October 19, 2005


By Lau, Esther W

Kyo-Creen is a powdered drink made from young barley leaves and wheat grass blended with two types of seaweedsChlorella (an alga), and Laminaria (kelp).

These components contain some of the most nutritious ingredients found in nature. Young barley leaves and wheat grass are good natural sources of chlorophyll, minerals (particularly high in calcium, magnesium and potassium), vitamins, and enzymes necessary for proper metabolism and for our body cells. Both are rich sources of antioxidant enzymes that slow down the aging process and control the progression of degenerative diseases.

Another ingredient in Kyo-Creen is Chlorella, an alga rich in chlorophyll, minerals, vitamins, and other highly nutritious substances with various biological effects. Chlorella regulates cholesterol, has shown antitumor effects in animals, has antiviral activity, and is reputed to have the ability to stimulate the immune system. In my study at the University of California, Berkeley, Chlorella was mixed with several cereal grains for growth experiments. We found that Chlorella is a good source of protein.

Chlorophylls-the Plant Pigments

The chlorophylls present in barley, wheat grass, and chlorella benefit the body. Chlorophylls are pigments of plants which receive energy from the sun in order to manufacture various kinds of chemicals needed for plant life. Chlorophylls in plants are like blood in animals. In fact, the chemical structure of chlorophyll is very much like hemoglobin, the red pigment in the blood. Chlorophyll is a natural blood builder and neutralizer of toxins.

Physicians and dentists have known the benefits of chlorophyll for a long time. Benjamin Gruskin, M.D., of Temple University reviewed 1,200 cases of acute infections of the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, and chronic ulcers of different types being cured by water-soluble chlorophyll. In addition, chlorophyll has been shown to control halitosis (bad breath), oral diseases, and malodor of other body parts, as well as to hasten wound healing and treat kidney stones.

More recently, researchers have focused on the radio protective, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects of chlorophylls. Chlorophylls have been shown to nullify the effects of a variety of environmental and food substances which are known to cause mutation (change of DNA). This is one of the reasons why scientists today are recommending that diets include green leafy vegetables containing chlorophylls and other cancer preventive substances.

Health Benefits of Kelp

One last important ingredient in KyoGreen is Laminaria, a brown seaweed better known as kelp. Kelp is high in minerals, particularly calcium iodine, potassium and magnesium. It is also a good source of vitamin C. Kelp has been used in folk medicine to treat respiratory, gastrointestinal and genitourinary problems. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, too.

A few years ago Dr. Jan Teas, associated at that time with Harvard University School of Public Health, discovered that Japanese women had only 1/5 the incidence of breast cancer compared with their American counterparts. She found that Japanese women routinely eat seaweed, an uncommon item in American diet. She also noted that in recent years Japanese women who live in urban areas have increased incidence of breast cancer while those who live in rural areas experience no increase. The difference? The urban diet- consisting of higher levels of processed foods minus the seaweed of traditional diets-may have contributed to the increased incidence of breast cancer. Dr. Teas then conducted a study and found that kelp significantly delays and reduces the development of breast cancer induced by chemical carcinogens. How does kelp work? Some have speculated that it contains compounds that may counteract carcinogens or cancer producing substances, and others suggest it may act through modulating the immune system.

Immune System Is the Key

Nowadays, it seems that everyone is talking about the importance of the immune system. The idea that green foods can affect the immune system is of special interest to Benjamin Lau, M.D., Ph.D., a physician and immunologist at California's Loma Linda University Medical School. Using macrophages as a tool, Dr. Lau and his associates tested Kyo-Green and its individual components for their immune modulating activity. They found that barley green, wheat grass and Chlorella are all potent stimulators of macrophages. In the presence of small quantities of these compounds, macrophages produced powerful chemical substances that are known to kill bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. Dr. Lau's group chose to study macrophage activity because these cells play a central and vital role in the immune system. Nearly every immune reaction, whether early or late, involves the macrophages. Any substance which affects the macrophages is, therefore, likely to be capable of influencing the entire immune system. These studies confirm the hypothesis that Kyo-Green indeed is capable of strengthening the immune system.

More and more health professionals are now recommending Kyo- Green to individuals with frequent colds, those suffering from chronic fatigue, those wishing to have more stamina, and those who just want to feel good. The suggested use is one teaspoon one to three times a day with a small glass of cool water or juice on an empty stomach (before meal time). It should not be mixed in hot water since enzymes are easily destroyed by heat.

by Esther W. Lau, M.S., R.D.

Esther Lau holds a master of science degree in Nutrition from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and a registered dietitian.

Copyright Total Health Communications Aug 2005