Chlorella renders cholesterol in food harmless
Foods like meat, prawns and eggs contain high amounts of cholesterol. A diet that is high in cholesterol can worsen your cholesterol levels slightly and in the long term increase your chances of cardiovascular disease, albeit only slightly too. Korean researchers at Ewha Womans University discovered that supplementation with chlorella can negate the potentially negative effects of dietary cholesterol.
The researchers gave 34 healthy subjects three eggs a day for four weeks, making their intake of cholesterol about half a gram. According to conventional nutritional theory this amount is sufficient to worsen the cholesterol balance a little, and in the long term to slightly raise the chance of cardiovascular disease.
Indeed, the negative effect of cholesterol-rich food is considerably less than nutritionists previously thought, but that doesn't mean cholesterol is not a health factor at all.
Half of the participants took 12 chlorella tablets each day as well, containing a total of 5 g chlorella powder. The tablets were manufactured by the Korean company Deasang, which also funded the study.
The addition of the three eggs to the participants' diet raised the concentration of 'bad cholesterol' LDL and - just as bad - triglycerides in their blood. The increase was not much, but it was there.
Supplementation with chlorella blocked these effects.
Eggs also raised the concentration of lutein in the blood, which is not that surprising: the three eggs provided the participants with a daily 540 mcg lutein.
Chlorella raised the participants' lutein levels too - and even better than the eggs did, as you can see in the figure above. Chlorella also boosted the concentration of alpha-carotene in the blood. The researchers suspect that the positive effects of chlorella on the cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations is the work of those carotenoids.
Click here for more information on lutein.
The negative health effects of adding the eggs to the participants' diet were small, the Koreans conclude. But their study does show that for a diet that contains large amounts of high-cholesterol foods chlorella supplementation can lead to "maintaining healthy serum cholesterol levels [...], thus lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease."
Nutr J. 2016 May 13;15(1):54.
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