The Truth About Chlorella
This is not a post about what chlorella is. It´s an extensive online research about how chlorella sellers tell us so many different things about chlorella that it´s practically impossible to know which chlorella is the best one.
I´ve researched about the country where chlorella is produced, the different strains of chlorella, the way chorella´s cell walls are opened to access its nutrients and a couple of other things.
It´s a long report, but it´s honest because I´m not trying to sell you anything.
I´m actually trying to decide what chlorella I should buy. But, just in case you don´t know chlorella:
- Chlorella is a high-protein freshwater micro-alga that was one of the first lifeforms on earth.
- It has the highest chlorophyll content amongst all plants known.
- Chlorella attracts and captures heavy metals, bacteria and radiation, so it´s one of the world´s top detoxifying agents.
- Chlorella is the fastest growing organism on earth. Growing four times its size each day. That´s called the Chrolella Growth Factor (CGF). This sustains our immune system, makes our probiotics grow in our guts and it might increase longevity.
- Chlorella is also a great source of complete protein (about 60%) and it has many other nutrients and antioxidants.
There are many different chlorella sources in the market and they all claim to be the best kind. But how can we know who is telling the truth and who´s just trying to sell their products?
We have basically organic certified and non-certified, broken cell wall and thin cell wall, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese and Indian, Indoor and outdoor…
webmd.com says chlorella products can vary significantly. For example, it can contain from 7% to 88% protein.
According to Dr. Mercola who sells Organic Broken Cell Chlorella
- His chlorella is Certified Organic and harvest from pristine waters in Hainan Island
- Hainan Island is an ecological paradise in Southern China
- Chlorella is indigestible by humans, unless it´s cell walls are broken.
- The process they use to brake chlorella`s cell walls is a milling process that eliminates light and heat to preserve nutrients.
Ellen Landauer at peak-health-now.com where Dr. Klinghardt´s brand BioPure is sold, states:
- Chlorella can´t grow wild if it´s going to be clean. Can´t grow in “pristine” waters
- Two kinds: Vulgaris (easier to digest) and Pyrenoidosa (binds heavy metals more effectively). If a brand doesn´t state which kind it is, they are hiding something.
- The higher digestibility, the lower binding capacity and vice versa.
- There are different methods to “crack” the cell walls. The seller should provide information about what process they use.
- She says never to buy “broken cell wall” chlorella because it means it´s been ground up cheaply so it oxidates and molds.
- Dr. Klinghardt´s brand states that sound waves are used to delicately crack the cell walls. And that this is the most advanced method that leaves the nutrient rich inside undisturbed.
- She says that most chlorella is toxic and that Japanese Chlorella could be contaminated
- Sunlight is essential for growing the best chlorella and that chlorella grown indoors has no binding capacity
It´s clear that she refers to Mercola´s brand as a bad deal for many reasons (the same reasons why her product would be the best). She doesn´t say where her chlorella is from.
According to Mike Adams “The Health Ranger” from naturalnews.com and the chlorellafactor.com, who promotes the brands Clean Chlorella (grown indoors in Korea) and Clean Chlorella SL (grown outdoors in Taiwan):
- Chlorella from China is the most contaminated
- Organic Chinese Chlorella is more contaminated than non-organic chlorella from other countries. Certified Organic doesn´t mean “free from contamination”
- Taiwan has the cleanest, but most expensive, chlorella
- Some companies cut their chlorella with fillers like calcium carbonate
- Taiwan and Korea have better quality than China and Japan
- We shouldn´t worry about radiation in Japan, we should worry about metals and synthetic chemicals
- Digestibility is more important than broken cells (referring to the thin cell walls Korean chlorella has because it´s grown indoors).
Strangely, he has an article about nutritional supplements where he recommends Swanson Vitamin´s Japanese chlorella. But it´s something he wrote back in 2005, maybe before he chose the brand he sells now (Mike, if you read this, I recommend you edit that post).
There are many other sites that say Chinesse chlorella is the worst kind. It´s not easy to know if that applies to all chlorella from China or if it refers directly to Dr. Mercola´s brand. I also don´t know if these statements are true or if they are based on personal reasons against the popular doctor.
Anyways, at clearwaterwellness.com a different kind of chlorella is promoted: Yaeyama. But not a specific brand. They recommend five different brands, including Sun-Chlorella, Kyoto-Chlorella (83% digestibility) and Mercola´s as the fifth one. They also recommend:
- Broken cell walls to ensure you absorb nutrients
- Japanese chlorella because of their strict governmental standards
- Package that prevents light from reaching the chlorella
A new question arises: What is Yaeyama? And why is Mercola´s chlorella referred to as a Japanesse Yaeyama?
There are sites like seacoast.com that claim to sell “Mercola´s Chinesse Yaeyama” (They also call it “Hawaiian”).
At a forum in curezone.com someone explains that “Mercola´s Yaeyama”:
- Is a subspecies of the Vulgaris kind.
- Belongs to the largest Japanese grower
- Grows in Southern Japan in pure mountain water
- It´s cell walls are broken by high impact jet spray-drying that pulverizes the wall
Obviously, they are talking about Yaeyama, but not about Mercola´s chlorella.
My question is to Dr. Mercola:
Do you sell both Chinese Hainan and Japanese Yaeyama? If you only sell the one from Hainan: are you aware of other people claiming to sell your Yaeyama? Or have you maybe managed to grow a Chinese Yaeyama?
As far as I know, there´s no Chinese Yaeyama as there´s no Japanese Hainan.
But, how could we know if Hainan island really is the organic and wild ecological paradise that Mercola wants us to believe? Wikipedia says a lot about Hainan, but nothing about sustainable agriculture. What it does say is that Hainan is very polluted and that it has an underwater radioactive weapon station.
So if I had to choose between Chinese and Japanese chlorella, I´d have to choose Japanese. But, what about radiation from Fukoshima?
Apparently, the islands where chlorella is grown are far away from Fukoshima.
According to chlorella-europe.com and many other sites, Japanese Chlorella is not contaminated by radiation and the islands where it´s grown are much closer to Taiwan than to mainland Japan.
But even if I´d have to choose a Japanese chlorella, how can I know which one really works? There seems to be both Vulgaris and Pyrenoidosa strains in Japan. Which one is the best one? Honestly, I have no idea. Everybody sells different chlorella and they all say their chlorella is the purest and best one in the world.
bestchlorella.com sells a Japanese Vulgaris kind called Chlorenergy and claims:
- To be the brand most researched
- To have Japan´s Nr.1 digestibility rate
sunchlorella.com from Japan is referred to in many forums as the best kind, but they don´t give much info about their product, except that it´s a Pyrenoidosa strain.
It´s actually at sunchlorellausa.com where we can read the “Sun Chlorella Difference”:
- They say their Dyno-Mill technology is the only one that surpasses a 95% pulverization of chlorella
- Other “broken wall chlorella” has shown to contain as little as 1% “broken” cells
These two brands sell two different kinds of chlorella: Vulgaris and Pyrenoidosa. The first one is more digestible, the second one has a better binding capacity for heavy metals and toxins. As I mentioned earlier, if it is more digestible, it has less binding properties and vice versa. I can´t increase the Vulgaris´s binding habilities, but, I can improve the Pyrenoidosa´s digestibility.
So, the question that arises is: What´s the best way to make chlorella more digestible? How should the cell walls be opened? Is it true what Sunchlorella claims about their “Dyno-Mill” process?
According to sunchlorellausaorders.com:
- Their exclusive Dyno-Mill method makes chlorella 95%-99% digestible.
- Other methods fail and destroy much of the cell´s nutritional value
- Other brands have “Broken Cell Walls”, “Cold Milling”, Cracked Open Cell Wall, Vacuum Pressure Differential”, “Sound-Wave Broken”, “Spray Dried”…
Bob McCauley at blog.watershed.net compares two methods for braking the cell walls: Pressure-Release vs. Dyno-Mill:
- “Dyno-Mill completely crushes the wall and pulverizes its nutrients so the body can absorb its nutrients”.
- “As the Chlorella cells passes through the specially designed Pressure-Release chamber they rupture, or crack open, due to the sudden and extreme changes in pressure”
- Dyno-Mill was developed in the 70´s and is very effective, but old school technology
- Pressure Release is a natural and organic, modern state of the art method that is as effective as the Dyno Mill but offers some advantages regarding the quality of chlorella´s final nutrients and digestibility
- He recommends both methods, but prefer Pressure Release
At livestrong.com Yaeyama and Sun Chlorella (Pyrenoidosa) are compared.
- Sun chlorella claims they have a patented method of pulverizing the cell walls (heat and chemical free) that achieves 95-99% of pulverization
- Yaeyama spray-dries it.
According to advancedbionutritionals.com there are many ways to make chlorella digestible, but most methods destroy chlorella´s nutrients:
- The most popular method is milling or grinding. This pulverizes the chlorella cell and makes it easy to digest, but it smashes the cell open and exposes the unprotected nutrients (so they start to oxidize).
- Another popular method is chemical bleaching where the chemicals damage the nutrients.
- Heat-freezing: exposing chlorella to extreme heat and cold opens the cell walls, but damages most nutrients
They say these 3 methods make chlorella digestible, but damage the nutrients. So they promote a german method:
Unique Sound Vibration
This method cracks the cell walls without collapsing them. Like an egg shell with cracks. This way, the nutrients remain intact inside the cell walls. What this site says is that only their German pyrenoidosa product: King Chlorella uses this technology.
At naturodoc.com we can read a very similar article, where they mention the milling/grinding, chemical bleaching and heat-freezing. They claim their product: Prime Chlorella uses the German sound vibrations.
So probably both the brands King and Prime come from the same German source.
What I want you to be sure about is that I´m not trying to sell you any kind of product. Most sites I link to tell you only what they want you to read so you buy their products. I don’t sell chlorella, so you won´t find a link to my store at the end of this post.
I´m just a consumer, just like you, trying to find the best possible product.
Let´s look at what we´ve researched so far:
- Chinese chlorella is the most contaminated in the world
- Japanese chlorella isn´t radioactive
- There´s vulgaris and pyrenoidosa. Vulgaris is more digestible, pyrenoidosa has superior detoxifying properties
- Yaeyama is a vulgaris subspecies from Japan
- Chlorella´s cell walls protect their nutrients and needs to be opened somehow
- There are different ways to open the cell walls, most of them either destroy the internal nutrients or don´t open the walls enough to make it digestible
Now, I want it to be clear that the information I´ve used for my research is what I´ve found online. I´m not sure who I should believe because everybody claims to have the best chlorella while they warn about other brands.
But basically, we´ve come down to choosing the best method for making chlorella digestible. If we don´t count chemical and extreme heat methods, we would have to choose between:
- Spray Drying and
- Sound Vibration
I have a few doubts about the Dyno-Mill. This seems to be the most common method and Sunchlorella, one of the most respected brands, developed it and still uses it after 40 years. But, it seems as it just pulverizes the chlorella so all its nutrients get crash, exposed and start oxidizing.
According to The Naughty Nutritionist the Dyno-Mill process uses small glass beads spun together with the chlorella to ground it down. Unfortunately, chlorella can get contaminated from lead from the glass beads, especially if the glass breaks. This process destroys the cells membrane, chloroplast, mitochondria and nucleus. Chlorella´s shell life is also decreased by this method.
The Naughty Nutritionist promotes Pressure-Release: a chamber with sudden and extreme changes in pressure where nothing gets in contact with the chlorella. They also claim that this process reduces significantly oxidation and nutrient degradation.
About Spray Drying (some call it Jet-Spray), cili-bao.co.za tells us they have observed the morphological changes under microscopes.
Spray dried resulted in spherical particles of thousands of chlorella cells with a hole in the center. They explain spray drying is done with hot gas (130-135ºC). If the heat or the time heated increased, the spherical form would collapse.
From this information, I would stay with either Pressure Release or Sound Vibration. I prefer chlorella not to oxidize or be heated at high temperatures.
I hope this post hasn´t turned out toooo extensive for you. I have actually been researching for weeks and it seemed very obscure at first, but now I´m starting to get a clearer picture of the chlorella I will decide to buy.
Basically, I´m choosing to believe that Chinese chlorella and any method besides Pressure Release and Sound Vibration are low quality products that I shouldn´t buy.
So, I want to take my study further and analyze chlorella from other parts of the world.
Korean and German chlorella are fermented in tanks and never sees the light of day. The producers and promoters of these kinds say this is the only way to ensure purity.
But, if chlorella never sees the sun, it doesn´t develop chlorophyll. And chlorophyll is exactly what chlorella is about.
• I´m going to buy one of each kind: A Vulgaris and a Pyrenoidosa.
• It will be grown outdoors in either Taiwan or Japan.
• Treated by either Pressure Release or Sound Vibration.