To detox yourself of heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium people recommend eating Chlorella pills or powder. Is there truth to this or is it just fiction? Based on my research of scientific articles there is some truth here.
What is Chlorella?
- Chlorella is a genus of single celled algae. They are very small and green.
- The chlorella is farmed in glass tubes or in ponds while being exposed to sunlight or grow lights.
- The green mixture is then harvested by centrifuge to separate out the water from the plants.
- Then the cells are mechanically broken down to easy digestibility. This reduces stomach upset and increases nutrient availability.
- Finally they are placed in pill, capsule or powder format for easy consumption. The tablets look just like the tablets shown in the picture. The capsules are filled with the powder. Some people mix the powder in shakes.
- How does it taste? Like dried algae so best to swallow then or have a chaser of some beverage or food. I prefer the tablet form as the taste is less bad when chewed. One does get used to the taste.
- Does it cost a lot? Nope. It’s inexpensive. You can buy it a health foods stores like GNC, Ebay, Amazon for around $10 to $20 per bottle of say 200 pills. I have used Now tablets and Nutricost capsules.
What is in chlorella?
- Most importantly a mucopolysaccharide cell wall. We will discuss this later but this absorbs the toxins
- Vitamin A (anti-oxidant)
- Omega 3 oils (anti-oxidant and component of brain cells)
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of these algae contains the following:
|Calories||115 calories||81 calories|
|Protein||16 grams||16 grams|
|Carbs||7 grams||7 grams|
|Fat||3 grams||2 grams|
|Vitamin A||287% of the Daily Value (DV)||3% of the DV|
|Riboflavin (B2)||71% of the DV||60% of the DV|
|Thiamine (B1)||32% of the DV||44% of the DV|
|Folate||7% of the DV||7% of the DV|
|Magnesium||22% of the DV||14% of the DV|
|Iron||202% of the DV||44% of the DV|
|Phosphorus||25% of the DV||3% of the DV|
|Zinc||133% of the DV||4% of the DV|
|Copper||0% of the DV||85% of the DV|
How does chlorella help me to detox?
Chlorella binds to mercury and other heavy metals in the gut. The cell wall of the plant is not digestible but very good at absorbing toxins. The key here is that the liver dumps fat soluble toxins into gut with the bile. Most of the toxins get reabsorbed back into the blood stream when the bile is recycled. Studies show 95% is reabsorbed. That is what regular detoxification takes so long. What we are doing is accelerating the detox process by allowing less to be reabsorbed since we are binding the toxins to flush them out. So instead of 95% reabsorption may it’s only 50% in each cycle this allowing us to reduce the total burden much faster.
Studies show chlorella may also bind toxins from the blood vessels that are in the gut. So toxins flowing in the blood stream pass into the gut via these small blood vessels. There they bind to the chlorella and out they go.
Chlorella also contains fat soluble anti-oxidants like vitamin A and DHA.
How to take chlorella?
That is a good question. People talk about certain times to take it. I would say before meals so it is there to absorb any toxins in the gut. I would also say before bed time. Some people eat it with fish to absorb any methyl mercury that may be present in the fish. I believe this is the Japanese way where chlorella is very popular.
Remember chlorella is the absorber that helps get mercury out of the body. Cilantro leaf or extract is the mobilizer that gets mercury out of its deep stores, brain cells and nerve cells. The chlorella is there then to flush it out of the body. The two work hand in hand.
Some people have stomach upset from chlorella initially. I did. I switched from capsules to pills and that made it go away. A few weeks later I could take the same capsules with no issue. Start small and work your way up.
Here is one good guide on how to dose it.
What is the proof chlorella absorbs mercury? Here you go in PDF form. Enjoy.
There are many good articles out there. Here is a sampling I was able to find. If you look there are likely many others. Again many studies are in rats and mice but you cannot really experiment on humans and they are mammals just like we are.
Studies in humans showed that those people taking chlorella had lower levels hair mercury from dental amalgam fillings and lower levels of titanium from medical implants
Plant studies show chlorella reduces heavy metals in a solution by large amounts. In mice, Chlorella significantly reduced the deposition of mercury in tissues and facilitated its excretion through feces. Pulverized Chlorella showed potential adsorption efficiency and may considered a promising agent in counteracting the toxic effects elicited by mercury.
Chlorella protothecoides algae promote heavy metal detoxification in chlordecone poisoned-treated rats by reducing the half-life of the toxin from 40 to 19 days.
Rats fed a mercury water diet can tolerate much higher doses before LD50 level than rats that did not take the chlorella supplement. LD50 is the dose at which 50% of rats die.
Mice fed a mercury water diet have lower levels of mercury in the brain and pass on far less to the fetus than mice that did not take chlorella.
Effect of Chlorella intake on Cadmium metabolism in rats. Cadmium is another heavy metal.
Chlorella vs Spirulina algae: Here is a good comparison I found online.