An Ode to Chlorella

One ceramic spoon with chlorella powder and another with tablets are shown closeup on a wooden tabletop

Many people in the wellness community are quick to sing the praises of the superfood, spirulina, and rightfully so. This blue-green algue gets a lot of attention for its nutrient and antioxidant properties.

But there is another, superior aquatic green that often flies under the radar—chlorella. Both these marine compounds are super nutrient dense and offer a lot of health-boosting potential, both chlorella has the upper hand in a number of categories.

Essential Fatty Acid Content

For those looking to avoid fat, spirulina may be the better choice, as it has a lower fat content, by a ratio of 3:2. However, the fat content in both are predominantly unsaturated, healthy fats.

These are polyunsaturated fats that are needed for cell growth and brain function, known as essential fatty acids. They are ‘essential’ because the body cannot produce them. which are often referred to as ‘oils’ (olive oil) because they are liquid at room temperature.

Found in fish, olives (olive oil), nuts, and seeds, they are liquid at room temperature and often referred to as ‘oils.’ There are two main categories of polyunsaturated fats—omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-3 has all sorts of health advantages, including managing cholesterol and blood pressure, improving cognition and emotion (reduced depression), decreasing liver fat, and countering inflammation. On the other hand, omega-6 is found in large quantities in conventional, highly-processed cooking oils, like canola, soybean, sunflower, and corn oil, and cause inflammation in the body.

Both chlorella and spirulina are high in these fats, but chlorella takes the cake in regard to omega-3 content. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in chlorella is roughly 7:11, whereas spirulina is about 1.6:1.

However, plant-based omega-3s (ALAs) aren’t easily converted to the more accessible EPA and DHA by the body—but curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric can help with this. Taking turmeric with chlorella and other high omega-3 nuts and seeds can increase the conversion to DHA by over 50%.

Antioxidant and Detox Properties

Both algae pack quite a lot of antioxidants, which fight the complications from stress and free radical damage in body tissue and cells. Chlorella has been proven to be particularly effective in mitigating the effects of oxidative stress.

This effect is presumed to be because of its high content of antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, and obviously, chlorophyll.

In one study, researchers administered either a placebo or 6.3 grams of chlorella to a group of 52 Korean male smokers for six weeks. The control group had a 44% increase in circulating vitamin C in the blood and a 16% increase in levels of vitamin E.

The researchers also observed significantly less DNA damage among the control group.

Additionally, due to its omega-3 and vitamin profile, chlorella has been shown to decrease inflammation and improve function in the lungs.

There has also been research suggesting that chlorella can combat heavy metal toxicity. But not just that—it can even assist the body in flushing out other contaminants like the hormone-disrupting chemical

These findings bode well for the cleansing and oxidative stress-mitigating capacity of the algae.

Improvements To the Heart and Blood

Chlorella also offers numerous advantages to cardiovascular health. These benefits include improving blood pressure and cholesterol profile, lowering and managing blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity and liver health among those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Regarding cholesterol, specifically, chlorella regulates blood lipid levels. There is research demonstrating the compound reduced circulating triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol by 16 and 11 percent, respectively, and boosted HDL (good) cholesterol by four percent.

This improvement is thought to be due largely to its carotenoid, niacin, antioxidant and fiber content.

These compositions, along with its omega-3 profile, may also be part of the reason that multiple studies have shown chlorella to improve insulin sensitivity, a measure of how well your body manages this hormone’s ability to move glucose (sugar) circulating in the blood into cells. However, there still isn’t sufficient data to determine the exact mechanism for how this works.

Amino acids (GABA) and omega-3 fatty acids in chlorella may also explain why it has been shown to improve and regulate blood pressure. In addition, it can prevent arteries from becoming stiff, an occurrence that negatively effects blood pressure.

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it. I’ve tried to lay out the numerous health benefits that make Chlorella a superfood without getting too technical. Hopefully you were able to grasp just how wonderful it is.

The moral of the story is that this algae can help our bodies and minds mitigate the damage caused by the all of the modern day stresses and toxins we are faced with—assuming you can stomach it.

It may certainly be an acquired taste. I’ve grown accustomed to it, but one thing you can do is add a few drops of liquid stevia to sweeten the deal a bit.

Now, down the hatch!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: