I recently stumbled across something called Chlorella. Although it wasn’t quite by accident.
You see, I had previously been taking something called Spirulina. I had learned of many of Spirulina’s potential benefits and it sounded like a great option.
However, I then discovered there were some potential concerns surrounding Spirulina. For one, there was this idea of potential heavy metals or toxins present in Spirulina. Then, there were concerns (made by Dr. Michael Greger, a very smart who diligently looks at research and studies) on the idea that Spiurlina might have neurodegenerative effects. Namely, it could be bad for muscles, the liver and other cells. Also, there is the idea that it might contain BMAAs, which are found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. (But to be fair, some research appears to claim it recently was not found in Spirulina samples).
On top of all this, Dr. Micael Klaper and Dr. Michael Greger talk about how Spirulina, which is considered to be a plant-based source of B12 (and one of the few that are known), actually contains a pseudo-B12. A pseudo-B12 looks very similar to B12, however, there are some very slight differences that cause it to not act as B12 for us, and can actually block the reception of real B12 in the body.
Considering that B12 deficiency runs fairly high, and is even more concerning for plant-based eaters, and especially vegans, this is definitely a concern. (If you are to take Spirulina, Dr. Klaper recommends that you cycle it and have days that you don’t take it, in which you take your B12 supplements instead.) However, that sounds a little complicated and a little bit risky.
Is there a better alternative? Yep. I had a video in which I described why I stopped taking Spirulina, and my concerns about it. A few viewers commented mentioning something known as Chlorella.
After a while, I finally looked into Chlorella and was somewhat amazed at what I found. Turns out, Chlorella is very similar to Spirulina, however, it is a single-cell green algae, rather than a blue-green algae (which Spirulina is). But they look and taste very similar, they even have the same amount of protein and amino acid makeup.
However, it turns out Chlorella does not carry some of these same toxic concerns that Spirulina carries (and other blue-green algae might carry). On top of that, it actually has real B12, and is a true source of plant-based B12. In fact, research backs this up. Two separate studies on humans showed an improvement in B12 levels from taking Chlorella! That’s good news!
Oh, and wait, there’s more as well. Chlorella contains the same antioxidant benefits that Spirulina has (that’s what gives each their green color), but Chlorella has an even better nutritional profile.
First, Chlorella has more omega-3s, which is hugely important since most people don’t get enough of these. Then, Chlorella has 4 to 5 times that amount of plant-based iron. And studies have found that Chlorella works great at increasing iron levels!
Chlorella also has more other nutrients as well, having an abundance of vitamin A, which Spirulina doesn’t have, and higher levels of zinc and phosphorous. Also, Chlorella has a ton of studies done by major Universities and other sources, with huge benefits and results seen in many different areas. (See Top 10 Chlorella Benefits)
So to me, the clear choice and winner is Chlorella. I’ve started taking it, and we’ll see what happens!
Lance has been passionate about the plant-based diet and we have been following a whole food plant-based diet for over 5 years. We focus on health, natural healing, weight management, animal rights, and the health of the planet and environment by focusing on whole plant-based foods and sustainable practices.
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