the last couple of months, "Hey Mark, what do you think about the new terrestrial plant that creates DHA?"

 

And my comment is, "Well, it's only 10%. Let's firstly look from a specification point of view before we get into the other angles. It's low DHA, it's not stable, it's not in a polar-bound lipid form, it's genetically modified. Everyone has a different take on that, but it's a genetically modified organism. And why would you go to a genetically modified organism as a consumer that has 10% DHA when you can find phytoplankton, which is natural, nature's been around here for billions of years and evolved naturally and has between 30 to 40% EPA or DHA? Why would you go to something?" There's-

Mason:

You can't patent it.

Mark Pages:

You can't patent it and here's the thing. So we have larger groups out there that want to control the world. Sorry to be conspiratorial, anyone. And-

Mason:

Well, everyone knows that there's psychopaths out there that want to control the world.

Mark Pages:

Absolutely, yeah, Mr. Schwab, but there are natural solutions and phytoplankton, I call it the God particle of biology because it's the flag bearer of chlorophyll. It was the first plant on the planet to basically create that beautiful synthesis of photosynthesis meets plant biology in an aqueous environment. And that's pretty special when you think about evolution. So, I'm sorry, Mr. Gates and Mr. Schwab, I'm not on your team. I'll stick with the natural stuff. Thank you.

Mason:

Yeah, it's such a nice ... I mean, the solutions are all here as much as it's a shit fight and there hasn't been extreme s suffering created and terrible land management and a lot of programmes that are controlled by very sinister people who ... And let's just give a benefit of the doubt to a few of them and say maybe the intentions as a smidge of good intention there, but ultimately manifesting in a way that really is pure evil manifest. Not that we're all not capable of going, doing that, but that's the whole point of cultivating self and spirit and being guided by something and working with a really pure intention and source idea and stewarding a business and the emergence of a primordial food like this God particle, I imagine like the plankton-DMT God particle combination. That'd be wild journey because there are solutions here for what's going on around the world.

Mark Pages:

Absolutely. I think I want to be part of a positive future, a natural future and I'm just trying to do my little bit to try and work with a team of people to try and bring something that's potent, nutrient-dense, natural and that we can all benefit from.

Mason:

Heck yeah. Before we finish, I just want to point out, yes, you do have the plankton. I imagine most people are going to be wanting to go and try the phytoplankton powder straight, whether it's capsules, whether it's straight powder. I'm not really doing as many smoothies or things these days. So capsules have been great for me. Take them with my ashwagandha capsules in the morning, but just touching on a few of the other products you have because you do have a greens, like a greens powder with lots of other greens, but also the omega-3 liquid product.

Mark Pages:

That's correct, yeah. And I didn't come back to you on that before, Mase. So we do a fermented chlorella. The difference with a fermented chlorella is, when you ferment the chlorella, we grow it in a controlled environment so it doesn't get any airborne contamination, so it's much cleaner, but the fermentation softens the cell wall and actually allows slightly higher beta-carotenes and slightly higher lutein. So from a microbiology and cleanliness perspective, much nicer, much more digestible. So fermented chlorella, we do that in small tablets and in a powder form.

Mason:

Like a pressed tablet?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, in a little pressed tablet.

Mason:

Cool.

Mark Pages:

And the other product, we also do the phytoplankton in what we call a greens blend with five other greens that we've carefully selected with a vegan probiotic and an ingredient that Mase knows very well ashwagandha on a natural pineapple and organic vanilla extract. And then the last offering we do is a clean omega-3. So, we extract DHA in a very unique controlled process. We do a water enzyme extraction of the DHA without any chemicals in a closed system. And we basically then do an organic winterization step, which purifies the DHA.

Mason:

Is that just a cold process?

Mark Pages:

Yeah, what we actually do is, by chilling the lipid, we can actually remove the crystallisation and then basically get a higher concentration. So actually, it's an organic process that we do and that gives us a higher concentration of DHA in a non-fishy non-odour that's almost like a clear liquid, but most importantly not using any chemicals in the process. And in fact, we will be, in the next year, the first company in the world to have a European and Japanese-certified organic DHA algal oil in the world due to these unique processes.

Mason:

What are you extracting the DHA from?

Mark Pages:

So it's from an microalgae called Schizochytrium, sorry for the lovely Latin word.

Mason:

Such a good word. Great. People might not have realised, it wasn't from a fish as well. So gosh, I'm going to go smash a bunch of marine phytoplankton capsules when I get home and feeling really excited about it and feeling excited for the future and plankton 2.0. It's going to be beautiful to watch it get taken up and see it across the shelves, see it around the world on the health food store shelves again.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, I think phytoplankton is a potent and a powerful ingredient. And my daily ritual at the last month, I've been travelling actually in Thailand, and every morning, I've been getting up and taking my Jing and my phytoplankton capsules as a staple, enjoying lovely reishi before I go to bed. So I'm really embracing the amazing SuperFeast adaptogens and mushrooms and incorporating that in phytoplankton. And you know what? I feel great.

Mason:

Heck yeah, you look great.

Mark Pages:

Shucks, Mase.

Mason:

All right. Everyone's got to go over to the website.

Mark Pages:

Yeah, so come and check out what we do. Our website is phytality.com au. So that's spelled P-H-Y-T-A-L-I-T-Y, dot com, dot au. And I guess that wording really comes on, a play on phytoplankton giving you vitality. So yeah, go and check out what we do, and yeah, please pop me a message. Love to take any questions and love to come back, Mase, and explore and do some deep dives. Please, any questions you have, put them to Mase or myself. And yeah, we're all about knowledge and transparency, so plug us away with some questions.

Mason:

Yeah, sincerely, guys, especially if any of you are in a real deep dive, super curious, feeling that polarization of different conversations at the moment, really use it to fish for some questions. If you've got anything you want to come into, maybe there's something you're really excited about and you like not only what you said, but you've got extra stuff you want to validate and share, send that to us. And likewise, if you've got something that you think is really in really high quality opposition, bring that as well. Because as you said, when you're stewarding something that's tonic herbalism or a primordial green aqueous food, it is in the self-criticising and then the welcoming of the criticising that you find the sweet spot of where you actually land and then what you scale in terms of the message when you find its sweet spot. So yeah, sincerely everyone, and please, I'd love to hear through SuperFeast and myself anything you notice through taking the phytoplankton because I'm really keen to hear that inspiration.

Mark Pages:

Thank you, Mase, it's been a pleasure and enjoy your Friday.

Mason:

You too. Have a beautiful weekend.

Mark Pages:

Thank you.

 

 

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