The Green Lantern: Chlorella, A Gut-loving Superhero Cleanser
Hi. I’m Maha of Sweet Revenge Beirut.
Hiba the amazing has invited me to write about matters close to heart, including wellness, holistic health and real food, and this is my first of what I hope to be many posts to come. A little background about me – though I won’t bore you with the details: I have acute food intolerances… a lot of them. And I have had digestive problems ever since I can remember. Who gives a rat’s behind, you may be telling yourself. Well that’s why I embarked on a healing journey, to better understand digestive health and food allergies after finding no solace in mainstream medicine, to cook allergen free food and eventually share what I’ve learned with people – as I think it is imperative to share your learnings because the universe will reward you for it directly or indirectly at some point in your life.
Chlorella is my first topic of choice for that reason – for its detoxifying properties of course – but most notably for its overall impact on digestion and how it’s been helping me and friends suffering from leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, candida and inflammatory bowel disease alleviate our symptoms and integrate it in our holistic healing program.
If you subscribe to Cloud of Lace, my piece next week will be the recipe for raw chlorella tahini energy bites.
Chlorella is a single-celled, water-grown micro algae with a unique molecular structure that permits it to bind to toxic metal ions, chemicals and pests in the digestive tract and flush them out of the body. Chlorella owes part of its superstar status to its chlorophyll content. If you were awake during science class (and I salute you for it if you have), you’re probably aware that chlorophyll is that element in plants that gives them their green color. Chlorophyll is a hard working chelator; it is a magnet for heavy metals and toxins and is one of the most potent natural detoxification substances out there. It operates at three levels: it detoxifies the liver, the bloodstream and the digestive tract – and that’s a super cool full-blown attack on those ugly suckers. And chlorella happens to contain more chlorophyll per gram than any other known plant.
Gut to the chase
With so many of us turning out to have high levels of heavy metals in our systems, predominantly mercury and aluminum, that’s comforting to hear. But in addition to restoring balance to our bodies and cleansing our systems from big-fanged nasties, chlorella can offer relief to people with protracted gut problems, slowed digestion and the much dreaded c word: constipation.
The cell wall of chlorella has been linked to improving bowel function and promoting the growth of good bacteria in the intestines such as lactobacillus and preventing the overgrowth of such unfriendly flora as E.coli, which is known to be a very active, fast multiplying obnoxious schmuck. This is something that would be highly recommended for – and much appreciated by – anybody currently battling Candida albicans of course, because chlorella is believed to empower the good bacteria and make them extra sturdy in the face of the baddies.
Because the material in the cell wall of chlorella can absorb all sorts of poisons, such as fungi, yeast and crappy bacteria that are lingering within the intestine, it can also stimulate a more normalized peristalsis, which is the wave-like, involuntary muscular contraction of the organs of the digestive system by which materials move through the bowels. This translates in better bowel movement and hence escorting the toxins out of our bodies instead of having them end up in our bloodstream.
It runs, it heals, it scores!!
Dr. Bernard Jensen, D.O., Ph.D., points out that there are four elements in chlorella that accelerate the process of bowel cleansing and detoxification. “These four ingredients are chlorophyll, Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), protein and fiber, which work in harmony to clean up the colon.” So CGF accelerates the healing of the bowel wall, the protein in chlorella repairs and rebuilds damaged tissue, and while RNA so abundant in chlorella also hastens the healing process.” RNA (ribonucleic acid), is, like DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), a form of nucleic acid, which greatly impacts cellular function and heredity. Chlorella is rich in both RNA and DNA, which explains its rejuvenating properties, meaning faster tissue healing, a better use of nutrients as well as toxin removal.
Aluminium poisoning and constipation
Constipation and digestive discomfort is a recurring issue that comes up in my conversation with female friends and clients I cater to as they open up about their problems. It is a major headache that a lot of the time cannot be resolved by simply drinking more water, eating more fiber or taking a magnesium citrate capsule. A lot of us with autoimmune diseases are particularly unlucky victims of constipation and impaired digestion. But as more of us undergo toxicity testing, we’re realizing just how much havoc our toxic overload is wreaking to our system, including our guts.
Funnily enough, a lot of people who are getting tested for toxins and heavy metals seem to have alarming levels of aluminum in their systems (this applies to me and my friends who got tested). Aluminum poisoning is known to contribute to a plethora of problems, which are not the focus of this piece and so I will refrain from touching on them. But constipation and gastro-intestinal pain and inflammation are most definitely linked to bio-accumulation of aluminum in our bodies. Aluminum is everywhere: it is in our cookware, in our personal care products, even in our vaccines. Chlorella can help detoxify our systems from aluminum and mercury as well as other toxins and can most definitely be incorporated in a comprehensive detox program.
On the plus side, chlorella is a nutrient dense food. Regarded as a complete amino acid-based food with almost 50 percent protein, it is also contains vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, niacin, folic acid, calcium, zinc and magnesium. This is something that folks with leaky gut can benefit of – because they of all people could use all the nutrients they can get not to mention boost their weakened immunity.
Another thing about chlorella is its impressively high iron content. If you have aluminum toxicity, for instance, you’re more than likely to be iron deficient (I and all four of my friends with aluminum poisoning turned out to have low levels of iron). This is because aluminum binds to iron in the digestive tract. While menstruating women can handle iron supplementation, postmenopausal women and men are commonly advised to keep an eye on the iron levels in their blood through cyclical testing. Iron overload can cause major complications including diabetes and heart failure.
Get in my belly
Some things to factor in when choosing a chlorella powder or supplement is that chlorella, in its natural form, is indigestible. Its outer cell wall is so tough it ought to be broken down by manufacturers so that when we consume it, we get to reap its many benefits. To that end, it is important to look for the “Broken Cell Wall” or “Cell Wall Shattered” label on the chlorella brand you purchase. To the best of my knowledge, sound vibration technology is the most state-of-the-art method and safest way (to retain the value of the chlorella) to break down the cell wall of chlorella. Meanwhile, chlorella’s exceptional ability to bind toxins can be a double-edged sword, because that means it can easily attract metals during both growth and manufacturing. That’s why it is essential to only buy a reputed brand of chlorella, which has been grown in clean water – otherwise you’d be doing your body more harm than good.
Also do bear in mind that bodies respond very differently to even to the cleanest things. And that is particularly the case for those with autoimmune diseases and weak digestive systems. So it would be wise to start out small, with perhaps half a teaspoon of chlorella and gradually increase your intake as your body gets accustomed to it – or utterly refuses it. Of course detoxification is not always an easy ride. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are some of the things we may experience in our quest to clean our bodies. Meanwhile, chlorella loves cilantro, another chelator, and they usually operate in synergy. The latter is also known to improve digestion, so taking chlorella with cilantro, especially a few hours before bedtime, can be one way to optimize your detoxification, relieve bloating and speed up digestion, which gets slower during the day. And because our RNA and DNA replenish when we sleep, it may also be wise to take chlorella around nighttime. As I’m sure know, detoxifying takes time and patience. So most functional medicine practitioners and holistic health professionals recommend taking chlorella every day for no less than a whole year.