Marine scientists and ecologists consider the most important living plants to be the most important living organisms on the planet. The almighty single cell alga produces about 50% of the oxygen used on Earth and our lives essentially depend on it.1 Algae (plural for alga) paved the way for the evolution of other single-celled organisms as well as those with multiple and/or complex cells, known as eukaryotes.2
Algae come in many forms and have an interesting array of uses. Because algae are susceptible to environmental change, they are excellent indicators of water quality and a component of sampling programs. For example, an overgrowth of algae (known as algal blooms) can clog water intake pipes and filters. Once algal blooms die off, a substantial amount of dissolved oxygen is used by bacteria to break down the organic matter, depleting oxygen levels in their water habitat; this condition is known as hypoxia.3 In other words, aquatic ecosystems depend on algae to provide oxygen.
Aside from its formidable environmental impact, different types of algae—often known as seaweed—are sources of sustainable biofuel and found in common food items as well as cosmetics. Algae are also a source of active pharmaceutical compounds that can be used against drug-resistant bacterial strains, viruses and cancers.4 Different forms of algae have varying commercial value—less known but economically important are algae used for fertilizer, feed for farm animals and fish. As a soil-binding agent, algae is important in the healthy formation of soil to protect against natural processes such as erosion..5
Algae are an important source of nourishment in numerous cultures around the world. Most of us are aware of nori, Japanese seaweed used to prepare sushi. Chinese incorporate kelp into cold dishes that are served as appetizers or sides and into hot soups. Irish, Scottish, French, German, Norwegian and Swedish cuisines also use seaweed as a culinary ingredient in salads, as a topping or as a side to meat dishes.
Not only is algae considered by many consumers worldwide to be a low cost source of protein, but it also provides a number of important minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and zinc. Algae also contain several healthy elements including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.6 It is a perfect food to incorporate into an Active Wellness lifestyle.
Some specific types of algae are known for their skin conditioning attributes, such as promoting blood circulation, providing moisture and regulating the sebaceous gland function. They activate cell renewal and the metabolism, while having an anti-inflammatory effect.7 Chlorophyll contributes to the oxygen supply of the skin because it is similar in composition to hemoglobin. Especially effective in skin care products, green algae have an amino acid content similar to human collagen.8
The True Elements® Marine Organic Skincare line is formulated with various combinations of seaweed extracts, namely Chondrus Crispus (red algae or Irish moss), Laminaria Digitata (brown algae, Oarweed, Irish seaweed or kelp), Ulva Lactuca (sea lettuce) and Crithmum maritimum L. (sea fennel). Containing minerals, trace elements and marine micronutrients, these seaweed extracts in the True Elements® Ecocert certified skincare line help to gently cleanse, tone, hydrate and prevent signs of premature aging.