Unlike Spirulina, which is a cyanobacteria, chlorella is a single celled freshwater algae, that its supporters say, has many health benefits. As it is often found in health food shops with spirulina, and in some cases mixed with spirulina, we decided to look into it further. So what is chlorella about exactly?
Where Does It Come From?
Originally coming from Japan and Taiwan, apparently some 10 Million Japanese use it frequently. Which it is claimed, is more than North America´s use of vitamin C, which is one of the most common supplements used in the USA.
Why Do People Take It?
Weight Loss – It Might be Worth A Try
Its proponents say that chlorella supports weight loss. We know from personal experience, that combined with exercise, that spirulina helps with weight loss. But what about Chlorella? The suggestion is that chlorella helps to control cravings for food. We found a Korean study (1) that indicated that by including chlorella in a diet, it appears to block the production of fat cells and seems to shrink existing fat cells. And a small Japanese study (2) involving 17 “healthy people” demonstrated that taking Chlorella resulted in “noticeable” reductions in the percentage of body fat, serum total cholesterol, and glucose levels. So, if you are looking to lose weight, it might be worth a try*.
Detox of heavy Metals
It’s also highlighted as being good for detoxing heavy metals. If so, then it has this in common with spirulina. We have researched claims for detoxing heavy metals with spirulina and found evidence to support this. But Chlorella? There is some limited evidence. An animal study (3) found that it helped to counteract heavy metal poisoning and in a further animal study (4) it was found that it was helpful to control lead poisoning.
Boost The Immune System?
The suggestion, is that chlorella might increase the number of healthy bacteria in your system, and so support the immune system. So far, we have not found any substantive supporting evidence. So, we would advise caution if you are planning to take chlorella to support your immune system. We continue to research. Typically, those making the claims, have links to official sites with broken links. Perhaps this is a controversial claim.
Some people apparently take chlorella during chemotherapy, but the evidence is sparse and the American Cancer Society do not even have chlorella in their search engine. We would advise caution and recommend you speak to your medical professional, if you are considering taking chlorella e.g. during chemotherapy.
Why Else Do People Take It?
Some say that chlorella helps to manage respiratory diseases. e.g. asthma, & chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This could potentially be really significant with regard to patients who have recovered from Covid-19. We are investigating these claims. Our page on asthma and spirulina describes the evidence we found on how spirulina might in certain circumstances, help with asthma symptoms. But so far, nothing significant regarding this claim and chlorella.
Due to the fact chlorella contains lutein & zeaxanthin, there are also claims it helps with eye health. In particular, lowering the risk of macular degeneration. We are researching this in detail. We know that spirulina does help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration* and so helps with eye health. Anecdotally, as a regular user of spirulina, I have noticed that my eyesight seems much sharper. Studies say the level of zeaxanthin in spirulina is a major factor in supporting eye health, so if chlorella contains high levels of zeaxanthin, that may similarly be a factor. But no speciic supporting evidence for chlorella so far.
Chlorella And PMS – It Might Help
Early anecdotal evidence suggests it might help PMS, perhaps due to the fact that it contains calcium and B vitamins. We are researching more detailed evidence.
Chlorella seems to help with weight loss and cholesterol and we have found some supporting evidence for this. And it seems to help with detoxing heavy metals too. The other claims however seem to be quite anecdotal. We will continue to look into chlorella, and when we find the supporting evidence, we will post it here. In the meantime, we are trying some chlorella and so far, we have noticed, that it does control the appetite. We will be watching the scales !
Is It Safe? Where To Buy
Like spirulina, the growing conditions are really important, as it seems to soak up anything in its growing environment. We are investigating the production methods of different brands. We have started to take chlorella from a reputable brand mixed with spirulina. We can confirm anecdotally, that combined with spirulina, it does seem to control the appetite more than spirulina alone.
We recommend you speak to your doctor or medical professional before taking chlorella.
(1) Chlorella methanol extract reduces lipid accumulation in & increases the number of apoptotic 3T3-L1 cells.
(2) Nutrigenomic studies of effects of Chlorella on subjects with high-risk factors with lifestyle-related disease
(3) Effect of Chlorella intake on Cadmium metabolism with rats
(4) Protective effects of Chlorella vulgaris in lead-exposed mice infected with Listeria monocytogenes
*Please see our “About” page. Nothing on this website should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult a qualified Doctor or health care professional before changing anything related to your healthcare.