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Chlorella: 4 effects, 3 risks + tips for use
Whether it's a vitamin bomb, fitness aid or detox miracle: The freshwater algae Chlorella is said to have many effects. But how healthy is the alga really? In the following, you will find out everything you need to know about Chlorella, from effects to risks and tips on how to use it.
What are chlorella algae?
Chlorella is a genus of algae. The algae consist of spherical single cells that multiply through cell division and have a strong green color due to the plant pigment chlorophyll. Because of its small size, Chlorella is also known as “microalgae”. Because the individual algae have a maximum diameter of ten micrometers, which is only 0.01 millimeters.
Since it is a genus of algae, the term “Chlorella” does not mean a single type of algae, but an entire genus with up to now 24 recognized subspecies. These are widespread worldwide and do not live in the sea, but in fresh waters such as lakes and rivers. Nowadays there are two main types of chlorella used for health purposes: Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa.
Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa
Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa are the two species of the algae genus that are most commonly used as dietary supplements, for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Basically, these two species - and also the other species of Chlorella - hardly differ from each other.
All Chlorella algae contain the same nutrients and are characterized in particular by a multi-layered, very resistant cell wall. In order to get to the nutrients of the algae, this cell wall has to be broken open during processing, because otherwise the algae pass through the digestive tract unchanged and the nutrients cannot be absorbed.
Nutritional Values and Ingredients of Chlorella
Nutritional Values and Ingredients of Chlorella
Chlorella stands out from other plants primarily because of its high nutritional content. The constituents of the alga were first intensively researched in the 1950s when people were looking for food to feed the growing world population. While the problem of world hunger was temporarily pacified by more efficient agriculture, chlorella is now increasingly used again as a dietary supplement due to its valuable ingredients. In the following you will find out everything about the most important nutritional values and ingredients of freshwater algae.
Chlorella consists of 60 percent high-quality protein, also known colloquially as protein. Proteins are one of the basic building blocks of the human body. Without them your organism cannot function, or rather: Without proteins your organism wouldn’t exist because they are part of every single cell. With 60 percent protein, Chlorella provides your body with an essential building material that is needed, among other things, to form body tissue and maintain cell function. Proteins also play an essential role in building muscle.
The high protein content of the algae is also reflected in their number of calories. Because even though 100 grams of Chlorella only contain around five percent fat and less than two percent carbohydrates, the high calorie content means that they have a calorific value of around 300 kilocalories. So, if you're looking for foods to help you lose weight quickly, chlorella isn't exactly the right one. Low-calorie products that can be consumed as part of a low-carb diet, for example, are better suited for this purpose.
If, on the other hand, you want to lose weight healthily over a longer period of time, you can use the algae as a dietary supplement to round off a healthy and varied diet with valuable ingredients.
The microalgae are not only characterized by their high protein content, they also have many minerals that your body urgently needs. For example, 100 grams of Chlorella contains 120 milligrams of iron. Iron takes on many functions in your body, among other things it is essential for the production of energy in the cells and the transport of oxygen. So far, meat is still considered the best supplier of this important mineral. Due to its high iron content, Chlorella can therefore be a valuable food supplement, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
In addition, the spherical algae have large amounts of magnesium and calcium. Magnesium is not only involved in the energy metabolism, but also in the function of muscles and nerves. Calcium, on the other hand, is one of the most important building blocks of bones and teeth.
Vitamins in Chlorella
Chlorella is not only rich in proteins and minerals, vitamins are also abundant in the microalgae. First and foremost, vitamin B12 should be mentioned, which plays a decisive role both in the formation of blood and nerve cells and in the production of DNA. Since vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, vegetarians and vegans in particular have difficulties in absorbing the vitamin naturally. With its richness in vitamin B12, chlorella is therefore a useful plant-based supplier of the nutrient, as is, for example, the medicinal plant sea buckthorn, which also contains large amounts of the vitamin.
In addition to the essential vitamin B12, vitamin C is also found in the algae. Vitamin C is known to boost the immune system. Beta-carotenes are also represented. These are plant pigments from which your body can produce the vital vitamin A when needed. This nutrient is also important for the immune system and cells, but also for eyesight.
Unsaturated fatty acids
Unsaturated fatty acids are chemical compounds that your body, like essential amino acids, cannot produce itself, although it needs them to survive. The best-known unsaturated fatty acids include, for example, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Both fatty acids in turn contain substances such as alpha-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, which have been shown to have a positive effect on your cardiovascular system and protect against high cholesterol levels, among other things.
Effects of Chlorella
A look at the ingredients shows that chlorella is rightly considered a superfood and in this respect can compete with chia seeds, goji berries and the like. The vitamins and minerals it contains also raise the question of the medicinal benefits of microalgae. Below you will learn how chlorella affects the human body.
Chlorella against nutritional deficiencies
Chlorella against nutritional deficiencies
Although the standard of living in Germany is comparatively high, many people here also suffer from nutrient deficiencies. The deficiency is only rarely triggered by diseases such as celiac disease or external influences, while incorrect eating habits play a far more important role as the cause. A one-sided diet consisting of highly processed, nutrient-poor foods can quickly lead to deficiency symptoms.
What are the consequences of a lack of nutrients?
The consequences of nutrient deficiency only lead to death in extreme cases, but can severely limit the health and physical well-being of those affected and result in harmful secondary diseases. For example, a deficiency in the mineral iron, vitamin B12 or the vitamin folic acid can trigger anemia.
Folic acid deficiency can also adversely affect fertility in both men and women. Expectant mothers who are not adequately supplied with folic acid, vitamins A, D or K also increase the risk of developmental disorders, growth problems and diseases in their children. And since a nutritional deficiency that results from diet rarely affects only one nutrient, those affected usually suffer from a weakened immune system and well-being.
This is how Chlorella helps against nutrient deficiencies
The most effective weapon to prevent unpleasant or even dangerous nutrient deficiencies is a varied and balanced diet. You can also prevent a deficiency by consuming particularly nutrient-rich foods - such as chlorella.
For example, if taken regularly, chlorella can effectively prevent anemia due to its high iron and vitamin B12 content. Vitamins A and C, which are also present, strengthen your immune system and support the function of cells and nerves. The essential amino acids in Chlorella, on the other hand, help to form healthy cells and are therefore also of interest to people who want to have children.
Chlorella against cardiovascular complaints
Chlorella against cardiovascular complaints
Not only is nutrient deficiency a widespread problem in Germany, cardiovascular diseases also make life difficult for many people. The long-term consequences of such diseases are particularly dangerous, as strokes and heart attacks are still among the most common causes of death.
Chlorella can help prevent such diseases. The unsaturated fatty acids contained in the algae play a special role in this. The fatty acids, for example omega-3 fatty acids, contain substances that lower cholesterol, promote blood circulation, keep your blood vessels supple and thus protect the heart and arteries. If you want to actively protect your cardiovascular system, you should also use flaxseed or linseed oil in addition to chlorella. Both foods are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and known for their health benefits.
Chlorella against free radicals
Chlorella has a bright green color, which it gets from the plant pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll, in turn, is one of the substances that protect the body from certain molecules. These molecules are what are known as free radicals, which attack cells, trigger premature cell aging and adversely affect cells. As a result, they can cause diseases like cancer and generally weaken your health.
Chlorophyll protects your cells from free radicals and thus makes them harmless. It is in good company: Vitamins C and E also fight against free radicals and thus make a significant contribution to your health. The consumption of chlorophyll-containing Chlorella algae strengthens your body's defenses and prevents the development of diseases.
Chlorella for detoxification
Chlorella for detoxification
Among the best known and most controversial effects attributed to Chlorella are the detox properties of the algae. The detoxifying effect of Chlorella is often questioned by critics, as there are no meaningful, scientific studies on the detox abilities of the alga in relation to humans. Nonetheless, there are not only numerous positive reports about the detox effect of the micro-algae, they are even officially used in medical procedures.
Chlorella in dentistry
Chlorella has been shown to be able to bind pollutants. Due to the special structure of its cell membrane, which consists of several layers of cellulose, the freshwater alga can absorb heavy metals, for example. One area of application for the alga is therefore dentistry. Some dentists still use amalgam fillings to fill carious tooth damage. Amalgam is made up of copper, tin, silver and mercury.
Due to the potentially harmful effects of mercury, amalgam fillings are now banned in numerous countries. Many patients would like to replace the outdated filling material with modern fillings. In order to bind the metal particles released during the removal or to trap and remove potential mercury particles that may have loosened from the amalgam filling over time, some dentists recommend or prescribe detoxification therapy with Chlorella.
Does Chlorella Help Detoxify The Body?
Does Chlorella Help Detoxify The Body?
The fact that Chlorella can intercept and bind metals from the environment is scientifically proven and recognized. However, it is not yet known exactly whether the alga is also able to absorb harmful substances and thus contribute to the detoxification of the body. The numerous positive testimonials from individuals suggest that Chlorella definitely increases well-being - no wonder considering all the precious nutrients that the algae possesses.
Therefore, if you want to do something good for your body, you can't go very wrong with chlorella. According to current knowledge, taking it is not associated with side effects. As with all foods, however, chlorella can also lead to intolerance reactions, for example in the form of flatulence. The algae cannot harm you: in the best case it detoxifies your body, in the "worst" case it only supplies it with valuable nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids, which have a positive effect on health and increase your wellbeing .
Dosage of chlorella
Because the algae does not cause any side effects, you can in principle take as much of it as you want. Nevertheless, it is advisable not to exceed a certain amount, especially if you take it regularly, otherwise you will provoke intolerance reactions in your body. The recommended daily dose of Chlorella, if taken regularly, is around three to ten grams per day, divided into up to three servings per day. It makes sense to start with a smaller amount and gradually increase the dose.
For a short time and for a few days, you can also consume up to 30 grams of Chlorella per day, for example just before an amalgam treatment. Due to the increased amount, the stool may turn green during this time.
Side effects of chlorella
Because of its precious ingredients, chlorella can support your health in many ways. However, there are a few things you should consider if you want to take the algae healthily and safely.
The stool is green in color
Anyone who does not consume more than ten grams a day should not experience any side effects, provided there is no intolerance. However, each digestive system reacts differently and stools may turn green after ingesting Chlorella. This is particularly the case if the alga has been consumed in high doses over a short period of time.
This coloring results from the plant pigment chlorophyll, which gives the algae its green color, and is not dangerous. If you are bothered by the discoloration, either reduce the dose or stop taking it for a few days. If your stool is noticeably discolored after having stopped taking chlorella for more than a week, or if you have other symptoms, you should see a doctor to clarify other causes.
Risk of contamination
The ability of Chlorella to intercept heavy metals and possibly other pollutants from its environment due to its special cell structure is actually one of the positive properties of the plant. It is precisely because of this ability that you should also pay attention to the origin and quality of your Chlorella preparation.
If the alga is grown under the wrong conditions, it can absorb harmful particles during production. These are then processed with the algae, and instead of binding pollutants in your body, the contaminated Chlorella releases them. With chlorella in organic quality you are on the safe side, but even without an organic seal you should pay attention to the highest possible production standards to make sure that your algae preparation is not contaminated.
A long-term helper
Chlorella contains large amounts of high quality protein; 100 grams of the algae also contain up to 120 milligrams of iron and significant amounts of vegetable vitamin B12. However, if you consider the dosage limit of 10 grams, which you should observe with daily intake, it is clear that you can only absorb a small portion of valuable algae nutrients every day.
This in no way means that chlorella is not a useful addition to the menu. She definitely does. However, you should make it clear to yourself that the alga is a long-term helper which, if taken over a long period of time, will help you to improve your nutrient balance and make you healthier and fitter. It is most effective in conjunction with a balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise, for example in the form of yoga or Pilates.
If you are curious about the effects of the algae, it is worth simply trying out Chlorelle. You can purchase the alga online or at retail stores. You can find them there in drug stores, health food stores and health food stores.When buying, you have the choice between powder, tablets, capsules and so-called “pellets”.
Pellets look like tablets because they consist of a fine powder that has been pressed into shape under high pressure. While tablets and capsules have an outer coating, Chlorella pellets consist exclusively of concentrated algae powder. Chlorella is now also available in organic quality.
Chlorella tablets: use and dosage
Chlorella tablets have many advantages, regardless of whether they are classic tablets, capsules or pellets: They are quick and easy to take, easy to dose and can be combined with different diets, as they are often vegan, lactose and gluten-free . This means that you can also benefit from the chlorella alga in tablet form if you suffer from gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance. In addition, in combination with the tablets, you will often find dedicated dosage and application instructions that are particularly helpful for beginners.
Overall, you should make sure that the individual tablets are not excessively high in dosage so that you do not exceed the maximum daily dose of ten milligrams. As a rule, tablets and capsules are offered either as a single dose with a higher concentration or in a lower concentration, in which case several tablets should be taken daily. Always combine the intake with plenty of liquid and take the capsules with pleasure during or after a meal. Make sure that the chlorella preparation of your choice is as high-quality as possible. Organic quality is optimal.
Chlorella powder: use and dosage
Chlorella powder and pills
Chlorella powder is an alternative form of ingestion that is also available vegan, gluten- and lactose-free. Organic quality is also recommended here. The powder is often sold with dosing aids to make sure you don't accidentally exceed the recommended maximum daily limit of ten milligrams. Chlorella powder has the great advantage that it is much more flexible to use than tablets, capsules or tablets. These can be taken with one sip of liquid, but you need to remember to take them regularly and always have the tablets with you, especially if you should take several a day.
On the other hand, you can not only dose a powder more flexibly, which can be useful to find your individually suitable daily dose. You can also mix it in your muesli, smoothie or simply with food. This gives you more flexibility in taking it and allows you to combine the algae with other nutrients when you consume it. Therefore, you should consider whether chlorella can be better integrated into your diet as a powder or in tablet form, and then experiment a little with the dose to find the best use for you.
Chlorella and Spirulina
Whether pressed, powder or tablet, chlorella is often offered in combination with spirulina. Spirulina is also considered a health tip and is known for its bright blue color. At first glance, Chlorella and Spirulina hardly seem to differ from each other except for the color. But while Chlorella is a unicellular algae, Spirulina is a multicellular bacteria, a completely different type of living being.
Nevertheless, the effects of both life forms harmonize so well that they are often combined with one another. Because spirulina is also rich in proteins. It also contains many minerals, vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids. And spirulina also has the ability to bind substances from its environment and thus render harmful substances harmless. Chlorella and spirulina not only complement each other, they even reinforce each other.
If you want to improve your nutrient balance and strengthen your health, it is therefore worth taking both microorganisms together. Because this way you get twice the amount of healthy nutrients with little effort.(11 votes, average: 4,64 out of 5)
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