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Benefits of Chlorella

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Scientific Name: Chlorella vulgaris

Common Names: Green algae, Chlorophyta

Family: Chlorellaceae (Chlorella)

chlorella drink with chlorella pills on a grey background

Chlorella, sometimes called green algae, Chlorophyta, or its scientific name, Chlorella vulgaris, is a superfood from the Chlorellaceae family. Chlorella is found alone or in fresh or saltwater clusters (1). Although there are over 30 types of chlorella, the two most commonly researched types are Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa (2).

Chlorella's cell size varies but is usually 2-12 µm in diameter. The chloroplasts are hollow, cup-shaped, or plate-like and sometimes bear pyrenoids (3). Pyrenoids are dense structures inside or beside chloroplasts of certain algae and are one of the required enzymes in photosynthesis for carbon fixation and sugar formation (4). Pyrenoid proteomes contain 190 proteins responsible for functions such as the carbon-concentrating mechanism, starch metabolism, RNA metabolism, and translation (5).

Benefits of Chlorella


Benefits of Chlorella

Highly Nutritious

Chlorella is a supplement often used by vegans because it has the highest natural chlorophyll content (6). Aside from being the richest source of chlorophyll, chlorella has many different nutritional values. Although the nutritional content varies depending on growing conditions, it typically contains small amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid, and other B vitamins (7). Chlorella is rich in the following nutrients:

  • Complete protein (8)

  • Fiber (9)

  • Iron (10)

  • Omega-3s (11)

  • Vitamin B12 (12)

  • Vitamin C (13)

Antioxidant Properties

Aside from being highly nutritious, chlorella is also rich in antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (14).

Chlorella’s plant compounds, such as chlorophyll, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, all act as antioxidants (15). Studies have found that chlorella interferes with DNA aging and how genes age (16). Other studies demonstrate that chlorella supplements increase antioxidant levels in populations at heightened risk of oxidative damage, such as chronic cigarette smokers (17).

Binds to Heavy Metals, Aiding in Detoxification

Aside from being a highly nutritious superfood, chlorella is most often recognized for its detoxification abilities. Animal studies indicate chlorella effectively removes heavy metals and other harmful compounds from the body (18,19).

If you read my blog, Should You Worry About Heavy Metals, you know humans are exposed to heavy metals daily, from food and water contamination to vaccinations. Heavy metals that rank highest in toxicity include arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury (20).

Animal studies found algae like chlorella weakens the toxic effects of heavy metals in the liver, brain, and kidneys (21). One study noted 37%, 43%, and 67% removal of copper after 4, 8, and 12 days of chlorella (22). Chlorella has also been proven to help decrease the amount of other harmful chemicals found in our food supply, like dioxins (23).

It's important to use other detoxification methods along with chlorella to ensure the heavy metals bind and leave the body. If you're not using something like Earthley's Vaccine Detox, which contains binders, I highly recommend Activated Charcoal Capsules as a binder. To learn more about detoxing heavy metals, check out my blog, How to Detox From Heavy Metals.

May Support & Enhance the Immune System

The immune system protects the body from outside invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other toxins (24). When you support and enhance your immune system, you potentially support your body's ability to fight off sickness. One study found men who took chlorella produced more antibodies than when they took a placebo (25). Another study learned healthy adults taking chlorella showed markers of increased immune activity (26).

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May Promote Respiratory Health

Chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COPD, are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States (27). These respiratory diseases often require controlling inflammation for proper respiratory health management (28,29). Chlorella has components like antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation (30). One study discovered chlorella supplements improved COPD patients' antioxidant status and pulmonary function (31).

May Promote Eye Health

Chlorella contains carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin (32). Lutein and zeaxanthin are the primary dietary carotenoids in the human retina, protecting the macula from blue light damage, improving visual acuity, and scavenging harmful reactive oxygen (33). With that said, studies suggest chlorella’s natural plant compounds would decrease the risk and protect against macular degeneration (34,35).

May Promote Liver Health

The liver is the largest internal organ, responsible for over 500 vital functions like bile production, detoxification, production and regulation of vital bodily processes, and more (36). When the liver becomes overburdened, it may become congested or result in liver disease. Several studies have demonstrated that chlorella supplementation can improve markers of liver health in individuals with non-alcoholic liver disease (37,38,39).

May Improve Blood Sugar Levels

As of 2020, 34.2 million (1 in 10) Americans have diabetes, and another 88 million (1 in 3) Americans have prediabetes (40). On the bright side, studies indicate that chlorella may help lower blood sugar levels. An animal study found chlorella to have a hypoglycemic effect on rats with type 2 diabetes (41). A human study discovered that taking chlorella for 12 weeks reduced fasting blood sugar levels in healthy individuals and those at elevated risk of lifestyle-related diseases (42).

May Improve Cholesterol Levels

Studies have uncovered a link between chlorella and reduced cholesterol levels. One study demonstrated that taking 5–10 grams of chlorella daily reduced total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high blood pressure and/or slightly elevated cholesterol (43). Chlorella plant compounds like niacin (44), fiber (45), carotenoids (46), and antioxidants (47) are responsible for this effect.

May Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death here in America. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Americans have uncontrolled high blood pressure (48). Thankfully, chlorella may be able to help. In a 12-week study, participants with mildly elevated blood pressure took four grams of chlorella daily. By the end of the 12 weeks, the participants had lower blood pressure readings than those who took the placebo (49). Another study demonstrated that chlorella supplementation was linked to reduced artery stiffness (a factor affecting blood pressure) in healthy men (50).

Benefits of chlorella (Aids in heavy metal detoxification, May support the immune system, May promote liver health, May lower blood pressure, May improve blood sugar levels, May improve cholesterol levels, May promote respiratory health)

⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.

Contraindications & Interactions

Most experts recommend avoiding chlorella if you are taking blood thinners or have a history of non-melanoma skin cancer (51). Additionally, taking too much chlorella may result in diarrhea, nausea, gas, green stools, and stomach cramping (52). Lowering the dose or temporary discontinuation will resolve these symptoms.

How I Use Chlorella

When I make my own products herbal remedies, I try to buy herbs locally. When buying locally isn’t an option, I typically purchase from one of the following brands I trust:

I haven't had the opportunity to make herbal remedies with chlorella, but I have used chlorella and other herbs to detox heavy metals.

Products Recommended with Chlorella Ingredients

  • Anthony's Organic Chlorella Powder is certified USDA Organic, batch-tested, and verified gluten-free. High in protein, iron, vitamin C, and chlorophyll with broken cell walls for easy digestion! Blend this emerald green superfood into smoothies and juices, sprinkle it on foods, or add it to desserts to easily mask the taste and promote heavy metal detoxification.

  • Earthley's Vaccine Detox is an herbal tincture that helps restore wellness post-vaccination by supporting gut health. Six herbs combine to help heal leaky gut, support liver health, and boost the immune system, while chlorella powder removes heavy metals from the body. Whether you have taken a vaccine recently or in the past, had a vaccine injury, or are simply looking to detox from the toxins around you, this tincture is for you!

  • Micro Ingredients Organic Chlorella Tablets are a highly concentrated natural superfood that uses pure vegan-friendly ingredients. These tablets are created with raw, organic chlorella treated under low temperatures and non-irradiated for superior quality. Designed to retain almost all of chlorella’s full spectrum nutrient-dense profile, leaving behind absorbing broken cell wall chlorella tablets.

What's your favorite way to use chlorella?

Sarena-Rae Santos

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