12 Impressive Health Benefits of Chlorella

Medically Reviewed on 7/20/2022
12 impressive health benefits of chlorella
Despite the health benefits, there are a few risks and side effects associated with chlorella supplementation.

Chlorella is a single-cell microalga, commonly called green algae or freshwater seaweed, and is native to Japan and Taiwan. Chlorella contains chlorophyll (a green pigment) that absorbs sunlight to produce food through photosynthesis.

Chlorella is rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, and many more. Studies have shown that consuming chlorella is highly beneficial to health, so it is regarded as a superfood. Though it is native to Japan and Taiwan, it is available in the U.S. market as supplement powders, pills, or extracts.

As chlorella has a very hard outer cell wall that cannot be digested. Chlorella supplements and granules can be added to smoothies, soups, and dips (such as guacamole or hummus).

The nutritional content of chlorella

Table. The nutritional value of 5 grams and 3.9 grams of chlorella powder and pill (DV = Daily Value)
Nutrient Amount in 2 tablespoons (5 grams) of chlorella powder Amount in 3 pills (3.9 grams) chlorella 1000 mg green superfood
Calories 15 9.98
Carbohydrates 2 grams, 1 percent of the DV 1 gram, 1 percent of the DV
Protein 3 grams 2 grams, 4 percent of the DV
Vitamin C 2 percent of the DV 130 percent of the DV
Vitamin B12 250 percent of the DV -
Vitamin A 60 percent of the DV 60 percent of the DV
Calcium 2 percent of the DV -
Iron 70 percent of the DV 35 percent of the DV

Additionally, chlorella contains the following minerals and vitamins:


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12 impressive health benefits of chlorella

  1. Boosts immunity
    • Studies report that chlorella can boost natural killer cell activity and trigger the inflammatory responses required to combat infections.
    • Another study suggested that chlorella supplementation enhanced antibody synthesis in the body, which fights infections and the invasion of disease-causing bacteria.
  2. Improves cholesterol levels
    • In some studies, chlorella pills helped decrease total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the blood.
    • People with high blood pressure or slightly raised cholesterol have reported a decrease in triglycerides because of nutrients chlorella, including niacin, fiber, antioxidants, and carotenoids.
  3. Prevents cancer
    • Chlorella inhibits cancer cell development by triggering apoptosis or cell death. This single-celled alga boosts the activity of natural killer cells, a kind of white blood cell that aids in tumor rejection by the host.
    • Chlorella contains a protein, chlorella vulgaris culture supernatant (CVS), that has antitumor properties.
    • By stimulating T cells (a kind of white blood cell), CVS prevents tumor metastasis (the spread of malignant cells from their place of origin).
    • When activated, this protein promotes the recruitment of T lymphocytes to tumor locations, hence preventing tumor spread.
  4. Reduces high blood pressure
    • A study of 80 people (with normal-high blood pressure and borderline hypertension) report that taking Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-rich chlorella pills for 12 weeks significantly decreased blood pressure.
    • Chlorella substantially reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in a meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials including 797 participants.
    • Taken together, the effects of chlorella on blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure suggest that it has the potential to prevent heart disease, but further research is needed.
    • Chlorella promotes heart and kidney function and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
    • Studies suggest that consuming four grams of chlorella daily reduced the incidence of high blood pressure.
    • Chlorella contains potassium, arginine, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium, which protect the arteries.
  5. Improves blood sugar levels
    • It includes magnesium, which improves blood sugar levels.
    • Furthermore, chlorella ingestion activates genes that promote insulin sensitivity inside cells.
  6. Detoxifies body
    • Chlorella may help remove toxins and heavy metals from the body.
    • It boosts liver function, which can aid in the body's natural detoxification processes.
  7. Aids in digestion
    • Chlorella promotes good digestion by supplying enzymes to the intestines, such as pepsin and chlorophyllase.
    • This helps the body remove waste and maintains the health of the digestive system.
    • It purifies the blood and eliminates molds that reside in and pollute the body.
  8. Enhances endurance
    • Studies suggest that athletes who were supplemented with chlorella had considerable gains in endurance and blood oxygen saturation levels.
    • Researchers determined that this was due to the high amino acid and chlorophyll levels.
  9. Aids in weight loss
    • The high nutritional content of chlorella can help normalize cell and tissue function and reverse numerous degenerative disease processes.
    • By addressing any dietary deficiencies, the body is likely to experience fewer cravings and hunger episodes.
    • Compared to low-nutrient items, such as chips and chocolate, eating a high-nutrient diet may result in delayed hunger signals. These variables might help stick to a better diet.
    • Amino acids are found in chlorella. They offer energy to the body, as well as help break down food and rebuild muscle tissue.
    • Phenylalanine, an amino acid, has been shown to boost the synthesis of the hunger relief hormone, cholecystokinin, and reduce the tendency to overeat.
  10. Helps with premenstrual syndrome
    • A study was conducted with 44 females, who were suffering from menstrual cramps. Ingesting 1.5 grams of chlorella daily for eight weeks alleviated symptoms, such as cramping, headaches, exhaustion, and lowered inflammation.
  11. Supports eye health
    • Though no specific studies on chlorella and visual health have been undertaken, evidence indicates that carotenoids (especially lutein) in chlorella may help enhance or prevent the development of age-related macular disorders.
  12. Supports health during chemotherapy
    • There is evidence that chlorella supplementation can benefit cancer patients. Chemotherapy frequently results in the immune system being weakened by radiation.
    • However, it has been discovered that chlorella lowers these negative effects.
    • Furthermore, chlorella helps eliminate cancer-causing substances, such as heavy metals.

Are there any risks associated with chlorella?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate chlorella supplements and has not approved them for therapeutic use. However, it is generally regarded as safe to consume.

There are a few risks associated with chlorella supplementation, such as the following:

Drug interactions

  • Chlorella is rich in vitamin K. Vitamin K is a natural coagulant that helps form blood clots to reduce potential bleeding.
  • Warfarin is a blood thinner administered to people who can develop life-threatening blood clots in the following cases:
    • Irregular heartbeats
    • Valve replacement and prosthetic valve surgery
    • Any other medical condition
  • Vitamin K when taken with warfarin decreases the anticoagulant effect of warfarin, posing the risk of developing lethal blood clots.

Allergic reactions

  • Consumption of chlorella may cause serious allergies and respiratory distress in predisposed individuals.
  • People have been noted to have severe breathing issues and asthma attacks after consuming chlorella.

Gastrointestinal discomfort

  • Chlorella pills may cause abdominal discomfort after consumption, especially during the first few weeks. The symptoms may last for up to two months.
  • The abdominal symptoms caused by chlorella include:

Skin sensitivity

  • Chlorella can increase the sensitivity of the skin, which may result in rashes and sunburn with exposure to sunlight.
  • It is recommended to use sunblock while taking oral supplements of chlorella, especially for people who are light-skinned.
  • Chlorella should never be applied to the skin because it may cause skin diseases.

Not useful in individuals with immunodeficiency

  • The active nutrients of chlorella are known to boost the activity of the immune system.
  • However, studies suggest that chlorella cannot show any improvement in people with compromised immunity, such as immunodeficiency or immunological issues.

Uncertainty of nutritional content

  • The nutrient content of chlorella alga varies according to species and growing conditions.
  • The nutrient content differs in all forms of supplements based on the form.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 7/20/2022
Image Source: iStock image

ScienceDirect. Chlorella. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/chlorella

FoodData Central. Chlorella Powder. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1064099/nutrients

FoodData Central. Chlorella 1000mg Green Superfood. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/580776/nutrients

Miller K. Chlorella. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/chlorella-uses-and-risks