(NaturalNews) If you are interested in reducing body fat, getting your cholesterol level under control and staying clear of diabetes, chlorella may be just the perfect superfood. Researchers have recently investigated the effects of Chlorella on people with high-risk factors for lifestyle diseases and found that chlorella affects a positive outcome by controlling gene expression. Other new findings have also added to chlorella's impressive credentials.
Findings from the study
As reported in the September edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers in Kyoto, Japan fed chlorella to 17 subjects with high-risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases and 17 healthy subjects over a 16 week period,. They conducted blood biochemical tests and gene profile expression analysis before and after the chlorella administration. They confirmed that in both groups, chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentages, total serum cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels.
Through gene expression analysis, they found that gene expression profiles varied with chlorella intake. They identified many genes affected by chlorella ingestion that returned to their pre-ingestion state when chlorella ingestion was discontinued. Among these were genes related to metabolic enzymes, signaling, receptors, transporters, and cytokines.
A difference in genetic expression level was found between the two studied groups at the start of the tests, and the researchers were able to identify genes with noticeable variance in expression levels resulting from chlorella intake in the high-risk factor group. These included genes involved in fat metabolism and insulin signaling pathways, which suggest that these pathways are physiologically affected by chlorella intake. There were clear variations in the expression profiles of genes directly related to the uptake of glucose following chlorella intake, indicating that the activation of insulin signaling pathways could be the reason for the blood sugar lowering effects of chlorella.
Chlorella reduces UVB degradation of the skin
The May-June edition of the European Journal of Dermatology reports that solar UV radiation damages human skin, affects skin tone and resiliency, and leads to premature aging. Skin damage by oxidants leads to activation of protein kinase C, increasing collagen degradation. Ingestion of chlorella has been shown to inhibit this activity. This degradation was evaluated following UVB irradiation in the presence of an aquaeous extract fraction of chlorella, in human skin fibroblasts. Expression levels of activity on elastin protein and pro-collagen mRNA were also investigated. The researchers found that premature aging-induced collagen degradation and gene expression were suppressed in the presence of the chlorella fraction. The fraction also appeared to counteract the negative effects of UVB exposure on elastin protein and increased pro-collagen mRNA expression following UVB exposure.
Chlorella decreases dioxin and increases immunoglobulin concentration in breast milk
One of the big sales pitches for the use of infant formula in place of breast milk has been that breast milk contains dangerous levels of dioxin. A study reported in the March, 2007 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food analyzed dioxin levels in breast milk and maternal blood samples from 35 pregnant women in Japan. They measured immunoglobulin A (IgA) concentrations in breast milk and investigated correlations with dioxin concentrations. In addition, 18 of the 35 women took chlorella supplements during pregnancy, and its effects on dioxin and IgA concentrations in breast milk were investigated.
The researchers found that toxic equivalents were significantly lower in the breast milk of the women taking chlorella tablets than in the control group. These results suggest that chlorella supplementation by the mother may reduce transfer of dioxins to the child through the breast milk. No significant correlation was identified between dioxin and IgA concentrations in the breast milk of the control group. IgA concentrations in breast milk in the chlorella group were significantly higher than in the control group. Increasing IgA levels in breast milk are considered to be effective for reducing the risk of infection in nursing infants.
New studies also document the powerful chelating properties of chlorella
Also reported in the September Journal of Medicinal Food is a study in which 40 rats were divided into one control group and three groups that were treated with cadmium. One cadmium group received no chlorella, one received 5% chlorella, and one received 10% chlorella. After 8 weeks, the relative liver weight was significantly lower in the group receiving no chlorella compared with both groups receiving chlorella, indicating severe liver damage in the no-chlorella group. This group also displayed significantly higher hepatic concentrations of cadmium than the groups receiving chlorella. Hepatic RNA had a higher expression in the chlorella treated groups than in the no-chlorella group. Researchers concluded that chlorella has a protective effect against cadmium induced lever damage by reducing cadmium accumulation and stimulating the expression of RNA in the liver.
The July edition of Food Chemistry Toxicology reports another study in which the chelating ability of chlorella was assessed. Levels of interleukin -6, an important stimulator of red blood cell production, were assessed along with investigation of the number of adherent and non-adherent cells. Mice that had been drinking water containing 1300ppm of lead acetate were treated with chlorella daily for 10 days. The researchers found that chlorella improved cellular function, increased the ability of cells to produce interleukin-6, and restored the reduced the number of non-adherent cells. Monitoring of lead poisoning demonstrated that chlorella treatment significantly reduced lead levels in blood and tissues, completely restored the normal levels of ALA in the liver, and decreased the abnormally high plasma levels of ALA.
The findings of these two studies underscore the powerful chelating ability of chlorella and suggest that chlorella would be useful for pre-treating before consuming any food or drink in which the presence of heavy metals is suspected, such as fish. Chlorella has also been shown in previous studies to be an effective chelator of mercury and is an excellent supplement for anyone with dental fillings containing mercury, as well as anyone undergoing the removal of fillings.
What is chlorella?
Chlorella is tiny, single-celled water-grown green algae that contain a nucleus and an enormous amount of readily available chlorophyll. It is composed of about 58% highly digestible protein, and carbohydrates. It is a good dietary choice for people who do not eat meat. It contains all of the B vitamins, vitamins C and E, amino acids, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, macro-minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, rare trace minerals, essential fatty acids including GLA, and polysaccharides. One teaspoon of chlorella contains 90 mg of RNA and 8 mg of DNA. Chlorella has more vitamin B-12 than liver. It is virtually a complete food and considered one of the superfoods, delivering a wind fall of nutrition to the body.
Chlorella contains thousands of phytochemicals, most of which have not yet been identified.
Chlorella is nature's answer to the multi-vitamin pill concept, offering a broad array of nutrients in highly bio-available form with perfect synergy. It has shown to be effective at reversing degenerative diseases such as all types of cancers, diabetes, liver disorders, high blood pressure, and obesity. People with poor digestion are able to easily digest chlorella.
Chlorella is perfect for body detoxification. Its fibrous outer cell wall binds with heavy metals and pesticides that accumulate in the body and ushers them out. It's high content of chlorophyll makes it an ideal cleanser for the blood stream and the elimination channels, insuring that metabolic wastes are carried away from the tissues. It cleanses the breath and reduces body odor.
Chlorella has been shown to accelerate healing, protect against radiation, help in the treatment of Candida albicans and relieve arthritis pain. It is effective against anemia and its stimulation of red blood cells assures proper transport of oxygen to the brain and body.
Chlorella is a potent cancer fighter
Chlorella stimulates the immune system and the production of interferon, one of the body's greatest natural defenses against cancer. Increased interferon production is thought to stimulate macrophages, T-cells and tumor necrosis factor. This results in the immune system being able to combat foreign invaders whether they are viruses, bacteria, chemicals or foreign proteins. Chlorella's DNA repair mechanism has been documented.
Numerous animal studies have documented chlorella's effectiveness against cancer. One such study involved mice given chlorella prior to being transplanted with breast tumors. The results indicated a 70 percent survival rate in the chlorella fed group and a control group survival rate of zero.
In another study, fifteen glioblastoma patients were treated with high levels of chlorella, in some cases combined with chemotherapy and radiation. Glioblastoma is the type of deadly brain tumor recently diagnosed in Senator Kennedy. Their health and immune status increased immediately, and they experienced a 40 percent two-year survival rate, compared to the normal two year survival rate of 10 percent for this type of cancer.
Chlorella helps balance the body's pH
It is believed by many that disease starts and thrives in an acidic body environment. Any diet that is deficient in fruits and vegetables will be acidic in nature. The consumption of soft drinks and processed fruit drinks are particularly acid forming as are diets high in meat and uncultured dairy products.
Proper pH balance is critical for health, and the body goes to great lengths to maintain the proper pH of its blood, by increasing respiration and by pulling alkaline minerals out of the bones to use to buffer any excess acidity. This is why consumption of soft drinks is linked to osteoporosis.
Chlorella is an alkaline food, which means it counters acidity. This promotes increased bone mass since the body is not sacrificing minerals from the bones to create proper acid/alkaline balance. Metabolic function is therefore improved. The consumption of alkaline foods has been linked to improved immune function, kidney function, higher energy levels, and lower allergic response levels.
Chlorella can be purchased in tablet form and as powder. The tablets are easier to use, but there is some question that the quality of the chlorella may be compromised by the heat produced in the compression process used to create the tablets. There are several high quality chlorella tablets on the market with vastly different price points. Sun Chlorella is an excellent product that is well packaged to maintain its freshness. It is relatively high priced. Kyoto Chlorella from Swanson Vitamins is also very good quality and well packaged and less expensive. Yaeyama Chlorella is also of high quality, however the packaging usually leaves something to be desired.
Chlorella's strong outer cell wall needs to be broken to make its nutrients accessible. Any package of chlorella you buy should tell you that the cell wall has been broken. Some lower quality manufacturers of supplements sell chlorella that has not had the cell walls broken. These products are virtually worthless.
Powdered chlorella is generally the province of the boutique supplement manufacturers and can be quite expensive, with the exception of NOW Chlorella which is good quality, broken cell wall powdered product that is available in sizes up to a pound. This can be purchased online from Vitacost or Lucky Vitamin.
Powdered chlorella can be mixed into juiced vegetables and fruits or used in smoothies. It has a mellow, non-intrusive flavor and adds a richness and thickness to any liquid you use with it. Mixing chlorella into a drink requires a blender or shaker.
Chlorella combined with spirulina, another green algae, creates a whooping powerhouse of nutrition. Add a spoon full of each to your smoothie or juice.
James and Phyllis Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing.
About the author
Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.