I HAVE A DENTIST FRIEND WHO USES NUTRITION IN HIS practice. He says, "If my patients eat three to four servings of green vegetables per day, they stay healthy. It almost doesn't matter what else they do." He, like all of us in the nutrition field, has noticed the power of green foods. They are rich in magnesium, chlorophyll, fiber, vitamins, and essential fats. They are the most powerful healing foods on earth. The most powerful one of all? Chlorella.

Chlorella is a single-celled algae originally produced as a source of protein for populations that could not afford animal protein foods. Yet chlorella offers more than protein. Miraculous stories have surfaced of people getting noticeable improvement in health and well being when consuming chlorella. When you realize that chlorella contains carotenoids, magnesium, and the super detoxifier chlorophyll-the health benefits of which have been well documented-we begin to understand chlorella's healing power. Americans are chronically low in magnesium and in great need of detoxifying. Chlorella may be the perfect antidote to our refined foods, nutrient-poor diets and toxic environment.

Chlorophyll is a remarkably protective and cleansing compound. It can inhibit cancer in all human organs. Chlorophyll is a vital part of all detoxification and health-building programs. The National Cancer Institute has begun to take notice of its ability to prevent cancer.

Detoxifying is essential for optimal health. When toxins are in our liver, brain, or other tissues and organs of the body, we age faster and have less health and vitality. Getting rid of toxins with powerful cleansers like chlorella helps us live longer, for toxins are a potent source of the free radicals which age us and cause disease. Chlorella appears particularly helpful at eliminating toxic metals like cadmium and uranium from the body.

Chlorella contains a range of carotenoids that is superior merely to taking a supplement of synthetic beta carotene. When you take a supplement that contains beta carotene, and it does not specify that it is derived from algae such as chlorella or d. salina, then you are only getting some of the benefits of carotenoids. There are many carotenoids- well over 600-and using chlorella as your source of carotenoids gives you much more benefit. While beta carotene has protective power, chlorella has much more. A recent study from China showed that when people with precancerous cells in their stomach were given synthetic beta carotene, there was no benefit. Yet when they were given natural carotenoids like those in chlorella, the precancerous cells turned back to normal. Chlorella has also been found to have powerful anti-cancer activity in animal studies when used orally.

Carotenoids protect against heart disease. Cholesterol cannot clog arteries until it oxidizes, and many studies have shown carotenoids can prevent this dangerous reaction from occurring. Although vitamin C appears to be the first line of defense in protecting cholesterol from going bad, carotenoids are also very important. A study of 333 patients showed that taking a carotenoid supplement reduced major cardiovascular events by half.

Chlorella is also a rich source of the remarkable mineral magnesium. Magnesium performs no less than 300 different tasks in the body. It is essential for heart function, immune function, blood pressure regulation, blood sugar balance, stroke prevention, and for both muscle strength and muscle relaxation. It is critical for energy production. It promotes mental health, relieves PMS, and reduces asthma attacks. No cell in the body can function without this mineral.

According to the USDA, 80 percent of Americans fail to get enough magnesium. Refined white flour contains only 20 percent of its original magnesium content. Sugar, sodas and junk foods, which make up a large part of the American diet, contain virtually none. Our crops are grown in soils with increasingly lower levels of magnesium. On top of this, our toxic environment depletes us of it.

The great American magnesium shortage may be one of the main causes of our epidemic of heart disease. Magnesium is extraordinarily important for heart health. Magnesium also helps mitral valve prolapse, fibromyalgia, and fatigue. Emotional or physical stress depletes magnesium. Magnesium also significantly enhances muscle growth that occurs in response to sustained weight lifting programs. It also plays an important role in bone health. In some studies, magnesium intake was a stronger predictor of bone density than calcium intake.

Chlorella gives you all the benefit of magnesium, carotenoids, chlorophyll and more. People with high cholesterol levels who were put on 5 grams per day of chlorella for three months saw their cholesterol levels decline significantly. There were no side effects, unlike cholesterol medications, which can actually shorten life span, according to recent studies. Cholesterol medications have been found to cause impotence in men-another reason to use natural alternatives like chlorella.

Chlorella is also an immune booster. It contains a compound known as chlorellan that stimulates the body to make more interferon. Chlorella helps protector cells, called macrophages, function more effectively.

Strict vegetarians-those who eat no animal products-often rely on seaweeds and algae such as chlorella for their B12 needs. While chlorella appears to contain B 12-like molecules, and has raised B 12 levels in adults who consume it, it is probably best to make sure B12 levels are optimal by taking extra B12 as a supplement. A B12 deficiency can cause neurological damage and it is best to be on the safe side. Vegetarians should take an inexpensive B12 supplement of 1,000 mcg at least once per week. The cost is a few dollars per year and well worth it.

Chlorella can help heal the GI tract. Ulcers, colitis, Crohn's disease and diverticulosis all seem to do better when chlorella is part of the diet. Animal studies have shown that chlorella is effective at healing ulcers. Chlorella has also been found to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria which are essential for intestinal health.

How should one use chlorella? Add a few tablets or a half teaspoon of powder to your everyday diet or your green drinks. Because it is nearly 50 percent protein you can use it to curb appetite during weight loss. It can be used topically in wound healing and as an excellent facial ingredient. In degenerative conditions, large doses may be needed. For detoxification, it may be best on an empty stomach. Introduce it to your diet slowly. See if you notice the increase in energy and well being that so many report after making chlorella a regular habit.