Native to Taiwan and Japan, this superfood is rich with phytonutrients, including amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium and the B-complex vitamins.
Chlorella is a blue-green algae like its cousin spirulina, and we will compare the nutrients of these superfoods later in the article.
Studies have shown that chlorella benefits the entire body by supporting healthy hormonal function, promoting cardiovascular health, helping to negate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and aiding in the detoxification of our bodies.
Chlorella’s rich green color comes from a high concentration of chlorophyll. We are all told to eat more leafy green vegetables for good health, but sometimes it can be difficult to get the 5-7 servings of vegetables a day recommended by nutritionists and doctors of functional medicine.
While juicing is another option, it’s simply too time-consuming for most people. And frankly, most green leafy vegetables pale in comparison to the health benefits that chlorella can provide.
By consuming organic, low-temperature-extracted chlorella supplements, you can receive all of the chlorella benefits in a simple powder or tablet form.
Chlorella Nutrition Facts
As you’re about to see, chlorella is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods in the world.
A 1-ounce (3 tbsp) serving of chlorella contains:
- Vitamin A—287% RDA
- Vitamin B2—71% RDA
- Vitamin B3—33% RDA
- Iron—202% RDA
- Magnesium—22% RDA
- Zinc—133% RDA
In addition, chlorella contains a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.
When you look at its nutrient density score, it’s easy to see why chlorella is ranked one of the top 10 health foods in the world. In fact, it is way more nutrient dense per gram than other greens, including kale, spinach and broccoli!
7 Researched Chlorella Benefits
Here are seven scientifically proven chlorella benefits you can expect to receive by incorporating this superfood into your daily diet.
1. Detoxifies Heavy Metals
If you have mercury fillings in your teeth, have been vaccinated, eat fish regularly, have been exposed to radiation or consume foods from China, you may have heavy metals lurking in your body. It is important for your overall health and wellness to be proactive in detoxing heavy metals and toxins.
One of chlorella’s most significant health benefits is that it wraps itself around even stubborn toxins residing in our bodies, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and uranium, and keeps them from being reabsorbed. Regular consumption of chlorella can even help keep heavy metals from accumulating in our bodies’ soft tissues and organs in the first place. (1, 2)
2. Detoxifies Radiation and Chemotherapy
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the most common forms of cancer treatment today. Anyone who has gone through either of these
treatments, or knows anyone who has, knows what a toll they take on the body. Chlorella’s high levels of chlorophyll have been shown to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments while removing radioactive particles from the body.
According to researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College, “Cellular components and functions of the immune system remain at or near normal levels and are less adversely affected when patients are undergoing chemotherapy and/or taking immunosuppressive medications such as steroids.”
The university’s two-year study allowed researchers to observe that glioma-positive patients have fewer respiratory infections and flu-like illnesses when taking chlorella. (3)
3. Supports Your Immune System
Research published in 2012 in the Nutrition Journal found that after 8 weeks of chlorella intake, NK cell activity improved.
Researchers from the Yonsei University in Seoul Korea studied healthy individuals and their immune system’s response to chlorella supplements.
The results showed that chlorella supports a healthy immune system response and helps “natural killer” cell activity. (4)
4. Promotes Weight Loss
Losing weight is difficult, especially as we age. In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers state, “Chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels”. (5)
Chlorella benefits you by helping to regulate hormones, helping with metabolism, improving circulation, and promoting higher levels of energy. It also helps to reduce weight and body fat, and removes stored toxins.
As our bodies lose weight, toxins are released, and can be reabsorbed. It is important to flush these toxins out of our system as quickly as possible. Chlorella’s ability to surround the toxins and heavy metals resident in our bodies helps facilitate elimination and prevent reabsorption.
5. Makes You Look Younger
Research continues to reveal that chlorella may also slow the aging process, making you look younger. A study published in the journal Clinical Laboratory revealed that chlorella greatly reduces oxidative stress, that can be caused from pollution, stress and a poor diet. (6)
The reason chlorella is so effective at giving you younger looking skin is because it naturally increases levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and glutathione in your body which eliminates free-radicals and protects your cells.
By just taking 1 teaspoon or a couple capsules daily of a chlorella supplement, you can see results in as little as 2 weeks.
6. Fights Cancer
It is believed that all human bodies at some time develop cancer cells. Properly functioning immune systems have the ability to attack and destroy these cells, before they have the chance to take hold and create cancer. A recent medical study found that chlorella helps fight cancer in several ways. (7)
First, when taken preemptively, it strengthens the immune system, so our bodies respond properly.
Second, because it removes heavy metals and toxins from our body, we are less likely to get environmentally based cancers.
Third, studies have shown that individuals once diagnosed with cancer, chlorella enhances the action of T cells helping to fight new abnormal cells.
And, as mentioned above, if cancer is diagnosed, and chemotherapy or radiation therapy is used, chlorella can help to fight the side effects and be used in addition to natural cancer treatments.
7. Lowers Your Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol are two of the serious chronic conditions facing many Americans today. Years of improper eating, stress and a lack of sleep have led many to one or both of these diagnoses.
In a study published the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers found that doses of 8,000 mg of chlorella per day (divided into 2 doses), helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
Researchers observed first a decline in cholesterol levels, and then the improvement in blood glucose. They believe that chlorella activates a number of genes at the cellular level that improve insulin sensitivity, encouraging a healthy balance. (8, 9)
Chlorella vs. Spirulina
While most Americans may have not heard of chlorella, many people have been taking spirulina for years. They are both waterborne organisms, but at the cellular level, they are quite different. Both spirulina and chlorella have a concentrated balance of nutrients shown to help cleanse and detoxify the body, and a high concentration of protein that supports energy and clarity.
In fact, spirulina has been used in the World Health Organization’s feeding programs for malnourished children in undeveloped countries. A single one-gram dose of spirulina a day can counteract Vitamin A deficiency that can lead to blindness.
Chlorella’s protein levels, and combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and phytochemicals go one step beyond spirulina. When used in tandem, their powers intensify.
Chlorella’s tough exterior cellular walls are difficult to digest. It took many years of research, study, trial, and error to find a way for the human body to effectively digest it. The substance in these walls is believed to be what surrounds heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins and helps to remove them from the human body.
So when purchasing a chlorella supplement make sure to buy “cracked cell wall chlorella” because they are completely absorbable.
Chlorella Side Effects And Precautions
Chlorella can cause side effects in some individuals. Some of the symptoms include swelling of the face or tongue sensitivity to sunlight, digestive upset, acne, fatigue, lethargy, headaches, vertigo, and shaking.
The majority of these chlorella side effects and symptoms are typical to any detoxification program.
However, individuals that are allergic to iodine and those that have been prescribed Coumadin or Warfarin should consult with their physician prior to using chlorella.
How to Take a Chlorella Supplement
When taking a chlorella supplement, there are two main ways to consume it.
1. Smoothie—Chlorella has a very strong taste and so you will want to add about 1/2 tsp of chlorella to a smoothie with banana, coconut water, vanilla protein powder and lime juice to help hide the taste.
2. Tablets—Simply take 3-6 tablets of chlorella with 8oz of water 1-3x daily to experience chlorella health benefits.
I personally take these chlorella spirulina tablets by SunLite.