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Chlorella Health Benefits Including Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF)

Updated on September 29, 2011

Chlorella is a class of single-celled green algae belonging to a division of green algae, that includes about 8200 species. It reproduces very rapidly through photosynthesis and requires only carbon dioxide, water, sunlight and a small amount of minerals to reproduce.

The word Chlorella comes from the Greek. Chloros meaning green and the latin word ella meaning small. In 1931, German biochemist Otto Heinrich Warburg received the Nobel prize for his study on photosynthesis in Chlorella. Melvin Calvin of the University of California received the Nobel prize for his research on the pathways of carbon dioxide assimilation in plants using Chlorella in 1961.

It was believed by many that Chlorella could be used as a potential food and energy source because it is so high in nutrients. The problem was finding an effective way to harvest the single celled-algae. It is now being mass produced in large artificial circular ponds.

In the late 1940's and early 50's world hunger was seen by many people as a growing problem. Chlorella was thought to be an effective way to end hunger because it was a high quality food for a relatively low cost.

Many institution became interested and began to research the algae. These included the Carnegie institution, the Rockefeller Foudation, the NIH, UC Berkeley, the Atomic Energy Commission, and Stanford University. After WW11 many people in Europe were starving due to the war and the worlds's inability to produce enough food to keep up with the current increase in population. Protein shortages were a problem because meat was so expensive to produce. It was calculated by the USDA that in order to be able to feed the US population by 1975 it would have to add another 200 million acres of farm land, but there was only 45 million available.

The post war population boom in the US and other places caused researchers to look to the ocean for new sources of unexploited resources. Chlorella became the focus of attention.

The Stanford Research Institute showed that when Chlorella was dried it contained 50 percent protein, several amino acids, fat, calories, and vitamins. Due to the plants photosynthetic efficiency it produced more protein per unit area than any other plant. It was predicted by one scientist that 10,000 tons of protein a year could be produced with just 20 workers staffing a one thousand-acre Chlorella farm. Chlorella seemed to be the right choice at the time because of the technilogical advancements in agriculture that were taking place and because of all the acclaim it got from experts and scientist who studied it. Unfortunately, the hype went way beyond the actual productivity of harvesting the plant.

The problem was that scientist had found that Chlorella was going to be much more difficult to harvest than they had previously thought. All their experiments were performed in the lab, not in the field. To be photosynthetically efficient enough to be practical, Chlorella would have to be placed in artificial light or in the shade. Another problem was that in order to be productive enough to meet the world's food needs, it would have to be grown in carbonated water. This would add millions to production costs. These were only some of the challenges in trying to mass produce the algae. Add to this the economic problems of the time and the plan was destined to fail, which it eventually did.

The Nutritional Value of Chlorella

Laborotory experiments on mice have found that Chlorella has anti-tumor properties. Other studies were conducted on hypertensive mice that developed enhanced vascular function when given oral doses of Chlorella. Although Chlorella was found to be unlike other plants because it was considered to be a complete source of protein, it lost it's potency when it was altered or processed. Because of this supporters of Chlorella decided to promote it for all it's other health benefits.

The following is a list of active ingredients found in Chlorella:

Dried Chlorella contains: Protein 58.4%; Total lipid (fat) 9.3%; Carbohydrate 23.2%; Fiber, total dietary 0.3%; Minerals (per 100g): Calcium, 221mg; Iodine 0.4mg; Iron, 130mg; Magnesium, 315mg; Phosphorus, 895mg; Zinc, 71.0mg. Vitamins: Vitamin C, 10.4mg; Niacin 23.8mg; Biotin 0.2mg; Pantothenic acid 1.1mg; Vitamin B1.7mg; Vitamin B-2 4.3mg; Vitamin B-6 1.4mg; Vitamin B-12 0.13mcg; Folate, 94mcg; Vitamin A (activity) 51,300 IU; Vitamin E >1.5mg (ate). Lipids include essential fatty acids and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Amino acids: Tryptophan 0.5g; Threonine 2.4g; Isoleucine 2.3g; Leucine 4.7g; lysine 3.0g; Methionine 1.3g; Cystine 0.7g; phenylalanine 2.777g; tyrosine 2.6g; Valine 3.2g; Arginine 3.3g; Histidine 1.1g; Alanine 4.3g; Aspartic acid 4.7g; Glutamic acid 5.8g; Glycine 3.1g; proline 2.4g; serine 2.0g; Proline 2.5; Others 11.4. [Source of Information: Dr. Joseph M. Mercola 1997-2001].

The ingredient that sets chlorella apart from other super-nutrients is known as Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). Studies have revealed that CGF increases that rate of growth in children. In adults, it has the ability to increase the production of enzymes, proteins and energy at the cellular level, which increases the bodies resistance to toxins, increase the rate of healing and slows the aging process.

Evidence of Health and Healing Benefits of Chlorella

There are those who are sceptical about Chlorella's health and healing benefits but clinical studies have proven it's healing effects. They include dioxin detoxification in humans and animals, healing from exposure to radiation in animals and high blood pressure reduction, lower serum cholesterol levels, accelerated wound healing time, and enhanced immune systems in humans.

The Significance of Chlorella Today

Today Chlorella is being used as a nutritional supplement and in herbal detox formulations. To learn more about how Chlorella can improve your health and stamina read Heavy Metal Detox, and Liver Detox.


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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great read, wish you had a picture.

    • profile image

      gerald 7 years ago

      hello steve do you have research above height enhancer?.. thanks steve.

    • profile image

      Ros 8 years ago

      Please mention about the use of chlorella by astronauts during space travel.

    • hsofyan profile image

      hsofyan 8 years ago from Indonesia

      Useful hub!

      Thanks for sharing, Steve...

    • pjdscott profile image

      pjdscott 9 years ago from Durham, UK

      Extraordinary stuff Steve! A fascinating and education hub thanks.

    • Decrescendo profile image

      Decrescendo 9 years ago

      Nice find. Thanks for the heads up

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Today, Chlorella is used as a suppliment. There is no plan for it to be a food source that I am aware of. It is extremely popular in Japan where 10,000,000 people use it daily. There is evidence to suggest that it has contributed to there average life span amoung women being the highest in the world. In North America it is very effective in removing all types of toxins in the detox formulations.

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 9 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Great hub, Steve. Is Chlorella being produced as a world food source, or is it still in the planning stage?