A review of recent clinical trials of the nutritional supplement Chlorella pyrenoidosa in the treatment of fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis

Merchant RE, Andre CA.

Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23298-0709, USA. rmerchan@hsc.vcu.edu

CONTEXT: It has been suggested that the consumption of natural “whole foods” rich in macronutrients has many healthful benefits for those who otherwise ingest a normal, nonvegetarian diet. One example is dietary supplements derived from Chlorella pyrenoidosa, a unicellular fresh water green alga rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. OBJECTIVE: To find evidence of the potential of chlorella dietary supplements to relieve signs and symptoms, improve quality of life, and normalize body functions in people with chronic illnesses, specifically fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. DESIGN: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials. SETTING: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia. PATIENTS: Fifty-five subjects with fibromyalgia, 33 with hypertension, and 9 with ulcerative colitis. INTERVENTION: Subjects consumed 10 g of pure chlorella in tablet form and 100 mL of a liquid containing an extract of chlorella each day for 2 or 3 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: For fibromyalgia patients, assessments of pain and overall quality of life. For hypertensive patients, measurements of sitting diastolic blood pressure and serum lipid levels. For patients with ulcerative colitis, determination of state of disease using the Disease Activity Index. RESULTS: Daily dietary supplementation with chlorella may reduce high blood pressure, lower serum cholesterol levels, accelerate wound healing, and enhance immune functions. CONCLUSIONS: The potential of chlorella to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and normalize body functions in patients with fibromyalgia, hypertension, or ulcerative colitis suggests that larger, more comprehensive clinical trials of chlorella are warranted.

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