Chlorella is a single-celled green alga rich in nutrients, including protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Some people believe it to be the most nutritious substance on earth.
Any nutritionist would rank it as one of the top green superfoods alongside marine phytoplankton and spirulina.
Native to Japan and Taiwan, chlorella is believed to be 2 billion years old. However, it was first identified and studied in early 1890 when a Dutch scientist named Beijerinck discovered a small, green plant that could be seen under a microscope.
Beijerinck called it "chlorella," which combines the Greek word "chloros" (meaning green) with the Latin word "ella" (meaning small). The plant was named for its beautiful green appearance and its small size.
Chlorella is now grown in large quantities in controlled environments and is a popular health supplement.
Touted for its potential health benefits, chlorella can boost immunity, improve digestive function, and lower the risk of conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Here at Phytality, we consider it one of the most beneficial supplements on the planet, and our fermented chlorella product is intended to offer the highest purity available.
Please read our complete guide to chlorella Vulgaris below.
How Does Chlorella Work?
The mechanisms behind the claimed health benefits of chlorella have yet to be fully understood, and more clinical research is needed.
However, here are some possible explanations for how chlorella may provide certain health benefits:
- Boosting the immune system: Chlorella contains high levels of potent vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and zinc, essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. It is also rich in antioxidants, which protect the body against harmful free radicals. Some studies have found that chlorella can increase the production of antibodies and activate immune cells, which may benefit the immune system.
- Improving digestion: Chlorella is a good source of fibre, which can help to improve digestion and prevent constipation. It is also claimed to have detoxifying properties that may help to cleanse the digestive system.
- Reducing the risk of chronic diseases: Some research suggests that chlorella may help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease. Its diverse antioxidants may work to reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer.
- Detoxification: Chlorella is claimed to have the ability to bind to and remove toxins such as heavy metals and other environmental pollutants from the body. This is believed to be due to the high levels of chlorophyll in chlorella, which has been shown to have detoxifying properties.
- Weight loss: Some people claim that chlorella can aid weight loss by reducing appetite and improving digestion.
- Other potential benefits: Some people claim that chlorella can improve skin health, reduce inflammation, and even slow ageing.
What's in Chlorella?
|Helps to remove toxins from the body
|Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
|Helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals
|Helps to support the immune system and protect cells from damage
|Helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals
|Helps to support the immune system and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals
|Helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals
|Omega-3 fatty acids
|May help to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve brain and heart health
|May have protective effects against oxidative stress and inflammation
Chlorella and Detoxification
Chlorella is often touted for its detoxifying properties and is claimed to be able to remove many toxins from the body, including heavy metals and other environmental pollutants.
It is thought that chlorella binds to heavy metals in the body due to its high levels of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has a structure that is similar to the heme group found in haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
The structure of chlorophyll allows it to bind to heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium, which may help to remove them from the body. Chlorella has a high concentration of chlorophyll, which may contribute to its claimed detoxifying properties.
However, it is essential to note that the ability of chlorella to bind to and remove heavy metals from the body needs to be better established, and more research is required in order to confirm this. It is also important to note that chlorella should not be used as a replacement for proper medical treatment in cases of heavy metal poisoning.
How to take chlorella
A typical daily chlorella intake ranges from 3 grams (g) to 10 g taken orally. (5)
Chlorella has a strong, slightly bitter taste that some people find unpleasant. It is often taken in capsule form to avoid the bite. When added to smoothies or other beverages, it can have a somewhat green, earthy flavour.
What are the risks of taking chlorella?
Individuals who are allergic to mould may experience an allergic reaction to chlorella. For this reason, we recommend starting with a small "trial" dose of chlorella and waiting one or two days to see if any allergy symptoms develop.
Additionally, individuals with thyroid disease should be cautious when taking chlorella, as excess intake of iodine can worsen hyperthyroid symptoms or cause an "iodine crash" in those with hypothyroidism.
Possible Side Effects of Chlorella
Here are some possible side effects of chlorella:
- Digestive issues: Some people may experience digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea when taking chlorella. These side effects are usually mild and temporary and can be reduced by starting with a lower dosage and gradually increasing to the recommended amount.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to chlorella and may experience rash, hives, itching, and difficulty breathing. Stop using and seek medical attention if you experience allergic reactions after taking chlorella.
- Interactions with medications: Chlorella may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, immunosuppressants, and chemotherapy drugs. If you are taking any medications, you must consult a healthcare professional before starting a chlorella supplement.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Whether chlorella is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding is unknown. It is best to avoid taking any dietary supplements during these times unless specifically recommended by a healthcare professional.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Chlorella?
It is generally considered safe to consume chlorella as a dietary supplement, and there are no known severe side effects associated with too much.
However, it is possible to experience mild digestive side effects if you consume large amounts of chlorella, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. If you experience these symptoms after taking chlorella, simply reduce your intake or stop it until it resolves.
It is always a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before taking any new supplement, including chlorella, to ensure that it is appropriate for you and to discuss the proper dosage. They can also help you monitor your progress and address any concerns or side effects.
How is Chlorella Grown and Harvested
Chlorella is typically grown in controlled environments, providing the necessary nutrients and light, and controlling the temperature and pH levels to promote optimal growth.
The best quality chlorella, such as that grown by Phytality, is grown in sealed units called bioreactors. These closed systems prevent contamination from outside sources such as air, water, and other microorganisms.
The harvesting process for chlorella involves separating the algae from the water in which it is grown. This can be done using various methods such as centrifugation or filtration. Once harvested, the chlorella is gently dried and processed.
It's important to note that the quality of chlorella can vary depending on how it is grown and harvested. Sealed bioreactors provide a significantly more controlled and sterile environment, which helps to ensure that the chlorella is free from contaminants and of the highest quality. Our recommendation is to avoid any chlorella grown in open ponds.
How does chlorella compare to other superfoods in terms of nutritional content and health benefits?
|Protein (per 100 g)
|Vitamin A (per 100 g)
|Vitamin C (per 100 g)
|Iron (per 100 g)
|Calcium (per 100 g)
|Immune system support, detoxification, antioxidant properties, potential cholesterol-lowering effects
|Potential anti-inflammatory effects, potential cholesterol-lowering effects, antioxidant properties, immune system support
|Antioxidant properties, potential anti-inflammatory effects, potential heart health benefits
|Antioxidant properties, potential immune system support, potential anti-aging effects
|High in fiber, potential anti-inflammatory effects, potential heart health benefits
Are there any scientific studies or clinical trials that support using chlorella for specific health benefits or conditions?
Immune system support: A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food  found that chlorella supplementation can enhance immune system function in healthy adults, potentially reducing the risk of infections.
Cholesterol reduction: A meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials published in the Journal of Medicinal Food  found that chlorella supplementation was associated with significant reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, with the greatest benefits seen in people with higher initial cholesterol levels.
Blood sugar control: A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food  found that chlorella supplementation may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Detoxification: A review published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology  noted that chlorella may have potential detoxifying effects by binding to heavy metals and other toxins in the body.
Athletic performance: A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition  found that chlorella supplementation improved endurance and reduced muscle damage in a group of male athletes.
Is Chlorella or Spirulina Best?
The choice between chlorella and spirulina ultimately comes down to individual preferences and health goals.
Chlorella is often considered to have a higher protein content than spirulina and may be a better source of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and iron. Chlorella is also known for its potential detoxifying effects, as it may help bind to heavy metals and other toxins in the body. Some may find that chlorella has a stronger taste and odour than spirulina, making it less palatable.
Spirulina is also high in protein, and a good source of several important nutrients, including iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Spirulina may be better known for its potential anti-inflammatory effects, as it contains compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body. Some people may find that spirulina has a milder taste and is easier to mix into foods and drinks than chlorella
 Iwasa, M., Yamamoto, M., Tanaka, Y., Kaito, M., Adachi, Y., Yoshida, Y., & Shoji, S. (2012). Chlorella intake attenuates reduced salivary SIgA secretion in kendo training camp participants. Journal of medicinal food, 15(11), 1032-1038.
 Panahi, Y., Badeli, R., Karami, G. R., & Sahebkar, A. (2012). Investigation of the effects of Chlorella vulgaris supplementation in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of medicinal food, 15(9), 830-835.
 Hasegawa, T., Shimada, Y., & Okuda, M. (2002). Chlorella vulgaris extract reduces the oxidative stress induced by a single bout of graded exercise in young healthy individuals. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 32(3), 229-238.
 Wu, Q., Liu, L., & Miron, A. (2018). Industrial production of microalgal cell-mass and secondary metabolites by bioreactor cultivation: A review. Journal of food science and technology, 55(9), 3851-3861.
 Merchant, R. E., & Andre, C. A. (2001). A review of recent clinical trials of the nutritional supplement Chlorella pyrenoidosa in the treatment of fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 7(3), 79-91.