No one has really done conclusive or useful human trials to test Nannochloropsis. One trial was done in the 1960’s that in my opinion was poorly executed and came up with results that were far from sufficient (I am having trouble finding the study but I will post when I find it). The trials resulted in gastrointestinal discomfort with no other negative or positive effects. The digestive problems they experienced was probably a result of a harsh change in diet from normal food to only algae, as well as a complete lack of fiber (fiber would have to be supplemented because algae has none). I hope through the course of our project we are able to do these human trials right and come up with real data to help us move forward. Of course, this is merely a daydream at this point because there is much yet to do. Until I have more to write, here’s a snippet of information about another algae people are already eating:
Other algae are used in food and as supplements, like the blue-green algae Spirulina. Spirulina was given its name because of the spiraling shape of its cells. It is a bright green filamentous cyanobacteria that grows in tropical and sub-tropical lakes that have high pH. It is valued for its immense vitamin, mineral and protein content and has been used as a homeopathic panacea for cancer, weight loss, anxiety, PMS and a slew of other things. Spirulina has been known and used as a food source for decades. The Aztecs called it “tecuitlatl” and harvested it from nearby lakes until the 16th century when the lakes were drained for agriculture. It is still unclear whether or not this algae is really all it is supposed to be, but nevertheless next time you drink a protein shake or a bottled “green” smoothie, check the label because you’re probably drinking algae.