Chlorella, in its Vulgaris or Pyrenoidosa variety, is a unicellular algae that grows in fresh water. It is estimated that it has inhabited the planet for millions of years, but it was not discovered until the 19th century. Is considered a superfood thanks to the many nutrients it containsand its use has spread as a tonic and also as a depurative, especially in Asian countries.
Forget spirulina, there’s a new algae in town: chlorella. This nutrient-rich seaweed has received a lot of attention for its health benefits. Additionally, as a supplement, it has shown promise in improving cholesterol levels and flushing out toxins from the body.
What is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a single-celled green freshwater algae.
There are over 30 different species, but there are two types, Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa, which are most commonly used in research.
Since Chlorella has a tougher cell wall than humans, it cannot be digested, so you must take it as a supplement to reap its benefits. It is available in the form of capsules, tablets, powder and extract.
Besides being used as a nutritional supplement, Chlorella is also used as a biodiesel fuel.
Chlorella nutritional information.
It is a very nutritious seaweed. Its nutritional profile has led some to call it a “Superfood”.
Although their exact nutritional content depends on growing conditions, species used, and how the supplements are processed, we can break down the general elements.
- protein: Chlorella contains 50 to 60% protein. Plus, it’s a complete source of protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids.
- Vitamin B12: Some varieties of Chlorella may also contain vitamin B12, but more studies are needed.
- Iron and vitamin C: Chlorella can be a good source of iron. Depending on the supplement, it can provide you with 6-40% of your daily needs. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, which helps you absorb iron.
- Other antioxidants: These tiny green cells provide a wide range of antioxidants.
- Other vitamins and minerals: Chlorella provides small amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid and other B vitamins.
- Omega 3: Like other algae, Chlorella contains Omega-3. Just 3 grams of Chlorella gives you 100 mg of Omega-3.
- Fiber: In large amounts, Chlorella can be a good source of fiber. However, most supplements don’t even provide 1 gram of fiber per serving.
Summary: Chlorella contains many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Exact amounts may differ from brand to brand.
Properties of Chlorella.
The particularity of this seaweed, which even gives it its name, is that it has the highest concentration of chlorophyll in a food. But there is a long list of nutrients inside chlorella: calcium, beta-carotene, essential acids, iron, vitamins A, B, C, E and K, among other substances. Thanks to these components, the seaweed has been popularized as an energizer and as an antioxidant thanks to beta-carotene. Note that it also provides the body with 19 amino acids: all essential to the body.
It is customary to use chlorella as a detoxifier, especially in the case of heavy metals such as mercury. The peculiarity of this food is that it manages to effectively eliminate harmful metals, but retains those necessary for the body. Its cleansing action is not limited to metals, as it also cleanses our body of other toxins and harmful substances, especially in the liver, digestive system and blood circulation.
It is composed of more than 40% protein, and has a unique component: chlorella growth factor (CGF), a set of acids that accelerates the growth of its cells, an effect that is reproduced when it is consumed, since it has been proven to stimulate physical development, especially in children.
Chlorella contains several compounds considered antioxidants, including chlorophyll, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. These antioxidants can help fight many chronic diseases.
Chlorella supplements can help keep your heart and kidneys healthy, which is essential for normal blood pressure.
Benefits of Chlorella.
It stimulates the immune system.
Chlorella boosts immune activity and helps fight bacterial infections. It is very good against gastrointestinal discomforts such as ulcers, colitis, gastritis and constipation.
Its components stimulate cell regeneration and development, which is why it has become an ingredient in body creams and cosmetics.
Stabilizes blood pressure.
It has been suggested that its consumption can fight hypertension. There are human studies that have shown its effectiveness in lowering blood pressure.
Some studies indicate that it is effective in helping remove heavy metals and other harmful compounds from the body.
Chlorella has been shown to help reduce the amount of other harmful chemicals sometimes found in food. One of them is dioxin, a hormonal disruptor that can contaminate animals.
It can help fight cholesterol.
Several studies have suggested that Chlorella supplements may help lower cholesterol. Specifically, several studies have shown that taking 5-10 grams per day lowers total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high blood pressure and/or mildly elevated cholesterol.
Uses of Chlorella.
In the side effects section, chlorella can cause stomach upset, as well as gas and flatulence. It has also been reported to increase uric acid levels.
Like other algae, it is usually marketed in the form of tablets or powder. Scientifically there is no specific recommended dose, accompany it with plenty of water. Most supplements state a daily dose of 2-3 grams.
In the case of chlorella powder, it can be added to foods as if it were just another seasoning. Another option is to incorporate the granules into a drink or smoothie with other fruits.
It is always important to buy these types of supplements from trusted brands, which actually list the exact compound on the label.
Keep in mind that some people tolerate chlorella consumption better than others. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before including it in your daily diet.
The most common side effects They can include diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, green stools and stomach cramps. In case of appearance of these symptoms, stop consumption immediately.
Remember to consult your doctor before taking any medicinal supplements. These supplements may interfere with and alter the characteristics and effects of certain medications.