Chlorella is the newly-favoured alga that has been receiving quite a lot of attention for its health benefits.
Chlorella supplementation has been used in promoting (among other things) weight-loss, fighting cancer and other chronic diseases. As such it has earned a reputation among its supporters as a supplement that “fixes-all ills”.
If this is the first time you’re hearing of this superfood you’re in luck. This article will provide with all the information you need about chlorella, the science behind various health claims and how to include it to supplement your diet.
What is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a single-celled, green freshwater alga that is native to countries like Taiwan and Japan.
There are over 30 types of chlorella but the two most commonly used in research are Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa. These are believed to have the highest nutritional value and hence are sold as dietary supplements.
Interestingly chlorella, in its natural form, has an extremely tough cell wall that is indigestible by humans. In order to consume chlorella it must be processed prior to consumption so that you can digest and reap its benefits.
Chlorella supplements can be found in your local supermarkets and supplement stores and are available in powder, tablet, and capsule form.
Fun fact about chlorella: in addition to being used for its nutritional benefit, scientists also considered chlorella as a possible form of alternative fuel source as it grows very quickly.
Benefits of Chlorella
There is a reason why chlorella is called a “superfood” and joins the ranks of other similar foods like Spirulina.
Do not underestimate this alga. It is packed with such a wide range of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, copper, folic acid and vitamin B.
Here are some of the nutrients that chlorella is famous for (1):
- Protein – Chlorella is 50 percent protein. Additionally, it is the perfect source of vegan protein as it includes all the nine essential amino acids found in meat sources despite being a plant-sourced protein.
- Vitamin C and Iron – For those who are deficient in iron, chlorella can be a good source to get the body’s required iron — it can provide up to 40 percent of your daily iron needs. What makes it superior to other sources of iron is that it is also a carrier of vitamin C which also helps with the absorption of iron into your body.
- Antioxidants – Chlorella is also filled with antioxidants which are important for preventing oxidative cell damage.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Similar to other algae, chlorella is an excellent vegan source of omega-3s. A mere 3g chlorella provides 100mg omega-3 fatty acids (2).
Chlorella contains many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. While exact quantities may differ depending on how they are processed, the impressive nutritional profile cannot be overlooked.
Apart from being nutritious here are some other benefits that chlorella may offer.
Chlorella helps the body detox
Certain heavy metals such as iron and copper are essential to the body in small amounts. However, when in excess, heavy metals can be toxic to the body.
Studies have found that chlorella can be useful in removing heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, and lead (3).
While it is relatively uncommon for individuals to naturally have dangerous levels of heavy metals in their system, those who live in polluted areas or work in places requiring contact with heavy metals (e.g. mining) are at a higher risk of being exposed to these heavy metals in toxic amounts.
Chlorella has also been shown to reduce certain harmful chemicals (e.g. dioxin), which accumulates in the food chain (and has been linked with causing reproductive and developmental problems, and even cancer (4)).
As such chlorella can serve as a supplement that aids your body in detoxing the harmful substances and toxins that we are exposed to daily.
Chlorella could fortify your immunity
A strong immune system is required to fight off infections and keep you healthy.
Studies have found that chlorella may be beneficial for the immune system as it has been found to increase the production of antibodies and elevate immune activity in the body (5,6).
Antibodies help fend off bacteria and viruses that try to attack the body. The increased number of antibodies and immune activity indicate that the body is more adept at fighting off possible infections, reducing the chances of you falling ill.
Chlorella supplementation could be what you need to give your immune system the extra boost to stay healthy, especially when under stress or if flu season is around the corner.
Chlorella may lower cholesterol levels
High cholesterol levels are often indicative of being at risk of chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes and heart attack.
Daily chlorella supplementation of 5-10g led to lower levels of “bad” cholesterol among people with elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure1.
The cholesterol-lowering effects are likely to be due to chlorella containing compounds such as Niacin, Fiber, Carotenoids, and Antioxidants. These naturally-occurring substances are known to be cholesterol lowering agents (7).
While current studies only investigate the short-term effects (6-10 weeks) of chlorella on cholesterol levels, the results are promising. In the future, chlorella could become an alternative method of helping patients manage cholesterol levels.
Chlorella supports healthy blood pressure
Multiple studies have indicated that chlorella supplementation resulted in improved health markers such as lower blood pressure (8).
One factor that contributes to high blood pressure is stiffening of the arteries.
Chlorella is packed with compounds such as potassium, calcium, arginine, and omega-3s which are well known for supporting cardiovascular and arterial health.
As such, chlorella can help reduce the hardening of the arteries because of its rich nutrient profile — potentially being a supplement that serves as a preventative to high blood pressure even before it becomes a chronic issue.
Chlorella can help reduce the risks of chronic diseases
Chlorella is packed with antioxidative compounds such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein — all of which can help the body keep chronic diseases at bay (9).
For example, some of these antioxidants help decrease the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) — compounds which promote diabetes complications (10).
The antioxidants in chlorella may also help reduce the oxidative damage among people who are at higher risk of cell damage (e.g. smokers).
Despite the known benefits of antioxidants, research on the effects of chlorella on specific chronic illness are still preliminary. However, given how optimistic current the results are, chlorella could be the new, and upcoming treatment method for various illness in the future.
What dosage of Chlorella should I consume?
Based on existing scientific research conducted on chlorella, there is no recommended dosage for daily chlorella consumption.
This is because the benefits have been found using varied amounts of chlorella in different studies. For example some studies have found benefits with doses of 5-10g per day, while others have found benefits using a mere 1g of chlorella (11).
Generally speaking, it is considered appropriate to consume between 1-10g of chlorella per day. But it is always good to check that your product has a quality assurance seal with third-party testing.
That being said not all chlorella-containing supplements provide a high enough dose of the algae. Always check the product label to ensure that each serving provides the appropriate amount of said ingredient.
Unfortunately certain brands do not provide enough ingredients for noticeable benefits.
You can be reassured that https://supergreentonik.com provides an optimal amount of chlorella per serving.
One serving of SuperGreen Tonik contains 1g chlorella, which is within the range stated in the scientific papers for noticeable health effects.
Super Greens Tonik is also packed with 14 other superfoods such as Spirulina, Kale, Ashwagandha Root and Rhodiola Rosea each carefully selected and included in appropriately-potent amounts for a holistic supplementation for overall wellness insurance — a true all-in-one supplement product.
Check out all of SuperGreen TONIK ingredients
Side effects of Chlorella
Chlorella supplementation is generally safe, with few side effects, so long as it is consumed within the recommended amounts.
Individuals may of course react differently to chlorella supplements.
For example some people have reported nausea and abdominal discomfort when first introduced to chlorella (12).
Research has also found that there may be some green discoloration of feces but this was attributed to the chlorophyll content in chlorella and as such is likely harmless (13).
Others also may experience instances of watery stools and mild diarrhea during initial supplementation phase but these issues go away quickly on their own as your system adapts (8).
It is important to start with lower dosages of all new supplementation to allow your body to adapt to it. These side effects are typically expected to disappear within a short period of time.
Should any side effects from chlorella supplementation persist, stop the supplementation and seek medical advice from your doctor.
Summary of Chlorella
Chlorella is an alga that packs a huge nutrient punch as it contains an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Research conducted on chlorella has found that apart from its rich nutrient profile, chlorella could also play a role in improving cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and getting rid of toxins in the body.
Chlorella supplementation is currently considered safe and potentially beneficial to health. Always consult your medical professional before starting on any new supplementation.
A great source of daily Chlorella (cracked-cell) is SuperGreen TONIK (1,000mg daily serving), which contains the right amount to give your body that much needed boost!