Chlorella is a genus of green algae that contains about six species, with C. vulgaris being one the most commercially important. These single-cell organisms are no more than 10 microns in diameter and lack flagella. Chlorella species have cellular bodies known as chloroplasts that contain chlorophyll, which provide them with their green color. The name Chlorella comes from the Greek word chloros, which means green.
Chlorella typically grows on the surface of water, where it can spread rapidly under good conditions. It also has a high photosynthetic efficiency, which is the percentage of light energy that an organism converts into chemical energy. Chlorella has a photosynthetic efficiency of up to eight percent, which is comparable to the most efficient traditional crops.
Chlorella first attracted attention as a food source during the late 1940s, when many people became concerned about uncontrolled population growth. Agriculturalists therefore began researching for economical ways of increasing the world’s food supply. By the mid-1950s, agricultural advances had made chlorella a less desirable food source than traditional crops. Since then, chlorella’s primary commercial value has been in health supplements.
Chlorella is a high-calorie food source, especially proteins. It is also an abundant source of many vitamins and minerals that provide various health benefits.
Support of the immune system is one of the most common uses of chlorella. Additional benefits of chlorella include the management of body weight and heavy metals.
Research in 2012 shows that Chlorella may support the immune system by increasing the activity of “natural killer” (NK) cells. The regimen in this study lasted for eight weeks.
Chlorella may help support the body’s ability to manage healthy blood sugar levels by improving the insulin sensitivity of cells.
Chlorella may bind to heavy metals, which can help prevent them from being absorbed by the body.
Chlorella supplements may also help you to maintain a healthy weight, according to one study. This study also showed that Chlorella significantly reduced the subjects’ body fat percentage.
The most significant signs that you may need chlorella include a compromised immune system, which can result in chronic illnesses and injuries that are slow to heal. Difficulty in controlling your weight may also mean that chlorella could help you, especially if you’re older. Additional indications that you may benefit from chlorella include an unhealthy cholesterol and blood sugar level. High levels of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury may also mean that you should take chlorella.
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