Chlorella is a dark green algae that grows in freshwater in Taiwan and Japan. Chlorella is nutrient-packed — it’s loaded with vitamins, healthy fats, minerals, antioxidants, and protein. Because of this, chlorella has been a common food supplement in much of Asia since the commercial growing of it started in the 1950s.
While chlorella products have been on the market in the United States since the 1960s, it has only recently achieved more wide-scale recognition. This is mostly due to it being upstaged by its saltwater algae relative, spirulina.
What Is Chlorella?
The vast majority of organisms are multicellular — they’re made up of thousands, millions, or billions of cells. Not chlorella — it’s unicellular. Amazingly, this single cell, microscopic entity includes such a wealth of nutrients that it’s one of the most powerful health foods available. That’s what gives it the label of a green superfood.
Chlorella, which is also referred to as Yaeyama chlorela or chlorelle, is made up of close to 60 percent protein. More importantly, this is a complete protein in that it includes all nine of the essential amino acids — the amino acids that must be obtained from foods as a person’s body can’t make them. Chlorella is also rich in a number of antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, and another nutrient that must come from the diet — omega-3 fatty acids.
Health Benefits of Chlorella
Chlorella has the ability to boost immunity and detoxify cells, which results in the algae being able to play a part in the prevention or treatment of a number of health issues.
Improves Skin and Hair
Chlorella contains quite a few minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that provide a great deal of benefit for a person’s skin and hair. High levels of vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, and C, along with calcium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, make this algae a great nutritional supplement for anyone concerned about the physical aspects of aging.
Your skin is constantly renewing itself by replacing skin cells — skin completely regenerates itself every 30 days or so! Chorella can be a big help here because of Chlorella Growth Factor, a compound in the nucleus of chlorella that is present only in this algae. Chlorella Growth Factor, or CGF, is what enables this algae to multiply four times every day. CGF helps promote the fast regeneration of cells, including skin cells.
The many amino acids present in chlorella increase the production of collagen in your skin. Increasing collagen has the effect of minimizing lines and wrinkles, and contributes to generally healthier skin.
Supports the Immune System
Your immune system is a safety system of organs and cells that assist your body in fighting infections and illnesses by shielding it from things that can cause health issues, such as germs, damaging substances, and changes to cells. Chlorella fortifies your immune system in several ways.
The principal way chlorella supports immune health is by increasing secretory immunoglobulin A, or sIgA, levels. Secretory immunoglobulin A is an antibody that serves as your body’s primary defense in protecting against substances and organisms such as parasites, bacteria, and viruses from passing through the mucous membranes that line your lungs, stomach, intestines, mouth, and nose. Low levels of sIgA are a very common issue, and chlorella provides the perfect solution.
Removes Harmful Toxins
The single most significant quality of chlorella is its capability to cleanse the body of damaging toxins such as dioxin, nickel, cadmium, mercury, and pesticides. Dioxin and mercury, along with lead, uranium, and several other compounds, are known as heavy metals.
Heavy metals are high-density, metallic chemicals that are poisonous (toxic) to people — even at very low levels. Heavy metals are present naturally in some medications, foods, and the environment in general, so there’s no way a person can completely avoid exposure to them. The human body is equipped to remove heavy metals from itself, but the process isn’t immediate. Fortunately, chlorella has the ability to bind onto heavy metals and flush them from the body before they can be fully absorbed.
Taking Chlorella Supplements
Chlorella doesn’t have a well-defined daily dosage that’s recommended for everyone. Taking 1 to 2 grams per day is common, but some people take as little as a half gram (500 mg) per day, while other people take several grams per day. Chlorella are simple algae that have been consumed as a food for centuries and as a supplement for decades, and is considered to be safe and well-tolerated — some nutritionally-minded folks take up to 10 grams each day with no ill effects.
Chlorella isn’t stimulating, so you should be able to take it at any point in the day, including before bedtime. If you buy the supplement in tablet or capsule form take it before a meal, with a large glass of water. If you buy chlorella in powder form then add a little to your preferred juice or include it along with other ingredients in a smoothie.