Greens can’t be emphasized enough in terms of their overall importance to your diet. More often than not, most people don’t get enough greens in their diet. If you think you’re skirting the issue by eating salads, think again. Many salads contain lettuce materials that are nothing more than cellulose (fiber) and water. Vegetables you eat are genetically engineered, canned, frozen, or cooked and have lost most of their nutritional value.
That’s were spirulina and chlorella can fill in the gaps. These are highly nutritious algae that provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, protein, and nucleotides. These algae contain approximately 55 percent protein including all the essential amino acids. These algae are referred to as a “superfood” since they contain just about everything your body needs. Onnit has manufactured this superfood into tablet form that is easily absorbed. For those of you who have taken other green foods in liquid form, you may find tablet form bypasses the strong green taste that comes with drinking green foods. This product is high in chlorophyll which promotes detoxification as well as boost the immune system.
Chlorella is known for its ability to remove heavy metals such as mercury as well as the removal of ingested toxins which promotes liver health. The antioxidants found in both spirulina and chlorella keep cell membranes and metabolic pathways working properly. Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on people who smoke that were supplemented with chlorella, demonstrated a reduction in oxidative damage. These patients had increased levels of two antioxidant enzymes known as catalase and superoxide dismutase as compared to the placebo group.
Chlorella has been demonstrated to directly enhance immune function. Patients who took chlorella for 8 weeks were found to have increased natural killer cell activity and an increase in the production of cytokines. Cytokines are messenger molecules that are involved with activating the immune system and activating different metabolic pathways in cells in different tissues and organs.
Spirulina is truly a nutraceutical in that it is a food that carries medicinal benefits. This microscopic single-celled algae grows in spiral strands and hence its name spirulina. This photosynthetic organism evolved early and has been around for at least 3.5 billion years. This algae is not only a great food resource but also produces a fair amount of oxygen contributing to our oxygenated atmosphere that we require to survive.
Spirulina is a superior source of protein as it contains approximately 70 percent protein by weight and provides a complete protein source including all essential amino acids. It is rich in vitamins such as vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin E, and vitamin K. Spirulina contains the full spectrum of minerals and has high concentrations of iron and magnesium. The magnesium is contained within the chlorophyll molecule. It is reported to contain over 2,000 different enzymes and is rich in essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and omega-6s. Spirulina is particularly high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) an omega-6 fatty acid that carries anti-inflammatory properties and promotes healthy skin and hair.
Spirulina boosts brain function due to the presence of amino acids. Many neurotransmitters are amino acids or their derivatives. Tryptophan an essential amino acid is the precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the “feel good transmitter”. Tryptophan is also the precursor for the hormone melatonin which is important for regulating sleep cycles.
As with other green goods, spirulina has alkalizing properties. We need to maintain a slightly alkaline pH in our blood stream. Our metabolism drives our bodies to become acidic and so does eating processed food. Alkaline forming spirulina counter balances this tendency and helps to maintain pH homeostasis. Acidosis is a disease state which you want to avoid.
Spirulina contains a wide range of antioxidants which include beta-carotene, vitamin E, chlorophyll, zeaxanthin, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and phycocyanin to name a few. Antioxidants protect us against free radicals due to oxidative stress. It is extremely important to keep our metabolic pathways running optimally. The build-up of free radicals is part of the aging process so antioxidants bring about longevity.
Spirulina carries blood building properties because it contains iron, chlorophyll, and phycocyanins. The structure of chlorophyll is almost identical to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries iron at its center which carries oxygen. Chlorophyll carries magnesium at its center. Both these molecules are essential for life. Chlorophyll has been reported to increase red blood cell counts after oral administration. Iron, chlorophyll, and phycocyanins have been reported to stabilize blood sugar, boost energy, and boost immune function.
Chorella has many attributes but it is specially known for its detoxifying properties. Toxins build up in the body/brain either from toxic material we ingest and/or the build-up of free radicals that are generated by metabolism. Chlorella’s ability to detoxify comes from its unusual cell wall. The cell wall is comprised of 3 layers of which the thickest middle layer is loaded with cellulose. Clinical studies have demonstrated that cellulose microfibrils bind to arsenic, mercury, lead, pesticides, cadmium, uranium, and PCBs and carry them out of the body. Cellulose is made up of branched glucose monomers. It turns out that we don’t make an enzyme that can break this down so it acts as fiber. In one end and out the other. The above listed toxins are commonly found in everything we eat, touch, and breathe and are responsible for a number of diseases, allergies, skin reactions, and even cancer. Consider cadmium and its adverse side effects it has on the body. Cadmium is commonly found in cigarette smoke and contributes to hypertension, atherosclerosis, and clotting. Maybe now you can understand why second-hand smoke can be serious. Patients who have been administered oral chlorella who had cadmium poisoning demonstrated an increased excretion of cadmium as well as a reduction in pain.
Immune system malfunction which eventually allows cancer to form may begin with allergens in foods we eat or the air we breathe and with unhealthy food choices. Cancer may result from heavy metals, viral or fungal agents, chlorine, nicotine, and/or radiation. Much of this comes about due to a failing liver. If the liver fails to detoxify the body, toxins build up wreaking havoc on the immune system. Cancer often represents a breakdown in metabolic pathways due to improper nutrition. Cancer begins to develop when oxygen levels are low and red blood cells begin to deteriorate. Studies demonstrate that liquid chlorella taken orally boosts immune function by stimulating macrophages, increases production of interferon, and increases production of B and T cells. The result of this is anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties.
By stimulating macrophages, more cancer cells are destroyed. Chlorella also contains the greatest amount chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is believed to prevent the spread of cancer by increasing oxygen uptake.
Vitamin A (beta-carotene) has also been reported to boost immune function and has been used in the prevention and treatment of cancer. It is known that individuals who eat a lot of green foods and yellow vegetables have fewer cancers due to the vitamin A content. Patients have been administered vitamin A who are going through radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer and it was found that the radiation dose could be cut by 50 percent and still be effective. Furthermore, patients who took vitamin A could tolerate higher doses of radiation with fewer side effects. Chlorella is not used as a substitute for cancer treatment but rather as an adjunct.
Since chlorella cells are about the size of our red blood cells, and chlorophyll is almost identical to hemoglobin, and chlorella has been shown to fortify blood (increase red blood cell count) it has been dubbed “vegetal blood”.
An added plus of chlorella is that is contains high concentrations of DNA and RNA. This DNA and RNA can be used to rejuvenate damaged cells slowing down degenerative diseases and defying the aging process providing for longevity.
No doubt the combination of spirulina and chlorella complement each other well providing everything you need to sustain a health body and mind. The wide spectrum of ingredients including vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids, amino acids, protein, and nucleotides should fill in any gaps you have in your diet.