Cleanest Sources for Chlorella: Natural News Publishes Metals Contamination Test Results

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 in Health, Food News, & Big Pharma

Kevin Hayden –

Source: Natural News

What you are about to read is 100% true to the best of my knowledge, and it all started in September of 2012 when we were in the process of launching the Natural News Store and receiving organic certification from the USDA.

I knew we wanted to offer chlorella under our own brand name, but I had heard rumors of chlorella from some sources being contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and even pharmaceutical residues. I began asking around and quickly discovered that no one had done laboratory tests on a broad selection of chlorella to determine contamination levels of chlorella from different countries and sources. This surprised me, and I decided to take on the task myself.

Hayden’s Note:

This is an excellent look at the global supply of chlorella, headed up by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. Later this spring, Mike is using his research and laboratory testing of chlorella to bring you one of the cleanest, most pure forms of this amazing superfood on the planet. Keep reading to find out all about it and where to find it!

Disclosure: I gain nothing from this recommendation. I am not affiliated with Natural News.

I proceeded to purchase chlorella from 17 different sources, some were chlorella supplements purchased at retail, and others were chlorella purchased directly from importers and suppliers. I took the chlorella from each source, placed it in a new Ziploc bag and affixed it with a label containing a letter and a number such as “N03” or “M01.” I did this myself, changing my latex gloves between samples, to make sure it was done right. Then I had all these samples sent to a reputable laboratory specializing in the detection of metals in food products.

The tests I ordered for each sample were:

• Aluminum (1.0 ppm detection limit)
• Arsenic (0.20 ppm detection limit)
• Cadmium (0.05 ppm detection limit)
• Lead (0.10 ppm detection limit)
• Mercury (0.05 ppm detection limit)

The 17 sources of chlorella boiled down to just 10 unique sources, as some of the different brands turned out to be from the same source. Those unique sources had the following countries of origin:

• 3 sources from China
• 3 sources from Taiwan
• 3 sources from Japan
• 1 source from Korea

(We did not test sources from India or any other country for this study. Nearly all the commercially-sold chlorella available today comes from China, Taiwan, Japan or Korea.)

In our research, we reached ten significant findings. Every person who consumes chlorella should be aware of these ten things:

Finding #1) There is no detectable mercury contamination in any chlorella

This is good news. Our tests found no detectable mercury in any of the chlorella samples, even the chlorella from China.

This result is actually a little surprising, given how strongly chlorella binds to mercury. You would think that chlorella grown outdoors, downwind from coal-fired power plants, would accumulate mercury, but our tests showed zero detectable mercury in ALL samples.

Finding #2) Chlorella from China was the most contaminated

We found that chlorella from China was consistently more contaminated with metals than any other source. The average metals contamination found in our lab tests across the three sources from China was:

• Aluminum: 29 ppm
• Arsenic: 0.89 ppm
• Cadmium: 0.17 ppm
• Lead: 0.27 ppm

Note that Arsenic, Cadmium and Lead are all under 1 ppm and therefore only “trace” levels. These do not concern me, as there is far more arsenic in apple juice, for example, and there’s probably more cadmium and lead in many types of seafood than in chlorella from China.

But the one number here that does concern me is the aluminum concentration. Given that aluminum intake is something most people seek to avoid, it seemed important to document the aluminum levels in various sources of chlorella.

Granted, there is aluminum in lots of other foods and supplements, but chlorella is specifically taken by people looking to remove metals from their bodies, not introduce yet more metals into their digestive tract. So this number of 29 ppm alarmed me, and I decided after seeing these results that I would never sell chlorella grown in China because I didn’t want my readers eating 29 ppm of aluminum.

This was a big decision because China-grown chlorella is by far the cheapest source on the market. Thus, it has the highest profit margins of all chlorella. And as I later discovered, it is precisely this China-grown chlorella that is being widely promoted by many health websites across the internet. It’s also used in many superfood formulations that have chlorella as one of their ingredients. More discussion on this later…

Finding #3) Even “Organic” chlorella from China was far more contaminated than non-organic chlorella from other countries

Here’s the real shocker in this: According to our lab tests, the highest concentration of aluminum was found in a certified organic chlorella grown in China.

That sample tested at 33 ppm Aluminum, the highest of all our tests. And remember, this chlorella is sold in the USA as USDA certified organic chlorella.

By comparison, the non-organic chlorella produced in Korea showed zero detectable Aluminum.

In essence, our lab tests revealed that when it comes to chlorella, certified organic doesn’t necessarily mean cleaner chlorella. In fact, the cleanest chlorella we found wasn’t certified organic at all.

You might wonder: How can this be? Doesn’t organic mean clean? No! Organic certification is the certification of a growing process, not an end result. You can follow organic practices, but if you’re growing chlorella right next to a chemical plant, for example, you’re going to get some cross-contamination in the soil, the air, or the water that’s used to grow chlorella. Your chlorella can still be 100% certified organic even though it’s far more contaminated with metals than non-organic chlorella.

This is an important distinction because most people equale organic with “clean.” But that’s a huge mistake, because with chlorella, the country of origin seems to be far more important than whether it’s organic or conventional.

Organic certification does not require testing for heavy metals, by the way. A product can be heavily contaminated with aluminum, lead and even mercury and still be certified “organic” by the USDA.

Here’s an infographic we created to help explain sources of possible contamination for chlorella (story continues below):

Finding #4) The cleanest chlorella from Taiwan is hardly sold by anyone in the USA because it’s too expensive

In terms of chlorella grown outdoors in large cultivation pools, Taiwan was by far the cleanest source.

There are three chlorella producers in Taiwan, each with varying degrees of quality and purity in their final product. The cleanest producer of chlorella in Taiwan is a certified organic producer whose final product is so expensive that, to my knowledge, almost nobody sells it in North America.

Except us. We are the first large retailer to carry this chlorella, which we call “Clean Chlorella SL” where “SL” stands for sunlight. This is the cleanest chlorella we could find that’s grown in pools where it receives natural sunlight. This sunlight helps boost production of chlorophyll and CGF (Chlorella Growth Factor), a unique complex of peptides and phytonutrients that’s unique to chlorella.

This chlorella will be available from the Natural News Store around March 1 (it is currently in production).

This Clean Chlorella SL tested at only 3.8 ppm of aluminum, nearly one-tenth the levels found in “certified organic” chlorella grown in China (and widely sold across the internet in the USA). Level of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in Clean Chlorella SL were undetectable in our lab tests.

In terms of a country of origin, Taiwan is arguably the best source for chlorella overall, and our lab tests showed that chlorella from all three sources in Taiwan is consistently cleaner than chlorella grown in China.

The highest aluminum contamination we found in a Taiwan-produced chlorella was just 11 ppm (one-third that of the highest contamination found in China), and the lowest was 3.8 ppm. Concentrations of other metals found in Taiwan-grown chlorella were negligible. In summary, Taiwan was overall the cleanest producer of chlorella, most likely due to the relatively clean environment in rural Taiwan, where the chlorella is produced.

Finding #5) Japan is not the cleanest source of chlorella

If you know much about Japanese culture, you might think chlorella grown in Japan would be the cleanest, most precisely-controlled chlorella on the planet. But it turns out this is simply not the case.

Our lab tests showed Japanese-grown chlorella to be more contaminated than chlorella grown in Taiwan, but less contaminated than chlorella grown in China.

Across the samples we tested, chlorella grown in Japan averaged 16 ppm of aluminum, about twice that of Taiwan chlorella but half that of China chlorella.

Here are the averages reported by our lab tests:


• China = 29 ppm
• Japan = 16 ppm
• Taiwan = 7.6 ppm
• Korea = 0 ppm*

* The Korean chlorella is grown indoors, which I will explain later. Comparing Korean chlorella to the others is a bit like apples and oranges.

(Source: Dr. Jonathan Wright)

• Celery: 190 ppm
• Beans: 165 ppm
• Wheat and corn: 140 ppm
• Potatoes: 100 ppm
• Pineapple: 100 ppm

This is a very interesting comparison because it shows that even the most contaminated chlorella we found has only a fraction of the aluminum found in everyday foods.

However, before you conclude that this makes aluminum “safe,” consider this: One source of aluminum pollution of food crops is chemtrails, where aluminum and other elements are sprayed into the atmosphere, apparently in some sort of mad science atmospheric experiment.

So the 190 ppm of aluminum in celery is, in my view, suspiciously high and certainly not “normal.” The same is true with all the other crops that are contaminated with aluminum from chemtrails, coal-fired power plants and other sources.

(As a side note, this is why the future of clean food is food grown in greenhouses, where protections exist from airborne aluminum and other pollutants.)

Bottom line: Aluminum should be AVOIDED in your diet as much as possible. This metal has no beneficial role in human biology beyond trace amounts.

Radiation in Japan?

In our research, we also learned that the market for chlorella originating in Japan has collapsed following the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. There is great distrust among consumers that chlorella originating in Japan might be contaminated with radiation.

We did not test chlorella for residual radiation, so we have nothing to report in this area. However, as someone who is scientifically trained, I very much doubt any significant level of radiation “resides” in chlorella from Japan. When it comes to chlorella, I’m more concerned about metals and synthetic chemicals than radiation.

Moreover, chlorella has traditionally been used throughout world history as a method to help remove radioactive isotopes from the body. This is likely because in laboratory tests, chlorella binds very quickly and strongly to many different metals and elements, including those isotopes typically released in a radiation accident or nuclear attack (such as Iodine-131 or Cesium-137).

According to an article written by Ethan Huff, “A 1989 study put forth by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences… found that chlorella greatly helped improve survival rates among mice irradiated with a lethal dose of radioactive gamma rays.”

The National Library of Medicine lists the following studies on chlorella and radiation:

The radioprotective effects of aqueous extract from chlorococcal freshwater algae (Chlorella kessleri) in mice and rats

Evaluation of radioprotective action of a mutant (E-25) form of Chlorella vulgaris in mice

Post-exposure radioprotection by Chlorella vulgaris (E-25) in mice

Finding #6) Marketing claims of “purest” or “cleanest” had no correlation to reality

One very interesting finding from our research was that chlorella marketing claims of being “pure” or “clean” or “natural” had no correlation whatsoever with the metals contamination concentrations found in our laboratory tests.

What we did find is that even sellers of the most contaminated chlorella were happy to proclaim their chlorella was clean, pure, natural, etc., while implying it was the best chlorella on the planet.

In some cases, companies selling the cleanest sources of chlorella actually downplayed their claims, sounding very humble and not pushing any hype at all.

The conclusion from this? The marketing of chlorella is carried out with a lot of hype, and much of that hype simply isn’t backed up by what we saw in our laboratory tests.

Finding #7) Some companies “cut” their chlorella with cheap fillers

One of the more disturbing findings that came out of our research was the discovery that some fairly well-known nutritional supplement brands in the USA are actually “cutting” their chlorella with cheap fillers in order to make it appear their customers are getting a better value.

They will sell, for example, 500mg chlorella tablets, but the tablet turned out to be a combination of chlorella and cheap calcium filler!

This means you’re actually paying for (and swallowing) cheap “rock” fillers instead of getting 100% pure chlorella.

The most common filler is “calcium carbonate” — cheap calcium “rock” with a whitish color. When cut with chlorella, it causes the chlorella to have a splotchy appearance of a mixture of white and green. Here’s the visible proof:

Buyer beware! Some of the chlorella being sold out there is “cut” with fillers. This is easy to avoid by simply reading the ingredients list. Look for calcium carbonate. If it’s there, your chlorella has been “cut” and cheapened.

For the record, the Clean Chlorella we offer at the Natural News Store is 100% pure chlorella and not “cut” with anything.

Finding #8) There is no commercially-grown chlorella in North America

When it comes to chlorella, there is nothing grown commercially in North America. There are small operations in Hawaii, but not large enough to fill commercial demand.

Cyanotech, the well-known producer of spirulina on the Big Island, does not produce chlorella, either. If you want chlorella, you have to go outside North America.


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