When your mind starts to leave you, you’re powerless in a profound way. It’s why Alzheimer’s and dementia are so scary.
Tragically, medicine offers few answers for these diseases.
None of the drugs used for dementia actually stop memory loss. They only seem to slow the progression a little bit. And these drugs come with side effects like gastrointestinal problems that usually make it hard for people to keep using them at the recommended dosage.
In sharp contrast, when it comes to strategies for keeping your brain sharp, natural health has many more satisfying answers. And chlorella is showing promise as one of these natural solutions…
Proven Brain Power Boost From Chlorella
For a while we’ve known chlorella may help fend off memory loss.
In 1989, the Kanazawa Medical College Department of Serology, conducted a study to find out if chlorella would be effective in keeping your memory sharp. A total of 49 men and women were selected for the study. All of them were experiencing memory loss. The participants divided into a control group, and a group receiving ten chlorella tablets and one “cup” of extract three times daily. The chlorella was administered for a six-month period.
More than two-thirds of the participants benefited from chlorella supplementation. In total, 32% of the elderly persons taking chlorella showed signs of some improvement while 36% experienced a complete end to memory loss. The control group and the remaining 32% of patients who took chlorella worsened. However the researchers noted that most of these patients who took chlorella but did not show any benefit also had suffered from cerebral hemorrhages before the study began.
While the results from this initial small-scale trial got researchers excited, no one could pinpoint why chlorella seemed to help.
Some research published in 2013 is shedding some light on this question. And it seems some of these answers stem from the way our brain uses oxygen.
The Oxygen Paradox
See, your brain is a hungry organ. Even though it’s only 2% of your body weight, it uses up about 20% of your calories. Ever notice how you get the urge to snack when you’re doing some heavy brain work? Your brain is craving fuel to do its work.
In order to metabolize this fuel, your brain uses oxygen. Oxygen keeps the fires of life burning throughout your body – and most notably in your gas-guzzling brain.
However, there’s a downside to all this calorie-burning. When your brain uses oxygen to metabolize nutrients, it also produces dangerous oxidized molecules. You’ve probably heard of these molecules before. They’re also known as free radicals.
These free radicals go on to wreak more havoc throughout your body including – ironically enough – the very cells your body depends on to transport oxygen up to your brain: Red blood cells.
It turns out people with Alzheimer’s disease have abnormally high levels of oxidized fats in the cell membranes of red blood cells. Since red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the ravenous brain, some researchers speculate these handicapped red blood cells may be linked to brain deterioration. If these cells are unable to transport oxygen properly, then your brain may be missing out on this essential element.
In addition, seniors with Alzheimer’s disease have significantly lower levels of the antioxidant nutrient, lutein, in their red blood cells. Lutein gives antioxidant protection to fats like the ones in cell membranes that are so vulnerable to oxidation.
In 2013, a group of Japanese researchers decided to see if the antioxidant-rich chlorella could help with this problem. Chlorella is rich in lutein and beta-carotene, a nutrient in the same family as lutein.
A group of 12 healthy seniors participated in the study. Half were given 8 grams of chlorella tablets each day for 2 months. This amount of chlorella gave them 10.67 mg of lutein each day. This is a little more than the 10 mg of lutein typically recommended. It’s about the amount of lutein in half a cup of cooked spinach.
The other half took placebo pills.
After one month of taking the chlorella tablets, the researchers noted a significant increase in lutein and carotene levels in the participant’s blood. However they did not yet see significant changes in oxidized fats in the red blood cells.
By two months, though, this changed. The lutein levels in the red blood cells were close to 5 times what they had been at the start of the study. Even more impressively, the level of oxidized fats in the cell membranes of red blood cells of the same chlorella-taking group had been halved!
This study adds an important chapter to the story we’re starting to piece together of how chlorella helps the brain stay healthy. Chlorella’s rich lutein supply seemed to make a noticeable difference in protecting red blood cells from oxidation. And consequently, it may also hold the key to keeping your brain healthy as well.
Keep Your Brain Healthy From Oxygen… And With Oxygen
Feeding your brain can be a challenge! It’s not easy balancing between not getting enough oxygen… and protecting your brain from oxygen’s ravages. That’s why we’ve got such a sophisticated body that knows how to use nutrition the smart way.
All you need to do is to make sure your body gets what it needs. And – as this research indicates – chlorella may be a powerful ally in doing this.
However (as this research also demonstrates) it’s important to focus on nutrition for the long haul. While your body will appreciate any dose of good nutrients you give it, the real benefits come with a long-term commitment to good nutrition.
 Effects of long-term administration of chlorella preparations on the advancement of aging in human. Scientific Reports on chlorella in Japan, 1992; Silpaque publishing, Inc. Kyoto, Japan.
 Miyazawa T et al. Ingestion of chlorella reduced the number of oxidized erythrocyte membrane lipids in senior Japanese seniors. Journal of Oleo Science, 2013 62(11).