Chlorella, a single-celled, water-grown micro-algae, is a popular superfood supplement. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that taking six grams (g) of chlorella supplement every day can speed up recovery from intense training and exercise, which are known to disturb the immune system. It was found to increase salivary secretory IgA (sIgA), an antibody essential for the stability of the immune system, concentration, and secretion at rest.
Researchers in England aimed to evaluate the effects of chlorella supplementation on salivary sIgA in response to a two-day intensive training exercise. To carry out the study, researchers in England recruited 26 people with an average age of 29 to take part in the study. They randomly gave the participants either six g of chlorella or placebo every day for six weeks. In the fourth week of the study, both groups accomplished two days of intensified training, and the researchers evaluated their immune responses.
The results revealed that participants who took chlorella supplements for six weeks showed increased levels in their resting saliva sIgA concentration starting from the first day of intensive exercise in the fourth week of the study; while those who took the placebo did not show any significant changes.
The researchers also suggested that a longer supplementation period may be needed for the beneficial effects of chlorella supplement to manifest fully and be translated to protection against upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) and upper respiratory symptom (URS) reports. This is because resting sIgA concentration was not significantly increased before or during the intense training period, but in the weeks after the exercise.
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They also noted that chlorella contains specific polysaccharides and glycoproteins or protein/polysaccharides complexes that have immunostimulating properties, and have previously been shown to enhance immune system function.
More on chlorella and its other potential health benefits
Chlorella is almost completely indigestible to humans because of its very hard outer shell. It must undergo a special process for humans to be able to digest it. It is available in different forms, such as capsule, tablet, powder, and extract. Chlorella is packed with nutrients and has been gaining a lot of attention because of its health benefits. Listed below are some of the potential health benefits of chlorella:
- It is dense in nutrients: Chlorella provides protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A, B2, and B3.
- It helps to detoxify the body: Chlorella is commonly known as a detoxifying supplement. It works as a great detoxifying supplement because of its tiny size and unique properties that make it able to bind to heavy metals and unwanted chemicals in the body. It is also believed to support the liver and aid detoxification pathways without stripping beneficial minerals from the body. Chlorella for detoxification is often consumed only in small amounts over time. However, if you have been exposed to any type of heavy metal, it is best to consult a medical practitioner first. Improperly removing heavy metals with the wrong substances can make things worse.
- It strengthens the immune system: Chlorella is said to enhance the immune system. One study found that regular intake of chlorella can increase the body’s natural killer cell activity and early inflammatory response. (Related: Chlorella: A powerful medicinal plant that can prevent inflammation-related diseases, researchers find.)
Before taking chlorella supplement, make sure that it is of high quality. Low-quality chlorella supplements may contain mercury in them or not have a cracked cell wall, which makes them useless to the body.
Chlorella: 7 Super Health Benefits
The single celled green algae chlorella is renowned for its incredible nutrient content and qualities. The depth of benefits one receives from consuming this microspecies is evidence of its superfood status. Chlorella is used around the world as a valuable food source for immune boosting and detoxification (1, 2).
Research into chlorella and other algae as food sources grew in the late 1940’s & 50’s in response to a concern of a global population boom. Many researchers and scientists thought that our people would outgrow the amount of available food production.
In order to solve this potential hunger crisis, scientists searched for inexpensive forms of high quality nutrition. Algae such as chlorella were singled out as a great potential source.
Extraordinary Nutrient Density:
Chlorella contains an extraordinarily high nutrient density (3). This is due to the rich amount of trace minerals, chlorophyll, and anti-oxidant phytonutrtients that have allowed it to adapt to harsh environments over many years. It also contains many very unique elements such as the carotenoid sporopollenin and the plant based anti-biotic chlorellan (4).
Chlorella is the most potent source of pure chlorophyll (5). Chlorophyll helps purify the blood and allows the body to utilize oxygen more efficiently (6). It also supports the elimination of many toxins such as molds and industrial pollutants (7). Chlorophyll provides magnesium to help support the brain and nervous system and to protect against toxic accumulation in the central nervous system.
Enhanced Detoxification Process:
Chlorophyll activates the PPAR receptor within the nucleus of the cell (8). This receptor helps transcribe and code certain DNA factors that function to open the cell membrane. This is essential for cellular detoxification and the normalization of insulin resistance. Additionally, chlorella contains zinc, GLA and other nutrients necessary for healthy cell membranes and insulin receptor sites.
Chlorella contains the phytonutrient sporopollenin. Sporopollein is more effective at binding neurotoxic debris better than any other natural substance. It has the ability to detox the body from biotoxins such as tuberculosis, lyme disease, tetanus toxins and mold (9).
It also filters out xenobiotics such as phyltates, dioxins, pesticides, & industrial waste. It can bind and eliminate heavy metals like mercury, lead, nickel & aluminum. It also pulls out food preservatives, artificial flavorings & colorings.
Chlorella turns on the natural detoxification switch by increasing intracellular reduced glutathione (10). Glutathione functions to scavenge free radicals and renew the anti-oxidantproperties of vitamin C & E. Low glutathione levels significantly reduce the body’s ability to adapt to stress and push toxins out of cells. As glutathione increases the cells begin to remove toxic debris.
Chlorella contains a fibrous mucopolysaccharide membrane wall that naturally binds to toxins. This outer wall should be slightly cracked before consumption in order to make the nutritional benefits of chlorella more bioavailable.
Chlorella Growth Factor:
Chlorella has a unique ability to grow faster than any other plant on earth. In fact, it has been shown to quadruple in quantity every 20 hours. This is due to a substance called chlorella growth factor (CGF) that is programmed into its DNA.
CGF is a concentration of amino acids, glycoproteins, B vitamins and other nutrients. These nutrients work synergistically to boost tissue growth, healing & repair. Some experts believe CGF to be the healthiest substance known in nutritional science.
Researchers have found that CGF allows children to mature faster mentally, physically, & emotionally. They consistently grow taller and with a higher IQ than those without CGF. Additionally, the children’s social skills were more pronounced and they had significantly less illness. Interestingly, they had near perfect jaw development and had no record of tooth decay (11).
How To Use Chlorella:
You can get chlorella powder and put it in smoothies and shakes. You can also purchase cracked cellwall chlorella as a supplement and take 2-4 grams daily. For the best pure chlorella supplement I recommend the Mercola fermented chlorella which has great bioavailability and was created with sterilized cultivation to reduce heavy metal and toxin infiltration.