Chlorella vs Spirulina: Which is Better

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Many people debate the benefits of chlorella vs spirulina, so before you add either to your diet, it’s best to understand all the details.

Chlorella vs Spirulina

While both of these types of algae taste and look quite similar, there are certain key differences you should know about, depending on what your health goals are!

Chlorella

  • Chlorella is a green, single-celled freshwater form of algae, and comes in more than a dozen species that belong to the scientific genus Chlorella.
  • Most often found as a dietary supplement that is a dark green powder, this dried form of algae has high levels of protein (45%), as well as the highest level of chlorophyll of any known plant.
  • It also contains fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This dense nutritional value has made it a very important food source in certain parts of the world.

In terms of health benefits, it has been linked to the following:

  • Weight control
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Proper growth and development
  • Immune system health

While chlorella was very popular upon its initial discovery back in the 1940s, it has fallen slightly out of favor, in exchange for other nutrient-enriched and protein-replacement foods on the market.

Word of Caution: There are a few reported cases of inflammation, but when used in moderation, this supplement has no known risks.

Spirulina

  • Spirulina is also a single-celled form of freshwater algae, although it can grow in saltwater, as well as freshwater lakes. They are greenish-blue in color.
  • In use for hundreds of years, when these algae are dried, they provide a great deal of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and key nucleic acids.
  • You can typically buy spirulina in both tablet and powdered form, and it is a complete protein, with a very low-calorie count.
  • Unlike chlorella, spirulina has less chlorophyll and is not known to be as good for detoxifying the body.
  • Spirulina is a better source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid, which can help heart conditions by reducing the level of overall cholesterol.
  • Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports states that spirulina possesses certain phytochemical antioxidants that can lower your risk of chronic disease by countering the negative effects of free radicals. This gives spirulina an edge for cancer patients, whereas there is limited research on the actual efficacy of chlorella when it comes to cancer.

Note: Before adding either of these supplements to your diet, speak with your doctor about your nutritional needs.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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