The benefits of chlorella are similar to those of spirulina. Its rich nutrient profile makes this blue-green alga a great source of health benefits. It contains various beneficial nutrients, including chlorophyll, protein, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chlorella supplement can promote healthy weight management, heart and liver health, and a good complexion. In addition, it has antifungal properties that can reduce inflammation and prevent breakouts. This article discusses the importance of chlorella, its benefits, recommended dosage, nutritional profile, and possible side effects. Take a look.
In This Article
What Is Chlorella?
As we already saw, chlorella is a blue-green alga. It is rich green, which comes from its high chlorophyll content – which is good news. Since chlorella contains more chlorophyll than most green leafy vegetables (or any vegetable for that matter), it can offer certain health benefits.
But aren’t algae bad?
Well, it’s kinda complicated. Algae are both good and bad. Single-celled algae called phytoplankton are the main food source for fish and other aquatic animals – and these are the good algae. And then, there is another variety of algae called the cyanobacteria that can be toxic to aquatic life as well as humans. This is the bad variety (1).
However, commercially cultivated cyanobacteria are nutritious – and chlorella falls under this category.
But what makes chlorella so nutritious? It is the presence of certain powerful nutrients – chlorophyll, protein, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and beta-carotene. These nutrients are primarily responsible for the incredible benefits the algae can offer.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Chlorella?
1. Chlorella Can Help You Lose Weight
If you have been trying to lose weight, we understand your plight. Adding chlorella to your diet can help accelerate weight loss. It achieves this by improving your metabolism, regulating hormones, and improving circulation. One study states how chlorella intake could reduce body fat percentage, ultimately aiding weight loss (2).
2. Can Aid Diabetes Treatment
Diabetes sure can be hard to deal with. But with chlorella, it has just become easier. If you want to supplement your diabetes treatment with something effective, chlorella might just be what you need.
This is because studies show how this alga can lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Chlorella is known to activate certain genes in your body that improve insulin sensitivity, and this encourages healthy blood sugar levels (3).
Studies also show how chlorella can prevent the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) (4). These are proteins in your body that attract sugar molecules when they are exposed to bodily sugars, resulting in worsening of diabetes symptoms.
3. Can Improve Your Heart Health
You might be someone with a healthy heart. Or you could be popping pills to deal with some heart ailment. Whoever you are, chlorella can be of help. One way it can achieve this is by regulating blood pressure levels (5). Consuming this alga can help prevent hypertension and all the other evil baggage it brings with it – including stroke.
4. Can Help You Prevent Cancer
Statistics project 1,735,350 new cases of cancer in 2018 in the United States (6). And we don’t want you to be one of them. Apart from regular exercise and a healthy diet and lifestyle, consuming chlorella can be of immense help (7).
The alga boosts your immune system. It eliminates heavy metals from your system. And in case you already have cancer, it boosts the action of T cells (a type of immune cells) that fight the cancerous cells and aid faster treatment.
5. Can Reduce Inflammation In Your Body
Inflammation inside your body can often manifest itself in the form of severe diseases. The antioxidants and omega-3s in chlorella can help combat this inflammation and keep you much healthier. These antioxidants also help prevent allergies.
Though there is more research required, this sure is one encouraging step.
6. Promotes Cellular Detoxification
Chlorella plays a major role here. It binds to toxic compounds and other heavy metals in the system and excretes them, thereby detoxifying your body right from the cellular level.
7. May Reduce Body Odor
Though there is limited research, some sources suggest that chlorella can eliminate body odor and even freshen your breath (8).
8. Boosts Liver Health
Chlorella supports liver health, which can help prevent severe liver ailments – including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (9). Regular intake of chlorella can keep your liver functioning at its best, thanks to its detoxifying properties.
9. Can Help Fight Candida
Chlorella can promote the growth of friendly bacteria, and this helps fight candida infections. Chlorella also contains beta glucan that improves the functioning of antibiotics – this helps reduce multiple prescriptions of antibiotics.
Chlorella also enhances the growth of macrophages, which are immune cells known to destroy the virus causing candida.
10. Combats Acne
Studies have shown that chlorella extracts can inhibit the proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes, which cause acne (10). Chlorella is also known to reduce the production of certain enzymes produced by P. acnes that can cause inflammation and aggravate acne.
This property of chlorella can also help delay the signs of aging. Chlorella also accelerates wound healing.
11. Can Boost Hair Growth
Chlorella is one of the richest sources of vitamin B12, a nutrient important for hair health. Studies have shown how vitamin B12 deficiencies can often lead to premature hair loss. Other nutrients in chlorella, like selenium, zinc, and calcium, can make the hair shiny and soft.
These are the different ways chlorella can improve your life. And we are sure you would have heard of spirulina as well. We saw the two are cousins – but how are the two different?
Spirulina Vs. Chlorella
Both of them are waterborne organisms. But they are quite different from each other at the cellular level. Of course, the benefits of spirulina are incredible as well.
While both contain high levels of protein for energy, where they differ is in the specific nutrients they contain in abundance. Spirulina is quite rich in vitamin A – just a single dose can treat vitamin A deficiency.
On the other hand, chlorella is a step ahead as it contains phytonutrients and phytochemicals that help in detoxification and also boost immunity.
Chlorella seems to be far more nutritious than its cousin. And yes, we suggest you keep one thing in mind – chlorella’s tough exterior walls are not easy to digest. So, if you are buying chlorella supplements, ensure you go for the ‘cracked cell wall chlorella’ variety.
Let’s now take a look at the nutritional spectrum of chlorella.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Chlorella?
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
|Vitamin C||10.4 mg||17%|
|Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)||1.5 mg||8%|
|Vitamin B6||1.4 mg||70%|
|Folate||94.0 mcg||24 %|
|Vitamin B12||0.1 mcg||2%|
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
Pretty impressive, isn’t it? But how do you take chlorella, and how much?
What About The Dosage?
As we don’t know how much of chlorella one needs to take to avail its benefits, there is no specific dosage as such. However, while certain studies have found benefits with 1.2 grams of chlorella a day, others required as much as 7 to 10 grams.
But considering the research, most studies indicate a daily dosage of 2 to 3 grams. Make sure to start off with a low dose and slowly increase it.
You can take chlorella either as a powder or a tablet (supplement). If you are taking the powder, use it in a smoothie. Add half a teaspoon of chlorella to a banana smoothie, along with lime juice, protein powder, and coconut water. Adding these ingredients also helps hide the strong taste of chlorella.
If you are using tablets, you can take 3 to 6 of them, once to thrice a day (but check the packaging instructions too).
Taking chlorella sure is simple, isn’t it? But we would like to tell you that not everything about it is rosy. Chlorella can cause some undesirable effects too.
What Are The Side Effects Of Chlorella?
- Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
There is not enough information on this. Hence, avoid chlorella intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Issues With Immunodeficiency
In people with a weak immune system, chlorella may cause bad bacteria to proliferate in the intestines – resulting in further complications.
- Mold Allergies
Chlorella can cause allergies in people already allergic to molds.
- Iodine Sensitivity
Since chlorella also contains iodine, it can cause reactions in people with iodine sensitivity.
- May Cause Autoimmune Diseases
Since chlorella can cause the immune system to become more active, it can increase the risk of autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions.
The benefits of chlorella are numerous. These benefits can be attributed to its beneficial nutrients. Chlorella aids in weight loss and diabetes treatment and improves cardiovascular, liver, and hair health. It reduces the risk of cancer and inflammation and promotes cellular detoxification. In addition, chlorella reduces body odor, helps fight candida, and effectively combats acne. However, it may cause issues in pregnancy and trigger immunodeficiency, mold allergies, iodine sensitivity, and autoimmune diseases. Hence, caution is advised.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to buy chlorella?
You can procure chlorella from your nearest departmental store.
What is the chlorella growth factor?
Chlorella growth factor is a water-soluble extract of chlorella that contains amino acids, sugars, proteins, vitamins, peptides and nucleic acids. Most of the chlorella available in the US is processed and made into these liquid extracts.
Can you take chlorella and spirulina together?
Yes, taking both can have better benefits. You will get an abundance of protein as well.
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Ravi Teja Tadimalla
Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He has been in the digital media field for over… more
(Adv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS)Sarah Spann is a clinical nutritionist specializing in gut health and is based in Brisbane, Australia. She is dedicated to… more