Welcome back to the What Supp Blog! In today’s post we will be returning to a fave topic; natural supplements. This post will specifically be about that superfood pond scum algae extraordinaire; Chlorella
Chlorella is a freshwater single-celled algae that is found native to Taiwan and Japan. It is also one of the oldest known species on the planet and that has the unique ability to reproduce multiple times a day, making it a genuine sustainable nutrient source.
Chlorella’s rich green color comes from a high concentration of chlorophyll. Chlorella contains up to 7% natural chlorophyll, the highest percentage of any known plant on earth. Plant chlorophyll is one of nature’s most powerful cleansing agents.
Additionally, this superfood is rich with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. These include all 8 essential amino acids, lipoic acid, beta-carotene, potassium, zinc, iron , phosphorous, magnesium and the other B-complex vitamins such as B1, B2, B6 and B7.
In fact a 1-ounce (3 tbsp) serving of chlorella contains the following of your Recommend Daily Allowance, (RDA):
Vitamin A—287% RDA
Vitamin B2—71% RDA
Vitamin B3—33% RDA
To put into perspective the nutrient content of this superfood, a 30 gram serving of Chlorella has 5 times the chlorophyll content of kale and more iron than liver, boom!
Growth, Repair & CGF
The nutrition stats go on – 60% of Chlorella is high quality protein that is easy to assimilate. It supports the body’s tissues, metabolism and immune system with nucleic acids and key RNA and DNA factors that help protect every cell.
Chlorella is abundant in Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF) – Chlorella Growth Factor is produced during photosynthesis, and is the reason why chlorella can multiply by 4 every 20-24 hours. This famous key factor can help speed your body’s rejuvenation and restoration naturally, making Chlorella ideal post workout. Of course, the tissue repair CGF promotes is also required to reduce inflammation in the body and wound healing.
Growth Factor contains nucleic acids DNA and RNA, which are responsible for cellular regeneration. As we get older, the body produces less DNA and RNA, which is said to be a key factor in rapid aging and leaves us more prone to illness and disease. When we receive RNA and DNA from our diets, we are providing health to our body for cellular repair and regeneration
Ageing is linked to the decline in nucleic acid production by our bodies. By receiving nucleic acid from Chlorella Growth Factor, the body is able to utilize the RNA and DNA to work against the aging process by promoting cellular regeneration.
CGF has the ability to increase energy levels because of its nucleic acid content, which is absorbed in the body’s cells. This promotes an increase in energy because receiving and absorbing nucleic acid from an external food source reduces the amount of work your body must do internally to synthesize RNA and DNA. This mechanism works to conserve your body’s energy, making CGF a highly effective energy boosting supplement.
CGF contains a group of polysaccharides, or sugar molecules, called beta-glucans, which have been studied for their positive impact on the immune system. Although beta-glucans are still being researched for the role they play in the body, it’s suggested they are most efficient in boosting the immune system to protect against harmful pathogens.
Immune System Builder
Chlorella is an oxygen based algae. Oxygen is known to kill bacteria and viruses so when taking chlorella, it goes to work killing bacteria in your body. This is simultaneously while its high concentration of antioxidants fight free radicals and high concentration of chlorophyll sweeps through your immune system to give it a boost.
A study published in the journal Clinical Laboratory revealed that chlorella greatly reduces oxidative stress, that can be caused from pollution, stress and a poor diet.
The reason chlorella is so effective at giving you younger looking skin for example, is because it naturally increases levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and glutathione in your body. This I turn eliminates free-radicals (your body’s waste byproduct) and protects your cells.
Chlorella further benefits you by helping to regulate hormones, helping with metabolism, improving circulation, and promoting higher levels of energy.
Chlorella’s impact on the functioning of the immune system to attack and destroy cancer promoting cells, as well as the detoxification that will be detailed, demonstrate its significance in both cancer prevention and treatment.
One of chlorella’s most significant health benefits is its capacity to detoxify the body of heavy metals and waste. It works by wrapping itself around even the most stubborn toxins residing in our bodies, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and uranium, and keeps them from being reabsorbed. Regular consumption of chlorella can even help keep heavy metals from accumulating in our bodies’ soft tissues and organs in the first place.
Chlorella is comprised of a fibrous, indigestible outer shell (20%) and its inner nutrients (80%). It is the fibrous material which has been proven to actually bind with the heavy metals and pesticides which can accumulate in our bodies.
Furthermore, Chlorella, with its high content of chlorophyll, helps keep the main detoxification system of the body, the cytochrome P-450 detoxification enzyme of the liver, working efficiently. With this system working efficiently, the liver is able to neutralize incoming toxins from the gut.
This has particular significance for those who are undertaking radiation or chemotherapy as Chlorella’s high levels of chlorophyll have been shown to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments while removing radioactive particles from the body.
A clean bloodstream, with an abundance of red blood cells to carry oxygen, is necessary for a strong natural defense system. Chlorella’s cleansing action on the bowel and other elimination channels, as well as its protection of the liver, helps keep the blood clean. Clean blood insures that metabolic wastes are efficiently carried away from the tissues.
Chlorella also stimulates the growth of friendly aerobic bacteria which has a profound, beneficial effect on overall bowel health. Furthermore, chlorella’s cell walls act to absorb toxic compounds within the intestines and help promote normal peristalsis – a series of wave-like muscle contractions that moves food to different processing stations in the digestive tract.
An interesting effect of Chlorella is its impact on weight loss. In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers state, “Chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels.”
In a study published the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers found that doses of 8,000 mg of chlorella per day (divided into 2 doses), helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
Researchers observed first a decline in cholesterol levels, and then the improvement in blood glucose. They believe that chlorella activates a number of genes at the cellular level that improve insulin sensitivity, encouraging a healthy balance.
Chlorella has more to offer in the completion of this cycle. As our bodies lose weight, toxins are released, and can be reabsorbed. It is important to flush these toxins out of our system as quickly as possible. Chlorella’s ability to surround the toxins and heavy metals resident in our bodies helps facilitate elimination and prevent reabsorption.
There are two kinds of Chlorella on the market; Vulgaris and Pyrenoidosa. There is also Yaeyama, a Vulgaris subspecies from Japan. Vulgaris which is easier to digest, and Pyrenoidosa which binds heavy metals more effectively and thus, superior detoxifying properties. The higher digestibility, the lower binding capacity and vice versa. If a brand doesn’t state which kind it is, they are hiding something.
When selecting your Chlorella to buy, there are some key points to keep in mind. Firstly, as Chlorella has a very hard outer shell, making it almost completely indigestible to humans, supplemental forms undergo a special process that cracks this outer shell for enhanced digestibility. So when purchasing a chlorella supplement make sure to buy “cracked cell wall chlorella” because they are completely absorbable.
This process of cracking Chlorella is all important when deciding which brand you are going to choose as it all hinges on the bioavailability of the nutrient content and exactly what nutrient content is left intact by the time these little greeny morsels hit your tongue.
So when doing your research for brands to try of Chlorella, ask sellers to provide information about what process they use. You’ll find the methods to crack the cell wall below but never buy “broken cell wall” chlorella because it means it´s been ground up cheaply meaning the Chlorella oxidises and moulds.
Ok, so these are the best methods for making chlorella digestible. If we don´t count chemical and extreme heat methods, we would have to choose between:
Dyno-Mill process uses small glass beads spun together with the chlorella to ground it down. Unfortunately, chlorella can get contaminated from lead from the glass beads, especially if the glass breaks. This process destroys the cells membrane, chloroplast, mitochondria and nucleus. Chlorella´s shell life is also decreased by this method.
On a side note, the most popular method for cracking the cell wall is milling or grinding. This pulverises the chlorella cell and makes it easy to digest, but it smashes the cell open and exposes the unprotected nutrients (so they start to oxidise).
Pressure-Release processing is a chamber with sudden and extreme changes in pressure where nothing gets in contact with the chlorella. Proponents of this method claim that this process reduces significantly oxidation and nutrient degradation.
Spray dried resulted in spherical particles of thousands of chlorella cells with a hole in the center. They explain spray drying is done with hot gas (130-135ºC). If the heat or the time heated increased, the spherical form would collapse.
As suggested, the cell walls are cracked open by high frequency sound waves to vibrate the chlorella cells. This intense vibration causes the cell wall to crack without collapsing them. Like an egg shell with cracks. This way, the nutrients remain intact inside the cell walls.
I would stay with either Pressure Release or Sound Vibration. I prefer chlorella not to oxidise or be heated at high temperatures as this could well impact on its nutrient content.
Country of origin
So from where is also important as Chlorella is so super absorbent, meaning if it’s grown in polluted surroundings, it will absorb these toxins. Chlorella from China appears to be the most contaminated. Certified Organic doesn´t mean “free from contamination”. Taiwan has the cleanest, but also most expensive. Japan has had some mixed reviews but it seems that government policy is in place to ensure quality control.
Korean and German Chlorella are two other options. Many of these though are fermented in tanks and never see the light of day. The producers and promoters of these kinds say this is the only way to ensure purity. But, if chlorella never sees the sun, it doesn´t develop chlorophyll and reportedly has no binding capacity.
Chlorella Side Effects and Precautions
And just finally! Chlorella can cause side effects in some individuals. Some of the symptoms include swelling of the face or tongue sensitivity to sunlight, digestive upset, acne, fatigue, lethargy, headaches, vertigo, and shaking.
The majority of these chlorella side effects and symptoms however are typical to any detoxification program.
However, individuals that are allergic to iodine and those that have been prescribed Coumadin or Warfarin should consult with their physician prior to using chlorella.
Wowzers, well that has been a pretty detailed account. Who would think pond scum could be so in-depth. Till next time people!