What is Chlorella Blue-Green Algae Powder?
Chlorella (Chlorella Vulgaris) algae are one of the oldest foods on the planet and date back to the Precambrian period. Chlorella algae is a fine blue-green color due to its high levels of chlorophyll. Its cells are also quite small, equivalent to that of a human blood cell. The name Chlorella reflects these features, as it comes from the Greek word chloros, meaning green, and the Latin word ella, meaning small.
Scientists discovered the unicellular freshwater alga in 1890, but they didn’t uncover its nutritional properties until the 1990s. However, scientists have researched the Chlorella genus of algae for its nutritive properties since the 1940s. Populations around the world boomed following World War II, and the agriculture industry couldn’t keep pace with the demand. Even if countries expanded their farmlands, many would still fall significantly short of their populous’ needs. Countries experienced protein shortages as well, as cultivating livestock was an expensive process.
Chlorella algae rose to prominence as a potential solution to these issues, as it is rich in protein, fats, and vitamins. However, interest in Chlorella waned due to advances in agriculture and crop efficiency resolving the world food shortages. Even so, it remains a non-meat option for protein and many other nutrients. The Chlorella Vulgaris species is a bioavailable source of vitamin B12, iron, and protein.
What Makes Chlorella Algae Powder so Popular?
Like Spirulina Algae, chlorella alga is a single-celled primitive organism. Chlorella vulgaris is one of the more popular Chlorella species for producing supplements, as it can survive in unfavorable conditions and resist foreign invaders. Chlorella learned how to adapt to fresh water and survive the occasional drying of ponds. It developed an outer fibrous shell surrounding a delicate, nutrient-rich inner cytoplasm.
This fibrous shell has two major functions. The first is that it protects inner cellular membranes until the alga is completely desiccated. Yet chlorella has a more important trick to beat the competition: the outer fibrous shell grabs and holds nutrients from the water before the pond completely dries. By doing so, chlorella can survive and flourish once the pond refills. It is this affinity for absorbing and retaining minerals and other nutrients within chlorella's outer shell that makes it a valuable supplement.
What Does "Broken Cell" Mean?
Chlorella: A Vegan Superfood
Chlorella is a popular supplement among vegans. It’s a non-animal-based protein source, and it’s rich in vitamin B12. Vegans often struggle to consume this essential vitamin, as most B12 food sources come from animal meat and dairy products.
Chlorella Nutrition Information
A one ounce serving of chlorella provides the following:
- Calories: 115
- Protein: 16g
- Carbs: 7g
- Fat: 3g
- Vitamin A: 287% daily value (DV)
- Thiamine (B1): 32% DV
- Riboflavin (B2): 71% DV
- Methylcobalamin (B12): 330% DV
- Iron: 202% DV
- Magnesium: 22% DV
- Phosphorous: 25% DV
- Zinc: 133% DV
Each chlorella microorganism contains a nucleus, starch grains, chloroplasts, and mitochondria surrounded by a cell wall made primarily of cellulose. The outer shell is indigestible. PureBulk Chlorella is referred to as "broken cell wall algae." High-pressure nozzles break through the outer shell to expose the nutrient-rich cytoplasm inside. It also exposes more of the fibrous outer shell surface area, enhancing the digestibility of this single-celled, nutritionally packed microalgae.
Potential Chlorella Benefits
Vegan Complete Protein
Chlorella is a complete protein, as it contains all nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. It also contains several non-essential amino acids: alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.
Rich in Several Nutrients
It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, including chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin B12, iodine, vitamin K1, and Iron. Chlorella contains small amounts of several other important nutrients: riboflavin (vitamin B2), manganese, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B6, thiamin (vitamin B1), phosphorus, vitamin E, magnesium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), potassium, and zinc. Like other algae, chlorella is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains numerous antioxidants.
Binds to Heavy Metals
Chlorella may enhance how the body clears toxins from the body. It absorbs significant levels of heavy metals from its surrounding environment, and it may act as a detoxifying sponge as it passes through the digestive tract. It’s also able to weaken the toxicity of heavy metals and reduce levels of other damaging food chemicals.
Immune System Enhancer
Animal and human studies have shown that chlorella boosts the body’s natural immune response, which may improve overall immunity. One study noted that men taking chlorella produced more antibodies than those taking a placebo. Another study noted that chlorella increased participants’ immune activity.
Chlorella is rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals and oxidative stress. Over time free radical damage can lead to, contribute to, or worsen many chronic illnesses. Some of its more notable antioxidants include beta-carotene, chlorophyll, vitamin C, lutein, and lycopene. One study noted that chlorella exerts bioprotective effects in young individuals and bioremediation in older participants. It also boosts antioxidant levels in individuals with an increased risk of oxidative damage. It may convey neuroprotective effects by reducing inflammation in the brain.
Chlorella: A Complete Vegetarian Protein
Vegetarians and vegans have to consume a mix of plant-based proteins, as many plant foods lack certain amino acids. Chlorella has all nine essential amino acids and is a high-protein food.
Preliminary research shows chlorella may improve aerobic endurance. Participants taking chlorella supplements showed improved oxygen saturation in their lungs after four weeks, whereas the placebo group experienced no improvements. Researchers hypothesized that this is due to chlorella’s branched-chain amino acid content, isoleucine, leucine, and valine. Multiple studies have shown that BCAAs are effective aerobic endurance enhancers. Chlorella is also a good protein source, which is essential for muscle growth, development, and endurance.
Are There Nutritional Differences Between Chlorella Algae and Spirulina Algae?
Chlorella has higher levels of provitamin A, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and zinc when compared to spirulina.>a Spirulina has fewer calories per serving and has more copper and thiamine (vitamin B1) than chlorella. While lower than chlorella, spirulina has notable levels of vitamin B2 and iron. Both are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. However, chlorella has a slight nutritional advantage, whereas spirulina has a marginally higher protein content.
Does Chlorella Powder Taste a lot Like Spirulina Powder?
Spirulina has a slight fishy or ocean taste because manufacturers typically cultivate it in salt or brackish water. Chlorella is a freshwater alga and is very "green" tasting owing to its high chlorophyll content, like barley green powder or wheat grass juice powder. For most people, the aroma and taste of chlorella algae powder are neither unpleasant nor objectionable. If you prefer, PureBulk offers vegetarian and gelatin capsules.
Potential Side Effects of Chlorella Blue-Green Algae
Most individuals can take chlorella supplements without experiencing adverse effects. Some individuals may experience an upset stomach or nausea. Individuals may notice a harmless green coloration of their bowel movements due to chlorella’s chlorophyll content. Excess doses can cause diarrhea. Individuals with autoimmune conditions shouldn’t take chlorella powder without consulting their physician first, as it can affect the immune system. Chlorella may interact with some blood thinners as well. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to chlorella, particularly those with an iodine allergy. Always speak with a doctor before starting any new supplements.
Bioavailability, Mixing, and Solubility of Chlorella Blue-Green Algae
Chlorella blue-green algae powder mixes well with water or juice. Strong-flavored vegetable or citrus juices mask any taste chlorella may have.
Purity and Concentration of Chlorella Blue-Green Algae
PureBulk’s Chlorella Vulgaris blue-green algae contain no additives, fillers, or anti-caking agents.
References & Further Research
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