The year is 1955. The world’s human population is increasing at an uncontrollably booming rate. More people means more mouths, and food production can’t keep up. One newspaper reports,
“Hunger strides through two thirds of the world today. Where the greatest amount of hunger exists the growth of the world’s population is most rapid. In considering this situation many scientists are asking whether conventional methods of agriculture can be relied on to meet the need for food…”
The St. Petersburg times shares scientific predictions of global famine on the horizon,
“The teeming world population of the 21st century… some scientists already prophesy will be in a constant state of famine…”
The US government and global institutions are searching for solutions.
The Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, the US Navy and the Atomic Energy Commission have discovered a microscopic glimmer of hope.
A common microorganism has the potential to save the world.
There is reason for the world to hope in….
Yes! An algae called Chlorella just might save the world!
At the Grocery Store
A few weeks ago, perusing the nutritional supplement aisle of my local Sprouts supermarket looking for my next esoteric superfood to sample (a kind of hobby of mine), I spot a dark green box with iconic Japanese wave imagery.
Subconsciously being drawn to all things Japanese related to health (Japanese have the highest life expectancy of any nation you know!), I take a look at the box and begin reading:
“fresh-water chlorella… grown on the coral reef island of Ishigaki Japan… cell walls have been broken to increase digestibility… preliminary evidence, including some human research, suggests that chlorella may help support the health of the liver and the immune system… Vitamin A — 40%, Vitamin C — 83%, Vitamin B12–7%, Iron — 22%, Chlorophyll — 50mg, Mixed Carotenoids — 10mg…”
I think to myself, “I’m not quite sure what that all really means, but hey, it seems like this stuff has a lot of vitamins — I’ll give it a try!”
Today, it’s been a about 3 months since launching my personal Japanese algae regiment and Chlorella is awesome. I love how easy it is to add a green superfood boost to my meals. I’ve been inspired and energized to do some extensive research on Chlorella and i’ve found it to be a fascinating health food. It almost saved the world once, and it may just do so again.
What is Chlorella?
It is an algae. But it’s not your everyday algae that solely lives to make ponds green and to feed fish! It’s edible (for humans!) and it’s a superfood packed with health benefits.
Fun Fact #1: Chlorella is about the size of a human blood cell.
Fun Fact #2: Combine the greek word, “chloros”, meaning green, and the Latin word “ella”, meaning small — and you have chlorella!
Back to 1955, Chlorella’s First Attempt to Save the World
Ok, now that you know why I was inspired to give a mini-history-lesson on Chlorella, let’s finish the story of Chlorella’s first attempt to save the world.
It’s true, in the midst of food scares in the 1950's, the US government and many institutions researched this algae’s food production capabilities. Many studies were quite promising:
- Stanford research showed that Chlorella could very efficiently convert 20% of solar energy into a plant that (when dried) is 50% protein!
- Because of Chlorella’s ability to reproduce at an astonishingly fast rate (it reproduces four new cells about every 20 hours), one scientist predicted that 10,000 tons of protein a year could be produced with just 20 workers staffing a one-thousand-acre farm.
- Chlorella could be added to conventional food products to fortify them with vitamins and minerals.
Take a look at these newspaper excerpts from the 1950's (click to read full articles):
So what happened? Why didn’t Chlorella save the world? It turned out that producing Chlorella was more expensive than initially thought, and better crop efficiency was able to save the world from global hunger before Chlorella did. (*I understand that global hunger is still a very real issue, and even modern food production tech has a ways to go.)
The Japanese — Loving Chlorella Today
Chlorella didn’t save the world, but the Japanese people did not throw the baby out with the pond-water as the rest of the world did, and today Chlorella is helping save the Japanese from poor health! Chlorella may be one of the many contributing factors to why the Japanese have the highest life expectancies of any major country.
Japanese scientists have done extensive research on Chlorella, finding it to be a superfood packed with health benefits!
Today, 7 million Japanese people consume Chlorella on a daily basis.
A Second Attempt to Save the World
Living in the modern post industrial world, every day our bodies are bombarded by chemicals, toxins and heavy metals that our so prevalent in our environment. Almost daily, new studies come out showing how these toxins can lead to far ranging negative health effects, anything from daily discomforts like fatigue to deadly ailments such as cancer.
65 years after its first attempt to save the world from hunger, Chlorella may save the world from this second crisis — systemic environmental pollution.
When consumed, Chlorella naturally flushes out:
- Toxic Chemicals
- Heavy Metals
It flushes out all the bad stuff while giving your system a super-boost of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients!
It’s the perfect supplement for the modern world.
11 Researched Health Benefits of Chlorella
Chlorella has been the subject of much research and is one of the most widely studied food supplements in the world — extensive research has been done in the USA, USSR, Germany, Japan, France, England, Israel and other countries.
- Boosts the immune system —South Korean researchers found that “Chlorella supports a healthy immune system response and helps ‘natural killer’ cell activity.” (study here)
- Contributes to weight loss — one study showed that, “Chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels” and another study showed that, “the variety Chlorella pyrenoidosa lowered blood fats by reducing fat absorption in the intestinal tract.”
- Improves memory — the Kanazawa Medical College Department of Serology found that 32% of the elderly persons taking chlorella showed signs of some improvement from memory loss and 36% experienced a complete end to memory loss. (SunChlorellaUSA.com)
- Improves digestion (especially for constipation) — chlorella helps create an internal gut environment in which healthy probiotic bacteria thrive! According to SunChlorellaUSA.com, “Lab research indicates that chlorella can help your probiotic population increase by as much as 3 times the original numbers.”
- Reduces cholesterol—According to a 2014 study in the Nutrition Journal, “the present study is the first evidence offered to support the hypothesis that the regular consumptions of Chlorella supplement (5 g/day) over 4 weeks significantly reduced serum TG, TC, non-HDL-C, VLDL-C, HDL-C/TG, and apo B in subjects with mild hypercholesterolemia using RCT study design.”
- Reduces morning aches and pains — According to SunChlorellaUSA.com, “in a clinical study involving women suffering from steady morning stiffness and aches, chlorella helped reduce intensity by 22%.”
- Fights Cancer — In one very interesting Japanese study, “scientists placed lab mice on a chlorella regimen for ten days, then injected the mice with three types of cancer… over 70 percent of the chlorella-strengthened mice did not develop cancer, while all of the untreated mice died within 20 days.”(more studies on Chlorella’s cancer fighting potential here.)
- Fights diabetes — According to a 2009 study published in Nutrition Research and Practice, “diabetic rats that were fed chlorella experienced lower levels of fasting glucose than rats that weren’t fed chlorella. Additionally, HOMA-index (a scoring of insulin resistance) was lower in the chlorella-fed rats. Of course, being a high-protein whole food, chlorella also has a low glycemic index.”
- Boosts antioxidants — One South Korean study found that, “among those taking chlorella, levels of the antioxidants vitamin C and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) went up 44.4 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively. Activity levels of erythrocyte catalase and superoxide dismutase also increased. This showed that chlorella supplementation led to an overall increase in antioxidant activity.”
- Improves pregnancy health — A Japanese study showed that Chlorella supplementation reduces risk of anemia, edema and proteinuria during pregnancy.
- Improves liver health — several studies have shown Chlorella’s ability to protect and detoxify the liver.
Is it Gross?
I don’t think so!
Chlorella tastes similar to seaweed and I don’t mind the flavor at all. Plus, you swallow the tablets rather than chew them, so the flavor isn’t overly potent. I have been taking these tablets from Yaeyama Chlorella.
As far as Chlorella buying options, I don’t have extensive recommendations! I will probably try a few different brands before I settle on which one is the best quality and value.
If you give Chlorella a try and experience better health, definitely leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear how you are doing!