Chlorella the ultimate detoxing superfood

Itís a fact that living in the modern world can be detrimental to our health. Everything from the air that we breathe to the foods that we eat contains toxins that can damage our health. Unless you are eating organic foods and breathing fresh, non polluted air you too will be exposed to toxins you may not have been aware of.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to rid yourself of these toxins and one particular superfood is leading the way when it comes to protecting and ridding your body from heavy metals and other toxins whilst enhancing energy levels and nutrition and much more! That superfood is called Chlorella.

What is Chlorella?

Chlorella is a single celled freshwater green micro algae. This tiny organism is oval in shape and measures half the size of a human red blood cell. The name Chlorella is taken from the Greek Ďchlorosí meaning green and Latin Ďellaí meaning small.

Chlorella is loaded with nutrition, it is a great supplement to boost any diet lacking in green vegetables. It`s great for both adults and children, and has a wide variety of useful nutritional applications, which include supporting natural detoxification, improving digestive health, immune function, reducing inflammation, improving cholesterol metabolism, and improving circulation.

Not bad for a little algae and let me take you through some of chlorellaís most common uses in more detail.

Chlorella is Nutrient Dense

Chlorella is full of nutrition; it contains all of the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, amino acids, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, trace minerals, carbohydrates and a higher amount of protein (more than 50%) than meat, per gram of weight. (4)

Chlorella is being actively researched around the world as a key food to support human nutrition and to offset many of the stressors that induce wear and tear in our lives because of its unique concentration of nutrients, as well as the energetic structure of these nutrients.

Chlorella is a master detoxifier

Chlorella has long been associated with detoxification, specifically the detoxification of heavy metals. Did you know chlorella detoxifies much more than just heavy metals.

Chlorella contains a unique phytonutrient called sporopollenin. Sporopollenin is more effective at binding neurotoxic debris than any other natural substance. It has the ability to detox the body from biotoxins such as tuberculosis, lymes disease, tetanus toxins and mould. It also filters out xenobiotics such as phytates, dioxins, pesticides and industrial waste.

It can bind and eliminate heavy metals like mercury, lead, nickel and aluminium. It can also detoxify food preservatives, artificial flavourings and colourings from the body.

Chlorella also turns on the bodyís natural detoxification switch by increasing the bodyís production of glutathione. Glutathione is one of the bodyís most potent antioxidants which functions to scavenge free radicals and renew the anti-oxidant properties of vitamin C and E, and in doing so protecting the body from damage. (1)

Chlorella boosts your immunity

Chlorella has been found to preserve the function of important immune cells even in the presence of high stress. Research shows that thymocytes (lymphatic related immune cells) were preserved by chlorella in the face of stress, while lowering the stress hormone cortisol.

Researchers at Yonsei University in South Korea discovered that chlorella can help sharpen the immune system by putting the natural killer cells on red alert, thereby increasing their chance of effectively fighting pathogens. Current research is under way using chlorella to fight cancer cells, all very exciting research indeed. (2)

The nutrient density of chlorella also assists in keeping the immune system strong. The vitamin C and Iron content of Chlorella directly helps to boost the immune system function.

Chlorella supports healthy cholesterol metabolism

Numerous studies and a few human studies support chlorella`s ability to favourably impact cholesterol metabolism. Chlorella helps the liver convert cholesterol into bile - thus supporting the natural process by which your body clears cholesterol. It also helps sequester the bile in your digestive tract so that cholesterol is not reabsorbed back into your body.

Soluble fibre is synergistic with chlorella in supporting proper clearance of cholesterol from your digestive tract, so that higher than normal amounts are not reabsorbed back into your body. Because toxins that are being cleared are also within the bile, this same mechanism enhances toxin clearance as well as cholesterol clearance.

Additional benefits of Chlorella

Chlorella cleanses the blood and optimizes oxygen into the blood. It alkalizes the body, correcting a state of acidosis, in which most disease thrives. By definition, then, it also relieves inflammation, which is the root of much disease. It follows that chlorella is a pain reliever, reduces hypertension, assists in balancing hormones, and eliminates body odours. With all these benefits it is definitely worth adding chlorella to your daily routine.

Not all Chlorella is created equal

Unlike many food supplements, chlorella has one unique feature that makes the manufacturing process one of the primary concerns when considering a source of supplementation. Chlorella is completely indigestible by humans. We simply do not have the enzymes to break down its cell wall.

Unlike other green foods, chewing and digesting chlorella will not release the powerful health benefits contained within this green algae. This is because chlorella`s tough outer cell wall, which is also chemically responsible for binding with the toxins inside your body, cannot be broken down by your body, Therefore, it is imperative that the manufacturing process break down the tough outer cell wall for you, as this is the only way to make the chlorella biologically available to remove toxins from your body.

This is why I only recommend supplementing with Broken Cell Wall chlorella, because this is the only form that allows your body to use this powerful detoxification agent.

Another concern when choosing your chlorella is to be sure that the source waters where it is grown and harvested are free of any contamination. Since chlorella is a natural green food, it will be affected by polluted water and will retain environmental toxins if it`s grown in contaminated waters. So be certain any chlorella you supplement with comes from a naturally clean water source.

The 2 brands I recommend are Green Nutritionals Chlorella and Sun Chlorella, these brands have cracked cell walls making them digestible and bioavailable.

How to take Chlorella

When you first start taking Chlorella it is recommended that you start on a small dose, the reason for this is that Chlorella can be quite cleansing if you start with a large dose you may experience detox like symptoms.

Starting with a small dose, will ensure you donít experience these detox like symptoms.

Chlorella comes in tablet, capsule or powder form, it can be taken on its own or added to smoothies. If you are looking for an added detox effect you can eat fresh coriander whilst you are taking Chlorella. Coriander is known to help remove heavy metals from tissues and combining Chlorella and Coriander gives great results.

Just remember to start slowly, and gradually increase your intake of chlorella at a pace your body can tolerate. It took a long time for your body to accumulate these toxins and it will probably take you many weeks and even months to effectively remove them from your system. So if you experience any indigestion or discomfort from chlorella supplements, you`re probably taking too much too fast.

Can everyone take Chlorella

I recommend everyone to take some kind of greens supplement and chlorella is one of my favourites. In saying that, I donít recommend it for everyone.

It is not recommended that pregnant women take chlorella as we donít want to be detoxing while pregnant, and it is also not recommended for young children unless under the guidance of a health care practitioner.

If you are looking for a cleansing and nutritious green supplement why not give Chlorella a try.

Written by Lea McIntyre - Naturopath - ND BHSc

Lea has had many years of professional experience as a naturopath working with her patients and clients both in her clinic and as a senior retail naturopathic adviser. When Lea is not helping people stay well and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, she is busy caring for and nurturing her two young children.


1.    Identification and quantification of glutathione and phytochelatins from Chlorella vulgaris by RP-HPLC ESI-MS/MS and oxygen-free extraction. Simmons DB, Hayward AR, Hutchinson TC, Emery RJ.Anal Bioanal Chem. 2009 Oct;395(3):809-17. doi: 10.1007/s00216-009-3016-1. Epub 2009 Aug 18

2.    Beneficial immunostimulatory effect of short-term Chlorella supplementation: enhancement of natural killer cell activity and early inflammatory response (randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial). Kwak JH, Baek SH, Woo Y, Han JK, Kim BG, Kim OY, Lee JH. Nutr J. 2012 Jul 31;11:53. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-53

3.    Hypocholesterolemic mechanism of Chlorella: Chlorella and its indigestible fraction enhance hepatic cholesterol catabolism through up-regulation of cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase in rats. Shibata S, Hayakawa K, Egashira Y, Sanada H. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Apr;71(4):916-25. Epub 2007 Apr 7

4.    Pizzorno J, Murray M Encyclopaedia of natural medicine 2nd edition. Little brown book group London 1998

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