Algae are among the most underestimated of plants when it comes to health benefits. While commonly brushed aside by cultures that dont normally include algae in their diet, algae contain vital nutrients and compounds that can radically impact health.
One such type of algae is chlorella.
Chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) is a single-celled type of freshwater algae typically grown in Asian rivers, most notably Japan and Taiwan. Contained in the algae is something known as chlorella growth factor which contains many vital amino acids, proteins, vitamins and sugars.
However, before the algae can be made into a tablet or liquid extract, the cell wall must be broken down otherwise, it will travel through a person’s digestive system completely intact. How the cell wall is broken down will determine how many of the vital nutrients remain with more invasive processes, such as simply physically breaking the algae, not yielding promising results. Scientists have actually had many difficulties devising a way in which to both grow the algae and break down the cell wall without losing many of the elements which make it so popular.
In a typical serving of chlorella, a person can expect to receive only 2 g of protein. However, chlorella by composition is 57 percent protein, meaning, while a typical serving of chlorella will only contain 2 g of protein, they will be two complete grams of protein full of all the amino acids.
Chlorella is commonly used by those with digestive complications to increase the number of positive bacteria which assist in the breakdown of food. It’s believed the growth factor elements of chlorella cause the cells of the bacteria to mature quicker and therefore mature at a much faster rate.
Research has begun into other aspects of chlorella with positive results. Studies have shown chlorella has the ability to increase levels of albumin found in the bloodstream. Research suggests albumin, a protein, may inhibit cancer tumor growth and have a positive impact on diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, AIDS and arthritis, among others.
Chlorella has been used as a cancer preventer due to the cleansing properties it possesses. When chlorella is digested, it clings to heavy metals and toxins found throughout the digestive tract. Since the chlorella eliminates heavy metals, like mercury, before they would normally reach the liver, the liver is better able to prevent toxins from entering the blood stream, giving a person healthier blood.
There are no known side effects associated with chlorella. It’s recommended one who is considering taking a supplement first consult their doctor due to cases of reported allergens.