Chlorella is a whole food algae supplement usually available in powder or tablet form. It's primary claim to fame in the superfood world is as a detoxification agent, helpful for removing toxic substances and heavy metals from the bloodstream and body.
It can be consumed in low doses throughout the day for a period of time to offer a gentle detox to the blood, lymph and liver. Or, it can be taken in more moderate doses as an adjunct to a juice fasting regimen to help speed up the elimination of various harmful substances that most people are inevitably exposed to on a daily basis.
This could include any range of contaminants such as lead, mercury and cadmium as well as other poisonous substances like PCB's, fluoride, DDT, dioxin, pesticides and herbicides.
We believe that at some point, with the evolution of the human race and a genuine regard for environmental protection, these life-inhibiting materials will in future generations not be so much of a problem or concern. In today's day and age, however, it is advised to routinely purify the body once or twice a year to eliminate the potential accumulation of these toxic residues and the effects they can have on our overall physical and mental health over time.
Although maintaining a healthy whole foods diet with plenty of
antioxidant and chlorophyll-rich superfoods is helpful for enhancing
immunity and removing surface toxins, these contaminants can build up and do not always leave
the body on their own accord but must be routinely cleansed or chelated.
There have been a number of studies investigating chlorella's ability to bind to and eliminate lead, cadmium and the high levels of mercury that can result from amalgam filling removal.
In a study documented in the Journal International Immunopharmacology it states that, "The significantly better response observed with the simultaneous C. vulgaris extract/lead administration indicates that the immunomodulation effect of C. vulgaris extract plays an important role in the ability of this algae to reduce blood lead levels."
An article published in the Journal of Environmental and Public
Health entitled "A Safe Protocol for Amalgam Removal", chlorella use is
recommended for the removal of mercury-concentrated amalgam fillings. This dental procedure can cause high levels of mercury leakage into the
bloodstream, so it is a good idea to take the necessary precautions to
effectively get it out of the body as quickly as possible. Chlorella used along with
other chelation therapies is an advised option by many health authorities.
One unique characteristic about chlorella is that it is known to quadruple in size every 24 hours and is regarded as one of the fastest growing food crops in existence. This is commonly referred to as the Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF) and is thought to be a result of it's high amount of phytonutrients, like beta glucans, peptides, nucleic acids and various other polysaccharides that help to speed up cellular regeneration when consumed as a dietary food source.
Some health authorities believe that CGF, which is found specifically in the nucleus of the molecule, actually encourages the repair and growth of nerve tissue, which can be particularly helpful for brain and nerve disorders. CGF is known to supply a wealth of nucleic acid materials, including the longevity enhancing compound RNA, as well as beta glucans. These are features which are known to promote a healthy immune system and may also contribute to nerve regeneration.
CGF is often associated with the algae's ability to rapidly increase the growth of friendly microflora in the human gut, in addition to its properties as a cleansing agent.
The best quality chlorella is one that is grown in a controlled organic environment free of industrial pollutants and microbial impurities. This can either be achieved by growing the algae in protected outdoor fresh water ponds or indoor tanks. Both methods have their advantages with each eliminating exposure to environmental pollutants that may contaminate the end product.
It is always important to purchase chlorella powder or tablets from reputable sources who follow strict guidelines appropriate for the highest quality algae supplement. This includes techniques for purity testing, low heat processing and for the production of an easily digested whole food formula.
Because chlorella has a tough cellulose fiber surrounding the algae molecule, it needs to be "broken" for it be properly digested when consumed. This is done through a special process that cracks the outer cell wall and pulverizes it for enhanced absorption. This technique should be accomplished without the use of heat or light to preserve nutritional integrity and the living enzymes present.
Another procedure used to increase the bioavailability of the micronutrients is to grow the algae indoors in a controlled environment. This produces a very thin cell wall that naturally cracks when dried. Some company's, like Healthforce Nutritionals, prefer this method over the pulverization technique as they purport it has enhanced digestibility over broken cell wall algae and maintains more phytonutrient content.
Chlorella is different than other edible microalgae's, like spirulina and blue-green algae (AFA) because it is an "algae" rather than a cyanobacterium species. It is actually more closely related to seaweeds which are multicellular marine algae's or macroalgae's.
Typically, the two algae's used for supplemental purposes are the species Chlorella pyrenoidosa and Chlorella vulgaris. The microscopic cells of the algae are very small, round and easily multiply under the right conditions. The name comes from the Greek word "chloros", which means "green" and the Latin word "ella" meaning "small" and belongs to a genus of single-celled algae in the phylum Chlorophyta.
In today's world we are all subject to some degree of heavy metal toxicity from a number of environmental toxins which, throughout the course of one's lifetime, can concentrate in the liver, brain, intestines and other parts of the body. Linked to many modern day diseases, a build up of these metallic particles in the bloodstream, tissues and organs can have enormous effects on overall energy levels, mental health and general well being.
Because the effects of these poisonous substances are cumulative, that is they build up over a period of ongoing exposure, you may not feel their impacts immediately. However, over time, they can slowly start to have negative repercussions with symptoms that may include foggy thinking, candida overgrowth, joint pain, neurological disorders and stressed immune functions.
Some of these metallic and chemical substances, including mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, plastics and various radioactive isotopes, have been associated with many autoimmune and neurological diseases such as fibromyalgia and Alzheimer's.
In a 2011 study
published in the International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease it
states, "It is widely accepted that aluminum is a recognized neurotoxin,
and that it could cause cognitive deficiency and dementia when it
enters the brain and may have various adverse effects on the central
The biosorption of heavy metals is believed to be the result of the certain polysaccharides and metal binding proteins like metallothionein. (Source) Metallothionein has been shown to bind to a broad spectrum of metallic substances including cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic.
Research documented in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology it was discovered that "Monitoring of lead poisoning demonstrated that CV treatment significantly reduced lead levels in blood and tissues... These findings provide evidence for a beneficial use of CV for combination or alternative chelating therapy to protect the host from the damage induced by lead poisoning."
In other scientific research conducted testing the effect of chlorella on cadmium (Cd) toxicity is was concluded that "According to the results, this study could suggest that chlorella inhibited Cd absorption, promoting the excretion of Cd from the body into feces."
It is important for individuals following a health promoting diet and lifestyle to undergo periodic cleansing protocols to remove these potential toxins from the body.
Chlorella is a top 10 superfood to supplement during
a yearly or biyearly detox regimen. Using appropriate dosages over a
scheduled amount of time has demonstrated to facilitate urine and fecal
mercury excretion as well as an array of other heavy metals and chemical
It can be used independently as an added adjunct to the diet for a period of weeks or months, depending on the situation, or it can be used with other detoxifying superfoods like zeolite, fulvic acid, seaweeds, milk thistle, cleansing herbs and MSM. Green leafy vegetables, like cilantro, are also great detoxifiers and can be consumed in high concentrations in green juices throughout the day along with chlorella supplementation.
Generally a chlorella cleansing protocol usually takes between 3-6 months, depending on the specific dose in addition to one's current state of health and level of toxic build-up.
Chlorella contains the highest amount of chlorophyll of any plant known and is in fact why it closely resembles the spelling of the word. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that collects energy from sunlight and uses that energy for the process of photosynthesis.
Chlorophyll works to purify as well as nourish the bloodstream and is high in iron which helps to build the blood, energize the body and prevent anemia. It is one of the specific components in the algae responsible for neutralizing toxins as well as supplying absorbable phytonutrients to the cells.
Chlorophyll is known to reduce inflammation, a key factor in cardiovascular disease and many other health conditions. In research conducted in 2012 it was established that "chlorophyll is a valuable and abundantly available anti-inflammatory agent and promising for the development of phytomedicine to treat inflammation and related diseases."
The high chlorophyll content in the algae has shown to offer chemopreventive effects that may help to inhibit cancerous growths. In a study entitled, "Effect of dietary chlorophyll derivatives on mutagenesis and tumor cell growth" results indicated "that food sources that yield chlorophyll derivatives may play a significant role in cancer prevention."
Much of the current research on chlorella has been conducted in Japan, where it is a popular dietary supplement and in several Japanese studies Chlorella vulgaris (CV) was reported to have anticancer properties specific to the liver organ.
It was established in Japanese 2009 research that "this study for the first time defined the chemopreventive role of CV by inhibiting cellular proliferation and inducing apoptosis in liver cancer cells. The results of the study could justify the role of CV in the treatment of thousands of liver cancer patients, thereby opening a new door for future research."
Chlorella can significantly improve immune system functions by helping to stimulate the production of T-cells, B-cells as well as increase macrophage activity. It also contains chlorellan, a molecule that activates the production of interferon, a group of signaling proteins that ward off harmful parasites, bacteria and viruses. In addition, the algae helps to encourage the proliferation of healthy gut bacteria, a key component to a healthy immune response.
Chlorella, like spirulina, is very high in protein content, usually making up between 45-60% and is a complete protein with all essential amino acids available. It also contains an abundance of phytonutrients like polysaccharides, nucleic acids, essential fatty acids in addition to a number of vitamins including the antioxidants Vit. C, Vit. E and beta-carotene. The microalgae is also high in iron and is comprised of some of the B vitamins like niacin, riboflavin and B6 as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and potassium.
Microalgaes are some of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids. This is why fish is naturally high in omega fats because they eat algae and phytoplankton, the original sources of these essential nutrients.
High quality powders are low heat processed and high in living enzymes, like pepsin and chlorophyllase, which help to aid in proper digestion of food and nutrients. In addition, as we mentioned, the microalgae supports the growth of friendly flora in the intestinal tract providing a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria and yeast strains.
Recommended Dosage Amounts
Mild dose 2-4g/ day
Moderate 5-7g/ day
Extreme 8-10g/day or more
(Note: 1 teaspoon=5 grams powder or 5,000 mg)
Always drink plenty of water when taking chlorella powder or tablets. High dosages can tend to cause constipation if inadequately hydrated. It is best to take the microalgae in small doses to start and build up to more over a few days time.
It can be taken directly by mixing the powder into water or blending the
powder or tablets into a green smoothie or other beverage, like
coconut kefir. Although we love using spirulina as a condiment
on top of salads, chlorella has a stronger flavor and is not as
palatable when used in this fashion. The most effective way to use it for detox purposes is in water first thing in the morning or during a juice fast.