Species of Chlorella
Chlorella is a natural plant including more than 20 species, and each species is different in its production method.
Well-known common species of Chlorella include C. vulgaris, C. ellipsoidea, C. saccharophila, C. pyrenoidosa, and C. regularis.
These species are used for food.
Under the species, there are strains. Strains are like varieties and brands. The composition of constituents and the effects as health food depend on the species.
The difference between Chlorella species is regarded as negligible once Chlorella is processed into tablets and health food, and yet their features remain. Many products have the same name, Chlorella, nonetheless, characteristic effects of Chlorella may not be obtained in some varieties.
Most of the Chlorella cultivated and produced in Japan are C. vulgaris, and in Taiwan, C. pyrenoidosa.
- Digestion and absorption of Chlorella -
Our yaeyama Chlorella is easily digested and absorbed because of broken cell wall preparations.
Chlorella tablets used to have an absorption rate of merely 50% to 60%, but lately, they have about an 82% absorption rate owing to the technology of drying preparations without heat.
An absorption rate of 82% probably does not give you any idea. For example, an absorption rate for regular bread and cooked rice is 80% to 85%.
These numbers show that Chlorella is comparable to common food in absorption.
C. vulgaris contains CGF (Chlorella growth factor), a physiologically active substance unique to Chlorella, and it was used as a remedy for radioactivity in the nuclear power plant accident in the former Soviet Union.
History of Chlorella
Chlorella exists since the birth of the Earth and has been reproducing for three billion years. However, since the plant is as tiny as 3 to 8 μm in size, it was not until the microscope was invented after the 19th century that Chlorella was first discovered. It was discovered by the Dutch microbiologist, Dr. Beijerinck, in 1890, and named Chlorella.
During World War I, Chlorella was cultivated in large amounts in Germany to use as a protein source. In the 1920s, Japan succeeded in cultivating a pure culture of Chlorella, and after World War II, the United States, Germany, and Japan conducted cooperative studies.
The medicinal effects of Chlorella were already confirmed after World War II, and the presence of a growth promoting factor that accelerates animal growth through the ingestion of Chlorella was revealed. NASA studied Chlorella as space food because it supplies nutrients even in small amounts.
In the 1970s, Chlorella was a huge hit in Japan, but the boom ended once because of photosensitivity incidents caused by Chlorella.
The photosensitivity incidents refer to occurrences of blisters caused by exposure to direct sunlight after ingestion of Chlorella. Because Chlorella has a tough cell wall indigestible by stomach acids, chlorophyll remains intact in the body. There is a risk that the chlorophyll in the body will react with sunlight causing blisters.
Blisters do not develop in everyone, and the occurrence is affected by the person's physical constitution. Nonetheless, it was certain that the symptoms developed after ingestion of Chlorella, and the boom died after a while. Later on, the technology of complete cell wall pulverization was developed, and Chlorella's anticancer effect was discovered. As a result, Chlorella is again attracting attention at present.