Algae Nutritional Research Study

A Dietary Study to Investigate the Effect of Orally-Consumed Algae On Normal Gut Health

If you are interested in participating in this study, please read the trial description below and complete the pre-sign up form.

The California Center for Algae Biotechnology (Cal-CAB) at UC San Diego is looking for volunteers to try a nutritional product based on the eukaryotic green algae called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This green algae is one of the most comprehensively studied algae in the world, and recently we have been investigating the effect of consumption of this algae on gut health. Multiple animal trials have indicated that consuming small amounts of this algae (1% of a normal diet) supports normal healthy gut function, including improved digestion, and reduced instances of intestinal distress.

Given these compelling results, we are interested in understanding whether similar effects can be realized in humans, and whether this improvement in gut health is correlated with improvements in the gut microbiome of humans. We are planning a consumption study comprised of three cohorts – (1) student-athletes, (2) otherwise normal and healthy individuals, and (3) people who have previously experienced symptoms commonly associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome-type symptoms. The format of the study will be as follows:

  • Participants will first sign a consent form, affirming their willingness to participate in the study, and will then complete a diet and lifestyle questionnaire;
  • Subsequently participants will be provided – either in person or via mail - with a supply of algae, packaged for easy daily use over the 30 days of the study.  Participants will be asked to consume a small serving (either 1 grams or 3 grams) per day, as part of their normal food and beverage intake. Some participants may receive a placebo control containing a dried plant powder.
  • Participants will also be provided with 3 specimen kits, along with detailed instructions for their use, and will be asked to contribute a small swabbed sample of your stool on three separate occasions – prior to beginning consumption of the algae, on the 7th day of the trial, and upon conclusion of the consumption stage of the trial.  These small stool samples will be used to determine the microbiome of selected individuals. 
  • At the conclusion of the 30-day consumption period, participants will be asked to complete a short post-trial survey, to help ascertain the effects of the algae as a regular part of their diet. 

green algae powderThis is the first time that the nutritious green algae C. reinhardtii has been available for human consumption, and also the first trial to evaluate its potential impact on human gut health.  This algae contains an abundance of natural, healthy, and nutritionally impactful components, including:

  • High levels of easily digested proteins
  • Excellent source of Omega fatty acids and oils
  • Rich in Vitamin A, B-carotene, chlorophyll and iron

We intend to review data from this study to further develop green algae as a human nutritional supplement to promote human gut health. This data will allow us to determine if this algae is a potential consumer product as a supplement to support normal daily gut function and health.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please complete the pre-sign up form. If you have questions regarding the study or related research matters, please contact Dr. Steve Mayfield ( or Embriette Hyde of the American Gut Project (