Detoxifying with Chlorella

Detoxifying with Chlorella
4.4 (87.92%) 96 votes

Chlorella is put to the test for liver disease, cholesterol, and detoxifying carcinogens.

Discuss
Republish

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Depression is a debilitating mental disorder with a severe impairment to quality of life.” The drugs don’t work particularly well, and have a bunch of side effects. So, “searching for alternative antidepressant agents with proper efficacy and safety is necessary.” Well, there is this green algae called chlorella that “has been used as a dietary supplement and alternative medicine” in Asia for centuries. Why not put it to the test?

In a randomized controlled trial of chlorella in patients with major depression, subjects were randomized to standard therapy or standard therapy plus 1800 mg of chlorella, which is about three-quarters of a teaspoon a day. And, significant improvements in “physical and cognitive symptoms of depression as well as anxiety.”

Wow! Okay, but what word is missing here? A “randomized controlled trial of chlorella.” What we want is a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Here, they compared chlorella to nothing. Half got some special treatment, and the other half got nothing; the perfect set-up for the placebo effect, especially when the measured outcomes are mostly just about how they’re subjectively feeling. Now, you could argue “Look, that much chlorella would only cost about 10 cents a day. It’s healthy for you anyway, and depression is such a serious disease. Why not just give it a try?” Okay, but I’d still like to know if it actually works or not.

This other study on chlorella I highlighted suffered from a similar problem, but at least had an objective quantifiable outcome: a “significant decrease” in liver inflammation. But, this study had no control group at all. So, maybe they would have just gotten better on their own for some reason. There’s never been a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of chlorella for liver disease…until now.

And, not just any liver disease: “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” which, thanks to the obesity pandemic, now affects one in four people on Earth. Let’s see if 1,200 mg of chlorella a day will help. That’s about a half-teaspoon, closer to just a nickel a day, and significant drops in liver inflammation, perhaps because they lost significantly more weight (about a pound a week over the eight weeks), which would explain the significant improvement in fasting blood sugars. They conclude that chlorella has “significant weight-reducing effects” with “meaningful improvements” in liver function.

How about a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study of chlorella for cholesterol? “Compared with the control group, the chlorella group exhibited remarkable changes in total cholesterol.” Wow, how much? Only 1.6%. What?! And, note they said total cholesterol. If you look at what really matters, LDL cholesterol, no effect whatsoever.

Thankfully, that’s not what other studies found. A meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials of chlorella for cholesterol, involving hundreds of subjects, found that those taking chlorella did drop their LDL, eight points on average, and even dropped their blood pressure a few points. Four grams or more a day for at least eight weeks seems to be the magic formula. That would be about tw– teaspoons a day. That’s a lot of chlorella, but if you can find a palatable way to take it, it might help.

This is the latest: a “dietary cholesterol challenge.” They had people eat three eggs a day with or without a few spoonfuls of chlorella. “In this double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 34 participants ingested 510 mg of dietary cholesterol from three eggs concomitantly with a…dose of Chlorella…or a matched placebo for 4 weeks.” Just eating the eggs alone, a 14% rise in LDL cholesterol. But, with the chlorella, significantly less. Therefore, chlorella can play “a useful role in maintaining healthy [blood] cholesterol levels.” Another way would be to not eat three eggs a day.

That reminds me of this other study “to assess the ability of Chlorella to detoxify carcinogenic [heterocyclic amines]”—the cancer-causing chemicals created when you fry, bake, broil, or barbecue meat. The chlorella did seem to lower the levels of one of the cooked-meat carcinogens flowing through their bodies, but didn’t quite reach statistical significance.

Or, what about “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons”—another class of cancer-causing compounds, found particularly in smoked meats and cigarettes, that “include…numerous genotoxic [DNA-damaging] carcinogens”? And, again, chlorella did seem to lower levels, but not significantly so. Still, if you’re going to going to have ham and eggs for breakfast or something, make sure to add lots of chlorella and make them green eggs and ham.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Philipp Alexander via Flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“Depression is a debilitating mental disorder with a severe impairment to quality of life.” The drugs don’t work particularly well, and have a bunch of side effects. So, “searching for alternative antidepressant agents with proper efficacy and safety is necessary.” Well, there is this green algae called chlorella that “has been used as a dietary supplement and alternative medicine” in Asia for centuries. Why not put it to the test?

In a randomized controlled trial of chlorella in patients with major depression, subjects were randomized to standard therapy or standard therapy plus 1800 mg of chlorella, which is about three-quarters of a teaspoon a day. And, significant improvements in “physical and cognitive symptoms of depression as well as anxiety.”

Wow! Okay, but what word is missing here? A “randomized controlled trial of chlorella.” What we want is a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Here, they compared chlorella to nothing. Half got some special treatment, and the other half got nothing; the perfect set-up for the placebo effect, especially when the measured outcomes are mostly just about how they’re subjectively feeling. Now, you could argue “Look, that much chlorella would only cost about 10 cents a day. It’s healthy for you anyway, and depression is such a serious disease. Why not just give it a try?” Okay, but I’d still like to know if it actually works or not.

This other study on chlorella I highlighted suffered from a similar problem, but at least had an objective quantifiable outcome: a “significant decrease” in liver inflammation. But, this study had no control group at all. So, maybe they would have just gotten better on their own for some reason. There’s never been a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of chlorella for liver disease…until now.

And, not just any liver disease: “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” which, thanks to the obesity pandemic, now affects one in four people on Earth. Let’s see if 1,200 mg of chlorella a day will help. That’s about a half-teaspoon, closer to just a nickel a day, and significant drops in liver inflammation, perhaps because they lost significantly more weight (about a pound a week over the eight weeks), which would explain the significant improvement in fasting blood sugars. They conclude that chlorella has “significant weight-reducing effects” with “meaningful improvements” in liver function.

How about a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study of chlorella for cholesterol? “Compared with the control group, the chlorella group exhibited remarkable changes in total cholesterol.” Wow, how much? Only 1.6%. What?! And, note they said total cholesterol. If you look at what really matters, LDL cholesterol, no effect whatsoever.

Thankfully, that’s not what other studies found. A meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials of chlorella for cholesterol, involving hundreds of subjects, found that those taking chlorella did drop their LDL, eight points on average, and even dropped their blood pressure a few points. Four grams or more a day for at least eight weeks seems to be the magic formula. That would be about tw– teaspoons a day. That’s a lot of chlorella, but if you can find a palatable way to take it, it might help.

This is the latest: a “dietary cholesterol challenge.” They had people eat three eggs a day with or without a few spoonfuls of chlorella. “In this double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 34 participants ingested 510 mg of dietary cholesterol from three eggs concomitantly with a…dose of Chlorella…or a matched placebo for 4 weeks.” Just eating the eggs alone, a 14% rise in LDL cholesterol. But, with the chlorella, significantly less. Therefore, chlorella can play “a useful role in maintaining healthy [blood] cholesterol levels.” Another way would be to not eat three eggs a day.

That reminds me of this other study “to assess the ability of Chlorella to detoxify carcinogenic [heterocyclic amines]”—the cancer-causing chemicals created when you fry, bake, broil, or barbecue meat. The chlorella did seem to lower the levels of one of the cooked-meat carcinogens flowing through their bodies, but didn’t quite reach statistical significance.

Or, what about “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons”—another class of cancer-causing compounds, found particularly in smoked meats and cigarettes, that “include…numerous genotoxic [DNA-damaging] carcinogens”? And, again, chlorella did seem to lower levels, but not significantly so. Still, if you’re going to going to have ham and eggs for breakfast or something, make sure to add lots of chlorella and make them green eggs and ham.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Philipp Alexander via Flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Here are the links to the videos I referred to: Do Antidepressant Drugs Really Work?, Best Food for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction, and Treating Hepatitis C with Chlorella.

Other than the hepatitis video, I think my only chlorella video is Preserving Athlete Immunity with Chlorella and Best Foods for Lead Poisoning: Chlorella, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Moringa?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

111 responses to “Detoxifying with Chlorella

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. I ate farm eggs for years, and liked ’em. I liked ’em a lot. I still like them, but I won’t eat them.

    Despite surviving many 3 to-6 egg days for most of my life, I won’t eat them much over 2 or 3 times per Year now (this works in my plan). At that rate, I’m not looking for any mitigating substances (aside from all the greens and fruit I eat every day/meal).

    All these _mitigants_ tend to be of the “supplement category” of processed food products- that we all know is never exactly quite what they say it is.

    I’m rather happy to get nearly all my “supplements” in their natural plant forms.

    1. Horrible, borderline criminal website. Even Joel Kahn, MD, Americas greatest cardiologist, keeps linking to it on twitter for some mysteriou$ reason.

        1. I think Sidney eats 100% organic beef and four eggs every day, if I recall some of her/his earlier posts correctly.

          This would be consistent with visiting keto/paleo websites. I am glad though that she/he comes here to learn about a very different dietary approach to nutrition and health. It shows, I think, a commendable desire to discuss nutritional issues in a constructive way. She/he may not agree with everything on this site but putting forward different ideas and third-party claims for discussion here is helpful. We all need our beliefs and opinions challenged from time to time. Sidney does that in a positive, non-confrontational way.

          1. Sorry you have the wrong Sidney. I’m an M.D. that follows a vegan diet. However, I search out nutrition info from all sources and don’t discount info just becausae the source may have different beliefs than I do. With that line of thinking, paleo types may discount everything here by just saying this is a vegan propaganda site.

    1. Sidney, most if not all (to my knowledge) of chlorella sold is grown in tanks, not wildly cultivated. I think there is a type of algae sold that is wildly cultivated but I don’t believe it’s chlorella. I believe spirulina is grown in tanks as well, typically at least, but I know less about it however Dr. Greger advises against spirulina due to reasons explained in one of his past videos on the subject.

    2. Sidney,

      Dr Greger differentiated between the kind you would find in a pond, and the kind you find at the health food store.

      One can be harmful and one can be helpful.

      You are right that there are harmful types out there, but it isn’t the same.

  2. That is odd, the very last video has this ‘doctor’ recommending people eat pistachios for sleep and there was not ever a ‘randomized placebo-controlled trial’ of pistachios ever working for sleep.

    Yet today he states “Look, that much chlorella would only cost about 10 cents a day. It’s healthy for you anyway, and depression is such a serious disease. Why not just give it a try?” Okay, but I’d still like to know if it actually works or not.

    Consistency matters in every profession to be accepted as credible.

    1. Nobody can say that you aren’t consistent Jimbo.

      You appear to have missed the point, though. The point was the amount of melatonin in food. You don’t use randomised trials to determine the levels of melatonin (or anything else) in foods.

      1. Margaret,

        Sorry that the pistachios didn’t help. If you had been on Melatonin before the pistachios, maybe keep trying them, because your body produces less of it for a while.

        You can try things like pineapple, bananas, soy milk, oranges and decaf green tea. Those increase melatonin, possibly by increasing serotonin, which is what your body uses to make melatonin. Or the 1/3 cup of cranberries.

        Mostly, lower your saturated fats, increase your fiber, lower your sugars. lower your caffeine and be careful what you eat near bedtime.

        Unfortunately, Melatonin doesn’t help 2 out of 3 people either and the 1 out of 3 it helps, it often only helps for a few days and only helps them fall asleep 3.9 to 7 minutes faster and they only sleep 8 to 11 minutes longer and with those meager results, they get raised blood pressure and raised blood sugar and could get diabetes.

        Okay, I think that is my take on what I have tried to learn over these past few days. Either way, the Melatonin pills can cause you to have the metabolic syndrome problems similar to working the night shift and they have higher mortality issues.

    2. Jimbo, I’m getting the impression that your only intention posting at this site is to be as critical as possible.
      I don’t expect anyone to agree all the time, but criticism should be helpful and constructive.
      What gives, what’s your agenda?

  3. LOL. Good one. Several studies covered and, essentially, no conclusive net benefit from chorella (and, assuming you can find chlorella which is verifiably safe to begin with.

    But we’re onto Dr Greger on this one … he did the video solely for the punch line.

    1. 1200 mg chlorella has beneficial effects for lower weight, serum glucose levels, inflammatory biomarkers & liver function in people with NAFLD.

      Ebrahimi-Mameghani, M., Sadeghi, Z., Abbasalizad Farhangi, M., Vaghef-Mehrabany, E., & Aliashrafi, S. (2017). Glucose homeostasis, insulin resistance and inflammatory biomarkers in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Beneficial effects of supplementation with microalgae Chlorella vulgaris : A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition, 36(4), 1001–1006. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2016.07.004

      Safety
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/latest-on-blue-green-algae/

          1. Dr. Greger,

            There are just plain miserable people who might not be eating enough vegetables to be nice to you.

            They are good for you because they will get you to dot every “i” and cross every “t” but they are just never going to be pleased and I know that is hard for people like you to understand.

            Keep smiling and keep on track.

            It is the back-to-school season now and half of the 7-year-olds are trying to learn how to not let the mean kids get them off track.

            You are saving people’s lives in so many languages already.

            I celebrate that with you every single day!

            You keep going!

            1. Deb, you’re an inspiration in how to deal with mean people, and you put in a lot of effort to add positively to this site. I echo your thanks to Dr. Greger and the team for this informative and free site. To the small handful of mischief makers who pop up on this site, may I suggest that you internalize your whinging and if you don’t like this site, then don’t download it! The majority of people are grateful for this science informed site, and would like to learn/discuss, without interruptions from career disruptors.

              1. Thanks Treadlightly!

                I try to be positive.

                You won’t understand this, but as a young person, I was so dark on the inside.

                Lacking every positive neurotransmitter and nutrient and having way too high blood sugar maybe?

                People who lash out, usually are dark on the inside.

                I didn’t lash out at other people, I was suicidal, but I can’t really even get back near that darkness now.

                I can just recognize it in other people.

                Anyone who would pick on a smiling doctor who is giving free information needs to eat more vegetables.

                Some of you won’t understand what it is like, but I genuinely do.

                1. Here is one for nutrition and mental health

                  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

                  “When we take a close look at the diet of depressed people, an interesting observation is that their nutrition is far from adequate. They make poor food choices and selecting foods that might actually contribute to depression. Recent evidence suggests a link between low levels of serotonin and suicide.[5] It is implicated that lower levels of this neurotransmitter can, in part, lead to an overall insensitivity to future consequences, triggering risky, impulsive and aggressive behaviors which may culminate in suicide, the ultimate act of inwardly directed impulsive aggression.”

                  1. Or maybe anger and nutrition is a more appropriate topic.

                    Too low carbs? Too many donuts?

                    “For instance, leading research shows a diet very low in carbohydrates may increase anger. The theory is drastically limiting carbs may interfere with the brain’s ability to synthesize serotonin, which helps boost mood and has a calming effect. When it comes to carbohydrates, eating healthy sources, such as vegetables and whole grains is your best bet.

                    Getting the right amount of certain nutrients may also prevent anger. For example, according to American Nutrition Association, some studies indicate a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids may lead to anger and depression. In addition to all the other health benefits of omega-3, such as decreasing inflammation, it may also tame your temper. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds.

                    Additionally, a diet high in trans fat may interfere with how the body metabolizes omega-3 fatty acid. University studies indicated participates who ate a diet high in trans fats had higher levels of aggression.� Besides raising bad cholesterol levels, trans fat may also increase how quick you are to anger. That gives you another reason to limit foods high in trans-fat, such as fried foods, cookies and donuts.”

                    1. Anyway, here is an incentive for all of us to not get angry about it.

                      From this site: http://www.medcentral.org/Main/StaywellProducts/Anger-Can-Raise-Cholesterol-Levels-294.aspx

                      “Anger Can Raise Cholesterol Levels
                      When someone cuts you off on a busy highway, do you pound the steering wheel in fury and shout at the driver? Or do you swallow your anger and dwell on it later?

                      Either way, you’re not being kind to your heart, researchers say.

                      If you respond to every anger-inducing situation by blowing your stack or by holding it in, you could be setting yourself up for serious heart problems.

                      Why? It’s simple. According to Ohio State University researchers, there’s evidence that people who respond rigidly to anger-provoking events are likely to wind up with significantly elevated levels of artery-damaging cholesterol.

                      Experts suggest that the best response to anger-provoking situations is to be creative and flexible. It’s important to turn off the anger as soon as possible to reduce its physiological effects.

                      In subjects who always reacted to an anger-provoking situation in the same negative way, researchers found levels of “bad” or LDL cholesterol ranked higher, regardless of whether they expressed the anger or held it in.

                      Researchers also found that those who were flexible, but who hid their anger slightly more often than showing it, had the lowest levels of “bad” and total cholesterol.

                      Why does intense anger trigger the release of lipids (fats) from the tissues into the bloodstream? The body releases the fatty substances for energy as part of its “fight or flight” survival response to perceived danger.

                      In some situations, the healthiest response is to insist quietly on your rights, which will soon defuse the anger. Still, remain under control and don’t become aggressive.

                      Other survival-threatening situations (such as being chewed out by the boss) must be endured in silence until you can slip away to burn off the negative energy, perhaps through a brisk walk or some vigorous kick-boxing.”

    2. Hmmm, a lot of similar critical posts right after one another here, kind of suspicious… the same person perhaps? Not that people can’t criticize but in this case the criticism seems pointless and just criticizing for the sake of it.

    3. You see, here’s the thing, we are onto you, because you did that comment solely for the mean-spirited punch-line.

      Dr Greger covers common things, which people supplement with whether there is a statistical benefit or a negative consequence.

      So many people are taking chlorella and it is useful understanding what the current research is.

      I don’t know why you are angry and why you want to hurt Dr Greger, but his work is focused on helping people and you are focused on trying to harm someone who is helping people.

      1. The thing about this community is that if you want yo bring constructive comments, they will be welcome, but you have anger issues and need to examine yourself.

  4. The similarities in the words and color prompt me to ask if there is a relationship between chlorella and chlorophyl? I’ve been putting drops of chlorophyll in my tea daily and am wondering if any benefits accrue from doing that?

    1. Lonie, chlorophyll is what makes plants and algae green — it’s involved in photosynthesis, one type of the pigments in the energy capture from sunlight.

      “Chlorella is a genus of single-celled green algae belonging to the division Chlorophyta. It is spherical in shape, about 2 to 10 μm in diameter, and is without flagella. Chlorella contains the green photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll-a and -b in its chloroplast. Through photosynthesis, it multiplies rapidly, requiring only carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, and a small amount of minerals to reproduce.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorella

      1. Thanks Dr J. Just was hoping someone knew of comparative research.
        —————————————————————————————————
        Dr J asked: Lonie, I should have added that you get chlorophyll every time you eat green veggies. I don’t know why it would be added to tea; did you research that?
        ————————————————————————————-
        No, did not research the adding of chlorphyll to my tea… just an intuitive way of increasing green leaf adjunct to my already adulterated variety of teas.

        That is, I may add bergamot drops, clove drops, occasionally lavender and/or chamomile, oregano drops and lately even vanilla. On the rare occasion I’ll also add some liquid green mint.

    2. Lonie, It seems that the brand of chlorophyll matters, probably because nobody knows if what is in the supplement products is actually what is on the label.

      A few years ago we were in Santa Fe, at 7,000′. My husband was plagued with daily headaches and not feeling well at all because of the altitude, as he had in Ecuador and other high altitude trips we’d made. The desk clerk at our hotel gave him a bottle of drops which I think was named called Chlor-Oxygen. It said right on the label that it increases red blood cells. Within two days the headaches were gone. He bought a bottle at Whole Foods and never suffered any further with altitudes throughout our lengthy trip. It must have helped him in other ways, because he wanted to continue taking it at home, which is at sea level. But he didn’t find that brand locally, so he bought another and it didn’t help him at all. Then he found the Chlor-Oxygen and felt better taking it.

      I know this is a pretty sketchy report, with only my husband as a tiny example, but I think it does point out that some supplements contain what they say they do and therefore help, and many don’t. I’m sure he wouldn’t go to Mt Rainier or Denver or any other high mountain area without taking the Chlor-Oxygen for a few days before the trip, and continuing while we were traveling.

      1. Rebecca said:
        I know this is a pretty sketchy report, with only my husband as a tiny example, but I think it does point out that some supplements contain what they say they do and therefore help, and many don’t. I’m sure he wouldn’t go to Mt Rainier or Denver or any other high mountain area without taking the Chlor-Oxygen for a few days before the trip, and continuing while we were traveling.
        ———————————————————————————————————–
        Rebecca, thanks for your post. I remember as a child my family was vacationing in the Rocky Mountains around Durango CO. My dad became a little loopy and even had temporary amnesia.

        Went to a Dr. there and he wrote it off to high blood pressure effect. After reading your experience I think it may have been more what your husband experienced.

        Hope this may offer a solution to others who possibly encounter this condition.

        1. Lonie,

          You are probably right about your father’s condition being related to the altitude.

          https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199905063401819

          It is fascinating when the professionals in places with high altitude don’t know the symptoms of high altitude on tourists.

          One of my trips cross country, my friend and I had the car break down related to altitude 3 times and not one of the 3 garages knew about altitude problems and they couldn’t figure it out. The good part was that it was in Wyoming and all three garages worked on the car for a half hour, couldn’t figure it out, but they all nicely didn’t charge a penny and said, “We will catch you next time.” and I laugh when I say that, because they probably do get people coming back a second time.

          Each State has its own personalities. Each time I went to Northern California, the restaurant had a group of women trying to talk a young woman out of adultery, then you cross into Oregon and the people whistle when they are pumping your gas. Wyoming, it was “Catch you next time” and Montana, we went into a diner and every other seat was taken and not one person said one word or interacted with each other at time. An alternating seat packed place and all you could hear were the utensils hitting the plates.

          1. My favorite line from the article was: “The next morning, the climber appeared startled and confused. Though alert, he was unable to recall the date, the location, or his purpose for being on a volcano.”

            I went through something like that at Chamonix, Mount Blanc. I was on a cable car and passed out and when I woke up, my friend had already exited and I was in something which looked like a small room, surrounded by strangers speaking all sorts of languages and I thought, “Wow, I must have gone to Europe or something.” and I had been in Europe for months.

  5. I enjoyed this video immensely – lots of good information in this one. I appreciate Dr Greger taking the time to point out the various ways in which scientific trials are well designed, or not, as the case may be.

    As far as the chlorella goes, I am of the same frame of mind as Wade (in his comment, above) re supplements, even whole food derived processed ones. Either the wfpb eating style ‘works’ for me or it doesnt. I can’t afford supplements or add-ons … heck, can’t afford food either – fruit and vegies are expensive. That being said, The study with chlorella re non alcoholic fatty liver disease IS really interesting. A lot went on with that study.. lower inflammation in the liver, weight loss, improved fasting blood sugars, … that’s great ! And, if it did help depression and anxiety along the way, bonus!

    Thank you Dr Greger !

    1. I can’t afford supplements or add-ons … heck, can’t afford food either – fruit and veggies are expensive.

      Barb, That is how I feel, too.

    1. AR, after searching around today, these two brands stood out for me re quality and price. They are probably sourced from the same chlorella supplier. They independently test each batch. I have nothing to do with these companies or supplement sales anywhere. There are labs that for a subscription fee will show you their test results too if you feel you need accurate and detailed info.
      Good luck!

      https://biofinest.com/en/home/433-chlorella-powder-broken-cell-wall-organic-superfood.html

      https://organictraditions.com/us/chlorella-powder.html

  6. Love it, love it, love it! it’s a win on all levels. I am going out to get some because, just like Barb said, can’t lose (unless one is allergic or intolerant I guess). Hope I find a good one.

    Thanks Dr. Greger and team!

    A proud and healthy monthly supporter of Nutritionfacts.org :)

    1. “I am going out to get some because, just like Barb said, can’t lose (unless one is allergic or intolerant I guess).
      – – – –

      Trouble is, we won’t know if we’re allergic/intolerant until we dive in to find out. Which I haven’t done, as yet.

  7. I drink pure cocoa (no additives) daily. I was alarmed to read recently that chocolate, esp dark chocolate, are contaminated w/heavy metals. Has this been proven? Does anyone know which cocoas/dark chocolate are esp ‘dirty’?

    Cocoaholic

    1. As You Sow made a study several years ago and published a list of the more “dangerous” brands. (You can go to their website.) I wrote to both Lindt and Chirarelli, and they of course claimed they are very diligent about testing all their chocolates.

      Brave soul that I am, I still have a few squares of one or the other brand for dessert after evening meal. One hopes what’s on the market nowadays is relatively safe(r).

      1. The problem with Lindt is their chocolate is processed with alkali, which, to me, gives their chocolate an unpleasant taste. That also lowers the benefit of the cocoa. I have some Ghiradelli at 92% and 100% cacao that tastes better to me. But then I love the taste of pure cacao. I tend to crave bitters anyway.

          1. YR posted:
            I hope this is another bullshit “study”. I didn’t see a link to the research:

            https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-bad-looks-good/201801/do-psychopaths-crave-dark-chocolate-bittersweet-new-study

            I not only like dark chocolate (albeit no higher than 86%)
            —————————————————————————-
            YR, I think the article in the link you posted probably does qualify as just another bullshirt “study.”

            It comes across to me as a shock and awe shucks kinda thing not meant to be taken seriously. Psychiatry is becoming less relevant nowadays so they gotta do something to draw attention.

            Like you I eat the Ghirardelli brand of dark chocolate but I eat the 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips. Keep them in the ice box ‘-) and pop about 10 in my mouth throughout the day.

            1. Lonie, if you eat the no-darker than 60% chocolate — which might be considered “sweet” — according to the nut-job article, you’re a well-adjusted normie. :-)

              1. Yr, I also like my coffee black, actually add raw cacao powder to it. I asked my daughter if she would like to taste it, she did- asked if I was trying to poison her. My son laughed and said, “I told you, you can’t taste bitter Mom.”
                I think he figured it out, some people do taste foods differently than others. But, one study claimed that people who like bitters are healthier if that’s any consolation.
                My impression about these authors is that they are desperate for attention. Or maybe want an excuse to be a sugarholic? :-D

                1. Marilyn, that’s hilarious. I actually think it’s an adjustment though, or at least can be based on my experience. I noticed that the longer I was on a WFPB diet and ate things like raw cacao powder and strong tea etc. I actually developed a taste for strong things and love a strong cup of black coffee! I even like hot cacao without any sweetener, I actually enjoy the strong dark taste now. I didn’t used to be that way, I remember thinking black coffee was disgusting and didn’t care for coffee in general.

                1. This is a good link, Deb. It’s interesting that I like grapefruit juice better than orange juice, too. Alcoholic beverages don’t interest me at all, so I rarely go there. Only for a big celebration of some kind….and only one drink. *hic*

                  We’re told not to drink grapefruit juice if we take prescription drugs, but as I don’t take those things, no worries in that department.

                  They recently had a “finding” making the internet rounds about being a psychopath if we find a certain dark humor hilarious. Or was it highly intelligent? No, I think it was psychopath. But that’s another off-topic. :-)

            1. I actually was pondering a person who I genuinely think might be a serial killer at the time and James Fallon recommended some books.

              Back to the whole bitter thing. I hate bitter coffee. I am a type of princess and the pea with bitter in my coffee.

              I don’t mind dark roasted, but coffee takes on the soil flavors and some of them taste like cigarettes and some taste worse than cigarettes and I ended up having to do a whole study on coffee to actually figure out which kind to buy and how to heat the water and how to grind it and store it and which type of machine would not make it bitter and nothing worked, except switching to lattes.

  8. Pure Chlorella™
    Chlorella is a nutrient-dense freshwater green algae that supports digestive health, including the gut microbiome. This superfood promotes a healthy immune system and encourages natural detoxification. Vital Plan’s 100% USDA Certified Organic Chlorella pyrenoidosa has cracked cell walls to encourage nutrient absorption.*

    Supports digestive health*
    Supports immune function*
    Supports the gut microbiome*
    Tablets

      1. Still cool to know there’s trace amounts of B12 in things. Apparently dried nori or at least dried purple nori also contains B12. Of course I supplement with B12 on a weekly dose, but I like the idea of getting extra even in tiny amounts in other things in-between.

    1. I believe that this claim is based on a single open-label study of a specific brand of chlorella
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26485478

      Open label trials have some specific weaknesses. Even ignoring this, it is probably unwise for vegetarians (and anybody over 50 for that matter) to rely on B12 from foods including chlorella.
      http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/12/767/htm

      For one thing, some vegetables/plants may contain inactive B12 analogues that present as vitamin B12 in assays.
      https://veganhealth.org/vitamin-b12-analogues/

  9. I have an unrelated question for the staff. Do you have any articles on Natto powder (K2) (you can buy it from Korea) on the impact to osteoporosis? Thanks!

  10. I used to not be able to stand the taste (but did so anyway) but I drank it mixed straight in water a few times and every time I would just tell myself that it was an amazing thing (because algae is!) and I was lucky to have it and I would think of nature and the water and I actually started to enjoy the taste of it just plain in water… it’s not like “mmm, chlorella!” but it tastes “beautiful” and reminds of nature and water.

    I do make sure I don’t get it form China though or through distributors who get from multiple manufacturers or sometimes from ANOTHER distributor who gets from multiple manufacturers so they don’t know where or how the hell the actual product is grown or processed. So I’m careful to get from a trusted source which means the more expensive stuff, but considering the tiny amounts I take (I’ve been taking a tsp), it’s actually extremely cheap on a daily basis. The trusted brands I know of so far are CleanChlorella, Sunfood, and there’s another good brand but I can’t quite remember their name and you can’t buy directly through them.

    Lastly, two of my cats (the two biological siblings, interestingly) go crazy over chlorella tablets. And this is anecdotal, but one of my cats had an injury that was taking forever to heal, I offered her some chlorella powder and she ate about a half-1 full teaspoon a day a few days in a row and her wound scabbed over and healed extremely quick. Oddly, after that she stopped wanting the chlorella but tried a little and then threw it up which happened again another time so I stopped giving it to her so I wonder if she developed an allergy. But the wound thing lead me to wonder if the chlorophyl didn’t resolve the issue or something else or many compounds in the chlorella, but also if there is anything to the whole “chlorella growth factor” thing and if so… what the hell is the chlorella growth factor anyway?

  11. Pleas don’t take chlorella. I took it for months, maybe 1/2 tsp a day and felt good for a while. Then months later, I experienced depressive dips in my mental energy and initiative. That stopped after I quit chlorella. I later learned something from medical medium, which may have explained things.

    Chlorella does latch on to body toxins. However it doesn’t hold them long enough to exit the body–it just drops them off somewhere else in your system.

    1. Carl, where is the evidence on that? Here’s one example of why anecdotal claims aren’t a reliable source of information… Contrary to you, I’ve been taking chlorella for years in a row on a daily basis, look and feel great probably would anyway because I eat a WFPB diet but I appreciate the addition and I like to include a lot of variety (how often to I get to eat algae?). I’m healthy and doing great and health has improved in lots of ways, wouldn’t know what the chlorella did or didn’t contribute to because as I said, my entire diet is made up of healing plant foods. So see, people have different experiences resulting in no resolution and when someone’s health declines or improves, assuming it’s one thing that is the cause is only an assumption until it’s put to the test which is more difficult to do when you consider all the factors such as the placebo effect and so many others. Plus, I would imagine it’s incredibly important to get from a trusted source so that you know you’re getting clean and safe brand that isn’t adulterated and so on.

    1. I like Clean Chlorella and get their SL (the one grown in sunlight). From my understanding, chlorella grown in Taiwan is the purest but it isn’t grown in sunlight, the second purest is grown in Japan and is grown in sunlight. Clean Chlorella offers both, I prefer the sunlight because of the vague references to “chlorella growth factor” (whatever the hell that is, but it sounds nice). Sunfood is another brand I trust and they offer the Taiwan grown in tablet form. The tablets are just the pressed powder, nothing added. I put mine in smoothies but sometimes drink it just mixed in water. The tablets would be easy to swallow like pills if someone absolutely despises the taste even blended in smoothies – my cats LOVE the taste. Clean Chlorella has both powder and tablets.

      I used to get from another company because I asked where it was grown and how it was processed and it met my specifications, but THEN I found out that it turned out that was just at that MOMENT because they were the distributers and they got their chlorella from some other distributor who they were not allowed to name and not only did that distributor not always disclose where their chlorella was from and how it was grown which was ever changing, but I wasn’t allowed to contact them to find out because as I said the company I bought through wasn’t permitted to give that info. That kind of lack of transparency is bullshit and happens all the time. So important to get from a trusted company that actually knows where their product is from, etc. And I always make sure to go through companies that test for purity.

      1. Also based on what I’ve read, China grown chlorella is the most contaminated even the organic stuff from China compared to non-organic from other places. I have no links to evidence on this but this is what I learned when searching for a good chlorella.

      2. Hi Shaylen I was checking out Clean Chlorella and one serving is 25 tablets?!?!? So do I have to actually consume 25 tablets? That’s so much!

        1. No problem, Mary! I have no idea to be honest because I get their powder. I’m not sure I take the full serving size that they recommend, I actually just take 1 tsp of the powder and sometimes less. What I would do is just see how many grams is in the tablets and figure out how many would equal a half a tsp or tsp or however much you want to take. The doses are recommended in this video so I would stick to that and not worry about how much the company says to take.

          Good luck!

            1. No problem! I got some of my info wrong (I was going by memory). So from my understanding, the purest chlorella is grown in South Korea but the purest chlorella grown in sunlight is grown in Taiwan, these are the two types Clean Chlorella sells and Sunfood gets their chlorella from South Korea.

  12. Um, with how much the doctor rightfully likes placebo controlled trials why are the results of the placebo control intentionally ignored in the liver study?
    The study showed no statistically significant improvement in liver enzyme levels when compared to the placebo group, the P value highlighted in the video was that for the non-placebo controlled calculation. Both groups improved and there was no significant difference between the two by standard measure [P under or equal to 0.05].
    To make it simple to see, its the P value column on the right that is the placebo controlled results. ‘Before’ should have a high P value, ideally near 1.00 to show the groups were well matched and “MD” [mean difference after] should be at or below 0.05 to believe chlorella had any effect on that variable. ALT and AST are enzymes released by liver damage, FSG is fasting serum glucose.

    The liver study only showed improvement in weight and blood glucose.

    1. Totally agree–only inter-group significant differences were with weight loss and blood sugar control. That’s why I showed the whole chart and had the video designers highlight the P-values in the appropriate columns but I should have made it clearer. A similar intra- but not inter- group effect was found for c-reactive protein (data not shown).

      1. Dr. Greger,

        I highly, highly, highly respect you and just want to say that I appreciate you answering questions like the one you just answered.

        The ones I would like to see moderated would be the ones which were just commented to bully you, like the specific comment near the top where there was a mocking laugh and a rude comment. I am not talking about a concept of monitoring every rude comment because some of them have something of substance. I just would like to see pure bullying comments to not be tolerated.

        It is your site and I am not going to tell you what to do because you are doing an excellent job at all of it.

        That specific comment is the one I point to.

        1. I genuinely love that you take the time to have a sense of humor in your videos.

          This Summer, I had an 8-year-old tell my 7-year-old pal that she would no longer be playing with her and that she no longer laughs because she is older now.

          Some people hate humor by the time they are 8 years old and my relatives who lived into the 90’s all laughed until they cried regularly.

          I understand that you are an entertainer, along with being this doctor with such an amazing world vision, and that people get sick of entertainment even, but you have made the science accessible to people like me.

          1. I am not trying to be inconsistent asking for that.

            I feel like bullying is a good type of comment to draw a line at.

            I differentiate between gruff personalities expressing frustration and classic mocking you as a doctor.

            1. And if the IP address shows that people have one fake identity, which tells what they really think, then, just having a goal of disrupting the community out of contempt would be about the time I would probably ban people, not out of lack of compassion, but to preserve an atmosphere of learning.

  13. In a number of your videos you show research that points out lower cholesterol has positive health consequences. In the discussion between Dr. Bredensen and Dr. Mark Hyman they point out that low cholesterol (about 14:05) are problematic for memory issues. The whole video is Cliff notes style info on a complex topic but they are both not keen on carbohydrates. Just wondering what your thoughts are, I know increasing numbers of people with memory issues.

    1. There are conflicting studies on it. We have discussed here before that at least one of the studies was using elderly population whose cholesterol had dropped because they were at the end-of-life process of not eating much anymore and were losing weight, which is attributed to lower cholesterol, even if comes from starvation.

      Here are sentences from PubMed

      “The human cholesterol literature is no less complex. Reductions in cholesterol levels using statins having been found to be effective in improving learning and memory in some cases but not in others. Similarly, there is a great deal of controversy over whether statins can help alleviate the problems with learning and memory found in Alzheimer’s disease. Correlations of cholesterol levels with cognitive function have been found to be positive, negative, or to have no relationship at all. Association studies of cholesterol and cognition have found some genetic polymorphisms to be related to cognitive functions whereas others have not.

      What is clear from all of these experiments is that cholesterol is critical to learning and memory and disturbances in cholesterol levels, synthesis or metabolism have significant consequences. These disturbances appear to have a range of direct and indirect effects. Although dietary cholesterol does not cross the BBB we have seen that there are a range of consequences of increasing cholesterol including significant peripheral pathology that may signal the brain along a number of different pathways including cholesterol metabolites, pro-inflammatory mediators and antioxidant processes. In cases where attempts have been made to model the complexity of these myriad effects, results have been difficult to interpret.”

      1. Here is an analysis from human studies:

        “Results suggest the effect of Total Cholesterol on dementia risk occurs in midlife but not late-life, and that there may be different cardiovascular risk factor profiles for AD and VaD.”

        So if you are middle age, you need to watch your Cholesterol. If you are very elderly, and you have dementia, it is likely that you may have stopped eating and caused the numbers to look like you are low Cholesterol, even if you had high Cholesterol your whole life.

      2. Here is the wording from the study I believe they used: “In oldest old nondemented noncarriers of the APOE4 allele, high cholesterol is associated with better memory function. Further examination of the role of APOE genotype on the association between cholesterol and cognitive performance, especially in the oldest old is warranted.”

        Unless there is another one.

        1. But the oldest of the old people don’t tend to be eating like they did all of their lives.

          I have done a lot of caretaking and the last few years of life tend to not be anything like the rest of the years.

          People lose their taste buds and they lose weight.

          Weight loss equals lower cholesterol.

          1. Unless they can go back 20 years with one whole nursing home’s records and see that the ones who had high cholesterol in their 50’s are the ones who live to be the most elderly, I don’t think it has bearing on what people should be doing as young adults or middle age.

            The logic changes in the oldest of old.

            Same with my dog.

            Two years ago, longevity was based on him being proper weight even if that meant losing weight. Now, at the end of his life, longevity is based on him not losing weight.

  14. Dear Dr. Greger,

    As a result of your daily information on video and blog, I have become more educated and I thank you. My husband and I now drink a “magic potion” every morning that has greatly contributed to our good health. It includes: 1 tsp. Amla, 1 tsp. organic chlorella, 1 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes, 1/4 tsp. Tumeric, 1/4 tsp. dried ginger, and a couple of dashes of pepper in a glass of water (about 1-1/2c) We have been very healthy, my LDL has gone down as have my liver enzymes. We both exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables as well as beans than ever before. We are maintaining a healthy weight. In all, we are happier and healthier than we have been in a long time. We are 74 and 70 years old and now we are trying to influence our adult children as we would wish them to outlive us!! Thank you so much. Keep up the GREAT work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This