Red Algae (Rhodophyta) | Brown Algae (Phaeophyceae) | Blue-Green Algae (Cyanophyta) – Health Benefits, Facts, And Uses

Red algae (Rhodophyta) facts

The red algae, also known as Rhodophyta, are one of the oldest groups of eukaryotic algae. They range in complexity from simple unicellular organisms to branched and unbranched filaments to highly advanced multiaxial crusts and uprights.

They are red due to the presence of a pigment, called phycoerythrin, which absorbs blue light and reflects red light.

They are found around the world from tropical to polar waters and are frequently found on coral reefs and in tide pools.


Several rhodophytes are eaten, such as the Carrageen Moss (Mastocarpus stellatus and Chondrus crispus) and dulse (Palmaria palmata).

In Asia, they are important sources of food, like – nori. The high complete protein and vitamin content of this food makes it attractive, as does the relative simplicity of cultivation, that started in Japan more than 3 centuries ago.

Health benefits of red marine algae

Prevents HIV

The carrageenans (a group of similar sulfated polysaccharides) found in red marine algae might be an effective preventative against diseases, such as – shingles, HIV, and cold sores and are also considered to improve interferon production in the immune system. You can find carrageenans in organic tofu, yogurt, baby formula, coconut milk, and even in your turkey cold cuts.

Bone health

Calcium, the main element in these algae, is an essential mineral which is well-known for its important role in bone health. Moreover, your muscles, heart, and nerves also need this essential mineral to function correctly. Recent studies concluded that this mineral may prevent a faster weight gain due to the fact that it promotes less fat to be stored and more fat to be burned. A calcium deficiency may replicate into a few skeletal conditions that may deteriorate the bone mineral density and weaken the bone structure in the body.

Improves memory

It contains seanol polyphenol, an antioxidant that’s about 100 times more potent than other antioxidants. Some of the health benefits of consuming this antioxidant include diabetes control, weight management, a reduction in inflammation, and memory improvement. More importantly, this antioxidant protects your skin from free radicals which cause premature aging. The benefits of antioxidants are crucial to good health because if free radicals are left unchallenged, they can cause numerous life-threatening conditions.


You would be surprised to know that these algae contain 180 percent of the daily recommended value of iron. Iron is an essential mineral responsible for carrying oxygen in your red blood cells and transmitting nerve impulses. Currently, the iron deficiency anemia is the world’s most frequent nutritional deficiency condition, especially among children and women.

Brown Algae (Phaeophyceae) facts

Brown algae, also known as Phaeophyceae, are a large group of mostly marine multicellular algae, including numerous seaweeds located in colder Northern Hemisphere waters. Almost all species of these algae are marine, however, there are a few types which live in fresh water.

Moreover, the majority have air bladders that help them to receive the optimum sunlight absorption.

They vary in form and size from small filamentous epiphytes to complex giant kelps which range in size from one to more than 100 meters. Moreover, the giant kelp Macrocystis is a brown alga which forms underwater forests, and it may grow up to 60 meters.

Their name comes from the presence of a golden brown xanthophyll pigment, named – fucoxanthin (C40H54O6) in the chromatophores.


They are important because they provide a diverse habitat for numerous species of marine life. Furthermore, they are used as a food source for humans.

They are a good source of algin which helps prevent separation of ingredients as a stabilizer in soups, gravies, and sauces. In textiles, alginates are used to thicken fiber-reactive dye pastes, that improves the sharpness in conserves dyes and printed lines.

Health benefits of brown algae

Prevents anemia

Riboflavin, better known as vitamin B2, is one of eight B vitamins. Riboflavin is needed for the functioning of every single cell in the physical body, and a lack of it in the regular diet can create numerous adverse effects. For example, it is required for the synthesis of red blood cells which transport oxygen throughout the body and it also keeps the mucous membranes in the bowels and mouth healthy.

An excellent source of iron

Iron is a vital mineral which your physical body requires to maintain optimal health. This mineral is mainly used for hemoglobin production to make the red blood cells.

Good for migraines sufferers

Magnesium is an essential mineral found in the sea, earth, plants, humans, and animals. It can operate as a muscle relaxant, making it a good remedy for people who suffer from muscle tension, migraines, or tension headaches. A deficiency in this mineral is particularly prevalent in older populations and is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, and coronary heart disease.

These algae are also high in other important nutrients like potassium, calcium, chromium, selenium, copper, and zinc and essential amino-acids.

Blue-Green Algae (Cyanophyta) facts

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae or Cyanophyta, is a phylum of bacteria which obtain their energy with the help of photosynthesis. Furthermore, they are better known as “pond scum.”

These algae are very small and can’t be seen with the naked eye unless they are concentrated into clumps when they can look like brown dots or greenish bundles in the water.

They contain the blue pigment phycobilin, numerous yellowish carotenoids, and the red pigment phycoerythrin.

Some of them can produce compounds which are poisonous if swallowed by pets, people, or livestock.

Cyanobacteria uses

The Aztecs consumed these algae frequently and also the native inhabitants of Africa made them a common addition to their regular diet.

Studies concluded that they are effective for treating some types of cancer, although it can have other health uses.

Health benefits of blue-green algae

Antioxidant properties

They are rich in compounds which possess antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecular fragments which can severely damage cell membranes.

Complete protein

According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, they contain approximately 2/3 protein. Moreover, numerous plant proteins come with other substances that promote overall bodily health and can help protect against chronic disease.

Lowers LDL cholesterol

Diets that rely heavily on animal products (such as meats, dairy products, and eggs) are usually much higher in substances which increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases, such as cholesterol and saturated fat. For example, a blue-green alga, named – spirulina, reduces type 2 diabetes Mellitus and improves HDL cholesterol and is also responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol.


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