Chlorella products also offer a few reported health benefits, including promoting weight loss, fighting cancer and other chronic diseases, and even helping with pregnancy complications. In addition, it is a secure natural source of vitamin B12, folate, and iron, making it helpful during pregnancy and for general wellness.
Given the tag of “one of Earth’s superfoods,” Chlorella is a single-celled bright green alga widely known for its incredible health benefits. However, people are discovering the benefits of Chlorella over Spirulina. This freshwater algae offers 60% protein and is rich in b-complex vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, dietary fiber, and antioxidants like vitamin C and lutein. In addition, it is a secure natural source of vitamin B12, folate, and iron, making it helpful during pregnancy and for general wellness.
In fact, a 2010 study published in the journal Plant Food for Human Nutrition showed a positive effect of chlorella in pregnant women.
According to the study, 70 pregnant women were provided with 6000 mg doses of a chlorella supplement, starting from 12 to 18 weeks of gestation until delivery. The results were quite beneficial, as women had higher hemoglobin levels during their second and third trimesters and had a lower possibility of gestational hypertension, edema (tissue swelling), and proteinuria (protein in urine). In addition, all of these benefits minimized the risk of preeclampsia.
Table of Contents
Different types of Chlorella
Due to its immense potential health benefits, chlorella has gained a lot of buzz among healthy individuals or just people who want to stay fit. However, chlorella (in its natural form) is made of solid cell walls, making it significantly hard for your body to digest it.
There are several different species of chlorella—around thirty—but mainly two of them are used for research purposes. Namely Chlorella Vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa. To enjoy the health benefits of these, you must consume chlorella as a supplement, in tablet, capsule, or powder form.
Chlorella pyrenoidosa is different from Chlorella Vulgaris because of its thicker cell wall. The components of this cell wall may facilitate a slightly more powerful detoxification effect. In addition, having a thicker cell wall means having a slightly higher nutritional value than Chlorella Vulgaris.
In this article, we’ll talk about the incredibly desired health benefits of the magic supplement—chlorella, its side effects, how to take it, as well as the difference between spirulina and chlorella.
Health benefits of Chlorella
If you are thinking about giving chlorella supplements a chance, it might be a good idea. This astonishing nutritional supplement from the sea can support your health in extraordinary ways. As long as you’re purchasing chlorella tablets or chlorella powder from a genuine manufacturer, you’re good to go.
Here are some of the best health benefits of chlorella:
1. Chlorella supplements are all about nutrients
Chlorella got its title “superfood” from its impressive nutritional levels. This is what entices people who want to be healthy.
With proper chlorella supplementation, individuals can enjoy a truckload of nutrients, including:
- Protein: Chlorella is stocked with this highly desired macronutrient—as it holds 50% to 60% protein, packing all nine essential amino acids. Since it is a plant-based protein, it can also be a good dietary source of complete protein for vegans and vegetarians.
- Good source of Iron and Vitamin C: Other than protein, chlorella is rich in Vitamin C and iron, both of which are imperative for maintaining the red blood cells (RBCs) in your body. Chlorella offers 6% to 40% of your everyday Vitamin C and iron needs; the range may vary depending on the supplement.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Chlorella may also provide you with Vitamin B-12; however, more studies are needed for evidence. Other than that, chlorella offers zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, and calcium in small amounts.
- Antioxidants and Omega-3s: Moreover, chlorella is packed with a wide range of antioxidants, like Vitamin C and Lutein, and EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
The list of chlorella’s health benefits does not end only here. Some species of chlorella may also contain Vitamin B-12 and some level of fiber, but more human study has yet to be done.
2. Reinforces your immune system
Chlorella is widely known to boost the immune system and help your body easily fight off several types of infections and harmful substances. As a matter of fact, this freshwater algae contains immunostimulators, which are essential to stimulate your immune system and preserve your fighting form.
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, men who took chlorella supplements produced much more antibodies that help fight foreign invaders in your body.
Another small study on Korean people discovered that the drug administration of chlorella—5g daily for eight weeks—enhanced immune function.
Nevertheless, much more large-scale studies are needed. There is insufficient evidence of chlorella’s effects on your immune system. However, the people who take Chlorella, believe in the benefits.
3. Fights oxidative stress and damage
We all are prone to oxidative stress and damage in some way or another. This oxidative stress, caused by either obesity, free radicals, alcohol consumption, smoking or other tobacco products, pollution, etc., causes damage to cells, leaving your body at a higher risk of chronic diseases.
Chlorella is full of compounds that are considered antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, astaxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and a high concentration of chlorophyll.
These antioxidants may help fight several chronic diseases, such as cancer, coronary heart disease, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.
Notably, the population of chronic cigarette smokers is at a high risk of oxidative damage. Therefore, if you are a smoker, you must use a magic supplement like chlorella to increase your antioxidant levels.
However, we do not strongly advise or suggest you use chlorella until you talk to your healthcare professional.
4. Keeps blood pressure in check
Some of the chlorella’s nutrients, like omega-3s, calcium, arginine, potassium, help minimize the stiffness of the arteries—the reason behind high blood pressure.
In fact, the potent powers of omega-3s can help lower your triglycerides (by 30 percent) and blood pressure while also increasing your good cholesterol.
According to a small study released in the National Library of Medicine, people who consumed four grams of chlorella daily for 12 weeks had significantly lower blood pressure readings.
5. Improves blood sugar levels
Managing your blood glucose levels is vital for preventing type 2 diabetes while promoting overall good health. Although chlorella cannot be your go-to option for defense against type 2 diabetes, consuming it regularly could help.
The best way to improve blood sugar levels is to eat a balanced diet, regular exercise, and keep track of your weight.
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, taking chlorella for twelve weeks helped lower blood sugar levels in two different groups of people—healthy adults and those with high-risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases saw the benefits.
Moreover, other studies show that chlorella supplementation in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease increases insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar control.
6. Refines breast milk quality
Even when breast milk is the healthiest food source for babies, it still can carry harmful chemicals like BPA and flame retardants. These toxins can then be passed on to infants while breastfeeding.
According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, chlorella intake not only increases IgA levels in breast milk but may also have significant effects on nursing infants by reducing dioxin levels in breast milk.
Only six grams of chlorella supplement can significantly increase antibodies in breastmilk, and along with that, prevent hormonal imbalance and strengthen the immune system in mothers.
7. Lowers cholesterol levels
Although cholesterol is required by your body to produce hormones and build healthy cells, elevated triglycerides and cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart diseases.
If you are suffering from high cholesterol levels, you must understand that bad cholesterol can block your arteries due to fat deposits in your blood vessels. This blockage may require your heart to overwork to ensure better blood flow throughout your body.
Some studies have shown that consuming 5 to 10 grams of chlorella supplements daily lowers LDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with minimally elevated cholesterol.
Some of the chlorella’s contents that may help in improving blood lipid levels:
Side Effects of Chlorella Supplements
Chlorella is generally a safe-to-use and well-tolerated supplement. However, it can cause side effects to first-time users during the initial weeks of chlorella treatment. Some medical issues chlorella supplements may cause include:
- Gastrointestinal disturbance
- Bloating or indigestion
- Green discoloration of stools
Chlorella may cause a handful of more medical complications for people using it for the first time. However, these issues usually resolve automatically as your body starts to adapt to the chlorella treatment.
Many people who took chlorella supplements in tablet form reported acute tubulointerstitial nephritis (ATIN). This is inflammation that affects and may cause damage to the tubules of the kidneys. Other allergic reactions like anaphylaxis and asthma can happen as well.
In addition to this, chlorella may also cause photosensitivity reactions by significantly increasing the risk of sunburn and sun rash. Therefore, ensure wearing enough sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure.
If you are allergic to mold, you must take a small “test” dose of chlorella and wait at least 24 hours to see any signs of allergy symptoms, as people allergic to mold may also be allergic to chlorella.
Similarly, chlorella may assert the same concerns if you are allergic to iodine, as chlorella is really high in iodine. Chlorella’s high iodine levels may also pose a threat to people suffering from thyroid disease. Iodine in excess levels can cause an “iodine crash” in people suffering from hypothyroidism.
After taking chlorella supplements, many lactating mothers experienced a greenish breast milk discoloration. However, this does not mean that the chlorella consumption would cause adverse effects on your baby’s health. The discoloration is usually unharmful, as can also be the case when eating many green leafy veggies like spinach.
In any case, you must consult with your healthcare professional before consuming any dietary supplements made using chlorella. Note that understanding what you’re getting into during pregnancy or having a pre-existing health condition is necessary.
Chlorella is mostly a safe nutritional supplement to use. Its side effects only indicate the introduction of chlorella in your system. This is why you should consume chlorella in small amounts when you are first trying out this incredible natural supplement.
How much chlorella should you take?
Researchers have been using different amounts of dosages to study chlorella’s benefits. There are no explicitly set dosages for taking chlorella.
Various studies have found the effectiveness of chlorella when taken in different doses, ranging from 300 milligrams to 1.2 grams, 5 grams, and 10 grams. Therefore, the chlorella supplements you find for sale will typically suggest that you take 10-15 300 mg chlorella tablets per day.
Nevertheless, before buying or trying anything, it is best to consult your doctor and take proper advice.
Chlorella vs. spirulina
For people who haven’t heard about this nutritional cousin of chlorella, spirulina is a blue-green alga and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on Earth. So is it better than chlorella? Which one is superior between both?
Both chlorella and spirulina are known to offer quite similar health benefits. While spirulina is higher in protein content, chlorella provides omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin A, and riboflavin. Here are some of the critical differences between chlorella and spirulina:
- Spirulina may be higher in protein: Due to spirulina’s high protein levels, NASA uses it as a dietary supplement for their space missions.
- Chlorella contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 acids offer numerous health benefits, including improved bone health, reduced inflammation, lowered blood pressure, and a much lower risk of certain cancers and even heart disease. While chlorella contains more omega-3 fatty acids, spirulina is higher in omega-6 fatty acids.
- Chlorella is higher in fat and calories: Both chlorella and spirulina are known to offer a truckload of nutrients and health benefits. While the protein, carb, and fat content are very similar in both types of algae, they hugely differ in their calorie, vitamin, and mineral contents.
Chlorella is high in calories, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, provitamin A, while spirulina is high in thiamine, copper, omega-6 fatty acids, riboflavin, and iron.
Since both types of algae come with a unique nutritional profile and offer significant health benefits, they have their own special importance. However, between spirulina and chlorella, one is not dramatically better than the other, and both pose unique qualities.
Chlorella, one of the Earth’s superfoods, is a type of green algae stocked with a colossal nutrient profile. It is a good source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Many kinds of research and studies show how chlorella can do wonders for your health. It helps by flushing toxins out of your system, improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels. But, note that these are only some of the many health benefits chlorella offers.
Chlorella is considered generally safe, but it is still a good idea to consult with your doctor beforehand.
Pin it for later!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any product(s) on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Always consult a licensed health care professional before starting any supplement or nutraceutical. Especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing medical conditions. Individual results may vary. These are from my own experience and the experience of others and only our opinions.