I hardly ever write about chlorella. But I use it all the time, especially in detox protocols.
This algae-based “green food” is actually one of the oldest “tried and true” supplements in the book. In fact, it’s been around since right after the second World War.
So why am I writing about it now?
Well, sometimes you need to revisit those old standbys. And after reading about one recent study, chlorella might take on a whole new role in my practice.
Here’s why: The results of this new study showed that taking 5 grams of chlorella daily can lower cholesterol and triglycerides——by about 2 percent and 10 percent, respectively—in people whose levels are already a little high.
Of course, you know by now that I think lowering cholesterol is an overrated tactic in the fight against heart disease. (And don’t get me started on statin drugs that doctors use to drive those numbers down.) But I also know a lot of people are still concerned about their cholesterol levels. So I’m always glad to report on safe, natural ways to help you get a better handle on them. But, really, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to chlorella’s potential.
You see, these researchers made some other discoveries about chlorella that have some pretty big implications.
According to this research, chlorella seems to work by reducing fat generation in your liver. And as you may remember, toxic fat accumulations in the liver are the driving force behind non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)—which is quickly becoming the next big American epidemic.
If chlorella can play a role in combating this threat, that’s good news for everyone.
But it’s not the only good news. There’s also the fact that chlorella increased subjects’ levels of carotenoids, including lutein, zeaxanthin and alpha-carotene. In fact—and this really blew me away—chlorella supplementation boosted lutein and zeaxanthin levels by nearly 90 percent.
These critical antioxidants mop up dangerous free radicals that can damage your heart and cause all sorts of chronic diseases. In fact, you might recognize lutein and zeaxanthin as popular vision-saving powerhouses. So just imagine what chlorella might be able to do for someone with cataracts or macular degeneration.
Chlorella also contains a relatively high percentage of DHA and EPA—and I’ve talked about how critical these omega-3s are many times before. So this supplement could be a great non-fish source of health-boosting fatty acids for vegetarians who don’t consume fish (or supplements from fish sources).
I honestly had no idea chlorella provided such a wide range of nutrients and phytochemicals. I tended to reserve it for patients battling heavy metal toxicity. (Like I said above, detox was always one of its “tried and true” benefits.) And those patients always did amazingly well.
But as usual, just when you think you know all there is about something, new research comes along and opens your eyes to a whole new mine of possibilities.
Now, thanks to this new study, I see many more uses for this “tried and true” natural supplement.
It’s a great example of what I consider the most exciting part of nutritional medicine today. The science is finally starting to catch up with what we have known for centuries—that the secret to good health has always been right at our fingertips.
“Impact of daily Chlorella consumption on serum lipid and carotenoid profiles in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” Nutr J. 2014 Jun 11;13:57.