If we are only to discuss ONE single most important role played by both chlorella and spirulina, it would be their heavy metal ‘flushing’ (detoxification) capabilities. But before I do this, let’s first introduce our friendly algae.
Meet Chlorella & Spirulina
Although many people see algae such as chlorella and spirulina as health benefiting, in the eyes of many others, they are nothing more than two common but overhyped pond scum!
This is just a passing fad; it will be forgotten in no time!
As a matter of fact, chlorella and spirulina have survived the test of time, and they have decided to stay for good. Both chlorella and spirulina are single celled micro algae. Chlorella is green; spirulina, blue-green. Despite its name, spirulina is actually a type of bacteria known as cynobacteria.
Common chlorella strains include chlorella vulgaris, chlorella pyrenoidosa and so on. For spirulina, we have spirulina platensis and spirulina maxima.
Both are abundant in protein (about 60%) with all essential amino acids present; and a long list of micro-nutrients. Chlorella’s chlorophyll content, however, is about 3 times higher than spirulina.
Natural Green Food Supplements
Are they safe for children and expecting mothers?
Anyhow, if you’re expecting and you wish to take these super greens, do check with your doctor first. Take note, however, that not all chlorella and spirulina supplements are created equal.
Phycocyanin & CGF
A compound specific to spirulina is phycocyanin, a brilliant blue polypeptide, which in recent reports has shown to play a major role in stem cell regeneration, especially in bone marrow and blood cells.
Phycocyanin is also found to have major potential as an antioxidant (link) in the health industry.
For a full discussion of spirulina benefits please click here.
Found only in chlorella, chlorella growth factor (CGF) contains compounds that work synergistically to promote healthy cell growth and repair.
CGF is high in amino acids and nucleic factors. I’ve touched a bit about the “G-factor” in this article. (Starting from Fact 4)
Heavy Metal Detoxification
Heavy metal exposure is a leading cause of developmental disorders and illness in many parts of the world.
How are we exposed to these elements?
They come from silver (mercury) fillings, vaccines, everyday cookware, the food we eat, the water we drink, and even the air we breathe! In short, we cannot escape from it totally.
They can be absorbed through our skin when we come in contact with them in agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, industrial, or residential settings.
Yes, small amounts of these elements are common and OK.
But “they become toxic when they are not metabolized by the body and accumulatein the soft tissues.”
“They come in synergistically acting package-deals.
Mercury alone is toxic. Together with zinc it is many times more toxic, add in a little copper and silver, as in dental amalgam fillings and the detrimental effect to the body increases manyfold.” – Dr. Klinghard, PhD.
So what can we do about it?
Regularly flushing heavy toxins out from the body is the answer. And chlorella and spirulina come in handy here. These green super foods are safe and offer other tremendous health benefits to the body as well.
Detox with Chlorella
In September 2009, the result of an in vivo study by a group of Japanese researchers has shown that chlorella’s lead “binding” abilities have prevented the “gastrointestinal absorption of lead and the promotion of the excretion of lead.”
The “binding” of heavy metals (mentioned above) is the job for chlorella’s incredibly tough cell wall, sporopollein.
According to Dr. Klinghard, it is “as effective as cholestyramin in binding neurotoxins and more effective in binding toxic metals then any other natural substance found.”
NOTE: So tough is chlorella’s cell wall that if it’s not “broken” you won’t be able to savor the ‘meat’ of chlorella it is protecting.
You see, we want the wall to be “broken”, not “digested”, so that the nutrients inside can be reached.
In 2001, Bangladeshi researchers conducted a three-month hospital-based study in which 33 patients were given spirulina and 17 were given placebo doses. 82% of those taking Spirulina showed tremendous improvement.
Published in the Mymensingh Medical Journal (2010, Jan), a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Pharmacology at the Mymensingh Medical College, Bangladesh has discovered that spirulina extracts can effectively remove arsenic from the livers of mice suffering from arsenic poisoning (arsenicosis).
An in vitro study in 2008 concluded that spirulina may possess iron chelating properties. Human neuroblastoma cells were treated with a toxic amount of iron, and then treated with spirulina.
When treated, the iron-induced oxidative stress was reduced. (link)
Time to Detox!
Of course, taking these greens (don’t forget they are natural foods, not drugs) is only part of the whole detoxification approach to help the body heal or detox itself.
To help your body further, here’s what you can do:
- Perform moderate exercise
- Learn to manage stress
- Take a healthy and balanced diet
- Increase intake of pure water (more so when you’re taking chlorella or spirulina)
Oh yes, on top of these greens I still take my regular premium multi-nutrient and fish oil supplements.