While nettle is my favorite superfood, cyanobacteria are not far behind. Two cyanobacteria that are readily available commercially, and can be grown and processed at home are spirulina and chlorella . Both are nutrient dense, loaded with protein and chlorophyll. They are both potent detoxifiers. These cyanobacteria, often incorrectly called “blue-green algae”, also have the added bonus of being potentially being used for biodiesel.
The Benefits of Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is the green chemical in plants that allow sunlight to be converted to energy. When consumed by humans, it has some unique benefits. The first one that most people notice when taking supplemental chlorophyll is a decrease in body odors. It is often called an “internal deodorant”. All body odors including from bad breath, underarm odor, sweat, and even human waste are diminished. A study of 62 geriatric patients demonstrated that the ingestion of chlorophyll reduced body and fecal odors.
The method by which chlorophyll accomplishes this is not known. Theories about its detoxification properties being responsible, as well as chlorophyll’s ability to lessen post-meal blood sugar spikes, have been offered up as potential explanations. There is the position that without being able to explain the process, then there’s no evidence of it working.
However, I have never known anyone who has taken spirulina or chlorella and did not have a some reduction in odors. I’ve taken them and had my odors diminish. Some women take it to reduce the odors associated with menstruation, which can include more than menstrual materials, but also a change in sweat and underarm odor due to fluctuating hormones. Chlorophyll may also help reduce the odors associated with feet, wounds, and stress. Stress hormones can change the chemical makeup of sweat in a truly foul-smelling way.
Some people take advantage of the blood glucose stabilizing properties to assist with weight loss and type 2 diabetes management. Considering that these algae can be cultivated at home using aquarium equipment, it makes sense for those who are looking for alternatives for diabetes treatment in a post-collapse scenario.
Spirulina and Chlorella Benefits
Spirulina has some interesting studies from post-Chernobyl survivors. Spirulina was administered to children to treat nausea, as well as to workers who helped to clean up after the disaster. It is high in iodine, which can help protect the thyroid from the harmful effects of a nuclear accident.
In addition to helping the body recover from radiation, a review of pre-clinical trials on spirulina documents,
Many pre-clinical studies and a few clinical studies suggest several therapeutic effects ranging from reduction of cholesterol and cancer to enhancing the immune system, increasing intestinal lactobacilli, reducing nephrotoxicity by heavy metals and drugs and radiation protection.
Two more important points to bring up about spirulina are:
- Spirulina is one of the only non-animal sources of B12 available.
- Spirulina can help people suffering from arsenic poisoning.
Chlorella is very similar to spirulina. Chlorella is also nutrient dense, but where spirulina is almost 80% protein, chlorella is only 20% protein. However, chlorella is a better source of chlorophyll, and can detox a body from heavy metal poisoning. Like spirulina, chlorella also helps to keep blood glucose stable after a meal.
One isn’t really better than the other, and taking both together gets you the best of both worlds. The correct dosage depends largely on the issue at hand. Is it arsenic poisoning? Mercury poisoning? Concerned about cancer or cancer treatments? Just want to keep the body running well? Anywhere from a half teaspoon to 4 teaspoons per day (2-8 capsules) per day would be appropriate for most concerns, closer to a half teaspoon to maintain health, and closer to 4 teaspoons for helping to support the body in ridding itself of heavy metals. Just build up gradually to prevent intestinal distress.
How to Take Spirulina and Chlorella
However, there is one major drawback. Both of these powders smell and taste (I imagine) like something that crawled out of the sewer.
I have found two ways to address this.
- Encapsulate a 50/50 mixture of spirulina and chlorella, bypassing the smell and taste.
- Hide the powders in a protein shake or smoothie.
Making a shake is a good option for those who cannot swallow capsules, and most people like chocolate. I make a shake with milk, cocoa powder (or a chocolate-flavored protein powder), bananas, honey, cinnamon, and up to a teaspoon of the powders. This can mask the flavor, color, and smell fairly well, especially if your cocoa or protein powder has a strong chocolate flavor.
Be aware that encapsulation of spirulina and chlorella is as tricky as charcoal. They are just as fine a powder as activated charcoal, so skip using the tamper.