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AACL 2011 Speaker

MerchantProf Randall E Merchant PhD
Doctor Merchant, a Professor of Anatomy and Neurosurgery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, has been active in both laboratory and clinical research for more than three decades. He has published nearly 100 articles and chapters and conducted several clinical investigations of chlorella in patients with chronic illnesses and cancer.

Detoxification of Chemicals and Heavy Metals with Chlorella

We live in a chemical world where our bodies are bombarded daily with a barrage of chemicals and metals. They occur in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Some of them by their very nature are toxic to humans in any quantity or they can reach toxic levels as they accumulate in fat cells and organ systems or combine with other chemicals to form toxic cocktails. Environmental and epidemiological research has demonstrated that chemicals such as dioxins and those in plastics as well as heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium account in part to the increase in rates of chronic degenerative diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and birth defects. The World Health Organization estimates that up to a third of all diseases and nearly half of all cancers are due to chemicals and metals. As there is really no practical way of avoiding these environmental toxins, we must look to ways of limiting their uptake and hastening their removal from our bodies. The consumption of natural “whole foods” rich in macronutrients, fiber, and chlorophyll is one way to “detoxify” the body of harmful chemicals and metals. One such whole food with many known healthful benefits is Chlorella pyrenoidosa, a unicellular green alga that grows in fresh water.  It has the highest content of chlorophyll of any known plant and also contains high concentrations of protein, certain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, nucleic acids, amino acids, enzymes, and other substances. In an ideal climate of heat, fresh water, and sunlight, the alga can be produced in massive quantities under carefully controlled conditions that optimize its growth and complement of nutrients. Because in its native form, Chlorella’s strong cell wall prevents it from being adequately digested by humans, the alga must undergo processing to break its cell wall either with heat, chemicals, or pressure. Pulverization using DYNO™-Mill processing seems to be the superior method for maximizing its digestibility while maintaining the alga’s nutritional value. There now exists a large number of research studies from both laboratories and clinics, that suggest adding pulverized cell wall preparations of Chlorella to the diet promotes growth and wound healing, fortifies the immune system, lowers serum cholesterol levels, diminishes the symptoms of such chronic illnesses as fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis, and exerts significant anti-cancer activity (1).

As noted above, the industrial chemicals and heavy metals that exist in every facet of our environment find their way into our bodies and many are ultimately responsible for harming our health and hastening the aging process. The focus of this presentation will be to report on laboratory and clinical investigations which have dramatically shown that very modest quantities of Chlorella added to the diet can prevent the uptake of chemical toxins from the GI tract as well as promote their excretion from the body. The findings of a few studies among those that will be presented are described below.

Cadmium is a ubiquitous metal used mainly in the manufacturing of batteries and metal coatings. The metal is, unfortunately, also a contaminant of water from mining operations as well as is a component of tobacco smoke. Long-term exposure to cadmium is associated with renal dysfunction, obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, and hypertension. One of the first clinical studies ever done with Chlorella, showed it could help reduce the toxicity of cadmium. Patients who had been poisoned by water contaminated with cadmium were given 7.5g of Chlorella per day and after thirty days excreted three times the amount of cadmium in their urine than they had at the beginning and seven times the amount of cadmium after sixty days (2).

Dioxins are chemicals formed and liberated into the environment by the burning of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and other chlorine-containing plastics.  Dioxins occur in the soil, water and air and enter the food chain via contaminated plants and animal fats. Dioxins are absorbed by the small intestine and stored in the liver and in fat cells. They attach to receptors which lead to changes in gene regulation and are associated with cancer, decreased immunity, and birth defects related to nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems. In one laboratory study, mice fed a diet containing 10% Chlorella for a week excreted approximately 9.2 times more dioxin in their feces than mice fed the basal diet (3). Furthermore, the amount of dioxin in the liver of mice fed the 10% Chlorella for 5 weeks was significantly less by 72% than that observed among mice fed the basal diet.

Dioxins can be transferred from mother to fetus via the placenta or to nursing infants via breast milk. In a recent Japanese study of 44 pregnant women, 6g of Chlorella (2g with each meal) was added to the diets of 23 subjects for the last 6 months of their pregnancy. They compared the amount of dioxins in the breast milk of mothers in the two groups and found that the level of dioxin in breast milk for those in the Chlorella group was reduced by 30% (4).

Animal models of carcinogenesis have demonstrated that the addition of Chlorella to the diet leads to a reduction in the size and number of hepatic tumors (5). The chlorophyllin component of Chlorella’s chlorophyll binds to dioxins and other environmental chemicals preventing them from being absorbed and taken up by cells and this in turn prevents these chemicals from binding to and damaging DNA which leads to cancer.

Based on the research that will be described and summarized in this presentation, Chlorella can be considered a “functional food” in that it provides the body with a stunning amount of nutrients that are naturally balanced while at the same time protecting the body from the harmful and premature aging effects of chemical toxins and metals.

 

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