BHT is Produced Naturally in Phytoplankton

T I read about BHT in your magazine, and as a result, I’m using it along with certain amino acids. My results are really good, so I’m going to keep using your BHT Plus.

BOB, Columbia, CA

A Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw have written (see Life Extension News,™ Volume 12 No. 5, October 2009):

BHT, butylated hydroxytoluene, has been used for decades as a food antioxidant additive for preservative purposes (as well as a material for experimental studies of life extension in animals). Many people, however, stay away from anything containing BHT because of a concern about its synthetic nature. Recently, however, a group of researchers discovered that four freshwater phytoplankton, including a green alga and three cyanobacteria, produce BHT as an antioxidant:1 the researchers found that the quantity of cellular BHT displayed a positive correlation with the antioxidant activity of the tested species. The scientists suggested that “these species constitute a potential source for producing natural BHT.” True, but a molecule of natural BHT is the same as a molecule of synthetic BHT, so it really doesn’t matter who produced it, man or phytoplankton.


  1. Babu and Wu. Production of natural butylated hydroxytoluene as an antioxidant by freshwater phytoplankton. J Phycol 44:1447-54 (2008).

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