Chlorella is an abundant species of algae that grows naturally in shallow, warm waters around the world. During the massive population boom back in the 40’s and 50’s, when food demands rose swiftly by over 30 percent over previous decades, chlorella was thought to be the next big thing in farming.
It could be farmed in the water, proliferated very quickly, was cheap to manufacture and process, as well as being a super-nutritious source of most of the macro and micro nutrients needed for a healthy human or animal diet. However, the nutrition packed within its fibrous cells couldn’t be assimilated by our digestive system and so chlorella waned out of public consciousness.
Until recent years when a new manufacturing technology literally “opened up” chlorellas many benefits to the human body!
Chlorella is named after the word for green “chloros”. It’s green color means its loaded with vitality-boosting chlorophyl, along with several key vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy polyunsaturated fats, and loads of vegetable protein which makes this super-algae a must for people following a vegetarian lifestyle.
Another interesting fact is that while North Americans and Europeans really put a lot of focus on getting enough vitamin C every day for optimal health, the Japanese consider getting enough chlorella every day a priority in order to be as healthy as they can be.
Similar to Spirulina:
This water-grown algae superfood is grown in the same areas of its close cousin, spirulina. One of the main differences between the two, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, is that chlorella is the only one of the two that’s effective at removing toxic metals from the body, due to the fact that it has (indigestible) cell membranes which allow it to grab toxins and carry them out of the body through elimination.
Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits associated with consuming this superfood, along with the common, yet short-lived side effects, along my top 5 chlorella supplement recommendations for those of you who want to try it out.
Top 5 Chlorella Supplements
|Brand||Source Naturals||Now Foods||Sun||Source Naturals||Nature’s Way|
|Overall Rating||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.8||4.7 / 5||4.5 / 5|
|Serving Size||2 Tablets||3 Capsules||6 Tablets||3g||1 Capsule|
|Effectiveness||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.9 / 5||5 / 5||4.6 / 5|
|Quality||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.8 / 5||5 / 5||4.0 / 5|
|Taste||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.8 / 5||4.5 / 5||4.0 / 5|
|Digestibility||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.8 / 5||5 / 5||4.5 / 5|
1.Dietary Source of Several Nutrients
Chlorella isn’t some hyped-up superfood with “mysterious” ingredients that have names you can’t even pronounce, it has a virtual who’s who of essential vitamins, minerals and macronutrients we all need to eat every day:
• Protein (Including 7 of 9 essential aminos)
• Vitamin A
• B-complex vitamins
• Vitamin E
• Folic Acid
• Pantothenic Acid
• Amino acids
• Gamma linolenic acid
It’s also the richest source of chlorophyll, pound-for-pound, to be found in any plant or algae species. Chlorophyll is one the most powerful cleansers for the body and is absolutely loaded with antioxidants and anti-bacterial compounds. Chlorophyllin, a compound found in chlorophyll, allows magnesium to be converted to iron, making it perfect for the growing population who suffer from anemia due to metabolic problems and dietary insufficiency.
3.Nature’s Best Internal Cleanse
Heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and several other toxic elements get into our bodies and are absorbed into our soft tissues and organs. As these toxic invaders build in our bodies, they weaken the immune system and overload the body’s detoxifying organs; the liver and kidneys. If you eat lots of fish, have mercury fillings, live in an old building with lead pipes, or work around toxic air-born substances, you could be suffering from toxicity without even knowing.
Not to mention that many pre-packaged and fast foods, even improperly washed produce, contain numerous toxins such as pesticides that are dangerous to our health…
The various nutrients and high levels of antioxidants in chlorella have been proved to prevent the buildup of toxins in the body when consumed regularly (source). This superfood has also been shown to help reverse fatty liver disease, which is caused by high sugar diets, excessive alcohol consumption and toxins accumulating in the liver, with the added benefit of reducing leukocyte levels in the blood; a negative marker that indicates accelerated damage to the cells of the liver and is an early indicator of liver disease. All this makes the liver more efficient and better able to do its job.
Diabetes has far-reaching and devastating effects on people’s health. Not only do high blood sugar levels cause blindness, neuropathy, kidney damage, cancer and at times, amputation of limbs; diabetes and prediabetes that isn’t treated adequately more often than not leads to heart disease or stroke. In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of premature death and severe disability for diabetics worldwide, with at least 65 percent of them eventually succumbing to death by heart attack or stroke.
It all comes down to uncontrolled blood sugars which lead to higher cholesterol levels and elevated serum triglycerides in the bloodstream, which are then oxidized and begin to slowly accumulate on the walls of our arteries (learn more).
1200mg of chlorella, split over two or three daily doses helps to lower cholesterol immediately and also significantly lower blood sugar when taken regularly. It’s thought this effect is accomplished by chlorella’s ability to detoxify the liver and reverse the fatty liver disease diabetics are so often afflicted with, while also helping them to lose the stubborn waistline fat that’s a major contributor to insulin resistance (source).
5.Effective Weight Loss Supplement
High fasting blood sugar and the build up of toxins in the liver and throughout the body are a huge reason why people find it harder to get (and keep) weight off as we age. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that chlorella consumption had a huge impact on weight loss and 2 other key high-risk factors in humans that can lead to heart disease, cancer and an early death:
“Chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels” (source).
6.Immune System Booster
Those with weakened immune systems will often find it takes them much longer than normal to get rid of ailments like colds and flus, or when healing wounds from accidents or surgery.
In addition to helping the liver to clean toxins out of the body more efficiently, which has a huge impact on immune system function overall, regular intake of chlorella improves the NK cell (Natural Killer cell) activity in human beings with as little as 8 weeks of supplementation (source). Natural Killer cells are the soldiers that line up and attack whenever the immune system senses a foreign invader in the body.
Very few people understand that the inevitable aging process which every human and animal goes through, from the day we’re born until the day we die, is entirely a result of our surrounding environment. Pollution, stress and poor diet choices lead to oxidative damage in every cell in our body.
Wrinkles and organ damage and premature aging are all a result of oxidative stress, and the more vitamins and other antioxidants we ingest the less total (and permanent) damage occurs, effectively slowing the aging process. This is especially valuable if you smoke or drink alcohol, as chlorella consumption has been shown to stifle many of the oxidative factors attributed to ingesting poisons, including accelerated lipid peroxidation which leads to hardening of the arteries (source).
With over 19 percent of its make-up coming in the form of mostly insoluble fiber, chlorella really packs a one-two punch when it comes to cleaning the intestinal tract and colon. The fiber, as mentioned, is also one of the main ingredients responsible for removing heavy metals and pesticides from the body since they bind to the fiber and are then eliminated during a bowel movement.
It also helps to prevent these toxins from being absorbed from the food we eat when you take it with meals, particularly those meals that are suspect, like fast-food or pre-packaged foods.
9.Cancer Preventative and Treatment
As you’ve learned already, chlorella’s a powerful detoxifier, it boosts killer cell activity in our immune system, it helps to prevent and treat diabetes, reduces oxidative damage throughout the body, and keeps our colon nice and clean.
Anyone of these single factors, or combination of any can lead to cancer; particularly with regard to oxidative damage and immune system function. Through it’s high level of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory vitamins and nutrients, chlorella helps the immune system to destroy cancer cells, which are thought to occur in everyone at some point in their life, from proliferating to dangerous levels.
10.Rich in Vegetable Protein
Chlorella is 54 percent protein and contains 7 of the 9 essential amino acids that humans need to get from dietary sources (ie., we cannot make them ourselves): isoleucine, leucine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Getting most of these essentials from a single vegetable source is a battle that every vegetarian faces with regards to healthy diet, making chlorella a clear choice for this group or anyone else who doesn’t get very much complete meat protein from their diet.
Chlorella is made up of over 20 percent carbohydrate energy, but not so much to cause dangerous insulin spikes if it’s consumed at the suggested dose. This natural energy boost, combined with a less toxic, and a more hormonally-balance you, means more energy every day you take it.
12.Topical Irritation Reliever
Given the anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and pro-healing properties it offers, it should come as no surprise that chlorella can be applied to irritated and wounded skin to help it heal faster and reduce irritation. Simply mix it in water, or your favorite carrier oil, and apply liberally to affected areas for instant relief.
Potential Side Effects of Chlorella:
As the body begins to detoxify soon after your first dose, it’s not uncommon to fight off a bout or two of diarrhea as the body attempts to clear itself. This is doubly true if you’re combining this superfood with a weight loss program, as our fat holds more toxins than any other part of the body and is released into the blood as fat is burned.
Chlorella is made up of 19 percent fiber, much of it insoluble, meaning if you’re not accustomed to getting lots of fiber or you just don’t tolerate large amounts of insoluble fiber, constipation could result. Start out with half the recommended dose and work up to the recommended dose after assessing how you feel after a few days.
Over time, chlorella should make you feel more vital, healthy and bursting with newfound energy. However, just as the potential of diarrhea is high because the body has to expel all the waste being drudged up in your body by the algae, your mind and body may suffer for a short while too, as the toxins are processed out of the blood. Particularly if you’re in the process of losing fat when you start taking the supplement.
See “Contraindications” for other warnings about combining chlorella with certain drugs, or in the presence of specific allergies to its ingredients.
How to Select the Best Chlorella Suppplement
It’s important to note that you really need to be brand-conscious when it comes to buying chlorella supplements. The very last thing anyone needs when trying to detoxify the body is to consume a heaping dose of toxins along with their detoxifier! This is exactly what can happen if you buy from companies who don’t use a clean source of chlorella grown in controlled or heavily-tested conditions with clean water.
For the most part, the only way to prevent toxins from being leached into the algae is to farm it in controlled ponds or indoor pools using clean-tested or purified water. One big country that grows chlorella is China. The chinese version of the algae is frequently among the worst offenders for containing toxic levels of mercury when tested.
If you’re going to use chlorella sourced from China, make sure the manufacturer batch tests their stock for toxins before its sold – independent batch testing is even better.
2.Cracked Cell Wall
If you don’t see “Cracked Cell Wall Chlorella” on the label of the product you choose, it probably isn’t going to do much for you health-wise. This is because the cell membranes of the algae cannot be digested, therefore the vitamins, protein and phytonutrients will pass through your colon and not be absorbed by the intestines. Using the cell-cracking process, manufacturers guarantee maximum absorbtion of all the beneficial nutrients that chlorella has to offer.
Note: This distinction is actually the reason that spirulina has been so popular until recent years, because there was no easy way to make the nutrients highly bioavailable in chlorella until the cracked cell variety was introduced.
Do not take chlorella, before talking to your doctor about it – if:
1.You’re currently taking any blood pressure or cholesterol lowering drugs.
The same goes for blood thinners like Coumadin or Warfarin. This superfood can dramatically lower blood pressure and/or cholesterol, making either drop too low when combined with these drugs.
2.If you have insulin dependant diabetes or are taking drugs that cause your pancreas to release more insulin.
Hypoglycemia has been reported in such cases when patients combine chlorella with these medications due to its surprising impact at increasing insulin sensitivity in the body.
3.You’ve been diagnosed with moderate to severe vertigo.
Some vertigo patients have complained of an increase in the frequency and severity of their symptoms when taking chlorella supplements.
4.You have an allergy to iodine.
Chlorella is one of the most potent sources of iodine found in nature, just like its cousin spirulina.
It’s best to read the manufacturer’s recommendations and use common sense at the same time. In my opinion, the most trusted source for dosing information is Dr. Joe Mercola, who recommends a starting dose of 1 or 2 grams (1000 – 2000mg), then gradually working up to a dose of 4 – 5 grams (4000 – 5000mg) for optimal detox and other health benefits (see his recommendations here).
For the most part, the studies I’ve linked to show promising results on doses as low as 1000 – 1250mg
Chlorella Supplement Reviews
1.Source Naturals Broken Cell Wall Chlorella
This Japanese-grown chlorella supplement from Source naturals comes to us from the pristine waters of Ishigaki, Japan. No allergens, fillers, binders, or other unnatural ingredients are added to the chlorella. As with all the other recommendations I’m making in this section, this affordable daily supplement contains “Broken Cell Wall Chlorella” only and is considered of the highest purity.
2.NOW Foods Organic Chlorella 500mg 200 Tablets
When you see the source of this chlorella, you might be tempted to think I’m contradicting the warning given previously about avoiding Chinese-grown varieties. While many of their facilities are in China, Now Foods ensures all their chlorella is grown in isolated freshwater ponds with purified, toxin-free water only. Each 3-capsule dose offers a full gram of chlorella and Now Foods is a name any household should trust.
3.Sun Chlorella 500 mg 120 Tablets
Sun Chlorella is, I believe one of the very first to offer chlorella in supplement form. Their name and reputation might seem like it’s reflected in the higher price per bottle, but each capsule within contains 500mg of “pulverized” chlorella. With 120 tablets per container, this is a great deal on some really high-quality chlorella, grown and manufactured in Japan. All product is grown in man-made pools with purified water.
Best Chlorella Powder
4.Source Naturals Chlorella from Yaeyama Powder
If you don’t mind messing with loose powder, or would prefer to get your daily dose by mixing your chlorella in with water or your favorite smoothie, you can’t go wrong with this loose-powder version of the same Source Naturals product I described above. This is also a wild form of chlorella, grown off the coast of Ishigaki, and is batch tested for impurities before being packaged. Loose powder will always give you the best deal as you’re not paying for the extra manufacturing required to put the supplement in capsule form.
5.Nature’s Way Chlorella Micro-Algae
I love Nature’s Way products, as many of you who’re regulars here already know. Each 3 capsule dose offers a perfect 410mg of chlorella. You can start off with a lower dose to assess your tolerance by taking 1 pill thrice daily as opposed to the full dose, then work your way up. The only other ingredient other than chlorella is the gelatin capsule it’s contained within. 4 ½ stars and an ultra low price to fit every budget!
While many superfood supplements and their benefits are steeped in mystery, with very little known about how they actually help the body to prevent and reverse disease and injury, chlorella has plenty of scientific study and personal user accounts to back up the claims behind it.
Certainly, with so many healthful nutrients packed into one neat little package, there’s no denying this superfood should be an essential part of anyone’s diet.
Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy life!