Can Supplementing with Chlorella Improve Immunity?

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Chlorella is a species of algae, more commonly referred to as seaweed. They’re a very large and diverse group of simple organisms. They can be as small as a single cell or as large as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length in temperate oceans.

Most algae, including chlorella, act like plants by creating energy from sunlight — a process called photosynthesis. But they’re still considered "simple" because their cells and tissues are not organized into the many distinct internal organs.

Naturally growing algae are an important source of food, especially in Asia. They provide many vitamins, including vitamin E,folate and vitamin C, and are also rich in iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium.

Some species are also a rich source of beta-carotene and B vitamins.1,2

Chlorella - An “Underground” Supplement

Chlorella was one of the first algae to be cultivated as food and formulated into supplements. Industrial production of chlorella products began in Korea and Japan following the Second World War.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, researchers were able to isolate many nutrients from chlorella, including amino acids, protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

It's been somewhat of an “underground” supplement for nutritional enthusiasts, as it’s taken several decades to gain the attention of mainstream supplement users.

These days, it’s finally growing in popularity as an important immune booster.

Chlorella Improves Immune Parameters

Researchers from Yonsei Univeristy in Korea studied chlorella’s immune properties.

They recently completed a short-term study measuring changes in specific immune parameters during chlorella supplementation.3

The researchers recruited 51 healthy Koreans for their 8 week study. All participants were randomized into either a group receiving 5 grams a day of chlorella or a placebo group. The results were quite impressive. Here’s what they found:3

  • The activity of Natural Killer Cells, a type of immune cell, significantly increased in the chlorella group.
  • Two immune proteins involved in fighting viruses and bacteria, interferon-gamma and interleukin-1 beta, increased significantly in the chlorella group.
The main limitation of the study is that it was conducted in healthy people. The question now is this: Will chlorella show similar effects in sick people who really need this type of immune boost?

This can only be answered through additional research, which we look forward to.

Chlorella Boosts Your Built-in Cancer and Infection Fighting System

Supporting a robust immune system is really one of the key steps to living a longer life. Your immune system is responsible for fighting and destroying anything that is foreign to your own cells and tissues. That includes not only bacteria and viruses and yeast, but also cancer cells.

As such, consider adding chlorella to your list of immune boosters. Many of us already take vitamins C and D and other immune nutrients, like selenium and bitter herbs.

Adding chlorella to this list may very well be a good idea if strengthening immunity is important to you!

References:

  1. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Dec 12;55(25):10470-5. Epub 2007 Nov 10.
  2. Arch Microbiol. 1977 Feb 4;112(1):57-9.
  3. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:53 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-53 (http://www.nutritionj.com/content/11/1/53/abstract)

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16 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about spirulina, instead of chlorella?

Improve Immune System said...

As i read the combination of both "Chlorella and Spirulina" may help maintain and support a balanced diet by providing the benefits of both algae in one supplement. Both Chlorella and Spirulina are algae which are very nutritious. Chlorella may also help support a healthy immune system. Spirulina contains all essential amino acids and is therefore a rich source of protein.
Nice post. Thanks for posting such like information.

Life Extension said...

We’re glad to help! ;-)

superfood supplements australia said...

Yes it is quite helpful for the improvement of the immune system in you body , that is basic function of your body that help your growth system to produce quality health

superfood supplements australia said...

These type of content are always motivating and I want to go through quality articles so I pleased to uncover many great point here in the content superfood supplements australia

Life Extension said...

superfood supplements australia – Thanks! We really appreciate the kind feedback. :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful piece of info. I wonder though, is chlorella found at the Kenyan coast as well?

Life Extension said...

Anonymous – We appreciate your kind words. Haven’t seen info suggesting chlorella grows in Kenya though. Most of the chlorella supplements found in the US are actually grown in Asian facilities!

Chlorella and Spirulina said...

Naturally growing algae are an important source of food, especially in Asia. They provide many vitamins, including vitamin E,folate and vitamin C, and are also rich in iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium. This blog have a really very healthy info for everyone.

LifeExtension said...

Chlorella and Spirulina- Good points. Thanks for chiming in!

Chlorella and Spirulina said...

The researchers recruited 51 healthy Koreans for their 8 week study. All participants were randomized into either a group receiving 5 grams a day of chlorella or a placebo group. Its really very healthy blog i have seen here. Great job done by blog owner.

micheal john said...

I really appreciate for this items. Chlorella and spirulina provide many vitamins, including vitamin E, and vitamin C, and are also rich in iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium. above given information have a really very healthy for everyone for health.so please visit this website for more information for this one.
Rainforestfood

LifeExtension said...

micheal john - We agree! Chlorella and spirulina are great sources of vitamins and minerals. Thanks for reading!

LifeExtension said...

Chlorella and Spirulina - Thank you!

Melvin Bart said...

Very informative post. Being healthy is really our responsibility and of course we cannot be healthy if we do nothing. I read a lot of articles regarding with chlorella, but spirulina is what I have encountered. Thanks for sharing.

LifeExtension said...

Melvin Bart - Our pleasure! Thanks for reading. :)

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