You try hard to protect your dog from the toxins, chemicals and heavy metals that besiege him on a daily basis.
But the world is turning into an increasingly polluted environment. Sometimes just going outside and breathing compromises your dog’s health. So, what are you supposed to do?
Fortunately, nature offers its own solutions … including detoxifying herbs like chlorella for dogs.
How Chlorella Benefits Your Dog
Chlorella are single-celled, freshwater green microalgae that thrive with the help of sunlight.
Chlorella attracts a lot of attention in the health industry … some even classify it as a superfood. And that’s because chlorella is linked to a variety of potential health benefits.
1. Improves Natural Detoxification
One of chlorella’s biggest advantages is that it’s a natural detoxifier. It binds to and removes toxins from your dog’s body.
This includes heavy metals. Heavy metals are commonly found in …
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Processed pet food
- Flea, tick and heartworm preventatives
Trace amounts of some heavy metals like iron and zinc are important to your dog’s health. But this isn’t the case for all of them. Heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and lead are all toxic to your dog. And even healthy metals can be dangerous in large amounts.
The good news is, algae (like chlorella) can reduce cadmium and lead toxicity in the organs of animals (1). In one study, chlorella reduced blood lead levels by up to 66.03% (2). It was most effective when used during exposure. When used after exposure, researchers saw a reduction in lead of only 13.5% to 17%.
Another study showed that regular chlorella supplementation helped improve the removal of methylmercury in mice (3). And it isn’t just heavy metals … studies show chlorella may be effective for other toxins …
- Dioxins – highly toxic environmental pollutants (4). Commonly found in fish, dairy products and the air we breathe.
- Neurotoxins – toxins that attack the nervous system. Dogs are often exposed to neurotoxins. This includes fluoride in his water and mycotoxins in processed food. There are also insecticides in pest prevention products.
- Radioactive particles – found in the environment and a byproduct of radiation treatments (5).
While there are steps you can take to reduce the toxins your dog’s exposed to, there’s only so much you can do. That’s why you need to help your dog naturally detox. This can clean up the toxins you can’t control … like the ones in the air that you and your dog breathe.
RELATED: Minimize these 6 common toxins in your dog’s environment …
2. Helps Prevent Chronic Disease
Your dog’s body contains damaged cells called free radicals that are missing an important molecule. To make themselves whole again, the free radicals attempt to steal molecules from healthy cells. When this happens, your dog’s DNA can get damaged and damaged DNA can lead to premature aging, cancer and chronic diseases.
To stabilize these free radicals and stop them from damaging other cells, your dog needs antioxidants. Normally your dog produces enough antioxidants to keep the free radicals in check. But if there are more free radicals than your dog’s system can handle, he may need a dietary boost.
Chlorella is full of powerful antioxidants (6) …
- Vitamin C
In a 2019 study (7), researchers supplemented rabbits’ diets with chlorella. Rabbits that ate the chlorella had reduced oxidative stress (an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants) compared to those that didn’t.
3. Slows Aging
In The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs by Martin Zucker, Dr Clarence Hardin DVM recommends chlorella for long-term use. He explains that it helps slow down the aging process and boost health in older dogs.
Chlorella’s anti-aging effects are partly due to the antioxidants in chlorella. They help prevent premature aging and cognitive decline. But chlorella also contains chlorella growth factor (CGF). CGF is rich in nucleic acid. Each of your dog’s cells contains nucleic acid in the form of RNA and DNA (ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid). RNA and DNA store and relay genetic information and help create proteins. Chlorella growth factor for dogs helps because foods rich in nucleic acid support cell repair and regeneration.
In a 2009 study (8), researchers demonstrated chlorella’s ability to do just that. Researchers looked at DNA damage of cells affected by oxidative stress. Cells treated with chlorella were better able to protect and repair themselves.
CGF can also improve energy levels. Some believe that this is because CGF reduces the amount of work the body has to do to produce RNA and DNA. But research shows it may be because chlorella increases the amount of oxygen test subjects inhale (9).
RELATED: Inflammaging can rob your dog of years …
4. Boosts The Immune System
Chlorella helps prevent chronic disease and detoxify your dog’s body, which are both great ways to boost your dog’s immune system. It keeps him healthy so that he’s ready to defend himself against potential invaders.
Researchers also looked at CGF and the immune system in a 2016 study (10). They showed that CGF improved the humoral immune response. The humoral immune response handles the production of antibodies that fight off bacteria and viruses.
In another study (11), chlorella increased the production of interferons. Interferons send out an alert when a virus is present. It also enhanced natural killer cells. These are integral to the immune system and fight viruses and tumors.
5. Helps Digestive Health
Chlorella has antimicrobial benefits. These can help fight off harmful bacteria in your dog’s gut. But that isn’t all …Chlorella is high in fiber that regulates your dog’s bowel movements (12) and is also a prebiotic.
Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that travel to your dog’s colon. Once in the colon, they feed the bacteria that live there. This includes beneficial bacteria that help keep your dog healthy. Prebiotics are best used in combination with probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that colonize in your dog’s colon. Together, pre and probiotics can help grow, restore and maintain a healthy gut flora.
As an added bonus, research shows chlorella can improve the viability of probiotics (13). And in one Japanese study, chlorella tripled probiotic bacteria concentration.
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6. Soothes Arthritis Pain
Chlorella may be an effective way to help soothe arthritis and joint pain for 3 main reasons …
Joint disease is often caused by chronic inflammation. One study showed that chlorella, taken regularly, could prevent inflammation in arthritic rats. This may because of the lycopene. Lycopene is a plant nutrient and antioxidant. While it’s most often associated with pink and red produce like watermelon and tomatoes, it’s also found in chlorella (14)
In 2013, researchers studied lycopene in chlorella (15). They concluded chlorella was a better natural alternative for inflammatory diseases. Best of all, it has no known side effects.
Lastly, chlorella contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are also anti-inflammatory. Just 3 grams of chlorella contains 100 mg of omega-3s.
7. Improves Skin And Coat
As mentioned earlier, the nucleic acid in CGF helps with cell regeneration. This helps maintain healthy skin cells. Chlorella also contains nutrients that directly promote healthy skin and coats. This includes essential fatty acids, along with antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
These same nutrients can also stimulate collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein that gives your dog’s body structure. It plays a role in the healthy growth of bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. It’s also a main component of skin and hair.
Including collagen rich foods as part of your dog’s diet can help keep his skin and coat healthier. It can also help with dermatitis (a skin condition).
8. Benefits Eye Health
Chlorella contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotenoids. These three antioxidants are all plant pigments known as carotenoids. And they all help maintain the health of your dog’s eyes. In fact, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two dietary carotenoids that will accumulate in the retina. This means they can help protect it from oxidative stress.
Research shows that lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect against eye problems like …
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (16)
- Cataracts (17)
- Diabetic retinopathy (18)
9. Reduces Bad Breath
Chlorella contains a compound called chlorophyll. Like carotenoids, chlorophyll is a plant pigment. It’s responsible for the green color in most plants and algae. Chlorophyll has tons of benefits but one unique one is preventing bad breath. At least for our dogs. Veterinarian Dr Liz Hanson says …
“One of the most important ways that our pets benefit from chlorophyll is that it both treats and prevents bad breath from the inside out. It also improves digestion, which is the most likely cause of bad breath, even in dogs with healthy teeth and gums.”
How To Use Chlorella For Dogs
Chlorella comes in powder form and is easy to mix into your dog’s food. But it’s important to look for high quality supplements. Quality can vary among brands of chlorella, so make sure to do your research. Chlorella manufactured under low quality conditions may accumulate toxins. This counteracts the benefits of the detoxifying algae.
When possible, you also want to choose a product that contains chlorella pyrenoidosa species. Chlorella pyrenoidosa contains more vitamins, amino acids, protein and (most importantly) CGF.
Dosage: To add chlorella to your dog’s diet, give 50 mg per 25 lbs of body weight one to two times daily. If your dog is getting treatment for a specific condition and needs a boost to her immune system, you can double the dosage.
As with any new addition to your dog’s diet, start small. Make sure your dog tolerates it before you slowly increase the dosage to the desired amount. Ask your holistic vet if you have any concerns.
Bonus: Chlorella Speeds Up Wound Healing
Chlorella also works for poultices to help with skin infections and wounds. This is thanks to the antimicrobial properties of chlorella as well as some of the plant compounds it contains (19) …
Flavonoids – Help control bleeding and inflammation.
Tannins – Strengthen skin and mucous bonds to speed up healing. Also help shrink and kill certain bacteria.
Saponins – Increase collagen to help repair tissue and skin cells.
Antioxidants – Boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Chlorella is a microalgae but it packs a big punch. It’s full of nutrients that can deliver a wide variety of health benefits for your dog.
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- Queiroz ML, Rodrigues AP, Bincoletto C, Figueirêdo CA, Malacrida S. Protective effects of Chlorella vulgaris in lead-exposed mice infected with Listeria monocytogenes. Int Immunopharmacol. 2003 Jun;3(6):889-900.
- Uchikawa T et al. Enhanced elimination of tissue methylmercury in Parachlorella beijerinckii-fed mice. J Toxicol Sci. 2011 Jan;36(1):121-6.
- Morita K et al. Chlorophyll derived from Chlorella inhibits dioxin absorption from the gastrointestinal tract and accelerates dioxin excretion in rats. Environ Health Perspect. 2001;109(3):289-294.
- Ogawa K et al. Evaluation of Chlorella as a Decorporation Agent to Enhance the Elimination of Radioactive Strontium from Body. PLoS One. 2016;11(2):e0148080. Published 2016 Feb 1.
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- Sikiru AB et al. Chlorella vulgaris supplementation effects on performances, oxidative stress and antioxidant genes expression in liver and ovaries of New Zealand White rabbits. Heliyon. 2019 Sep 14;5(9):e02470.
- Makpol S et al. Chlorella vulgaris modulates hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage and telomere shortening of human fibroblasts derived from different aged individuals. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009 Jul 3;6(4):560-72.
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- An BK, et al. Effect of dried Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella growth factor on growth performance, meat qualities and humoral immune responses in broiler chickens. Springerplus. 2016;5(1):718. Published 2016 Jun 14.
- Kwak, JH et al. Beneficial immunostimulatory effect of short-term Chlorellasupplementation: enhancement of Natural Killercell activity and early inflammatory response (Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial). Nutr J 11, 53 (2012).
- Youko Fujiwara, Kunihiro Sinpo, Yumiko Imae, Mizuho Nonomura, Keiji Hirakawa, Effect of Chlorella vulgaris Strain CK-5 on the Frequency of Bowel Movement in Humans, The Japanese Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, 1998, Volume 56, Issue 5, Pages 253-263, Released on J-STAGE November 26, 2010.
- H Beheshtipour et al. Supplementation of Spirulina platensis and Chlorella vulgarisAlgae into Probiotic Fermented Milks. Compr Rev Food Sci and Safety, March 2013.
- Renju GL, Kurup GM, Saritha Kumari CH. Effect of lycopene from Chlorella marina on high cholesterol-induced oxidative damage and inflammation in rats. Inflammopharmacology. 2014 Feb;22(1):45-54.
- Renju GL et al Anti-inflammatory activity of lycopene isolated from Chlorella marina on type II collagen induced arthritis in Sprague Dawley rats. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2013 Apr;35(2):282-91.
- Eisenhauer B, Natoli S, Liew G, Flood VM. Lutein and Zeaxanthin-Food Sources, Bioavailability and Dietary Variety in Age-Related Macular Degeneration Protection. Nutrients. 2017;9(2):120. Published 2017 Feb 9.
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- Kowluru RA, Menon B, Gierhart DL. Beneficial effect of zeaxanthin on retinal metabolic abnormalities in diabetic rats. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Apr;49(4):1645-51.
- Machmud E et al. Effect of the application of Chlorella vulgaris ointment to the number of fibroblast cells as an indicator of wound healing in the soft tissue of pig ears. Pesqui Bras Odontopediatria Clín Integr. 2020; 20:e5012.