Need a nutrient boost? Whether you’re looking for a strictly plant-based nutrient supplement or something that packs a lot of punch, you will not be disappointed by the amazing benefits of chlorella.
Chlorella has risen to the level of “superfood” and is considered by supplement experts to be a panacea or a fix-all supplement. What’s all the buzz about this single-celled algae? Read on to learn more.
Nutrient Might in a Single Cell
A single-celled freshwater, green alga that grows abundantly in Japan and Taiwan, chlorella’s benefits come from its amazing nutrient profile. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and other compounds, chlorella has been used to support immune health, fight cancer, and promote weight loss, among others.
As a superfood and because it is a fast-growing food source, chlorella’s potential to meet an ever-increasing need to feed an ever-growing global population offers a genuine and practical solution.
Chlorella is widely available as a nutritional supplement – in tablet, powder, or liquid extract form. With it’s tough and rigid cell wall, this alga cannot be digested by the human body in its natural form, so it requires processing to make its nutrients available to the body.
Amazing Chlorella Benefits
Rich Nutrient Source
The species, growing conditions, and how it is processed to determine its exact nutrient profile, chlorella possesses an impressive array of nutrients.
- Chlorella is 50-6-% protein and is a complete protein source.
- It can provide between 6% and 40% of your daily iron requirement, depending on the supplement, and it also contains vitamin C, which is essential for proper iron absorption.
- It is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids – delivering 100 mg per 3 grams of chlorella.
- The single-celled organism also contains small amounts of calcium, copper, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and many kinds of antioxidants. Vitamin B12 may also be present in some chlorella varieties.
Chlorella contains niacin, carotenoids, fiber, and antioxidants – all of which are known to help reduce cholesterol levels. Studies have found that daily intake of 5-10 grams of chlorella supplement can lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with slightly increased cholesterol levels and/or high blood pressure.
Maintain Blood Pressure Levels
A few studies have found that taking chlorella supplements can help reduce blood pressure among those with mildly high blood pressure, and also reduce stiffness in arteries which is a contributing factor in blood pressure level increase.
A small number of animal and human studies have found that chlorella may increase antibody production and other immune activity. The immune-boosting effects of the algae may be limited to certain age groups and populations, however, and further studies are needed to support earlier findings.
Blood Sugar Level Benefits
Both healthy individuals and those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or who have a high risk for lifestyle-related diseases can experience improved blood sugar levels. It is yet to be determined if supplementing with chlorella is enough to properly manage blood sugar, but it can be an effective addition to other therapies.
Chlorophyll, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are some of the antioxidants present in chlorella. Study findings have found that the antioxidants in chlorella may reduce diabetes complications, reduce oxidative damage in chronic smokers, and impact how genes age.
Animal studies have shown that chlorella can effectively weaken heavy metal toxicity of the liver, kidneys, and brain. The algae can also help reduce the amount of harmful food contaminants, such as dioxin. When taken as a supplement, chlorella can support the body’s detoxification processes if and when it gets exposed to harmful toxins.
More and larger-scale studies that look into the benefits of chlorella supplements are still needed, but other positive health impacts this algae may also offer include:
- Improved eye health, with chlorella’s lutein and zeaxanthin content – these are carotenoids that are known to reduce risk of macular degeneration.
- Liver health support for people with liver disease.
- PMS relief, which is mostly based on anecdotal evidence; but the presence of B-vitamins and calcium in chlorella could account for this benefit.
Is Chlorella Safe for Everyone?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes chlorella as generally safe. As with other supplements, it may still have some side effects in some people, such as abdominal discomfort and nausea.
Because dietary supplements are not strictly regulated if at all, you should make sure that the supplement comes from a reputable manufacturer to get a better guarantee of quality, safety, and effectiveness.
There are also different species of chlorella that are used in supplements, and the nutrient profile varies for each species. Always read the product information to know what you’re getting.
If you have immune problems or other health conditions, and if you are taking any medication, you should obtain your doctor’s approval before taking chlorella supplements, or any other kind of dietary supplement.
Chlorella Benefits – Final Thoughts
Algae have long been tapped for their amazing benefits to health, and chlorella is no different with its impressive nutrient profile.
As an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals, as well as other beneficial plant compounds including an array of antioxidants, chlorella is also referred to as a superfood. It cannot be properly digested by the body in its natural form, however, so it must be taken in supplement form.
Studies that have looked into the health benefits of chlorella have mostly found that the algae can help improve health and protect against some diseases, but further studies are still needed to establish a wider body of evidence that supports these initial results. Overall, chlorella supplements are relatively safe to take; it is still always important to seek a doctor’s advice before taking any supplements if you have any health condition and/or are taking any medication.