By Brandi Black, RHN
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Over half the American population takes nutritional supplements to improve their health (1). And as this number continues to rise, there's one big problem. Not all supplements can be digested and utilized by your body, which means you're not receiving all of the health benefits a supplement may claim to offer. Unfortunately, this is a common problem with other chlorella supplements and thus can make people question how well chlorella is absorbed.
Chlorella is often referred to as 'Nature's Perfect Superfood' based on the wide spectrum of nutrients it contains. However, we cannot access the nutrients of chlorella in its natural state because it contains a tough, fibrous outer shell, known as the chlorella cell wall, which is difficult for humans to digest.
It is because of this cell wall that has allowed chlorella to survive on earth for past 540 million years. But the problem is, beyond this cell wall is where all of chlorella's valuable nutrients are contained. Therefore, in order for you to truly receive the health benefits of a chlorella supplement, the cell wall must be processed to increase its digestibility. But wait: this isn't where the chlorella dilemma ends. In fact, this is where the problems with chlorella supplements begin- which unfortunately, most of us are misinformed about...
The #1 Problem With Other Chlorella Supplements
When you go to a health food store and read the label of a chlorella supplement, you'll find that most chlorella supplements are formulated with 'cracked or broken cell wall' chlorella.
At first, this may seem like a good thing because it suggests the tough outer shell of chlorella has been broken down to improve the digestibility of chlorella's nutrients. However, 'cracked cell wall' or 'broken cell wall' doesn't guarantee the bioavailability of the chlorella supplement. It also doesn't specify which type of processing method has been used to make chlorella more digestible. Furthermore, many cracked or broken cell wall processing methods are ineffective, and can do more harm than good.
For example, blanching is a method used to crack open the chlorella cell wall, which exposes chlorella's delicate nutrients to high temperatures and destroys them in the process. So while the chlorella cell wall may be broken down, you're ultimately left with a less nutritious version of chlorella once it's been processed.
Broken cell wall chlorella- not to be confused with cracked cell wall chlorella- is another processing method used to ground the outer shell of chlorella. However, it's a relatively inexpensive processing method that's not very thorough, doesn't necessarily enhance digestibility, and no specific measures are taken to ensure chlorella's delicate nutrients are preserved in the process.
Instead, the only way to know if your body can truly absorb a chlorella supplement is if it's pulverized cell wall chlorella.