Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater algae species with a number of impressive health benefits. It's been used as a natural nutritional supplement by humans for many decades, and in more recent years has been an area of interest for improving canine health as well. Chlorella contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other substances which together contribute to its helpful properties. It's an excellent source of protein, fibre, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, zinc, prebiotics, as well as a unique substance called "chlorella growth factor" (Bito T, Okumura E, Fujishima M, et al.1). Beyond its dense nutritional value, chlorella also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects which can be beneficial to both dogs and humans (Bito T, Okumura E, Fujishima M, et al.1, Paul R. Heaton, Catrina F. Reed, Sarah J. Mann, et al.2).
Some of the specific ways chlorella has shown promise for improving canine health include:
- detoxification assistance
- immune booster
- slowing aging
- digestion support
- improving eye health
- minimizing bad breath
- reducing risk of chronic disease
- relieving arthritis pain
The impressive and wide sweeping benefits from chlorella consumption are brought about by the wide variety of bioavailable nutrients it contains. With this being said, certain benefits have been observed in a laboratory setting, but are still not yet fully understood. There is still much more for scientists to discover in the area of chlorella's use as a supplement for both dogs and humans. Below are some of the benefits being explored for canine health purposes with the highest support from current scientific evidence.
The detoxification abilities of chlorella are a particularly valuable asset for dog owners concerned with their pets' health. Dogs are constantly exposed to environmental toxins, regardless of how diligent their owners may be. Small amounts of various toxins can be present in pet food, pesticides, herbicides, medications, and even in air and water (Zhai Q, Narbad A, Chen W3). While dogs are able to naturally detox themselves through healthy liver function, additional support from chlorella has been proven to assist with binding to and removing toxins from your dog, lessening the load on a potentially overworked liver (Solange Malacrida, Camila Figueiredo4).
A second relevant attribute of chlorella is its ability to support dogs' healthy immune function (Jung Hyun Kwak, Seung Han Baek, Yongje Woo5). It does this by reducing inflammation, improving healthy gut bacteria populations, and through the regenerative effects of chlorella growth factor (Martins, C.F., Trevisi, P., Coelho, D.F. et al.6). The gut health promoting benefits of chlorella can also lead to better energy, digestion, and lessen bad breath (Stephan C Bischoff7). The prebiotic fibre it contains is an important component contributing to this effect (Lv K, Yuan Q, Li H, et al.8).
Another key element of chlorella's benefits lies within its high antioxidant content. The antioxidants bind to harmful free radicals which results in a reduction of inflammation, and therefore may: slow the aging process, lower risk of chronic disease, soothe arthritis pain, and improve eye health (Paul R. Heaton, Catrina F. Reed, Sarah J. Mann, et al.9, Shinya Shibata, Yu Natori, Terumi Nishihara, et al.10). Chlorella contains several different antioxidants as well as omega 3 which can all potentially contribute to a reduction in inflammation (Omnia Hamdy Abdel-Karim, Saly Farouk Gheda, Gehan Ahmed Ismail11, Ramachandran Sivaramakrishnan, Aran Incharoensakdi12).
In sum, the vast effects of chlorella are irreplaceable from any other single natural source. It's one of the most nutritionally dense and balanced foods on the planet. While the extent and specific applications of its health-promoting abilities still need further research, it's safe to say all dogs and humans stand to benefit from its regular consumption.