For people struggling to manage the symptoms of chronic disease, it can be hard to know where to turn. Reliable sources of information are few and far between, and the advice they offer is often conflicting. Working with practitioners can be helpful, but even if you’re able to find one willing to diagnose your chronic illness, they’re not always knowledgeable about treatment.
Symptom management may be particularly difficult for people with chronic illness who are interested in a more natural approach. If you don’t want to treat your fatigue, pain and other issues with conventional medication, what other choices do you have?
Luckily, there are a number of natural supplements that, when incorporated into a chronic disease treatment plan, can go a long way in relieving symptoms and improving overall quality of life. These include green ‘superfoods’ like chlorella.
What is chlorella?
Chlorella is a genus of green microalgae. While there are over 30 known species of chlorella; the two most commonly found in supplements are Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa. Chlorella gets its vivid green colour from chlorophyll, of which it is a rich source. In fact, chlorella contains more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant.
In addition to chlorophyll, chlorella contains an abundance of other nutrients, helping it earn its ‘superfood’ status. These include:
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B12
- Amino acids
- Beta carotene
Because of this impressive nutritional profile, chlorella supplements may help fill in gaps for people who aren’t able to get everything they need through diet alone. This supplemental nutrition can be especially helpful for people with chronic disease whose symptoms prevent them from having enough energy to cook balanced meals on a regular basis.
How can chlorella help in the fight against chronic disease?
Chlorella has been heavily studied, and scientists have uncovered a number of characteristics that may help in the fight against chronic disease. So what are the health benefits of chlorella? Here are a few.
Aids in removal of heavy metals and other toxins from the body
Chlorella appears to possess a unique ability to detoxify the body by aiding in the removal of heavy metals and other harmful compounds. Research indicates chlorella reduces the amount of toxins like mercury by wrapping itself around them and preventing them from being reabsorbed. Heavy metal toxicity can have serious implications for many different body systems, potentially exacerbating symptoms of chronic illness, and is further involved in reducing the success of antibiotic treatment. While avoiding contamination is important for everybody, people with chronic disease may find chlorella’s detoxifying potential particularly notable.
Strengthens the immune system
Chlorella has also been shown to boost immunity. In one study looking at healthy individuals and their immune response to chlorella supplements, participants showed improved immune response. Researchers attributed this improvement to increased activity in a type of immune cells known as ‘natural killer’ (NK) cells, which perform a critical role in immune function. Compromised immunity is a concern for many patients with chronic disease, so supplements like chlorella that help strengthen the immune system can be a powerful addition to chronic disease treatment plans. However, those with autoimmune disorders should consult with a doctor before using chlorella, since increased immune function may cause their condition to worsen.
May help relieve chronic illness symptoms like pain and tenderness
A pilot study published in 2000 examined the question of whether chlorella supplementation could produce any improvements in patients with moderately severe fibromyalgia symptoms. After taking chlorella supplements every day for two months, participants experienced a statistically significant reduction in palpable tenderness, representing a 22% decrease in pain intensity. Although more research is needed, these results demonstrate the potential of chlorella to support people with chronic diseases like fibromyalgia.
What are the dangers of chlorella?
While chlorella possesses many beneficial properties, it can sometimes do more harm than good. Depending on the origin of the product people buy, chlorella may actually have negative effects on the body due to contamination. And, as with any supplement, quality can vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Make Well takes these contamination concerns seriously, making them a top priority in terms of customer policy. This is why the chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) in our DTC plus is thoroughly tested for pesticides, toxins and heavy metals.
Other things to watch out for with chlorella include side effects like nausea or other digestive symptoms, as well as a rash or itching in those who may be allergic to it. Because chlorella supplements can sometimes contain high levels of vitamin K, people taking blood-thinning medications may want to avoid supplementing with chlorella. However, the chlorella algae is a freshwater algae which, contrary to its saltwater counterparts, is low in iodine and can also be administered in patients suffering from hyperthyroidism.
With its superfood status and variety of health benefits, chlorella has great potential to help in the fight against chronic disease. When using a reputable product like the ones produced by Make Well, people with chronic illnesses like Lyme disease and fibromyalgia may find that chlorella supplements work well to relieve symptoms and support overall health.