Benefits of Chlorella
Chlorella is a powerful detoxification aid, which has been proven to bind with heavy metals and pesticides – such as PCBs – which can accumulate in our bodies. It is also a fibrous material, which means that it supports healthy digestion and overall digestive tract health.
Chlorella is a powerful detoxification aid, which has been proven to bind with heavy metals and pesticides – such as PCBs – which can accumulate in our bodies. It is also a fibrous material, which means that it supports healthy digestion and overall digestive tract health. A clean bloodstream, with an abundance of red blood cells to carry oxygen, is essential for strong natural defences.
Chlorella’s high nutrient content, cleansing action on the bowel and other elimination organs, as well as its protection of the liver, helps to keep the blood free from impurities and our immune system strong. Chlorella gets its name from the high amount of chlorophyll that it possesses.
Chlorella’s impressive nutritional profile has led some to call it a “super food.” While its exact nutrient content depends on growing conditions, the species used and how supplements are processed, it’s clear it packs several beneficial nutrients.
- Protein: Chlorella is 50–60% protein. What’s more, it’s a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids (3, 5Trusted Source).
- Vitamin B12: Some chlorella varieties may also contain vitamin B12, but more studies are needed (6Trusted Source).
- Iron and vitamin C: Chlorella can be a good source of iron. Depending on the supplement, it may provide anywhere from 6–40% of your daily need. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps you absorb iron (1Trusted Source, 3, 7).
- Other antioxidants: These tiny green cells provide a wide range of antioxidants (1Trusted Source, 3).
- Other vitamins and minerals: Chlorella provides small amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid and other B vitamins (1Trusted Source, 3, 8).
- Omega-3s: As with other algae, chlorella contains some omega-3s. Just 3 grams of chlorella delivers 100 mg of omega-3s (8).
- Fiber: In large quantities, chlorella can be a good source of fiber. However, most supplements don’t provide even 1 gram of fiber per dose (1Trusted Source, 8).
Chlorella has gotten some buzz for its ability to help the body “detox.” In fact, animal studies indicate that it’s effective at helping remove heavy metals and other harmful compounds from the body (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Heavy metals include some elements that are essential in small amounts, such as iron and copper, but these and other heavy metals like cadmium and lead can be toxic in larger amounts.
While it’s rare for people to have dangerous levels of heavy metals in their system, people can get exposed to heavy metals through pollution or certain jobs such as mining (12Trusted Source).
In animals, algae, including chlorella, has been found to weaken the heavy metal toxicity of the liver, brain and kidneys (13Trusted Source).
Furthermore, chlorella has been shown to help lower the amount of other harmful chemicals that are sometimes found in food. One of these is dioxin, a hormone disruptor that can contaminate animals in the food supply (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Based on this evidence, it seems that chlorella could help enhance your body’s natural ability to clear toxins.
Your immune system helps keep you healthy by fighting off infections.
It’s a complex system made up of multiple mechanisms and cells that get into gear when an invader enters your body.
Chlorella has been found to enhance the immune response in both animal and human studies, although the evidence so far is limited.
In one small study, men produced more antibodies when taking chlorella than when they took a placebo. Antibodies help fight foreign invaders in your body, meaning this finding is quite promising (16Trusted Source).
In another small, eight-week study, healthy adults who took chlorella showed markers of increased immune activity (17Trusted Source).
Nevertheless, findings have been mixed, with some studies showing little to no effect.
For instance, one study found that chlorella supplements enhanced immune function in participants aged 50–55, but not those over 55 (18Trusted Source).
So it’s possible that chlorella may have immune-boosting effects in some populations and age groups, but not in all. More and larger-scale studies are needed.
Specifically, several studies have shown that taking 5–10 grams of chlorella daily lowered total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high blood pressure and/or slightly elevated cholesterol (5Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Chlorella’s content of the following may help improve blood lipid levels:
- Niacin: A B vitamin known to lower cholesterol (1Trusted Source, 21).
- Fiber: A cholesterol-lowering agent (1Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
- Carotenoids: Have been shown to naturally lower cholesterol (19Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
- Antioxidants: Help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is known to contribute to heart disease (25Trusted Source).
These antioxidants can help fight many chronic diseases (26Trusted Source).
Although much of this research is promising, it is still preliminary.
Only one study has looked at chlorella’s effect on aerobic endurance, but it showed a positive effect.
Researchers gave a group of young adults six grams of chlorella or a placebo daily for four weeks.
At the end of the study, the chlorella group showed a significantly improved ability to saturate their lungs with oxygen, which is a measure of endurance. The placebo group did not experience any changes in endurance (41Trusted Source).
This effect may be due to chlorella’s branched-chain amino acid content. Branched-chain amino acids are a collection of three amino acids that have been found to improve aerobic performance in various studies (42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source).
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