Chlorella, also called sun chlorella, is a one celled freshwater, green alga usually confused with spirulina. It gets its name from two Greek words: ‘chloros’ meaning green and ‘ella’ meaning small. Although it is small, it is an ancient organism, as fossil records prove that it has been around since at least 540 million years ago. Unsurprisingly, chlorella can reproduce at a rate of four new cells every 17 to 20 hours, an impressive reproduction rate. It contains large amounts of chlorophyll, a green pigment that absorbs sunlight, performs photosynthesis, and gives plants their green color. Chlorella is most famous in Japan and Taiwan, where most of the chlorella used commercially is grown. However, all over the world this type of algae is used for making health supplements and medicine. The whole plant can be used in making medicine, although its cell wall must first be broken down before it can digested by people. Chlorella is processed into tablets and liquid extracts.
Although it is tiny in size, chlorella is a rich source cartenoids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and nucleic acids. Cartenoids like vitamin A are pigments that lessen the risk of getting certain cancers and eye conditions. Antioxidants, on the other hand, neutralize the effects of ‘free radicals,’ which are unstable molecules naturally produced by the body. Vitamin and minerals are needed for every bodily process and function, and without them the body will not be able to heal and develop itself. Healthy fats decrease the risk of heart diseases and stroke and nucleic acids are vital for forming DNA and RNA.
Aside from this, chlorella can increase the amount of ‘good bacteria’ in the intestines. These good bacteria can prevent digestion problems and digestive disorders by improving digestion by fighting off the bad bacteria. Chlorella can also be used topically to treat skin conditions like skin rashes and skin ulcers. Chlorella can even detoxify the body, promote mental health, and reduce asthma attacks.
Side effects to chlorella include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramping, and flatulence. Chlorella can cause stool to become a green color. Chlorella can also trigger an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to molds.
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