Chlorella (Chlorella Vulgaris) is a single-celled freshwater alga. The name chlorella is derived from the Greek word chloros meaning “greenish-yellow”. This medicinal microalga was first discovered in the late 1800’s by a Dutch biologist, Beyerinck. Chlorella, is a storehouse of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Chlorella Medicinal Effects and Benefits
Chlorella is used for preventing cancer, reducing radiation therapy adverse effects, stimulating the immune system, improving response to flu vaccine, increasing white blood cell counts, protecting the body against toxic metals such as lead and mercury. In Japan, it is traditionally used as a therapy for duodenal ulcers, gastritis, diabetes, asthma and hypertension.
Chlorella contains up to 5% chlorophyll, the largest amount in any herb. Chlorophyll is actually responsible for the green pigmentation in plants. Plants use chlorophyll to trap light needed for photosynthesis. Researchers in the early 1980s discovered that chlorophylls and related chemicals could inhibit the ability of certain DNA-damaging chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria. Chlorophyll consumption increases the number of red blood cells and, therefore, increase oxygen utilization by the body.
Chlorophyll detoxifies the liver, kidney, bowel and bloodstream and helps eliminate toxins that can damage health. Research and clinical experiences have shown that chlorophyll can be a highly effective substance to help heal external wounds and lesions. Chlorophyll is considered to be a blood builder and can be used in cases of anemia. These nutrients helps red blood cells collect oxygen to enhance cell regeneration. Chlorophyll enhances the capability of nutrients that build iron in the body and so it develops the production of red blood cells. Also, because it contains magnesium, enhances the transportation of oxygen to the tissues, develops circulation and oxygen supply.
Chlorella may stimulate the growth of healthful intestinal flora, aiding in digestion, preventing constipation and reducing symptoms of chronic illnesses including Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis. Experiments have shown that chlorella stimulates the growth of friendly bacteria, and its cell walls absorb toxins within the intestine and encourage peristalsis preventing constipation and toxic material in the stool being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Chlorella is known to increases the rate of multiplication of lactobacillus in the gut aiding. In 1957, Dr Tedeschi found that chlorella promoted rapid growth of lactobacillus, one of the bacteria that promotes colon health.
Detoxification refers to the removal of toxic substances from the body. Chlorella is one of the most important nutrients for absorption of heavy metals, including mercury. Readily absorbs toxins such as cadmium, uranium, lead and mercury. Japan, especially, has focused on chlorella and its ability to help detoxify the body and neutralize or remove toxins and substances that are poisonous. Chlorella has detoxification potential for similar compounds, such as dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls. Scientists from Japan demonstrated that chlorella helped detoxify uranium and lead. Other researches indicates that chlorella is effective in detoxification of high levels of mercury in the body caused by removal of mercury amalgam. Some dentists recommend chlorella to people who are having mercury amalgams replaced.
Chlorella has a strengthening property on the immune system. It is known to enhance production of antibodies that fight infection. This includes the production of interferon, the body’s natural weapon against cancer cells. The hot water extracts of chlorella improved the immune function of malnourished mice in a study reported in Dec 2010 in Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology. A study on human cells shows that chlorella enhances anti-inflammatory immune cell signals, favoring T Helper 1 activation. This nutrient has been found to preserve the function of significant immune cells even in the presence of high stress. One study shows that thymocytes were preserved by chlorella in the face of stress, while lowering the stress hormone cortisol. This medicinal microalga, by inducing higher levels of interferon, stimulates the production and activity of macrophage and T-cells, thus enhancing the immune system’s effect to combat harmful substances like viruses and bacteria. Interferon is a natural secretion of the body which is thought to be a stimulator of macrophages and tumor necrosis factor.
In addition to strengthening the immune system’s response to cancer cells, chlorella acts as a protective precaution against cancer by raising blood levels of the protein albumin. Japanese scientists discovered that chlorella could raise blood levels of the protein albumin. A series of studies with rats showed that chlorella enhances albumin levels by 16% to 21%.
Albumin is one of the body’s most strong antioxidants as well as its main transport system, carrying vitamins, minerals, hormones, fatty acids and other essential substances throughout the body. Serum albumin in the human body serve as an accurate indicator of overall health. High albumin levels demonstrate healthy liver, kidney, and immune system function. Optimal albumin levels have been shown to extend the life span of cells in vitro and avoid the mutation of cancer lines. Various researches have documented that a low albumin level is a marker for important illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Says Tim Sara, president of Nature’s Balance, (a important U.S. supplier of chlorella), “has confirmed that serum levels of albumin are extremely accurate indicators of overall health status and that low albumin levels exist at the onset and progression of virtually every nonhereditary, degenerative disease process, including cancers and cardiovascular heart disease.” The accuracy of albumin levels have led several hospitals to begin using this screening method instead of the “APACHE II” morbidity and mortality scoring.
Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF)
Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF) is a nucleotide/peptide complex derived from one of the fastest growing single-celled organisms on earth. It is usually from the cell nucleus of chlorella, a concentration of RNA and DNA. Scientists have proved that “Chlorella Growth Factor” is produced during the intense photosynthesis that enables chlorella to grow so fast. Each cell multiplies into four new cells about every 20 hours, and “Chlorella Growth Factor” promotes this rapid rate of reproduction. “Chlorella Growth Factor” appear to increase RNA/DNA functions responsible for the production of proteins, enzymes and cellular energy, stimulating tissue growth and repair and protecting cells against toxic substances.
Chlorella is nowadays used as an adjunct supplement during radiation cure for cancer. Preliminary investigations suggests chlorella tablets plus chlorella liquid extract might help patients with a type of brain cancer called glioma better tolerate chemotherapy and radiation therapies. In one study reported in the June 1996 edition of Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, researchers demonstrated that chlorella extract can decrease the adverse effects of chemotherapy treatment without affecting the strength of anti-cancer drugs.
Some researches in cell cultures and animals demonstrate that chlorella may inhibit the activity of some molecules involved in the growth of cancer cells. A 2001 study demonstrated that an extract of chlorella prolonged the survival of mice that were injected with tumor cells. In 1990, a study on chlorella was conducted at the “Medical College of Virginia“. 15 glioblastoma patients were administered 20 g of powdered chlorella and 150 ml of liquid chlorella, in some cases combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. There was a important boost in health and immune status immediately, and a remarkable 40% two-year survival rate was reflected in follow-up studies. This is extremely uncommon for this type of tumor, which normally might yield a 10% survival rate after 2 years. In a study conducted out by the Kanazawa Medical College in 1988, cells from mouse mammary cancer, leukemia cells, and Ehrlich tumours were implanted into mice. At the end of 20 days, all the mice in the control group had died, however 73 percent and 80 percent of the mice in the split-nucleus Chlorella and CGF groups were still alive after a period of 60 days.