Who would have thought that a humble single-celled algae would be receiving so much attention for its health benefits?
Chlorella is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods currently available and has been linked to a number of benefits such as weight loss, lower cholesterol and better brain health.
Rich in amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium, iron and the B-complex vitamins, Chlorella is easily digested by the body, making it an effective and powerful supplement.
If you’re thinking of adding Chlorella to your health regimen, here’s five impressive health benefits to consider:
1. Improves cholesterol and blood sugar
A number of studies have found that Chlorella can help lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels, which has important implications for cardiovascular health and diseases such as diabetes.
In 2008, Japanese researchers studied the physiological effects of Chlorella intake. Over 16 weeks, researchers conducted blood biochemical tests and analysed gene expression profile in whole blood cells before and after Chlorella intake. In both healthy subjects, and those with high-risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases, there was a noticeable reduction in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels.
In 2009, researchers fed rats a high fat diet, along with controlled amounts of Chlorella. They discovered that Chlorella was effective for blood glucose regulation and preventing insulin resistance in the rats.
Chlorella appears to have the ability to activate genes at the cellular level to reduce levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL), prevent the absorption of saturated and trans fats and control blood sugar release levels.
2. Strengthens bones and joints
As we age, our bones lose their strength and become more brittle, leading to a higher risk of breaks and fractures. To maintain bone health, it’s important we get adequate amounts of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamins D, K2 and B12. But studies show that our modern diets are lacking in these important nutrients.
A 2017 CSIRO report claimed that four out of five Australian adults are not eating enough fruit and vegetables in order to meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines. And worldwide, our diets are lacking in vitamins and minerals essential for proper growth and development.
Apart from improving our diets and increasing the amount and variety of fruit and vegetables that we eat, one of the simplest ways to remedy this is by taking a daily Chlorella supplement.
Chlorella is high in natural magnesium which helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function and keeps bones strong. It also contains high levels of vitamins K2 and B12, which are essential for bone health, along with small, yet important, amounts of the bone-strengthening minerals calcium, copper and zinc.
3. Assists with weight loss
When it comes to losing weight, we often look for a quick fix with varying degrees of success. However, recent studies have looked at whether or not Chlorella is a useful tool for weight loss, and the results are promising.
In a 2009 Korean study, the methanol extract of Chlorella was shown to actually block the production of fat cells, as well as decrease the amount of fat held within existing cells.
In addition, Chlorella’s high nutrient content can help normalise cell and tissue function and reverse many degenerative disease processes. By correcting any nutritional deficits, it’s likely your body will experience less cravings and spikes in hunger.
Consuming a high-nutrient diet can lead to slower hunger signals when compared to consuming low-nutrient foods such as chips and chocolate. These factors can make it easier to stick to a healthier diet.
Chlorella also contains amino acids. Often called ‘the building blocks of life’, amino acids are organic compounds that are used to make protein. They provide a source of energy for the body, as well as help break down food and repair muscle tissue. One amino acid in particular – phenylalanine – can stimulate the production of the hunger relief hormone, cholecystokinin, and reduce the tendency to overeat.
4. Promotes a healthy brain
There are a number of nutrients that are essential for supporting our brain and nervous system, and play an important role when it comes to things such as our mood and memory.
Vitamin B12 deficiency – which is common as we age – has been linked to brain shrinkage, memory loss and depression, while Omegas 3 and 6, which form the building blocks of the nervous system, are essential fatty acids that are also important for brain health.
While fish oil and other supplements can help to provide these nutrients, Chlorella is one of the richest sources. And as it’s a plant food, it’s also easily digestible by the body, as well as being suitable for vegans.
Chlorella’s high nutrient content has led to research being conducted in relation to brain health. A 2016 study looked at Chlorella’s impact on short-term memory in rats. The results showed improved short-term memory in Chlorella treated rats compared to controls, which could prove exciting in terms of its application for humans.
5. Eliminates toxins
Toxins are poisonous agents that can cause health issues when absorbed by the body. Toxins – of varying levels of toxicity – are found everywhere. From the products we use to the air we breathe, we’re exposed to thousands of chemicals each day in what’s been labelled a ‘toxic avalanche’.
While our gut, kidneys, liver and skin all work together to eliminate toxins from our body, our system can sometimes be overwhelmed by the amount of toxins it needs to process. Symptoms of toxic overload include digestive issues, headaches, fatigue and skin conditions.
Chlorophyll – the naturally occurring substance that gives plants their green colour – is known for its ability to detoxify the body of chemicals and heavy metals. It does this by helping the liver convert toxic substances into less toxic substances that can be eliminated by the body more easily.
Chlorophyll has been shown to help facilitate this process, as well as regenerate damaged liver cells. One of the best sources of chlorophyll is Chlorella. Chlorella contains more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant.
Chlorella has also been found to be useful in helping patients recover from radiation exposure. A recent Japanese study discovered that Chlorella could inhibit the absorption of radioactive particles into the blood and enhance the elimination of radiation particles from the body.
As you can see, Chlorella really packs a punch when it comes to delivering important health benefits. Its high levels of vitamins and minerals – essential for a healthy mind and body – make it the perfect supplement to incorporate into your daily routine.