Today I want to share something green with you…algae. Yep, algae. But it is SO much more that just something we think of as green seaweed stuff. Specifically, I want to share with you about Spirulina and Chlorella.
I have been a long-time fan on Spirulina. In fact, some of you may have had me recommend you feeding your horse spirulina! Now, I also take both spirulina and chlorella. It is a health game changer, and I want to share this amazing information with you.
I believe that keeping our bodies health at a cellular level is the key to them functionally optimally. The nutrients and detoxifying properties of spirulina and chlorella help our mitochondria function and keep our cells healthy. There is no better way to get the ultimate in antioxidants inside our bodies.
Hang on for the ride…this is a lot of information, BUT your health is worth it!
History of Spirulina
Today, so many health issues come from a lack of nutrients in our agriculture. Well, where agriculture falls short, aquaculture is quickly picking up the slack! Spirulina is a type of algae that has been recognized (along with chlorella) as one of the world’s healthiest foods. With a laundry list of research-backed health benefits, including obesity reduction, and immune support, it’s no wonder why so many people are turning to spirulina as a source of balanced nutrition.
Scientists have found that Spirulina has “immune-stimulant activities. It is able to increase the production and activity of bone marrow stem cells, macrophages, and T-cells. It improves cell nucleus enzyme activity, and DNA repair capacity. As such, it has a role in cancer treatment and inhibits HIV-1 replication in human-derived T-cell lines” (Ramasubramania Raja, 2016).  Other scientists confirm that “Spirulina contains functional compounds, such as phenolics, phycocyanins, and polysaccharides, with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulating effects”. “Spirulina not only supports the immune system but its ability to reduce inflammation makes it “ useful in the prevention of the metabolic syndrome which is characterized by low-grade inflammation, oxidative stress, and intestinal dysbiosis” 
Differences Between Spirulina and Chlorella
The two most studied and promising types of algae for human consumption are spirulina and chlorella. While they are often mentioned in the same breath, what they do in your body is night and day. Spirulina is particularly good for energy because it has no cell wall. It takes little time to digest, making it an instant source of vitamins and protein. Chlorella, on the other hand, has one of the strongest cell walls in the plant kingdom. It digests very slowly, allowing its high chlorophyll content to detoxify your body.
4 Amazing Health Benefits of Spirulina
1. Better Physical Performance
There’s a physical trait that everyone shares. Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a once-per-year gym goer, we all have limits to how far we can push our bodies. Eventually, your muscles are simply too damaged to continue to function. Research shows that spirulina supplementation reduces muscle fatigue and postpones the point of exhaustion. 
Spirulina was also found to increase fat loss in healthy adults. Taking a 6-gram dose of spirulina prior to moderate cardio decreased oxidative damage, decreased glucose oxidation, and increased the amount of fat being burned for fuel. 
2. Improves Memory
Along with preventing oxidative damage in the muscles, spirulina can also prevent oxidative damage in the brain. One study found that spirulina reduced the levels of a harmful protein in the brain, suggesting that spirulina supplementation can help prevent memory loss. 
Another study found that spirulina reduced neurotoxicity and inflammation in the brain. Inflammation is a major contributor to several major neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, on which this study focused. 
3. Improves Obesity Biomarkers
Multiple double-blind studies demonstrate spirulina’s ability to improve health markers in obese patients. These studies range from supplementing 2 grams to 8.4 grams of spirulina for anywhere from 4 to 18 weeks.
Common among them was that the researchers in all studies found statistically significant reductions body mass, body mass index (BMI) waist circumference. They recorded lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, higher antioxidant levels, and better insulin sensitivity. 
Some studies show that spirulina is a potent remedy for cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis (plaque build up in arteries) and endothelial dysfunction (poor circulation).   This research indicates that spirulina is a promising alternative to risky weight management drugs for people struggling with obesity.
Spirulina has also been used in part as a treatment for hypoglycemia. Research shows that spirulina can reduce blood glucose and lipid profiles while preventing metabolic issues associated with excessive fructose. 
4. Reduces Heavy Metal Levels
The state of our environment is not ideal. It’s a difficult reality, but the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat all contain unnaturally high levels of harmful substances. Pollution in our daily lives makes supporting your body’s detox efforts vital.
Arsenic is a heavy metal, a carcinogen, and a literal poison. It is lethal at 70mg but can slowly deteriorate human health at much lower levels. Spirulina has been shown to reduce arsenic levels in humans. 250mg of spirulina along with 2mg of zinc two times a day for 16 weeks was an effective treatment for chronic arsenic poisoning. 
5 Amazing Health Benefits of Chlorella
Studies on chlorella did not stop with the research on world hunger and oxygen in space. Chlorella continues to be a well-researched food with most studies currently focusing on its health benefits. Here are some of the most impressive findings in research focused exclusively on chlorella algae:
1. Removes Toxins
Chlorella has the unique ability to bind to and remove heavy metals from the body. Studies show that chlorella is effective at removing several harmful compounds from the body, including heavy metals like lead.
When lead-exposed research mice were given a dose of chlorella at the time of lead exposure, their blood lead levels dropped an incredible 66%! The researchers attributed this to chlorella’s strong chelation properties. The researchers also found that chlorella was able to reduce blood lead levels in mice previously exposed to lead due to its ability to strengthen the immune system. 
One study found that chlorella counteracted heavy metal poisoning and prevented tissue damage by reducing the absorption of cadmium into the body.  Heavy metal toxicity, including cadmium and lead toxicity, is a problem facing many developed countries. 
We are exposed to these pollutants in our air, our water, our food, and the consumer products we purchase. It’s important to give your body the resources it needs to prevent pollutants for harming your health. Chlorella is a fantastic food for fortifying your body’s immune system and preventing heavy metal-related illnesses.
While not a toxin that most people try to avoid, chlorella has also been found to promote the metabolism of alcohol in humans. A study performed with 6 human subjects found that consuming chlorella before drinking alcohol reduced ethanol in the blood and breath along with reducing acetaldehyde, a contributing cause of hangovers, in the blood.
2. Supports Immune System
Chlorella has been found to stimulate the production of several cell types critical to the immune system. This research was done on the short-term benefits of chlorella rather than long term, which means after just 2 months, human test subjects saw improvements in their immune system.  A similar study’s human subjects saw results in just 1 month. This study tested chlorella’s ability to stimulate immune function in humans. 
For mothers, chlorella can be a great food for helping to make sure dioxins are not transferred to infants while breast feeding. Dioxins are a group of toxic compounds that can find their way into breast milk due to poor environmental conditions. Chlorella has been found to stimulate antibodies in breast milk that eliminate dioxins. 
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Chlorella has multiple studies demonstrating its efficacy in improving lipid-related biomarkers. It has been found to reduce cholesterol along with triglycerides in patients with slightly above average cholesterol levels.  The researchers attributed these health benefits to the high levels of carotenoids α-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin in chlorella. There have also been studies indicating chlorella can help reduce total body fat as well as blood glucose levels. 
4. Improves Blood Pressure
Chlorella is loaded with micronutrients and antioxidants that are important for maintaining healthy arteries, which, in turn, improve blood pressure.  These nutrients help reduce arterial stiffness – a problem commonly associated with high blood pressure. Some research suggests that chlorella improves arterial health by increasing nitric oxide levels.  Research has used both younger and older individuals, meaning anyone can benefit from chlorella.
5. Better Aerobic Endurance
Interestingly, chlorella’s ability to increase oxygen uptake capacity was studied in both young men and women. Even more interesting, chlorella was found to significantly improve peak oxygen.  These findings suggests that consuming chlorella could be beneficial to athletes who participate in sports or exercise requiring significant aerobic endurance.
The source of Spirulina and Chlorella is of the utmost importance. Sources from China, India, or Japan are likely contaminated with toxins. Even if they do have a USDA Organic Certification. That’s why I am taking Vitality Bits (a Spirulina and Chlorella combo) from Energy Bits. They grow all their own algae right here in the US and have third part lab testing for each lot produced. This ensures only the finest algae is going into their supplements, contamination free.
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