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Chlorella for Cancer Patients

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Chlorella for Cancer Patients  

What is chlorella? How can using it help cancer patients?

Chlorella is a type of one-celled green algae (a primitive plant) and is considered one of the kinds of "green foods" used to supplement the diet for health, prevention of certain diseases, and treatment of certain diseases.[1, 2]

Types of "green foods" used to supplement the diet include: [1,2]

• Chlorella
• Spirulina, another type of green algae
• Blue-green algae
• Barley grass
• Wheat grass

Chlorella and spirulina are taken as supplements in capsule, softgel capsule, tablet, granule, or liquid form or in special types of pasta.[1, 2] Blue-green algae are available as supplements. Barley grass and wheat grass, which are types of cereal grasses, are available fresh, as drinks, or as supplements.

Green foods have many nutritional and health benefits. For example, chlorella is rich in protein, chlorophyll, carotenoids, and omega fatty acids.[1-3] Chorella contains more chlorophyll than any of the other green foods.

Due to its ability to re-balance disturbed functions of the body, chlorella has been termed, "the great normalizer," due to its ability to re-balance disturbed functions of the body. Based on interpretation of studies conducted mostly in the laboratory and in animals, integrative medicine experts believe that the benefits of chlorella include assisting in the following functions, which may help prevent and aid in overcoming various types of cancers and other medical conditions:[1-6]

• Prevent the action of chemicals that could otherwise cause cancer
• Inhibit the growth of cancer cells
• Boost the immune system
• Prevent chemotherapy-induced decrease in white blood cells
• Due to enhancement of the immune system, improve length of survival in studies in breast cancer, leukemia, and recipients of chemotherapy
• Detoxify the body
• Protect the lining of the stomach from side effects of drugs and irritants
• Aid digestion of food
• Promote the growth of normal flora (microbes) in the intestinal tract
• Prevent constipation
• Maintain the health of the liver
• Reduce infections
• Protect DNA in normal cells against damage caused by radiation
• Reduce the side effects of the chemotherapy drug, 5-fluorouracil
• Speed wound healing and tissue repair via topical application or supplementation in diet

Chlorella's ability to boost the immune system includes:[1-6]

• Protecting against chemotherapy-induced decrease in white blood cells
• Increasing the amount of natural killer immune cells that fight abnormal cell
• Enhancing the action of other T cells in lymph nodes against abnormal cells
• Increasing the number of B cells, the antibody-producing cells
• Enhancing the amount of macrophages (another type of white blood cell)
• Promoting the production of gamma interferon and interleukin-1-alpha
• Improving length of survival in studies in breast cancer, leukemia, and recipients of chemotherapy

The ability to bind to and remove heavy metals from fluids or tissues is called chelation. Substances that bind to and remove heavy metals from fluids or tissues are termed chelators or chelating agents.

Chlorophyll and the fibrous part of Chlorella have the ability to remove the following types of harmful chemicals from the blood, spleen, liver, and other tissues:[1-6]

• Heavy metals (e.g, mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic)
• Pesticides (e.g, DDT)
• Other chemical toxins (e.g., PCB)

For example, in people taking chlorella supplements to reduce the level of mercury in their bodies, the mercury from tissues enters the intestine and is excreted in the feces. [6]

See the Q&A on "Benefits of Green Foods" for discussion of use of chlorella for other medical conditions.

Although chlorella has many health benefits, some people using chlorella may experience certain of the following side effects:[1, 6]

• Allergic reactions
• Sensitivity to sunlight
• Gas, abdominal cramping, constipation, diarrhea, or nausea. Approximately one-third of people taking chlorella supplements do not tolerate it due to these gastrointestinal side effects. However, supplementation with cellulase may aid digestion of chlorella and help reduce these side effects of chlorella.
• Fatigue, lethargy, or emotional irritability. These symptoms may be side effects of elimination of heavy metals from the body.
• As chlorella and other green foods can stimulate the removal of certain chemicals from the body, it is possible that supplementation with chlorella or other green foods might interfere with the effects of chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy on cancer cells.
• Due to the high content of vitamin K in chlorella, interference with the effects of the anticoagulant, coumadin (warfarin), may occur. If you are taking coumadin, consult your physicians before considering taking chlorella or other green foods.

Before using any green foods including chlorella, consult your oncologists, your integrative medical physician, and your certified clinical nutritionist to determine whether supplementation or topical use is right for you and, if so, to recommend an appropriate dosage. Depending on the medical purpose, recommended doses of chlorella have ranged from 3 grams daily to 30 grams daily.[4, 6]


1. Chlorella. PDR Health. Accessed at www.gettingwell.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/chl_0068.shtml.
2. M. Adams. UCB Wellness Letter authors remain nutritionally illiterate about chlorella, spirulina, and blue-green algae. Accessed at www.newstarget.com/001697.html.
3. Chlorella. Tuberose Natural Healing Store Accessed at www.store.yahoo.com/helthequip-store/nabach.html.
4. Chlorella. Accessed at http://watershed.net/chlorella.htm
5. Chlorella. Troubled Times. Accessed at www.zetatalk.com/food/tfood27t.htm
6. J Mercola. Chlorella: A natural wonder food. Accessed at www.mercola.com/chlorella.

Questions Related to Chlorella for Cancer Patients
What is integrative medicine?
What is alternative medicine for cancer?
How do I choose an alternative therapy for cancer?
Do a lot of cancer patients use alternative medicines?
What is complementary medicine for cancer patients?
When considering complementary and alternative therapies, what questions should patients ask the practitioner?
What are “free radicals?” What is the relation of free radicals to disease, including cancer?
What is detoxification?
How does detoxification help a woman undergoing breast cancer treatments?
What herbal detoxifiers are best for breast cancer patients?
What is a liver detoxification (detox)?
Why should I avoid food additives?
Are pesticides dangerous? Can they damage my body?
Is there a link between pesticides and breast cancer?
What are electromagnetic fields (EMFs)? Is there a link between EMFs and breast cancer?
Why is exercise important in preventing breast cancer?
Are there certain vitamins and minerals that I can take to help manage the side effects of cancer treatments?
What are some nutritional steps I can take to maintain wellness and be healthier?
What herbs can be used to help breast cancer patients relieve side effects of treatment?
Why is acid-alkaline balance important to preventing and combating breast cancer?
What is the connection between dietary fiber and fats and risk of breast cancer?
What is a macrobiotic diet?
Can a macrobiotic lifestyle benefit a cancer patient?
What is the immune system? Why is it important to health?
How do you keep the immune system operating at an optimal level?
I’ve heard that silver fillings are dangerous because they contain mercury. Is this true? Should I have the silver fillings removed from my teeth and replaced with new fillings?
What is the Hoxsey Therapy?
What are amino acids? Can certain amino acids help prevent and combat breast cancer?
Can turmeric be used as a supplement for prevention of breast cancer?
What is shark cartilage? Can it help breast cancer patients?
Can flaxseed help reduce the risk of breast cancer? Can flaxseed help reduce the spread of breast cancer in patients?
What is the difference between flaxseed and flaxseed oil? Is one better than the other?
Does prayer really help in the healing process?
Does positive thinking have any power in the healing process?
What is homeopathy?
Can constitutional homeopathy be used to treat women with breast cancer?
How are homeopathic remedies are prepared and labeled?
What is aromatherapy?
What is naturopathy?
What is oxygen therapy?
What is orthomolecular medicine?
Is orthomolecular medicine beneficial for women with breast cancer?
What is chelation therapy?
What is acupuncture?
Can acupuncture help women with breast cancer?
What is hydrotherapy?
I’ve heard that cancer patients should never get a massage. Is this true?
Can I get a massage during external radiation therapy?
I’ve heard that cancer patients cannot have massage with oils or creams while undergoing radiation therapy. Is this true?
What are green foods? Could they improve my health? Can they help prevent cancer?

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