Article at a glance:
- Chlorella is a well-known superfood. It is a blue-green unicellular alga that grows in freshwater.
- Chlorella has high nutritional value, delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients to the body.
- Chlorella has many possible health benefits, including boosting the immune system, supporting heart health, helping ease inflammation, and more.
Chock full of nutrients, chlorella brings a lot of health benefits to the table. It’s no wonder why it’s a supplement of choice for many people.
But what is chlorella, exactly? Why do people prefer to use this as a supplement? Read on to learn more about this incredible superfood.
What Is Chlorella Used For?
The chlorella plant is a supplement that brings in many nutrients, proteins, and fiber to the body. As such, it has a wide range of possible health benefits people can enjoy when taken regularly.
But what is chlorella? It is a type of unicellular algae grown and harvested in freshwater bodies. This type of blue-green algae has a tough cell wall, so it needs to be in supplement form for people to consume it.
Chlorella supplement is available in several forms, namely:
- Dissolvable chlorella powder
- Liquid extract
The chlorella algae are native to Taiwan and Japan. While it was discovered in 1890, studies about its potential as a food source started in the 1940s.
Chlorella Pyrenoidosa V.S. Chlorella Vulgaris
Today, there are two types of chlorella supplements: Chlorella Pyrenoidosa and Chlorella Vulgaris.
As a nutritional supplement, Chlorella Pyrenoidosa contains more nutrients, and the presence of pyrenoidosa characterizes it. Compared to Chlorella Vulgaris, it has higher protein content, more Vitamin B12 content, and Chlorella Growth Factor.
Additionally, some studies have found that chlorella pyrenoidosa supplementation reduces a pregnant woman’s risk of suffering from iron deficiency anemia, proteinuria (high levels of urine in the body), and edema (swelling due to trapped fluid in body tissues).
Chlorella Pyrenoidosa has thicker cell walls; when unprocessed, it is harder to digest. Luckily, chlorella supplement manufacturers have managed to break down this cell wall mechanically, chemically, or through fermentation, making it easy to digest and absorb by the body.
Additionally, the cell walls of some enzymes in Chlorella Pyrenoidosa must be broken down to get the algae’s full health benefits. Breaking down these cell walls must also not undergo heat, or the enzymes will lose potency.
Meanwhile, Chlorella Vulgaris has a cracked cell wall. Yes, this type is easy to digest but less potent than Pyrenoidosa. Vulgaris has less protein content and nutrient content in it. So, when it comes to supplementation, Chlorella Pyrenoidosa is the preferred strain.
This is why it is vital for anyone who wants to take chlorella supplements to check if they’re buying Chlorella Pyrenoidosa and a nutrient-dense formulation to ensure they’re getting the best.
What Does Chlorella Do to Your Body?
What is chlorella good for? Here are some of the essential nutrients chlorella is known to provide:
- Antioxidants – This supplement is rich in antioxidants. It can help protect your body from oxidative stress.
- Carotenoids – It also has a decent amount of carotenoids, like beta carotene and lutein. These help improve eye health. They also help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Fiber – Chlorella is a well-known source of fiber. However, you can only see a significant effect in larger quantities.
- Iron – Chlorella can be a great source of iron. It can provide anywhere between 6–40% of the recommended amount of iron a person needs daily.
- Protein – This algae-derived supplement is 50-60% complete protein. Complete protein means it has all the nine essential amino acids the body needs.
- Omega-3 – Chlorella serves as a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Vitamin B12 – This superfood is also a source of Vitamin B12. But some chlorella tablets or supplements contain more B12 than others
Health Benefits of Chlorella
What is chlorella for? This superfood boasts a myriad of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that helps improve one’s health in numerous ways. Here are the most popular health benefits of chlorella:
Chlorella may help boost a person’s immune system.
According to studies, people taking chlorella supplements have increased immune system activity. However, more research is needed to confirm this.
Chlorella may help lower a person’s risk of heart disease.
If you have high blood pressure, taking chlorella may help. There is scientific evidence that chlorella affects a person’s blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels by helping lower them.
Chlorella may help improve kidney health.
This superfood helps lower both blood lipid levels and blood pressure. Apart from heart health, these also affect kidney health. Having lower levels of both helps improve kidney function.
Chlorella can help control blood sugar levels.
Studies have found that nutritional supplementation of chlorella can aid in controlling blood sugar levels and help increase insulin sensitivity.
Chlorella can help in detoxification.
This supplement from unicellular green algae helps absorb heavy metals in the body.
Chlorella can help control respiratory diseases.
Taking Chlorella products can help with respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD.
Chlorella can help ease symptoms of ulcerative colitis and similar conditions.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, chlorella as a dietary supplement can help people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions.
Chlorella is rich in antioxidants.
It contains antioxidants like Vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and carotenoids (like lutein and beta carotene). Research shows that these help in managing chronic illnesses.
Antioxidants also help detoxify and fight cell damage to reduce risks of heart problems, diabetes, brain degeneration problems, and even cancer.
Chlorella may help improve aerobic performance.
One research found that using chlorella supplements can help improve aerobic capacity. In the study, those who took chlorella found that their lungs could take in more oxygen. The placebo group did not see any improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Should Not Take Chlorella?
People with specific health concerns should exercise caution when supplementing with chlorella. It’s a good idea to avoid it if you’re one of the following people:
- With a weakened immune system – Since it interacts with the immune system, chlorella can adversely affect people who are immunocompromised or taking medicine for their immune system.
- With mold and iodine allergies – Taking these supplements can cause an allergic reaction.
- Who use blood thinning medications or medicines that slow blood clotting – It may render such drugs less effective. If you are a patient undergoing maintenance hemodialysis and using Warfarin, it’s best to avoid chlorella.
Otherwise, most healthy adults can take chlorella as part of their dietary supplements lineup. For best results, consult a doctor before supplementing with chlorella.
Also, before shopping around for chlorella supplements, here are some tips to remember:
- Quality production – Look for one produced in a GMP and HACCP food safety certified environment using ISO 22000:2005 quality management system.
- Inconsistent formulation – Always look for organic, pure, and raw chlorella without binders, artificial colors and flavors. This way, you’re getting the benefits you’re looking for.
- Non-GMO – Go for non-GMO chlorella supplements to ensure it’s free of toxic chemicals, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
What Is the Best Way to Supplement with Chlorella?
When you search the market for chlorella dietary supplements, you will find them in three forms: powder, liquid, and tablet. You can supplement chlorella by adding it to the food and drinks you prepare or taking a tablet dose.
Some people prefer to add chlorella powder to cooked or baked goods. You can also add it to a smoothie or nutritional shake. It’s a popular additive for health foods in countries like Japan.
Liquid extracts are usually added to liquids, smoothies, and shakes.
Tablet chlorella is also available in different doses. However, studies about the recommended daily dose of chlorella are still insufficient. Some found benefits from taking 1.2 grams daily; others suggest taking 5-10 grams.
Is It Safe to Take Chlorella Every Day?
It is safe to take chlorella every day as a supplement, year-round. However, health experts recommend only taking chlorella every day for two to three months if taken for treatment.
When is it best to take chlorella, morning or night? Nighttime is the best time to take it because its chlorophyll content is a great sleep aid.
What Are the Side Effects of Taking Chlorella?
Generally, chlorella is not expected to cause side effects. However, a few have been observed in a few cases. The side effects of drinking chlorella supplements include the following:
- allergic reaction
Experience the Benefits of Chlorella
When it comes to superfood supplementation, Chlorella has become a popular choice for many, and with good reason. Those with a vegetarian or strict uncooked vegan diet choose to fill nutrient gaps with this edible algae.
Its popularity is not a surprise for many as the list of chlorella’s benefits is long, and we only gave you a glimpse so far. Do you want to experience the positive effects this supplement can bring? Add it to your diet plan today!
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