The following health benefits of chlorella vulgaris are those that have been backed up by scientific studies and research. In the world of nutrition there is an abundance of health and nutrition claims that may or may not be true. It was my intention to weed through the various studies and pull out the benefits of chlorella vulgaris that seemed the most verified.
A Brief History of Chlorella
Chlorella is a single celled algae that grows in fresh water ponds and lakes. Its color is a brilliant deep green, due to its high amount of chlorophyll. Fossil evidence has shown this ancient superfoods inception to be 3 billion years ago (1)! This makes it one of the original foods on planet Earth.
Due to the ability of algae to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, chlorella, along with other algae, played an extremely important role in shaping a living habitat for creatures on the planet’s surface.
Over 70,000 species of algae have been identified and many of them are not fit for human consumption (2). Luckily, research has shown which is the best chlorella for human consumption, and these strains are now cultivated and grown all over the world. The most widely studied and most beneficial form of chlorella is chlorella vulgaris (3). Chlorella expert Toshihiro Kanno, Ph.D states that, “More than 500 scientific studies have been published proving chlorella’s safety and effectiveness.” (4)
The people of Japan have a deep appreciation for Chlorella and it is one of their most commonly used supplements (5). They began compiling research on chlorella powder in the 1940’s and have amassed a plethora of scientific data to support the health benefits of chlorella. Their research spawned a huge interest in chlorella that has led to its enormous demand that we see today.
Over the last decades it was realized that chlorella has a very tough cell wall and that in order for its nutritional benefits to be conferred onto humans, the cell walls must be broken. This is perhaps one of the most important chlorella facts to realize. Many companies now sell broken cell wall chlorella and scientific research verifies that this is the most potent and best chlorella that you can buy.
Health Benefits of Chlorella Vulgaris
- Numerous studies have concluded that substances in chlorella, such as sporopollein, have the ability to cleanse neurotoxins and toxic heavy metals including mercury, uranium, lead, arsenic, and cadmium (6)(7).
- Japanese studies were able to show that chlorella also supports the optimal functioning and cleansing of the liver, the chief organ in detoxification (8). In fact, another Japanese study showed that taking 4-6 grams of chlorella powder before drinking alcohol reduced hangovers by 96 percent (9).
2. Immune System Support
- Dr. Gabriel Cousens in his book Conscious Eating cites another important piece of information to this list of chlorella health benefits. Chlorella vulgaris has a compound known as chlorellan, which stimulates the production of important defense cells in our immune system (10).
3. Growth and Regeneration
- Chlorella contains a substance known as Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF) that has been shown to assist in the repair and regeneration of human tissue (11). CGF has also been found to be a powerful catalyst in the healthy development of a fetus (12).
- One of the most interesting health benefits of chlorella vulgaris that I came across was that it contains the highest concentration of RNA of any food (13). Chlorella also contains a high quantity of DNA. DNA and RNA from foods provide material for the repair and regeneration of human DNA/RNA.
Chlorella Vulgaris Nutrition Benefits
- As mentioned above, chlorella gets its name from its rich content of chlorophyll. In fact, per gram it contains more chlorophyll than any other food (14). Chlorophyll is an important nutrient for rejuvenating the blood and cleansing the elimination systems. The late Dr. Bernard Jensen had a saying, “When you are green inside, you are clean inside.” Chlorella is one of the most powerful superfoods for bringing this truth into reality.
- Chlorella is extremely high in quality plant based protein. It contains about 65% assimilable protein in its broken cell wall form, and in only one tablespoon there is an amazing 15 grams of complete protein (15)! If you have ever been told that plants do not contain high levels of protein or complete proteins, I highly recommend that you let go of that false notion. In fact, algae such as chlorella, have some of the highest levels of protein of any foods, and about two to three times more protein than animal products such as beef, chicken or fish (16).
3. Vitamins and Minerals
- Chlorella contains significant levels of vitamins C and E, and contains all of the b-vitamins (17)(18).
- In terms of minerals, it is extraordinarily rich in iron and calcium, two very important minerals in the human body (19). Levels of these minerals and vitamins are so high that they are even considered to be supplemental amounts (20).
Uses and Source for Chlorella
Broken cell wall chlorella often comes as a dried powder. This can be easily mixed into smoothies, juices, salad dressings, and other recipes. If you do not prefer the taste of chlorella in your meals then you can also buy it as chlorella tablets. This may be the easiest way to make sure to consume it daily and enjoy the various chlorella benefits.
When seeking a quality chlorella supplement you want to look for a product that has the cell walls broken and is organic.
I hope the information shared in this article was as inspiring to you as it was to me. Through the addition of chlorella to our diet, we have the chance to heal and repair our bodies on many levels, including the fundamental cellular level. We can also acquire a wealth of vital vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional compounds such as protein.
Chlorella is a true superfood, offering a multitude of benefits that far outweigh most foods. I encourage you to try this food and see what results you notice. Also, if you want to see more research on chlorella benefits, then you may want to read some of the books mentioned in the references section. The book Chlorella Vulgaris by Toshihiro Kanno, I found to be particularly enlightening.
(1) http://www.watershed.net/Chlorella-FAQs/#WhatChlorella Retrieved April 14th, 2010
(3) Kanno, Toshihiro. Chlorella Vulgaris. pg. 13
(5) http://products.mercola.com/chlorella/ Retrieved April 14th, 2010
(6) Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. pg. 232
(7) Kanno, Toshihiro. Chlorella Vulgaris. pg. 6
(8) Ibid. pg. 232
(10) Cousens, Gabriel. Conscious Eating pg. 636
(11) Meyerowitz, Steve. Power Juices Super Drinks. pg. 29
(12) Cousens, Gabriel. Conscious Eating pg. 636
(13) Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. pg. 235
(14) Ibid. pg. 231
(15) Cousens, Gabriel. Conscious Eating pg. 636
(16) Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. pg. 235
(17) Page, Linda, Ph.D. Health Healing pg. 100
(18) Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. pg. 235
(19) Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. pg. 235
(20) Page, Linda, Ph.D. Health Healing pg. 100