My Response to Dr. Andrew Weil’s Assessment of Spirulina and Chlorella

Dr. Weil does not have much to say about spirulina and chlorella, yet they are the most powerful foods known. In his Article on Spirulina and chlorella, he states the following: “ Spirulina and chlorella are two varieties of freshwater algae – primitive plants that are cultivated for nutritional use, dried and sold as dark green powders or tablets. They are very expensive and heavily promoted as miracle supplements.

Expense is relative when you are speaking about the cost of any food. You will spend $4 or $5 on a box of cereal but you will get almost no nutritional value out of that box of cereal even though the box states otherwise. This is because the body has tremendous difficulty absorbing nutrients from dead foods, especially those that have been highly processed. Like all cooked foods, the box of cereal will do nothing to improve your health. However, when you spend $40 on a large bottle of chlorella or spirulina, you have spent money on foods that can radically change your health for the better. When you think of it in those terms, a box of cereal costs a fortune because it provides the body with little nutrition and, like all cooked foods, lead to all disease. As I often state, we spend a fortune making ourselves sick when for a very small amount of money we can obtain true health, especially when we spend our money on true superfoods such as spirulina and chlorella.

No food can perform miracles of health in the body. Rather it is what the body will do with those nutrients once they have been consumed that allows the body to cure itself of any disease. Vitamin A in large doses can help a person feel better when they have a cold, but it is a band aid that can only help the body in the short term because it does not lead to true health. It fools us into thinking that taking supplements are a healthy thing to do when in fact only eating raw fruits and vegetables can lead us to being truly healthy.

Dr. Weil falls into the trap of stating that algae such as spirulina and chlorella are supplements when they are not. Spirulina and Chlorella did not earn the title of superfoods because they might be beneficial to one person, but not another. They earned that exalted title because they are the most perfect foods known, containing ideal compliments of amino acids (pre-digested proteins), carbohydrates and fats. A person could not only survive by exclusively eating these superfoods, they would be incredibly healthy doing so. Ideally, however, we should consume a broad array of raw foods in order to obtain optimal health, not limit them to certain food groups.

Spirulina and Chlorella are not supplements. Supplements are collections of vitamins, minerals, proteins and other dead nutrients. While their profile may look good on the back of the nutrition panel of their container, in reality these nutrients will not be assimilated by the body the way nutrients from raw foods will. There is no substitute fov what God provides for us by way of raw food nutrients, nor is the variety limited in any way. The foods that we know and regularly consume are but a slight fraction of the plethora of foods that are available worldwide.

Supplements are produced from extracts and concentrates, which are not alive. There is no place for true supplements in the world of Achieving Great Health. Spirulina and Chlorella are often referred to as supplements, even by prominent naturalists, but this is a misnomer. For instance, I eat 3 – 5 cloves of garlic each day. One could say I am supplementing my diet with them, but that does not mean that raw garlic should be referred to as a supplement. If you were to extract the oil or specific nutrients from garlic and consume it, then that would be considered a supplement. But when the food is consumed whole with nothing extracted from it, it is not a supplement.

When alga is harvested fresh, then either powdered or tableted, it is essentially unchanged from its original state and therefore must still be categorized as a food, not a supplement. Spirulina and Chlorella are whole foods and eating them is like eating a banana or apple or broccoli. You can use them to supplement your diet with the protein and other broad array of nutrients they possess, but they should always be called what they truly are: Whole Foods.

Dr. Weil also states: “They are good sources of chlorophyll, but there is little to no research supporting the claims made about the algae.”

Spirulina and Chlorella are excellent sources of chlorophyll, but that is like saying that garlic is a good source of fatty acids. Garlic has a vast array of incredible health properties beyond simply being a good source of fatty acids and so is true of Spirulina and Chlorella. They are the two most nutritionally dense and have the broadest array of nutrients of any foods known. I have written two books on Spirulina and Chlorella and of course have researched them extensively. My second book, Achieving Great Health, became a struggle for me to determine which studies not to include in my book because there are so many of them. The scientific research that has been done on Spirulina and Chlorella are scholarly, extensive and come from countries all over the world. It is astounding that a prominent physician such as Dr. Andrew Weil knows almost nothing about the two most important whole foods on the planet.

Dr. Bob’s Blog is not intended as medical advice. The writings and statements on this website have not reviewed and/or approved by the FDA. Our products are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Rather they are meant to demonstrate that aging can be slowed and even reversed and that Great Health achieved when the most fundamental nutritional needs of the human body are met. Always consult a medical doctor or other medical professional when you consider it necessary.
Dr. Bob’s Blog is covered under (47 U.S.C. § 230): “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

About Bob McCauley

Bob McCauley, ND (Robert F., Jr.) was raised in Lansing, Michigan and attended Michigan State University (BA, 1980 in Journalism). He is a naturopathic doctor, Master Herbalist and a Certified Nutritional Consultant. He has traveled extensively, both domestically and abroad, visiting over 32 countries. He published Confessions of a Body Builder: Rejuvenating the Body with Spirulina, Chlorella, Raw Foods and Ionized Water (2000), Achieving Great Health (2005), The Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water, (2006) which is the only book on the market that exclusively addresses Ionized Water, Twelve (Fiction, 2007) and Honoring the Temple of God (2008). He considers himself a Naturalist, meaning he pursues health in the most natural way possible. He studies and promotes nature as the only way to true health. From 2002-2004 he hosted the radio program Achieving Great Health, which was heard by thousands of people each day. His guests included some of the most well-known and respected names in the natural health world. With the help of his father, Dr. Robert F. McCauley, Sr. (Doctorate in Environmental Engineering, MIT, 1953) they started Spartan Water Company in 1992, which sold vended water machines in supermarkets. Robert Jr. founded Spartan Enterprises, Inc. in 1993. He is a Certified Water Technician with the State of Michigan. He is also a Type II Public Water Supply Specialist and has the certifications of S-5 and D-5. The McCauley family has a long history in the water industry. Bob's father pioneered environmental issues regarding ground water and drinking water quality. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1953 for his thesis on removing radioactive strontium from water. He earned his doctorate in Environmental Engineering in less than 2 years, one of the shortest doctoral studies in the history of MIT. He taught civil, sanitary and environmental engineering at Michigan State University for 18 years before retiring to run Wolverine Engineers & Surveyors of Mason, Michigan, for 17 years. His reputation throughout Michigan as a water quality expert was legendary. Bob worked for his father's company for 12 years learning the water business, which dealt primarily with municipalities, including water quality and sanitary sewer issues. After apprenticing with his father, Bob moved on to the bottled water business. He established greater Michigan's biggest selling bottled water: Michigan Mineral – Premium Natural Water. He was introduced to Ionized Water in 1995 and has done more to promote Ionized Water than anyone else in the industry. Bob often lectures and offers seminars on his Seven Component Natural Health Protocol . Bob is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and a Certified Master Herbalist. He is also a 3rd Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor of Songahm Taekwondo (American Taekwondo Association).
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17 Responses to My Response to Dr. Andrew Weil’s Assessment of Spirulina and Chlorella

  1. bill says:


    I use Greens + smoothine by sam graci every day or atleast 5 times a week. Spirlina and chlorella are in the mixture.Not advertizing the product just i used it along with cilantro, tart cherries and apple cider vinegar to eliminate heavy metal toxicidy. I was a huge fan of sushi and sashimi. I ate fish an average of 3-4 times a week and as much as I could eat , especially tuna and salmon.After 11 years of consuming fish and other seafoods as I thought they were better than meats all the time, I developed high blood pressure, serious arthritic arms and knee caps, loss of eye lash’s thinning and greying of my hair, gout in my left toe so bad it would cause me not to walk. Heavy left leg that would tingle after and during a walk. Numbness in my legs..On it went. when i got a twitching in my right eye so bad I went to the doctor and got the high blood pressure results. Before the huge seafood consuption and at the age of 45 my blood pressure was perfect, in fact a bit better than perfect.I excercised at the gym 3 times a week, would swim and walk miles. 3 yerars ago my bllod pressure was bad but not horrid so i started swimming and walking sometimes 2 miles a day or more. I kept eating seafoods as I never thought all the mercury scare in tuna and seafoods were that big a deal. TRUST ME THEY WERE A BIG DEAL. High purines in the fish caused uric acid which caused the heavy leg and gout. mercury PCB’s and other heavy metal contaminents cause arthritis so severe in my left arm any movement backwards or above my head caused excruciating pain,. what i discovered thorugh my research is cilantro removes heavy metals but must have chlorella to bind with the mercury and other metals so the colon won’t re-absorb it back into the bloodstream and organs.. Alfalfa helps as well. I feel like a new man..My arthritic left arm is almost back to normal, my eyelashs have grown back thick and lush like they use to be..My grey hair is turning golden brown, which amazes me as I’m 56. My gums were so bad that some of my front teeth were loose. That has and is still correcting itself. My Kneecaps no longer hurt. My cognitive abilities are returning to normal as I was having dificulties thinking straight and actually got lost in my neighborhood, for a moment as I tried to determione where I was. Pretty scary fior a man that has always tried to eat well, excercises, walks almost everywhere, even though i have a car. I have been a casual smoker, which is coming to an end.I never had a big problem with tobacco, but now it is a focus to quit.. I wasd literally dieing, as my blood pressure was sky-rocketing.My eye doesn’t twitch anymore and my vision is better even though I wear glass’s. I mentioned Greens + Smootie only cause it contains spurlina and chlorella, which I will take the rest of my life..I don’t eat seafood anymore..I get my omega 3’s from walnuts, and soy drinks. I eat organic salads everyday and try to chose organic produce whenever I can and can afford it. If yiou have any of the symptoms I mentioned and eat a large amount of seafoods…think again..

  2. bob says:

    Which Blog post are you specially talking about?

  3. Penny says:

    This is a very good article! My mother just showed me the book Dr. Weil had written, and I read that first statement where he mentioned “They are very expensive and heavily promoted” one and I stopped reading right there.
    I take Chlorella and Spirulina every day and usually 2 or 3 times a day at that! And since taking both of these, my cravings have flown out the window. I no longer crave the carbs or the sugars. Before taking Spirulina and Chlorella, I craved ice cream every single day, and now I no longer care to even taste it.
    By no longer having cravings, I would have to say that my body is finally getting the nutrition is really needs.
    I am a firm believer in both of these foods!!

  4. Quite an interesting post and supporting comments here. I should point out that others have made a varying case, particularly in terms of natural health. Has anyone here located good information on the Web, and would you give me some direction?

  5. vincent says:

    my wife has cancer ( uterine – stage 1c) which has metastasis to her lower stomach, her appetite has dropped significantly bec of the effects of the chemo drugs. She’s taking Spirulina and chlorella daily but I’m not quite sure how much she needs to take as both are in tablet/capsule form. Spirulina/1500mg and Chlorella/520mg, can you please guide us on how much she should take to reap the full benefits and boost her immune system so as to eventually recover from cancer.

  6. Kelly says:

    Bob said:

    “A person could not only survive by exclusively eating these superfoods, they would be incredibly healthy doing so.”

    Sorry Bob, but after reading that, any credibility you may have had went right out the window. Are you actually claiming that say, an anorexic person could regain their muscle mass and body strength by consuming chlorella?

  7. Bob McCauley says:

    I stand 100% behind my statement. You will be healthy if you only eat Spirulina and Chlorella. But please read the next sentence. It says, it is better to include a great variety of other food, all of the raw or living. Speaking of anorexia in regards to this, if the person at the very least eats 30 – 50 grams of chlorella and/or spirulina they will get all the nutrients they need. However anorexia is a psychological condition and cannot be solved, cured, with nutrition. But it can be used to keep an anorexic healthy physically. Once they begin to eat regularly again, an anorexic can certainly regain muscle mass, strength, etc. You are welcome to call me anytime to discuss this. But I stand by my words.

  8. Bob McCauley says:

    I would recommend 20,000 mg – 50,000 mg (20 – 50 grams) daily. I also recommend Chlorella Growth Factor, or extract for cancer. I have a cancer protocol if you would like me to send it to you.

  9. Pingback: Chlorella: The Single Most Studied Food in History | Bob McCauley's Blog

  10. Marlene says:

    Hello Bob,
    In regards to Chlorella & Spirulina, I need the cancer protocol. My brother-in-law has bone marrow cancer, he is going to need a full bone marrow transplant and two friends also have cancer, one ovarian cancer and the other hodgkin’s lymphoma. I’m also recommending to them a water ionizer.
    I on the other hand have psoriasis, what would the protocol be for me? I started drinking alkaline antioxidant water 3 weeks ago and I have seen great improvement. My husband and I would like to start Chlorella & Spirulina in our daily regiment.
    Please help us with protocol and dosage. We ordered a few of your books and cannot wait to read them. Thank you for all the information you have made available.

  11. Karen says:

    Hi Bob..I have been taking chlorella daily for over six years and swear by it. My two kids take it as well. I, like you, was astonished that Andrew Wiel had such a harsh opinion about it`s benefits. For me, I now question HIS credibility as a health expert.

  12. Shannah says:

    Hi. My 8 yo daughter is now battling cancer for the 3rd time in her short little life. I’d be very interested in your cancer protocol to see if I can help her body beat this
    Once and for all. Any help would be greatly appreciated thank you.


  13. Sherwin Maxawow says:

    ood stuff but I think you’re getting a little bit nit-picky in regards your technical criticism over what is or what isn’t a supplement. if it was more important to me and I had a little more free time and energy I could really give you a worthy debate. A supplement is a product you take in as in addition to your normal food diet too make up for the nutrition your normal diet lacks. That is why it is referred to as “a supplement”…in many people’s understanding anyway.
    I can go further than that too but then that would be getting a little bit “nit picky” myself. 😉

    Good article, nevertheless.

    PS. Dr Andrew Weil is my hero.

  14. Cee says:

    Some more nit pickiness.
    Chlorella is an algae, but spirulina is not. Modern biological classifications list spirulina as a prokaryotic bacteria. I see the algae misrepresentation a lot when the nutritional world refers to spirulina. Because of an archaic classification it was commonly referred to as a blue-green algae and the name stuck, thereby causing some confusion. Instead of referring to spirulina as an algae or blue-green algae, I suggest the nutritional world start referring to it as a Cyanobacteria. But, what you call it does’t affect its effect upon you.

  15. Maria says:

    i would like to ask if the combo chlorella + spirulina is recommendable during pregnancy and if so how much per day.

    And secondly, currently, I make a daily smoothie in the morning, including powdered spirulina and chlorella. Sometimes, my two-year-old daughter shares with me. Is it safe for her? Also, I noticed that her teeth got somewhat tainted green and feel very bad about it. Any piece of advice, please.
    Thank you!

  16. PJ says:

    Right on Bob….Albeit Dr. Weil has his followers, he is not a genius. Recently, he was on the Dr. Oz show and when an audience member asked him the safety of using fluoride, he said it’s absolutely safe and also prevents cavities. He lost all credibility with me from that day forward.

    People need to learn to advocate for themselves and do the research.

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