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What Is Chlorella And What Is It Good For?

By: Dr. Michael E. Rosenbaum

What is chlorella? If you want a simple answer, chlorella is a single-cell green alga.

But that doesn't really do justice to chlorella.

To get the full story about this nutritionally-dense superfood loved by millions, let's take a trip back in time to gain some perspective on this amazing source of nourishment . . .

Two and a half billion years ago - long before dinosaurs roamed the planet - alga was king. These tiny single-celled "primitive” plants took up residence in every nook and cranny on Earth and spent their time transforming sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugars.

The tiny spherical alga, chlorella, was one of these pioneering, photosynthesizing power houses.

Chlorella survived numerous dramatic shifts in climate as the Earth went through ice ages and tropical lulls. It has survived shifts in tectonic plates. It has seen the arrival and disappearance of thousands of animal and plant species. And it has witnessed the tides of human history over the last dozen or so millennia.

Tough, self-reliant and nutrient-rich, chlorella has survived it all. And after all this upheaval (a full two and a half billion years later) chlorella and its algal cousins still reign supreme.

Over this period, some scientists estimate the early forms of algae have multiplied into as many as 100,000 species of algae. From the arctic to boiling hot springs, they've colonized the most extreme environments. Producing an estimated third of all the oxygen produced in the world, these simple plants cover every corner of the Earth.

Yet according to fossil evidence, chlorella has remained largely unchanged.Its simple, yet effective structure has stood the test of time.

What Is Chlorella's Survival Advantange? 

What is the durable composition of chlorella that has helped this small green wonder survive so long?

- Chlorella is a single-celled organism, with a very simple structure overall. It embodies the genius of simplicity.
- Chlorella's chloroplasts are one of the most concentrated sources of the pigment chlorophyll on the planet. This makes it a very effective producer of stored energy through photosynthesis.
- A cell nucleus stockpiled with nucleic acids. Chlorella researcher Dr. Minchinori Kimura found chlorella is 10% RNA and 3% DNA. This makes it the highest known food source of nucleic acids.[1]
- A unique growth hormone, called Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). CGF allows chlorella to reproduce extremely rapidly.
- A rich supply of nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin A, lutein, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, iron, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. Chlorella also has more protein per ounce than most other organisms and contains a good supply of healthy fats.
- A tough cell wall that protects chlorella's interior contents like a fortress.
- These characteristics have allowed chlorella to survive on this planet longer than most other organisms.

Chlorella's Supreme Engineering Makes It A Supreme Superfood 

Interestingly enough, these traits also have imbued chlorella with the kind of nutrition that makes chlorella a superfood among superfoods. 

- Its simple structure allows chlorella to be cultivated and processed easily with minimal destruction to its nutrition.
- Chlorella's rich supply of chlorophyll makes it a powerful internal cleanser. Used for wound-care and dental products, chlorophyll has a long track record as one of nature's best purifiers.
- Nucleic acids have been associated with speeding tissue recovery and fighting aging. Chlorella's rich supply of nucleic acid may be a factor in how it supports cellular regeneration.
- CGF seems to not only help chlorella cells reproduce efficiently, it also seems to help our human cells renew.
- Chlorella's rich supply of nutrients feeds your body what it needs to perform optimally. It's one of the few plant sources that contains the kind of vitamin B12 our bodies can use.[2] Close to 60% protein, chlorella gives you more protein ounce per ounce than steak. It also supplies the body with healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in addition to the super healthy oleic acid, found also in olive oil.
- In order to be digestible, chlorella's cell wall needs to be broken down.

Yet the sturdy fibers in chlorella's cell wall still serve us. These fibers seem to help your body speed toxins - like lead, cadmium, nickel and dioxin - out of the body.

What Is Chlorella Good For? 

With these kinds of qualities packed into this tiny green package, it's easy to see how chlorella nourishes you like nothing else.

Chlorella . . .
- Keeps your heart beating strong, supports elastic arteries and healthy blood pressure
- Boosts brain power so you can hang on to memories and stay as sharp as a tack
- Keeps your immune system strong so you don't have to fear winter, kindergarten classes or your dog's slobbery kiss
- Supports sharp eyesight with eye vitamins and other nutrients so you can pick out Waldo in a crowd, drive at night, or watch the tulips grow
- Eases digestion, removing the dread from meals and restoring comfort to bowel movements
-Chlorella has been shown to help remove heavy metals, including Mercury, from the body. This creates a successful heavy metal detox that most health foods can't. 
- Keeps your joints moving like a well-oiled machine so you can hike, bike, jitterbug or jam with the best of them
- This is just the tip of the iceberg. Chlorella may also be our best hope in conquering outer space by producing oxygen and food for these long voyages. Chlorella may be a terrific source of fuel, and as the Japanese have already discovered, it's a lovely addition to everything from noodles to skin cream.

So what is chlorella good for?

What do you think?

The possibilities seem endless.

Author: Dr. Michael E. Rosenbaum

[1] Jensen B. Chlorella: Gem Of The Orient. Self-published, 1987. p. 81 
[2] Watanabe F et al. Characterization and bioavailability of vitamin B12-compounds from edible algae. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2002 Oct;48(5):325-31.