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As mentioned earlier, chlorella has and still is being researched for a number of health conditions. Here's a list of six common health problems and diseases where chlorella may be of particular benefit:
1. Insulin resistance. Earlier this year, researchers discovered that chlorella has the ability to improve fructose-induced insulin sensitivity. As I’ve discussed on numerous occasions, excessive fructose consumption is the number one cause of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In this animal study, after being fed fructose-rich chow for four weeks, the rats were then given chlorella three times a day for five days, which brought their elevated glucose-insulin values back to normal.
The authors concluded that: “Oral administration of chlorella has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity, which may be used as an adjuvant therapy for patients with insulin resistance.”
Chlorella is particularly helpful when used in conjunction with an infrared sauna and taken two hours before you go in the sauna. This way the chlorella will be in your intestine and ready to bind to the toxins that are released when you are in the sauna. It will bind irreversibly to the toxins and be safely excreted when you have your bowel movement.
2. Diabetes. Additional evidence supporting the theory that chlorella can improve insulin sensitivity can be found in an earlier study. Here, the algae was found to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in the liver in type 1 diabetic rats. The authors suggest chlorella’s hypoglycemic effects may be due to improved glucose uptake in the liver and the soleus muscles. Another mechanism may be related to decreased levels of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), since insulin sensitivity is usually blunted by elevated NEFA in type 1 diabetes.
3. Hypertension. The results from a placebo-controlled, double-blind study published two years ago suggest that chlorella can significantly decrease high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension. The authors proposed that it may be a beneficial dietary supplement for preventing hypertension, with no apparent adverse side effects.
4. Anemia, proteinuria and edema in pregnant women. Pregnancy-induced hypertension and anemia are common, and potentially dangerous. One of the primary causes for these conditions is the woman’s nutritional status. A study published last year found that chlorella may help improve both of these conditions in pregnant women, likely due to its high folate, B12 and iron content.
Subjects took six grams of chlorella per day, starting somewhere between the 12th to the 18th week of gestation, until delivery. The chlorella group had significantly lower rates of anemia compared to the control group. They also had fewer incidences of proteinuria and edema; two symptoms associated with pregnancy-induced hypertension. Here too, the authors concluded that “Chlorella supplement may be useful as a resource of natural folate, vitamin B-12 and iron for pregnant women.”
5. Fibromyalgia. Although the individual results were varied, it may be worth considering chlorella if you suffer with fibromyalgia. A study published in 2000 tested the effectiveness of two commercially available chlorella-based products on patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and the overall results showed a 22 percent decrease in pain intensity. However, while seven patients reported improvement in their fibromyalgia symptoms, six reported no effect at all, and five claimed their symptoms had worsened during the trial, so keep that in mind if you decide to try it. While it may help some, it might not work at all for others.
6. Liver cancer. A study published in 2009 discovered that chlorella triggers cell death (apoptosis) in rat liver cancer cells, which suggests it may be useful in the prevention of liver cancer. The authors concluded, “Our study shows that chlorella has definite chemopreventive effect by inducing apoptosis via decreasing the expression of Bcl-2 and increasing the expression of caspase 8 in hepatocarcinogenesis-induced rats.”
For additional research findings, check out Green Med Info's chlorella page, which lists more than 40 health conditions for which chlorella may be of benefit.