Chlorella is a blue-green algae thriving in freshwater. It is known to have large amounts of chlorophyll, the pigment used by green plants for energy creation. Chlorella benefits are still being investigated today, but did you know that it is already popular in countries like Japan and is commercially available inn powder and capsule forms?
Did you also know that it was explored decades ago as a “superfood” that can help meet the food demands of the world, which then was believed to be on the road to starvation?
Chlorella Research in the 1940s and 50s
During the late 1940s to 50s, there had been global fears of an unprecedented population boom. Chlorella was among those seen as a new and highly promising primary food source, a potential solution to the world hunger crisis. Chlorella was believed to be a way to end this crisis because it is an abundant high-quality food that is available at a relatively low price.
Scientific research on this alga began with institutions like the Rockefeller Foundation, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Institution, and Stanford University conducting their own studies.
Starvation in Europe in World War I happened, and it was attributed not only to the war, but also the world’s inability to produce enough food to support the growing population. The world, according to an FAO report in 1946, would need to create 25 to 35 percent more food in 1960 than in 1939 to meet the increasing population’s demand. Health improvements, on the other hand, would require a 90 to 100 percent increase.
Meat was hard to come by (because it is costly and energy-intensive in production), so a potential issue was protein shortage.
An unexploited sea resource during the post-war population boom in the United States and the world was chlorella, which grows in warm, sunny, and shallow conditions and is 50 percent protein when dried. It also contains fat and vitamins, and its photosynthetic efficiency allows it to yield more protein than any other plant per unit area. A scientist even predicted that 10,000 tons of protein every year could be obtained with only 20 workers staffing a 1,000-acre chlorella farm.
The Stanford research was widely covered by the media, and algae researchers even hoped to add a neutralized version of chlorella powder to conventional foods and products to fortify them with vitamins and minerals.
Science News Letter lauded the results of the research, saying that future populations will be kept from starving because of the “production of improved or educated algae related to the green scum on ponds.” Science Digest also reported that it would potentially “become the world’s most important agricultural crop.”
Since then chlorella had been promoted as a superfood, although the world food problem of that era was addressed through targeting heightened crop efficiency and not producing more of the alga.
Chlorella has been able to retain its superfood status – added to many food products and processed into a nutritional supplement.
The Kind of Organic Chlorella You Should Get
You should know, though, that there is a way to unlock chlorella’s true potential. The cell wall surrounding chlorella is indigestible – it needs to be broken for you to reap chlorella benefits. There is a unique process that breaks open its cell wall, and its milling process is done under very specific conditions to eliminate light and heat and work toward nutrient preservation.
If you decide to supplement with chlorella, choose one not just if offers a higher per-tablet dosage, but because it rates well in digestibility and absorbability.
As for dosage, it is best to work your way up to five tablets per day. Only a small number of individuals may experience an allergic reaction, usually less than one percent. If you see any allergic symptoms, stop until your symptoms clear. Restart at the lower dose afterwards.
Sabrina Cooper is a blogger who features different aspects of holistic health and wellness. She personally handpicks and uses every product she reviews, including chlorella and other nutritional supplements.
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