Superfood Deep Dive – A Look at the Many Benefits of Chlorella

Posted on November 5th, 2021 By in Product Science Read Time: 12 mins.

At this point, you’ve heard of turmeric. (24k Golden Milk Latte anyone?) You’ve heard of matcha, maca, and maybe even some of the mushroom varieties with superfood status.

But did you know there’s an aquatic superfood that’s making ‘waves’ in the superfood space? It’s called ‘chlorella’, and today we’re diving into its numerous benefits, uses, and why you might want to add it to your superfood stash!

spoonful of chlorella powder with green background and crystals
Chlorella is one of the most fascinating new superfoods.

What is Chlorella?

Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater algae. There are more than 30 different types of chlorella, but researchers mainly use Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa in research studies.

The single-celled organism has a hard cell wall that is indigestible by humans, so you can’t reap the benefits of chlorella by eating the algae itself.

If you want to get the health benefits of chlorella, you have to take it in supplement form. Chlorella can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.

Tip: Look for ‘cracked cell-wall’ chlorella in any vitamins or supplement that you take. Our Taurus Super Greens use North American cracked-cell wall chlorella as one of the key superfoods.

The Benefits of Chlorella

You might be pondering why you would want to take chlorella in the first place.

After all, this aquatic superfood is still a relative newcomer to the superfood stratosphere.

The reason is that chlorella has been heavily researched lately – and the findings have certainly caught our attention.

In fact, researchers have found several potential health benefits of this freshwater algae.

The research is still fairly new, but shows tremendous promise.

We expect even more human studies to emerge in the coming months, further supporting the health-boosting capabilities of chlorella.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible benefits of including a chlorella supplement in your routine.

Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidants are popular for their known ability to improve health, and prevent chronic disease.

They can also have an incredibly positive impact on your skin health.

One of the reasons scientists gained interest in chlorella is because it contains several antioxidant compounds.

Those antioxidants in chlorella include chlorophyll, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein. 

Along with their chronic-disease fighting properties, these compounds have been shown to have a positive effect on the way genes age.

One noteworthy study showed that the antioxidant levels of cigarette smokers increased while taking chlorella.

This is pretty impressive when you consider that people who smoke are at a significantly greater risk for oxidative damage.

If chlorella can improve the antioxidant levels in smokers, just think of what it can do for people who don’t!

High Nutritional Value 

Chlorella has a robust nutritional profile that has helped it earn its designation as a “superfood.”

The exact nutritional profile of chlorella depends on how, and where it is grown, but it’s certain that it has many amazing nutrients.

Chlorella contains the following nutrients: 

  • Protein: Chlorella contains 60-70% protein, and it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein source.
  • Iron and Vitamin C: Chlorella can be an excellent source of iron depending on the supplement. Some varieties may provide anywhere from 6-40% of the recommended daily intake. It is also high in Vitamin C, which helps your body to better absorb iron. 
  • B12: Some chlorella supplements contain B12. 
  • Omega-3’s: An abundant source of omega-3’s, chlorella provides 100 mg of omega-3 in just 3 grams. 
  • Fiber: When consumed in high quantities, chlorella can be a good source of fiber. 
  • Other vitamins and minerals: Chlorella also contains small amounts of other vitamins and minerals including magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid and other B vitamins.

Chlorella is a very nutritious supplement that can be a good source of vitamins, minerals, omega-3s, iron, and vitamin C. 

May Strengthen the Immune System

Your immune system keeps you healthy and fights off infection when microorganisms invade your body.

There are things that can weaken your immune system such as poor diet, lack of sleep, and high levels of stress.

While we recommend addressing those things first, there are some supplements you can take that may help improve your immune system.

Although the research is new, there is some evidence that suggests chlorella may play a role in strengthening the immune system.

One study showed higher numbers of antibodies in those who took chlorella, and another study showed that chlorella users had increased immune activity. 

Other studies, however, have shown chlorella to have little to no effect on the immune system.

More research is needed on larger, more diverse populations before we can say with confidence that chlorella strengthens the immune system. 

It wouldn’t hurt to take chlorella for immune health, and though it may help, but it’s not guaranteed. 

May Improve Metabolic & Cardiovascular Health

Recent research studies have suggested that chlorella supplements may improve blood lipid levels such as total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

It has also been shown to improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels in people with hypertension or diabetes. 

A daily dose of 5-10 grams of chlorella can potentially lower LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad stuff) and triglycerides in people who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. 

If the abundant nutrients found in chlorella (B vitamins, fiber, carotenoids, and antioxidants) have the power to improve lipid levels, then including them as part of a healthy diet may help prevent the health problems from occurring in the first place. 

May Enhance Exercise Endurance During Aerobic Activity 

While the research is limited, there is one study that showed a positive effect on aerobic endurance in participants who took chlorella.

Participants who took 6 grams of chlorella had a greater capacity for oxygen saturation in the lungs, while the participants who received the placebo had no improvement.

Researchers believe that the increase in oxygen saturation that participants experienced was made possible by the branch-chain amino acids found in chlorella’s protein content. 

If you’re looking to increase your aerobic exercise capacity, chlorella may be the supplement for you. 

So What’s the Difference Between Spirulina and Chlorella?

You may have heard of another algae called spirulina.

Spirulina and chlorella are both algaes that have taken the health-conscious world by storm for their potential health benefits and high nutritional value.

Spirulina and chlorella have similar carbohydrate, fat, and protein contents, but their calorie and vitamin/mineral profile differ.

Chlorella has a slightly higher fat content than spirulina and has more calories. Since chlorella is higher in fat, it has more omega-3’s than spirulina.  Here are the major differences:

Chlorella is higher in:

  • calories
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • provitamin A
  • riboflavin
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • zinc

Spirulina has fewer calories but still contains high amounts of:

  • riboflavin
  • thiamine
  • iron
  • copper

How to Use Chlorella

There are many ways to use chlorella. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Add it to a smoothie – You can add a spoonful of chlorella to any smoothie recipe. We recommend using it in a smoothie with sweet ingredients like fruit and honey. The sweetness from the fruit can help mask the bitterness of the chlorella. Try combining bananas, mangoes or other fruits in a blender with water, milk or juice, and add 1 teaspoon to 1/2 tablespoon of chlorella powder.
  • Cook with it – Try adding chlorella to a vinaigrette, stir-frys, or even a homemade pesto. Chlorella’s flavor can add a unique twist to many savory dishes. You can really get creative with adding it to different recipes. 
  • Add it to baked goods – The next time you whip up some zucchini muffins or banana bread, add some chlorella to the recipe. Try sifting a couple teaspoons of chlorella powder into the flour. It will turn it green, and the sweetness of the dessert will mask chlorella’s taste.

Take it in capsules – If you think it might be too difficult to add chlorella powder to the foods you eat, you can always take it in capsule form and still get the same benefits. Capsules make it easier to manage the dose you are receiving, too. 

Summing it All Up

Chlorella is a freshwater algae that may provide many health benefits.

The key benefits of supplementing with chlorella include:

  • Increased antioxidant levels
  • Improved metabolic health
  • Increased immunity

Researchers believe it is the high nutritional content of chlorella that makes it so beneficial. 

Chlorella in powder form can be added to smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes. It can also be taken in a capsule form. 

Research on the potential benefits of chlorella is limited, but it can’t hurt to try this amazing superfood.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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