Research proves chlorella has antioxidative effects, ‘should be included as a key component of a healthy diet’
Chlorella, a variety of single-celled cyanobacteria, has long been consumed as a nutritional supplement in Asian countries, including Korea, Japan and Taiwan, and has recently become popular in the United States as well. It is high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants, and it is 60 percent protein by weight. Studies have shown that it can alleviate high cholesterol, abnormal blood fat levels, high blood pressure and abnormal blood sugar.
Chlorella boosts antioxidants
In a double-blind study published in the journal Nutrition in 2010, researchers from Kyung Hee University in South Korea showed that chlorella’s high antioxidant content actually translates into real health benefits. Because smoking is known to produce high concentrations of cell-damaging free radicals (which destroy antioxidants in the body), the researchers assigned 52 smokers between the ages of 20 and 65 to take either 6.3 g of chlorella or a placebo each day for six weeks. The researchers took blood samples from the participants at the start and end of the study, measuring their levels of antioxidant vitamins, lipid peroxidation and lymphocyte DNA damage.
The researchers found that, among those taking chlorella, levels of the antioxidants vitamin C and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) went up 44.4 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively. Activity levels of erythrocyte catalase and superoxide dismutase also increased. This showed that chlorella supplementation led to an overall increase in antioxidant activity.
“Therefore, our results are supportive of an antioxidant role for Chlorella and indicate that Chlorella is an important whole-food supplement that should be included as a key component of a healthy diet,” the researchers wrote.
Immune function heightened
Another study, published in Nutrition Journal in 2012, confirmed that chlorella also boosts immune function in healthy people. The researchers recruited 51 people between the ages of 34 and 38 who were free of any signs of chronic or acute health problems. Participants were assigned to take four pills three times per day of either chlorella or a placebo. The participants’ height, weight and blood pressure were measured before and after the study, and blood samples were taken.
After eight weeks, no side effects were observed in the chlorella group, and there were no changes in weight, blood pressure or body mass index. However, natural killer cell activity increased by 127 percent in the chlorella group and decreased by 25.6 percent in the placebo group, while gamma interferon activity increased 53.3 percent in the chlorella group and decreased 40 percent in the placebo group.
“These results may suggest a beneficial [immune system stimulating] effect of short-term Chlorella supplementation which enhances the [natural killer] cell activity and produces [IFN-gamma and IL-B cytokines] in healthy people,” the researchers wrote.
The benefits of chlorella don’t stop there. This superfood has also been shown to promote animal growth, aid in recovery from fatigue, prevent stress-induced ulcers and even flush toxic metals from the body.
“The cell wall of chlorella is generally considered the thing that just grabs on to almost any toxin in the body, whether it is heavy metals, pesticides, organic chemicals,” said Dr. Hank Liers, chief formulator of products sold by Health Products Distributors, Inc., in a 2007 interview with Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. “I think there are more research papers on chlorella than any substance known.”
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