encyclopedia

Chlorella

Scientific Names:    

Chlorella pyrenoidosa, C. vulgaris or C. luteoviridis Chod. [K&H], [Kingdom: Plantae, Phylum: Chlorophycota, Family: Oocystaceae]

Forms:    

Dried and powdered Chlorella; extract of Chlorella

Traditional Usage:    

– Amino Acid Deficiency
– Antibacterial
– Anti-candidiasis
– Antifungal
– Anti-retroviral
– Antiviral
– Anti-inflammatory
– Antioxidant
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cholesterol Reduction
– Cleansing
– Detoxifying
– Disease Prevention
– Free Radical Related Diseases
– Immuno-stimulant
– Mineral Deficiencies
– Nutritive
– Protein Source
– Stress
– Ulcers
– Vascular Disorders
– Vitamin Deficiencies
– Wound Healing

Overview:    

Chlorella, Chlorella pyrenoidosa and other Chlorella spp. [Phylum: Cyanophyta], is a nutrient-dense unicellular fresh water green alga rich in proteins (60%), vitamins, and minerals that is used as a source of food and beneficial phytochemicals. Chlorella has been on the earth since the Precambrian period: over 2.5 billion years. The cells of Chlorella were first identified under a microscope in the 1890s but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the Carnegie Institute concluded that chlorella could be grown commercially as a solution to help world hunger. In the 1960s, Japanese scientists turned their attention to chlorella as a promoter of good health. Research has shown that Chlorella has strong detoxification, immunostimulant and wound healing properties and prevents damage to the body from toxic chemicals.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was recently organized to test chlorella’s ability to improve quality of life and normalize body functions in people with chronic illnesses, specifically fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. This study was also designed to test the hypothesis that the consumption of natural “whole foods” rich in macronutrients has many healthful benefits for those who otherwise ingest a normal, nonvegetarian diet. Fifty-five subjects with fibromyalgia, 33 with hypertension, and 9 with ulcerative colitis consumed 10 g of pure chlorella in tablet form and 100 mL of a liquid containing an extract of chlorella each day for 2 or 3 months. Daily dietary supplementation with chlorella was seen to reduce high blood pressure, lower serum cholesterol levels, accelerate wound healing and enhance immune functions. Researchers concluded that the potential of chlorella to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and normalize body functions in patients with fibromyalgia, hypertension, or ulcerative colitis suggests that larger, more comprehensive clinical trials of chlorella are warranted. Another human clinical trial with chlorella for fibromyalgia also found significant benefits.

Active Ingredients:    

Dried Chlorella contains: Moisture 4.6%; Protein 58.4%; Total lipid (fat) 9.3%; Carbohydrate, by difference 23.2%; Fiber, total dietary 0.3%; Ash 4.2%. Minerals (per 100g): Calcium, 221mg; Iodine 0.4mg; Iron, 130mg; Magnesium, 315mg; Phosphorus, 895mg; Zinc, 71.0mg. Vitamins: Vitamin C, 10.4mg; Niacin 23.8mg; Biotin 0.2mg; Pantothenic acid 1.1mg; Vitamin B-1 1.7; Vitamin B-2 4.3; Vitamin B-6 1.4mg; Vitamin B-12 0.13; Folate, 94mcg; Vitamin A (activity) 51,300 IU; Vitamin E >1.5mg (ate). Lipids include essential fatty acids and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Amino acids: Tryptophan 0.5g; Threonine 2.4g; Isoleucine 2.3g; Leucine 4.7g; lysine 3.0g; Methionine 1.3g; Cystine 0.7g; phenylalanine 2.777g; tyrosine 2.6g; Valine 3.2g; Arginine 3.3g; Histidine 1.1g; Alanine 4.3g; Aspartic acid 4.7g; Glutamic acid 5.8g; Glycine 3.1g; proline 2.4g; serine 2.0g; Proline 2.5; Others 11.4. [Source of Information: Dr. Joseph M. Mercola 1997-2001].

Suggested Amount:    

Based on nutrient requirements and clinical trials, the recommended dosage of Chlorella is 5-20 grams taken daily. For vegetarians concerned about Vitamin B-12 requirements, daily intake of 3 gm chlorella provides 4 mcg of vitamin B-12, 70% of the U.S. RDA.

Drug Interactions:    

None known

Contraindications:    

None known

Side Effects:    

Chlorella and other microalgae products should be tested and certified to assure the absence of cyanotoxins from other blue-green algae that may be inadvertently harvested. Algal toxins are capable of causing widespread poisoning of animals and humans. To address this issue, a group of leading microalgae producers met in 1995-96 and sponsored research conducted by algal toxicologists. The result was a Technical Booklet for the Microalgae Biomass Industry as a guide to the use of a very sensitive enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) and a protein phosphate inhibition assay (PPIA) for the detection of toxic microcystins and nodularins. These methods can detect, monitor and control cyanotoxins, so producers can assure a safe, nutritious product for human and animal food supplements.

References:   

Hasegawa T, Okuda M, Makino M, Hiromatsu K, Nomoto K, Yoshikai Y. 1995. Hot water extracts of Chlorella vulgaris reduce opportunistic infection with Listeria monocytogenes in C57BL/6 mice infected with LP-BM5 murine leukemia viruses. Int J Immunopharmacol. 1995 Jun;17(6):505-12.

Kashiwa, Y. and Y. Tanaka 1970. Changes induced by Chlorella on the body weight and incidence of colds among naval trainees, Midoria, 1, 1970.

Merchant RE, Andre CA. 2001. A review of recent clinical trials of the nutritional supplement Chlorella pyrenoidosa in the treatment of fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 May-Jun; 7(3): 79-91. Review.

Merchant RE, Carmack CA, Wise CM. 2000. Nutritional supplementation with Chlorella pyrenoidosa for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: a pilot study. Phytother Res. 2000 May; 14(3): 167-73.

Tanaka K, Yamada A, Noda K, Shoyama Y, Kubo C, Nomoto K. 1997. Oral administration of a unicellular green algae, Chlorella vulgaris, prevents stress-induced ulcer. Planta Med. 1997 Oct; 63(5): 465-6.

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