Phytomax Q&A


By William Misner, Ph.D.

William Misner, Ph.D.
William Misner, Ph.D.
From 1996 until his retirement in 2006, Dr. Bill worked full-time as Director of Research & Development at Hammer Nutrition. Among his many accomplishments, both academically and athletically, he is an AAMA Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner and the author of "What Should I Eat? A Food-Endowed Prescription For Well Being".

Q. What is your take on all the various blue-green algae supplements, in particular the Phytomax product?

A: Some blue-green algae is laced with pesticide, toxic human and environmental wastes not good for us or our families. Spirulina, however, has an excellent nutrient profile. One ounce yields 82 calories, composed of 58% protein, 24% carbohydrates, and only 18% fat, no cholesterol, and only 0.also 7 grams saturated fat. I reviewed the amino acid profile of Spirulina, which looks as good as the 1.0 perfect PDCAAS proteins whey, soy, and egg whites.

The phytonutrient content from the rooted-plant Hydrilla verticilata is the true value found in this organic plant, especially since the soils have been depleted this past 40 years to nearly 1/10th of the phytonutrients found in the plants harvested from today's crops. Rooted plants grown in rich organic soils do present a rich protein profile, but most of all Phytomax presents a rich phytonutient profile equal to a huge portion of plant-source foods, often lacking in our diets or grown from depleted soils. As I said the exception to the issue with blue green algae products is quality Spirulina, which we also formulate in Premium Insurance Caps. Spirulina and Hydrilla verticilata (Phytomax) are rich in healthy phytonutrients and amino acids.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that we ingest 3-5 servings of vegetables per day depending on our size, age, and activity. When the process of photosynthesis captures the rays of the sun in the presence of oxygen, water, and germinating seeds in the soil, the results are that minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids are organically-bound by "live" enzymes within the plant. These complex plantlike compounds, in their raw form, provide, as no other food sources can, substrates necessary for the ultimate in human health at the cellular level. All nutrients from food sources are initially processed by the mouth's crushing and grinding actions where they are mixed in the slightly acidic (6.9 ph) saliva. The peristaltic movements of the esophagus transfer the food into the highly acidic environment of the stomach (1.4-1.8 ph). Here digestion is hastened by increased acidity and higher temperatures in the "core" area where the rolling, twisting motions of the stomach separate nutrients, including their enzymatic counterparts, which are altered according to the macronutrient being processed, for maximal tissue utilization and absorption. Next, the excreted stomach "chyme" exudes slowly into the alkaline (8.0 ph) environment of the small intestine, which further changes "foods" into smaller substrates fit for use in the blood stream, which carries a constant ph of 7.35-7.45.

Each of 68 phytonutrients is directed to the cell structures where it may be appropriated to the specific function for maximal cellular metabolism. Some authors from the food science industry argue that even 5 servings a day of fresh vegetables do not provide the organic substrates necessary for optimal cellular health. They point out that, "Time, cooking, processing, and soil depletion destroy organic materials." From the time a raw fruit or vegetable is picked to the time it reaches your table, it has been observed to lose 50%-100% of its water-soluble vitamin C. Other water-soluble vitamins are also lost as time passes from harvest to table. When heat is applied to organic materials, enzymes increase in activity then begin to die at 112 degrees. All the natural food enzymes are destroyed by the time the temperature reaches 118 degrees. In order to extract all the nutrients from digested cooked plants, human physiology must spend enormous amounts of energy to make more digestive enzymes. Most of the water-soluble vitamins are lost in excessive cooking, while the extremes of cooking also alter the organic sterols and fatty acids to an unhealthy "hydrogenated" state, which our liver must metabolize as waste matter. When heat is inappropriately raised, organic minerals are thought to be altered into a less absorbable inorganic type, which may cause the body to activate hypersensitive receptor sites, including new substrate-active enzymatic reactions for activating complete cellular mineral synthesis.

In the past 50 years, chemo-agricultural farming has depleted 90% of the soil's original minerals. Today's' "veggies" contain only 11% of the organic minerals found in produce during World War II. To get what we once got from 3-5 servings of vegetables per day, we would have to consume 40 servings per day, or approximately the amount consumed by a medium-sized horse. What are we really missing? Plant sterols and phytoestrogens have been shown to protect us against cholesterol absorption, tumor formation, colon cancer, radiation poisoning, and the side effects of most allopathic medicines. Most of these protective phytonutrients, phytosterols, and phytoestrogens are lost during processing, degumming, refining, deodorizing, canning, bottling and packaging; we simply are not getting enough.


It is generally acknowledged that some phytoestrogens have been shown to induce a mild drug-like ergogenic interaction in animals, while other phytosterols have been observed to exert a weak but significant anabolic effect in humans. To the athlete this means not only enhanced recovery, but also increased strength gains after intense workouts. The anabolic effect is gentle and mild, not creating a USOC "positive test" for steroids, but may enhance strength gains and endurance at a safe, steady, natural rate of growth. Phytoestrogens and phytosterols from raw vegetarian sources have been shown to hasten free-radical removal after intense exercise assisting recovery in less time.


In certain spring-fed lake beds in northern Florida, where few humans have contact, and agricultural runoff and pollution are nil, there grows a peculiar rooted herbal plant, Hydrilla verticilata. These fertile lakebeds maintain mineral-rich soils similar to those at the turn of the century, when farmers cleared land for the first organic farms. Because the Hydrilla plant is rooted, it easily accesses high amounts of organic minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and trace micronutrients found in the prehistoric lakebed's soils. After harvesting "live" Hydrilla by cutting the plant just above its root structure, an exclusive non-cooking, non-freezing, and non-organic-altering process is carefully applied. This 5-stage pressure wash, which includes an ozone injection for removing only bacteria and microorganisms, is applied in order to extract the raw foods found within the plant's green stems, stalk, and leaves. A drying process is then applied using jet turbine blowers at a maximum of 88 degrees to remove the moisture without damaging the "living" enzymes and rich nutrients stored in the harvested plant. After drying, the Hydrilla is fine-ground, encapsulated and bottled to prevent degradation or contamination from its "live" state. If an athlete chose to supplement each of the above micronutrients from 5 tossed salads, 1 cup of tomato juice, 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of lima beans, 1 cup of green beans, and 7 glasses of whole milk, their dietary intake would also include 41 grams of fiber, 36 grams of saturated fat, 234 grams of cholesterol, 110 grams of sugar, and 2,486 grams of sodium.


Phytosterols may decrease cholesterol absorption by displacing cholesterol from bile salt micelles. Cholesterol analogs found in plants may be protective against colon cancer. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), a free-radical fighter, antioxidant and enzyme found in most plant life is being seriously studied for its plausible positive effects in halting the aging process. SOD has been shown to provide a natural defense against the potentially damaging superoxide free radicals generated during exercise or aerobic metabolism. Including a source of "green" foods may not only enhance recovery, but also prevent the side effects from radiation, carcinoma formation, and the initiation of leukopenia. University studies report that milk production from dairy cattle and the egg-laying capacity of chickens were significantly enhanced when these animals were supplemented with this form of Hydrilla. The assumption is that carry over to human physiology is obvious, though not yet confirmed by reliable research. Some studies do suggest that the nutrients from this plant may have direct application for free radical scavenging, anti-arthritic effect, stress management, remediating aging disorders, promoting healthy skin, and energy recovery.


When one compares a profile of Phytomax to wheat grass and blue green algae, the results are amazing. If a mixture formed by equal parts of the three plant substances named above was assayed for 7 key vitamins and 13 key minerals, Phytomax would contribute 96.4% of the total micronutrients, compared to a combined contribution of only 3.6% from the other two. It takes 2.75 lbs. of freshly harvested Hydrilla plant concentrates to make one serving of Phytomax. The specific phytonutrient composite contains vitamin B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-12, carotenoids, essential fatty acids, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, cobalt, selenium, molybdenum, sodium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase (SOD), RNA, DNA, GLA, and the compatible digestive enzymes for enhanced absorption and use in cellular metabolism. No "green" product researched by our staff during the past several years compares with the phytonutrient profile found in the Florida Hydrilla verticilata. During the past year, athletes have reported to us that they have experienced increased energy levels, superb feelings of well-being, faster recovery from intense training, and a higher quality of sleep when using Phytomax.


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Q: Is Phytomax a SUBSTITUTE for a multi-vitamin or a SUPPLEMENT? Can you put Phytomax or other such powders (like protein) in the mix for baked goods?

A: Phytomax is a "Green" compliment to vegetarian-poor diets. It is not intended to be a "Substitute" for any dietary food choice, multi-vitamin or supplement. It is not recommended that heat be applied to Phytomax, since any heat above 112 degrees would render inactive the "Live" enzymes, which make Phytomax.

Q: If I'm taking the Premium Insurance Caps (PIC), is it overkill to also take Phytomax? Would I be getting more vitamins than necessary in Phytomax along with my PIC supplements?

A: Yes, you will be getting only minute "overkill" with a few of the vitamins and minerals. However, the "phytonutrient" volume from eating 5-9 servings of vegetables are supplied by Phytomax are beneficial, not to be ignored. Phytomax is not to replace whole foods, but for those who do not get enough of the vegetarian "phytonutrients" many of us lack from our fast food high pace-lifestyle so prevalent in today's American working society. Because you take PIC, I would not caution you to limit your dietary vegetable intake, and neither do I suggest taking PIC and Phytomax are opposed or are contraindicated. There is minimal micronutrient overlap and duplication but not one problematic to an endurance athlete who is generally micronutrient depleted without supplement protocols in the Lieberman-Bruning, Colgan, Hausman suggested ODA [Optimum Daily Allowance] level intake.

Q: I am curious about the interaction between the large volumes of vitamins and minerals in the Premium Insurance Caps and the equally potent levels from Phytomax. Is it really helpful to use both? What about side effects?

A: I am unaware of any reaction that has been observed between the Lieberman-Bruning Optimum Daily Allowance (ODA) and the active free radical scavenging antioxidant properties of the Hydrilla Verticillata we have specially formulated into Phytomax. Most studies of free radical (FR) release during exercise have measured 2-5% FR increase during volume O2 intake. During an aerobic paced 8:00 1-mile run, the average runner takes in 350 breaths. That means 17.5 breaths of 7.5 to 10 liters of nothing but metabolites consisting of free radicals are introduced into your tissues each mile you run at an aerobic pace. At the rate of 7 miles per hour in a marathon, an athlete could mount 37 liters of free radicals. What in the tissues will check or scavenge unrestrained free radical destruction to distal muscle cells?

The human body has only 3 main endogenous antioxidants: Catalase for neutralizing hydrogen peroxides, Super Oxide Dismutase neutralizes super oxide radicals, and Glutathione Peroxidase detoxifies the remaining peroxides. Animal Studies, for example, show that after only one bout of exercise to exhaustion, muscle Glutathione is reduced by 40% while liver Glutathione (where all body stores of Glutathione are kept) is reduced by 80%! Your body is very selective in terms of when it is substrate depleted, it becomes increasingly aggressive by enhancing absorption of those substrates lacking.

Since Phytomax has the natural enzymes intact it’s potency may be most effective after workouts. The only side effects I have heard of are increased energy, faster recovery, and waking up alert in the middle of the night. In my own experience initially, I had to back off the full dose, since my recovery was so complete that I only required 6 hours sleep each night. After I cut the dose in half my body adjusted within 3 weeks and I was able to use the directed label dose recommended. I do not know about you, but as for me, I like those side effects, especially if I am training intensely, and recovery is a concern. Being a big fan of organic vegetables, I did not give them up simply because I was ingesting the ODA of Vitamins/Chelated Minerals/Herbs in the Premium Insurance Caps formula. Organic vegetables and PIC compliment each other and Phytomax is a compact form of organic vegetation with the fiber removed. If you try the Phytomax and PIC combination and then react or are not satisfied, then give us a call for your 100% customer satisfaction guarantee refund. Who knows, maybe you will get too much energy, but I predict that you will be very happy using this combination if you have not done so before. You have nothing to lose that I am aware of except maybe time off of your personal best!

Q: What is Spirulina and what does it do? Blue-Green algae? How do these compare to Phytomax?

A: When the Phytomax [PM] profile is compared to wheat grass [WG] and blue-green algae [BGA], the results dramatically favor PM. If a mixture is composed of 3 equal parts from the PM + BGA + WG, of the assay of 7 key vitamins and 13 key minerals, Phytomax contributes 96.4% of the total micronutrients, compared to a combined contribution of only 3.6% from the other two. It takes 2.75 lbs. of freshly harvested Hydrilla plant concentrates to make a single serving of Phytomax. The specific phytonutrient composite has vitamin B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-12, carotenoids, essential fatty acids, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, cobalt, selenium, molybdenum, sodium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase (SOD), RNA, DNA, GLA, and the compatible digestive enzymes for enhanced absorption and use in cellular metabolism. No "green" product researched by myself during the past several years compares with the phytonutrient profile found in Hydrilla Verticillata.

PROTEIN ISSUES - The protein profile in spirulina is a very good one.... and, as protein is, in my opinion, is superior to the profile found in PM. But PM, like most plant protein sources, with the exception of SOY, is not a complete protein. A complete protein has a Predicted Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score [PDCAAS] of 1.0, and only Soy, Whey, and Egg Whites have achieved those perfect PDCAAS scores. I do not have access to a PDCAAS rating for spirulina, but I estimate it to be between 0.80-0.95, most animal, poultry, and fish meats are 0.90-0.92, peas-0.73, Oats-0.57, peanuts-0.52, rice-0.47, corn 0.42 and wheat 0.25. However, cereal grains may be combined with vegetables, legumes, nuts, or seeds, providing a complete 1.0 PDCAAS when eaten during a 24-hour window. The PDCAAS is based on the weakest amino acid in the food's profile.

Q: What makes the “plant” in Phytomax different than Blue-Green Algae?

A: Hydrilla verticilata, a "green" water plant grown in Florida differs from other blue-green algae in that it is harvested from waters that are virtually pollution-free from agricultural run-off, pesticides, herbicides, and VOC's from recreational boating craft. When Phytomax is harvested and dried, the enzyme vitamin and mineral content are never heated above 90 degrees, leaving them "alive" and potently in tact. The nutrient profile, reviewed from the technical manual write-up of this product, is significantly higher than the blue-green algae processed powders, which grow in toxic polluted waters. You will derive more nutrient benefit and will pay less for Phytomax than any algae mix or spirulina supplement on the market.

Q: I have started to research the different green foods available and it appears that certain plants have specific nutritional benefits. Are we better off choosing one specific green food because of a nutritional priority, vitamins/minerals for example, or are we better off eating a blend that would provide a broad spectrum of nutrients?

A: Massive nutritional research of complete cultures "suggests" intake of a broad spectrum of natural organic foods will generate optimal physiological results in terms of both quality of health and longevity. John Robbins in DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA, Stillpoint Publishing, Walpole, NH,1987, Linus Pauling in HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, Avon Books, NY,1987, and J.F. Balch & P.A. Balch in PRESCRIPTION FOR NUTRITIONAL HEALING, Avery Publishing, Garden City, NY, 1990, each allude to these well-referenced findings suggesting a variety of organically-grown foods with a minimum of animal or animal byproducts.

Q: Do your think that Phytomax would take of a probiotic supplement like Digest Caps or do you think that it would make a big difference if I used Digest Caps as well?

A: No, each has different biofunctional capacities. Phytomax is a concentrate of phytonutrients from the fresh water rooted Hydrilla verticilata. It is formulated to supplement - not take the place of - a low or a poor dietary phytonutrient intake (5-9 servings per day fruits-vegetables). Phytonutrient intake with fiber from whole plant foods has been implicated in pro-health, pro-longevity, anti-cancer, anti-cardiovascular, and a whole host of other disorders reviewed from epidemiological data. Phytomax provides the phytonutrients often lacking among non-vegetarians. Phytonutrients are akin to but different than antioxidant activity though we are now only beginning to understand phytonutrients' separate contribution to antioxidant activity and visa-versa.

Digest Caps represent a probiotic rationale by providing good gastric bacterial balance for promoting overall health, assisting in optimal digestion all macronutrients especially proteins by a process in which lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, enzymes, antibiotic substances that inhibit pathogenic microorganisms and B-vitamins are produced. Taking flora supplements with an active count of at least 1.5 billion per meal twice per day will enhance the bacteria balance between the good and the "less good-pathogens".

Q: The dosage directions for Phytomax say three per day with meal. Is it better to take three once per day or one three times per day with meals?

A: Just about all supplement uptake values are absorbed at a higher percentage in a divided-dose protocol. Phytomax is no exception; taking 1 per meal will permit the highest rate of absorption.

Q: Do you have to take Phytomax consistently and how long is it necessary to take it before you can get results. I am a type 2 diabetic. Does it have any benefits in this regard?

A: As a diabetic you are familiar with the nutritive value afforded by consuming whole fruits and vegetables. If you are not able to do so, Phytomax may be an alternative micronturient product for continual dietary supplemental use. I suggest that taking it for 6 weeks would peak or confer several healthful benefits. I do not suggest taking a supplement in place of whole healthful produce food forms. Phytomax should be taken with whole fruits and vegetables, not as a substitute for them. It may be a supplement to add for your diet's optimal effects upon blood sugar mechanics.

Q: What benefits can one get from juicing? Is this a good way to get a greater amount of antioxidants and other nutrients in one's diet? Are there foods that are particularly good to use, or ones that should be avoided when juicing?

A: Whole plant foods house a number of vitamins, organic minerals, phytonutrients, and other micronutrients which, when chewed, mastication breaks open the membranes which house these remarkable nutrient ingredients releasing them into the digestive system. Unfortunately mastication does not release as much as does juicing. We have long been encouraged to chew our food more... ideally 20+ times before swallowing as opposed to what most of us do, under half of that amount. The drawback to juicing is that it separates bulk-enhancing fiber from the nutrient-rich juices. The average fiber for intestinal bulk matter, which reduces toxins out of our system in Americans is between 16-20 grams per day when ideally we need more than 30 grams per day to achieve intestinal health, which is so important to health and therefore, performance. Juicing increases the amount of whole food antioxidant nutrients as opposed to chewing, which typically generates less. If you do choose to juice produce you will notice a remarkable improvement in energy state, recovery, and improved mood. The juices must be consume immediately or contact with the air will reduce the free radical neutralization capacity within 5-

10 minutes. Drinking fresh-juiced fruit or vegetables will reduce free radicals in the body system upon entry. Don't forget to also add soluble and insoluble food-fibers somewhere in your menu, as juicing reduces it to nil. You may eat the fiber from the juicer or take supplemental fiber to resolve your fiber requirement. Juicing is an excellent protocol for healthy nutrition. Phytomax is a phytonutrient that Hammer Nutrition formulated for those who neither juice nor consume the required servings of fruits and vegetables.

Q: My wife and I just found out that we're going to have a baby. She's been taking Phytomax for quite some time now and her physician was wondering what is Phytomax - even after looking at the bottle, and how would it affect baby if she continued to take it. If you have any information on if this is safe for mom and baby during pregnancy I would greatly appreciate it.

A: I am not aware of any harm that can come from consuming a pure green plant food formulated in Phytomax [PM]. PM's specific phytonutrient composite contains vitamin B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5,

B-12, carotenoids, essential fatty acids, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, cobalt, selenium, molybdenum, sodium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase (SOD), RNA, DNA, GLA, and the compatible digestive enzymes for enhanced absorption and use in cellular metabolism.


Carbohydrates212.0 mg.[77%]
Protein50.0 mg.[20%]
Fat8.0 mg.[3%]
Other Micronutrients From:
Calcium53.0 mg.
Potassium9.8 mg.
Magnesium3.5 mg.
Sodium1.4 mg.
GLA1.0 mg.
Chlorophyll1.0 mg.
Phosphorus-0.8 mg.
Pantothenic Acid0.8 mg.
Niacin0.6 mg.
Vitamin B-10.6 mg.
Vitamin C0.5 mg.
Iron0.4 mg.

If your physician sees anything in Phytomax that is objectionable, then do not it during pregnancy.

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