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 CHLORELLA: HOW DOES IT HELP WITH BODY DETOXIFICATION AND HEALTH SUPPORT?

Contents

What is chlorella?

What health benefits and effects does chlorella have?

What does chlorella contain?

How to take chlorella?

Does chlorella have any side effects?

Who is chlorella not suitable for?

What to take from it?

Chlorella is a nutrient-packed green algae that many of you know as the green powder most often used to cleanse the body. It is rightfully a popular supplement, as scientists have known for a long time that it contains a number of beneficial active substances. Health benefits also go hand in hand with them. How does science today look at its effect on health and is it beneficial to use it?

What is chlorella?

Chlorella is a freshwater green algae that has been touted for years for its nutritional composition and health benefits. It even belongs to superfoods, thanks to the high concentrations of nutrients and bioactive substances. In the last century, scientists even promised from it a source of sustenance for people who were struggling with hunger. Today, this algae is mainly referred to as a supplement for cleansing and detoxifying the body. For the first time, it began to be produced and consumed in Asia, especially in Japan. Two species are used in food supplements – Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa. Both have comparable properties and nutrient content.

Chlorella belongs to the group of so-called of green superfoods, where together with it we also find spirulina seaweed, green barley or, for example, spinach.

What health benefits and effects does chlorella have?

1. Helps detoxify the body

Chlorella is perhaps most commonly used to purify and detoxify the body. Studies also show that it can play an interesting role in this. For example, it can bind heavy metals (e.g. mercury) and other toxins, thereby helping to remove them from the body.

Scientific works also show that it helps the body get rid of the infamous dioxins. These are substances created by industrial activity, which are a known polluter of the environment. At the same time, they are quickly absorbed into the body and are easily stored in the liver, which makes it difficult to get them out of the body. Thus, they significantly increase the risk of developing not only liver problems, but also cancer and other diseases, for example. Chlorella can thus be an assistant to help remove them from the body.

Although this green algae does not help the liver or kidneys with the basic detoxification processes that run 24/7, it can still be useful in purifying the body. It is suitable as one of the pieces of the mosaic by which we try to achieve good health. Chlorella can help us get rid of some toxins that enter the body from the surrounding environment. It may also be useful for people who work in industry and in polluted environments. 

If you are interested in how the overall detoxification of the human body works, do not miss our article Detoxification and cleansing of the body: What is it and how to support it naturally?

What to combine chlorella with for maximum effect?

Spirulina and green barley act similarly to chlorella, which means they also help remove various harmful substances from the body.

Milk thistle is a plant extract that, according to scientists, has a positive effect on the liver and its functions.

Complex supplements combine multiple active substances that help you take care of liver health and thus support the body’s natural detoxification.

2. Lowers cholesterol

Chlorella can bind not only heavy metals and other toxins, but also other substances. In this way, it can capture, for example, fats and bile acids, which helps to reduce the level of cholesterol and fats (triacylglycerols) in the blood. Already in the small intestine, it can capture fat from food, which reduces its absorption. Subsequently, it binds bile acids in the large intestine. They are made of cholesterol, so their elimination forces the body to reach into its cholesterol reserves for the creation of new bile acids. Thanks to this process, the level of cholesterol in the blood is reduced.

Research shows that chlorella is one of the nutritional supplements that can be useful in preventing hypercholesterolemia (increased cholesterol levels in the blood). However, it can also be useful in high cholesterol therapy itself. 

What to combine chlorella with for maximum effect?

Fiber, such as glucomannan or psyllium, can also bind fat and bile acids to help lower cholesterol.

Chitosan is also one of the soluble fibers that acquires a gel consistency in the intestines and helps slow down the absorption of fat.

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the health of the heart and blood vessels.

3. It has antioxidant properties

Chlorella contains many substances that belong to the category of antioxidants. These are, for example, vitamins, carotenoids or the green dye chlorophyll. These substances lend chlorella its antioxidant abilities, thus helping it to fight free radicals that arise from oxidative stress.

Chlorella, with its antioxidant effect, can help protect overall health from diseases related to oxidative stress. These are cancer or, for example, metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Japanese scientists have also pointed out the positive effect of using chlorella in Alzheimer’s disease. It could also be useful in the prevention of premature aging and be part of an anti-aging approach. 

What to combine chlorella with for maximum effect?

Vitamins that belong to antioxidants. This is, for example, vitamin E or vitamin C, which is also useful for immunity and collagen formation. 

Selenium, which also contributes to the normal production of sperm.

We also need zinc for healthy nails and hair. Men will also appreciate its influence on normal testosterone levels.

Bioactive substances with antioxidant properties, such as quercetin or resveratrol.

Complex supplements that offer a combination of several antioxidants.

4. Helps lower blood pressure

Studies also talk about the effect of chlorella on the blood pressure level. This green algae helps to reduce it mainly thanks to the combination of the effects of the contained substances.

Arginine supports the formation of nitric oxide (NO), which causes blood vessels to widen (vasodilatation). This in turn leads to lower blood pressure.

Omega-3 fatty acids and other substances with an anti-inflammatory effect have a positive effect on cardiovascular health and blood vessels.

Potassium is an important mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.

The effect on the cholesterol level is automatically related to the blood pressure. The accumulation of cholesterol (and other blood components) in the walls of blood vessels can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels) and narrowing of blood vessels, which causes increased blood pressure.

What to combine chlorella with for maximum effect?

You can combine chlorella with substances that are beneficial for overall cardiovascular health, such as the aforementioned omega-3 fatty acids. However, a healthy lifestyle focusing on these areas is very important for an optimal blood pressure level.

Varied and balanced menu

Regular physical activity

Sufficient and quality sleep

Work with stress

5. It has an immunomodulating effect

Chlorella also has a positive effect on the immune system, through several mechanisms.

It turns out that it affects the production of cytokines, which are substances that affect inflammatory processes in the body.

It can thus help reduce inflammatory processes in the body.

It appears to increase the activity of some immune cells.

It also works on the optimal composition of the intestinal microbiome. Today, it is already well known that the correct composition of microorganisms in the intestines is important for functional immunity.

In order to have a healthy and functional immunity, we need to do much more than just taking supplements. However, thanks to its properties, chlorella can be an interesting addition to the care of our immune system. It could thus supplement a proper diet, exercise, quality sleep and other important factors.

If you are wondering how else you can support your immunity, read the article 15 ways to strengthen your immune system and protect your health.

What to combine chlorella with for maximum effect?

Vitamin C, vitamin D or folic acid, which have been shown to have a positive effect on immune function.

Ginger, echinacea and other herbal supplements, in which scientists point to an effect on the body’s defenses.

Probiotics that take care of the correct composition of the intestinal microbiome.

Complex supplements are a combination of several active substances that help you take care of the performance of your immunity.

What other benefits does chlorella have?

Other promising health effects are also being shown in scientific papers dealing with chlorella.

Apparently it helps lower blood sugar. 

It also seems to be helpful for digestion. 

It can also help with aerobic performance. These are endurance activities, such as running, cycling or, for example, swimming. Scientists explain this effect by saving glycogen reserves and at the same time by influencing the formation of NO, which dilates blood vessels. It allows the body to get more blood flow to the muscles and perform better. 

Studies also describe a positive effect on hepatocytes (liver cells) and liver health. 

Scientific works also say that it increases the production of collagen in the skin.

What does chlorella contain?

Chlorella is special mainly due to its varied range of macronutrients, micronutrients and other bioactive substances. It is rich in protein, but also boasts fiber and healthy fats. It also contains almost all vitamins.

Proteins

Proteins make up the largest share of this green algae. On average, it contains up to 60 g/100 g, while it also has a good spectrum of essential amino acids. We have to get these amino acids through food, as our body cannot create them on its own. At the same time, we need to pay attention to their correct ratio in food, because only then can the body effectively use them to create body proteins. The spectrum of amino acids in chlorella approaches this correct ratio. It is even better than soy, which is considered the highest quality vegetable protein source. 

Fats

Chlorella, on the other hand, has a relatively low proportion of fat. Contains only approx. 10 g of fat/100 g. Of this, roughly 70% are healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid make up the largest share. Although algae are also characterized by EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), chlorella, unlike spirulina, does not contain these fatty acids. [2,3]

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates make up a fairly low proportion of the composition of chlorella. It is about 15 g/100 g, while up to 65% of their content is indigestible fiber.

Vitamins

This green freshwater algae is exceptional with a wide range of vitamins. It contains group B vitamins, such as thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). It is also rich in biotin, vitamin C, tocopherol (vitamin E) or vitamin K. 

It particularly stands out due to the proportion of folic acid, which is important, for example, for normal blood formation or tissue development. It contains up to about 2.5 mg/100 g. In the normally recommended dose of 6 g, it is about 150 μg, which is about half of the daily dose for an adult. It is thus an excellent source of folic acid, as it is not common for this vitamin to be contained in such a concentrated amount in food. 

Chlorella can also contain a significant proportion of vitamin B12. We need it for the normal function of the nervous system or, for example, immunity. However, this is a variable amount that can range from 0 to 500 μg. Therefore, it is always advisable to read the labels of the supplements you take. If chlorella contains this vitamin, it can quite easily cover the daily recommended dose of 4 μg. It is thus a great source of this vitamin for vegans because it is only found in animal foods. 

It is interesting that in this green algae we also find vitamin D, which is otherwise mainly found in animal foods. While animal sources contain vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), we find vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) in algae and mushrooms. Both of these forms are important, for example, for good bone mineralization.

Minerals

Similar to vitamins, minerals are abundant in chlorella. It is particularly proud of its high content of iron and potassium. However, it is also rich in calcium, phosphorus, copper and magnesium.

It also contains a significant amount of selenium. It is a substance that is an important part of our body’s antioxidant protection. Foods are relatively poor in this substance, but chlorella can contain up to 300 μg of selenium/100 g. A dose of 6 g of chlorella can thus contain roughly 18 μg, which is almost a third of the daily recommended dose of selenium. 

Other bioactive substances

Chlorella is a mixture of countless active substances, each of which has its own specific properties. Today, scientists still do not know about all the beneficial substances hidden in chlorella. However, in some of them they have more clarity than in others.

Beta-carotene or lutein are effective antioxidants.

Beta-glucans are useful for the immune and digestive systems.

Chlorophyll is the green pigment that gives chlorella its color, while boasting antioxidant effects.

How to take chlorella?

There is no exact dosage protocol, but it is typically recommended to supplement with 6-10 g of chlorella per day. You can treat yourself to it in the form of powder, tablets or, for example, an extract.

If you choose tablets, just drink them with water or another favorite drink. If you decide to use the powder, you can mix it in water, but feel free to add it to food or drinks as well. It is suitable for example in a vegetable or fruit smoothie, but you can also use it to diversify the dough for cakes, muffins, pancakes or fritters.

You can indulge in chlorella in the recommended dose at any time of the day. However, it is better not to take it on an empty stomach, so that it does not unnecessarily cause digestive problems for the more sensitive of you.

Does chlorella have any side effects?

Chlorella is not known for significant side effects. However, more sensitive people may experience digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, cramps or flatulence. These unpleasant conditions have been observed even at recommended doses, but these are not frequent situations. 

Who is chlorella not suitable for?

Chlorella is generally a safe supplement, but there are still groups of people who should avoid it for various reasons.

People who take blood-thinning medicines such as warfarin. 

Allergy sufferers should also be careful as there are cases of seaweed allergy. 

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor to be sure.

What to take from it?

Chlorella is a popular supplement loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals and other bioactive substances. It is they who lend her numerous health benefits. Although scientists still have to study chlorella to get an idea of all its properties, today we already know that it is useful, for example, for immunity or cholesterol levels. When we combine it with a high-quality diet and an overall healthy lifestyle, it can be a great addition to taking care of our health.

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