What is It?
Chlorella is a single celled freshwater algae. It has recently been compared to Spirulina. Although research has shown many health benefits, the human body has a difficult time breaking down its cell wall and so you may see many supplements stating that the cell wall has been broken down to help with digestion and absorption.
Depending on the supplement you choose, Chlorella may have varying degrees of nutrients. However the most significant nutrients you are likely to find include protein, iron, vitamin C, and many antioxidants. The fact that Chlorella is an excellent source of vitamin C is amazing when paired with the iron it contains because vitamin C also helps you absorb iron.
Studies have shown that Chlorella may help:
- Decrease blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Decrease wound healing time
- Strengthen your immune system
- Protect against free radicals and oxidative stress
- Reduce body fat percentage
- Decrease fasting blood glucose levels
- Improve endurance with athletic activity
A Glance Into Studies: Populations and Dosages
One 6 week study done with 38 smokers ages 37.11 +/- 1.69 found that subjects had improved antioxidant measures and decreased MDA levels (measure of oxidative stress). Subjects took 3,600 mg/day of Chlorella vulgaris.1
Body Fat Percentage, Cholesterol, Blood Glucose
One 16 week study done with 17 subjects found that supplementation with Chlorella noticeably reduced body fat percentage, cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels. Gene expression was significantly altered in genes involved in fat metabolism and insulin signaling pathways.2
Cholesterol and Stroke
One 21 week study done with rats found that rats supplemented with diets containing 10% Chlorella had a significant decrease in cholesterol and a low incidence of stroke when compared to the control group.3
One 12 week study done with 80 participants with blood pressure ranging from 130- 159/85-99 found that Gaba-rich Chlorella significantly decreased high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension when compared with participants taking a placebo. Subjects taking the Gaba-rich Chlorella took 20mg as y-aminobutyric acid twice a day.4
Wound Healing and Immune Health
One study ranging over 3 months done with 55 subjects with fibromyalgia, 33 subjects with hypertension, and 9 subjects with ulcerative colitis found that supplementation with a 10 gram tablet of Chlorella as well as 100mL of liquid with Chlorella extract may improve wound healing times and improve immune system function.5
One 4 week study done with 10 subjects ages 21.3 +/- 0.3 years found that peak oxygen uptake significantly increased with fifteen 200mg Chlorella tablets 2x/day compared to placebo tablets taken 2x/day. The authors suggest that aerobic endurance increases with Chlorella supplementation.6
These studies show promising results for the use of Chlorella supplementation in the populations listed above. Dosages significantly varied in each trial and each trial featured significantly different population sizes and backgrounds. More research would be helpful to determine the best dosage overall, however the above studies present a good introduction into the benefits of Chlorella as well as dosages that have been helpful with certain health issues.
- Panahi Y, Mostafazadeh B, Abrishami A, et al. Investigation of the effects of Chlorella vulgaris supplementation on the modulation of oxidative stress in apparently healthy smokers. Clin Lab. 2013;59(5-6):579-587. doi:10.7754/clin.lab.2012.120110. Accessed 8/30/20.
- Mizoguchi T, Takehara I, Masuzawa T, Saito T, Naoki Y. Nutrigenomic studies of effects of Chlorella on subjects with high-risk factors for lifestyle-related disease. J Med Food. 2008;11(3):395-404. doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.0180. Accessed 8/30/20.
- Sansawa H, Takahashi M, Tsuchikura S, Endo H. Effect of chlorella and its fractions on blood pressure, cerebral stroke lesions, and life-span in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2006;52(6):457-466. doi:10.3177/jnsv.52.457. Accessed 8/30/20.
- Shimada M, Hasegawa T, Nishimura C, et al. Anti-hypertensive effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-rich Chlorella on high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension in placebo-controlled double blind study. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2009;31(4):342-354. doi:10.1080/10641960902977908. Accessed 8/30/20.
- Merchant RE, Andre CA. A review of recent clinical trials of the nutritional supplement Chlorella pyrenoidosa in the treatment of fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001;7(3):79-91. Accessed 8/30/20.
- Umemoto S, Otsuki T. Chlorella-derived multicomponent supplementation increases aerobic endurance capacity in young individuals. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2014;55(2):143-146. doi:10.3164/jcbn.14-58. Accessed 8/30/20.