Chlorella: The Superfood That's Tiny But Mighty
In the world of health, green is good. Salads, leafy greens, tropical fruits… it’s a color of life and health.
But what about algae? Yes, that slimy, fuzzy green stuff you find on rocks and at the bottom of creeks. Is that part of the healthy green club?
It absolutely is, and today we’re discussing the health benefits of chlorella: a tiny but mighty nutrient you need in your life today!
Let’s dive in.
What Is Chlorella?
Chlorella pyrenoidosa (or Chlorella for short) is a type of green algae. Like most other plants, chlorella contains both chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b, which are natural compounds that help turn sunlight into energy (1).
The name Chlorella comes from combining two words: the Greek word “chloros”, meaning green, and the Latin word “ella” which means small, and there are approximately 100 different species. Some of these live underwater in fresh or saltwater areas, while others live above water in the ground (2).
Chlorella is known as the “origin of the food chain” and is believed to be one of the first and oldest origins of plant life. Not only does it support plants, but it also travels upward to support the fish that eat the plants.
Some say chlorella has a strong, earthy flavor. If the flavor is too intense, you can mix it with your smoothies or favorite hydration drinks (3).
Chlorella Uses and Health Benefits
Since its discovery in 1890, this beautiful plant has been used in photosynthesis studies, sewage purification processes, and cultivation experiments (4).
What does chlorella do for your body? The secret lies in its nutrient profile. Rich in B vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, and antioxidants, it offers several impressive health benefits.
One antioxidant found in chlorella is violaxanthin. Studies have shown this carotenoid help lower inflammation levels in the body (5).
Chlorella’s anti-inflammatory properties have the potential to help:
- Strengthen the immune system: One 8-week study observed that those who took chlorella had better immune function than those who didn’t. Another study suggested the bioactive compounds in chlorella increased antibodies, which help fight off infections (6, 7).
- Boost iron levels: Iron plays an important role in energy and circulation. A study of 32 pregnant women showed that chlorella significantly reduced the risk of both anemia and pregnancy hypertension (16).
- Relieve PSM symptoms: A clinical trial showed that chlorella helped reduce the severity of menstrual cramp pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea (8).
- Lower cholesterol: Multiple studies show that doses of between 5-10mg of chlorella can help lower LDL cholesterol levels (9).
- Fibromyalgia: One clinical trial suggests taking a 10g tablet of pure chlorella every day for 2-3 months can help improve function and overall quality of life in those diagnosed with chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia (10).
- Improve blood pressure: The nutrients found in chlorella can help support heart and artery health. One study showed that men who took 4g of chlorella over the course of 3 months had lower blood pressure levels than those taking a placebo (11).
- Detox: Research found chlorella molecules bind to certain heavy metals and lowers how much your organs absorb harmful contaminants, helping your body flush out toxins more effectively (13).
- Blood sugar levels: Nutrigenomic studies have shown that chlorella has a way of regulating certain gene expressions, especially those relating to insulin signaling and fat metabolism (12).
The only drawback is that chlorella can’t be digested in its raw state. Supplements are the only way you can enjoy the benefits of this algae.
Dosage and Ways to Take
While chlorella isn’t digested well in its raw state, it can be taken in a variety of other ways, including:
- Loose powder
Recommended doses will depend on which formulation you choose, as well as the concerns you’re addressing. Their current standard of dosing is widespread, between 0.5mg – 10mg (or 500mg – 10,000mg). Talk with your doctor to find the right dose for you and be sure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions.
Side Effects and Risks
Chlorella has relatively few side effects and is considered safe to take. The most common side effects when taken by mouth are (17):
- Green stools
Some people report skin sensitivity when using a topical chlorella product. If you have fair skin, be sure to use extra protection when out in the sun.
Pregnant women may be able to safely take chlorella to prevent anemia starting during the second trimester. Talk with your midwife or obstetrician to weigh the pros and cons. There isn’t a lot of information to say whether it’s safe for nursing mothers, so caution is advised.
Are there people who should not take chlorella? If you have a mold allergy, iodine sensitivity, or weakened immune system, talk with your doctor before taking chlorella supplements.
Certain medications may interact with chlorella, such as anticoagulants or those that increase sensitivity to sunlight (14).
To Sum It All Up
Every day, the wellness community is realizing the healing power of nature. As more discoveries are made, people have more options to help them take their health into their hands.
Chlorella is a tiny but mighty superfood found in many waters and soils around the world. Rich in nutrients, it offers a host of health benefits that help keep you feeling and looking your best.
There are many ways you can take chlorella, but not everyone is a fan of the taste. Mixing it with other foods or drinks can help, but if it’s still too strong there are other options.
Looking for a superfood supplement that will take your health to the next level? Shop our life-changing products here (18)!
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author