What is chlorella
Chlorella is a unicellular green microalgae of the chlorophyte family that grows in fresh water. This freshwater algae, is very rich in chlorophyll, which gives it its bright green color. Although it is given numerous healing qualities and medicinal properties, not all are really proven.
There are more than 30 different species of chlorella, but there are two main types. Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa, which are the ones most commonly used in research.
In Asian countries, chlorella, in the Vulgaris or Pyrenoidosa variety, is considered a superfood. The reason, the many nutrients it has.
As far as its use, it has been extended as an invigorating and also as a cleanser.
The problem presented by chlorella, is the difficulty to become an abundant food. Since its mass production is something that has not been achieved to date.
Properties, benefits and uses of Chlorella
Chlorella contains a large amount of essential nutrients for life, especially: Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals.
Proteins and Vitamins
The known plant food, with the highest chlorophyll content (4% dry matter).
With almost 60% of high quality biological proteins. It has proportionally more protein than soy, tuna or beef.
In addition, it contains 20 amino acids (including the 8 essential amino acids).
Among its vitamins, it has a high content of vitamin C, which together with chlorophyll, help the body absorb iron.
It contains beta-carotene (provitamin A), vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12.
Niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, choline, inositol, paraaminobenzoic acid and vitamins E and K.
As for minerals it contains:
- Phosphorus, a mineral that helps the body absorb calcium, also present in algae.
- Potassium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, calcium, manganese, copper, zinc, iodine and cobalt.
- In addition, due to its high iron and zinc content, it is of great nutritional importance for vegetarian people.
Chlorella is rich in lutein, a natural pigment that protects the eyes from cataract formation.
Finally, we must mention a unique phytonutrient that is only present in Chlorella vulgaris, called:
- Growth factor of Chlorella CGF (Chlorella Growth Factor).
This is a complex of nucleic acids, amino acids and enzymes, which accelerate the growth of the algae cells themselves. This property, contributes in people, to create a good immune system. In addition to helping repair body tissues.
Therefore, it promotes the growth of body cells and stimulates cell repair. For this reason, cosmetic manufacturers include Chlorella extract in their creams. For its fast repairing power, in damaged skin.
Therefore, Chlorella can bring great benefits to our skin, for example:
- Improves firmness and skin tone. Several studies confirm that creams containing 1% Chlorella extract give an appreciable improvement, if used for 90 days.
- Improvement of circulation.
- It is important for various skin disorders, such as psoriasis.
- It contains more than 20 vitamins and minerals and fundamental among them is beta-carotene, very valuable, for skin nutrition.
Vegetarians and vegans
Chlorella is perfect for vegetarians and vegans looking for proteins and vitamins that are not of animal origin. Since Chlorella is highly valued for its high content of vitamins, minerals, fiber and vegetable proteins.
A problem that usually occurs, in vegan and vegetarian diets, is the lack of cobalamin or vitamin B12. Essential for brain function and the nervous system. So, one solution is Chlorella supplements, which is a rich source of vitamin B12.
A very important detail to clarify, that more than 80% of the fatty acids synthesized by chlorella, are unsaturated. Where alpha-linoleic acid is the main one, which is an omega-3 acid.
Antioxidant and detoxifying chlorella
The highlight of this seaweed, which is the food source, with the highest concentration of chlorophyll. The main substance for photosynthesis in plants.
What it gives to the human body, its antioxidant and purifying benefits.
As chlorophyll forms complex molecules with toxic or carcinogenic chemical compounds. It does not allow, its intestinal absorption and therefore, inhibits its ability to cause damage to the body.
For this reason it is used by some therapists in detoxification treatments. Among its incredible properties is its ability to detoxify the liver, intestines and blood. as it binds to toxins and heavy metals and removes them from our body.
Mercury, lead, cadmium, are some of the heavy metals, dangerous to health. Chlorella binds to heavy metals in the bloodstream and helps get them out of the body.
Chlorella: Side effects and contraindications
While the eastern population has the intestinal flora adapted to consume this type of algae without problem. Moderate consumption is recommended in the West despite its possible benefits. Therefore we recommend you consult your doctor first.
Chlorella consumption has no serious contraindications or known toxicity, taking the recommended doses.
The most common side effects, especially in the first week of use, include diarrhea, nausea, gas (flatulence), change in green stool, and stomach cramps.
In case of having these symptoms, discontinue consumption immediately.
Chlorella algae may contain iodine, so it could cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to iodine.
It could cause asthma and other respiratory problems.
As the effects of Chlorella are not known, during pregnancy and lactation, it is advisable to avoid its use.
See also: “Chlorophyll: Important health benefits“
The appropriate dose of chlorella depends on several factors, such as age, health, or physical activity. Keep in mind that natural products are not always completely safe and doses may be important.
Be sure to follow the directions on the product label, and consult your doctor before consuming them.
It is also necessary to keep in mind that some people tolerate chlorella consumption better than others.
You should always start gradually, taking only a small amount of chlorella at the beginning to see how your body tolerates it.
This food supplement can be taken in powder, capsules, tablets or liquid, and generally the recommended daily dose is around 2 grams, with 2 or 3 take, per day, and accompanied by plenty of water.
While, in the case of consumption in liquid form, the intake should be established around 30 milliliters.
In the case of chlorella powder, it can be added in foods as if it were another seasoning.
One option is to incorporate the granules into a drink or shake, along with other fruits.
Another way to consume is in tablets or pills.
Within a therapeutic diet, take a teaspoon of dessert (5 g) in a glass of water, three times a day, on an empty stomach and after meals, or before if you are looking for a satiating effect.
As with any other supplement, not all brands are equal and the quality of the product will often be given by the country of origin and quality controls.
The most common side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, green color change of stool and stomach cramps. If you have these symptoms, immediately stop using.
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.
Remember to check with your doctor before taking any medicinal supplement.
These supplements may interfere with and alter the characteristics and effects of some medications prescribed in your medical therapy.
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