Generic Name: chlorella

Other Names: China chlorella, green algae, kyochlorella, sun chlorella granules

Drug Class: Herbals

What is chlorella, and what is it used for?

Chlorella is a type of green algae that is used as a nutritional and dietary supplement. Several Chlorella species are commercially cultivated, harvested, processed, and sold over the counter (OTC) in the form of tablets and liquid extracts.

Chlorella contains many macronutrients, micronutrients, antioxidants, pigments, and other bioactive substances that are beneficial to health. Chlorella is used in the treatment of many ailments including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

Chlorella is a rich nutritional source of proteins, fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugars, and dietary fiber. Chlorella contains all the vitamins humans need, including abundant amounts of vitamins D2 and B12 which are absent in plants, and thus is a good source of these vitamins for people who do not eat meat products. In addition, chlorella also has all the essential minerals including iron, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorous, and selenium.

Taking chlorella supplementation may protect one from developing diseases and reduce the severity of many diseases because of its nutritional value. In addition, chlorella is believed to have antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects, and may lower blood pressure, blood fats, and blood sugar levels. Chlorella is purported to be beneficial for many conditions, however, there is no good established scientific evidence for most of its uses.

Therapeutic uses of chlorella include:

What are the side effects of chlorella?

Warnings

Do not take if you are hypersensitive to any of the components of the chlorella products. Exercise caution if you have a tendency for allergic reactions. People allergic to molds may also be allergic to chlorella.

Do not take chlorella if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Chlorella is rich in vitamin K which is involved in the blood clotting process and may reduce the effect of blood-thinning medications such as warfarin. Use with caution.

Common side effects of chlorella include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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What are the dosages of chlorella?

There is no established standard dose of chlorella. Dried chlorella may contain from 7% to 88% protein, 6% to 38% carbohydrates, and 7% to 75% fat. Chlorella products can vary widely in composition and formulation, check manufacturer’s label for dosages.

Suggested dosage:

Fibromyalgia

  • 10 g tablets orally plus 100 mL liquid extract once/day

Increased chemo/radiation tolerability in patients with brain tumors

  • Up to 20 g orally once/day plus 150 mL liquid extract

Overdose

  • There are no reports of chlorella overdose. In case of overdose, report your symptoms to Poison Control.

What drugs interact with chlorella?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

  • Chlorella has no known severe, serious, or moderate interactions with other drugs.
  • Mild Interactions of chlorella include:
    • antithrombin alfa
    • antithrombin III
    • argatroban
    • bemiparin
    • bivalirudin
    • dabigatran
    • dalteparin
    • enoxaparin
    • fondaparinux
    • heparin
    • phenindione
    • protamine

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • There isn’t enough reliable information on the safety of chlorella use during pregnancy. Avoid use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Never take any herbal supplement including chlorella without checking with your healthcare provider first, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What else should I know about chlorella?

  • Chlorella supplements are possibly safe for most adults when taken orally in recommended doses for a short period.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplement, including chlorella products.
  • Herbal products often contain many ingredients. Check labels for the components in the chlorella product you choose.
  • Chlorella products vary depending on how they are cultivated, harvested and processed, and percentages of nutrients differ from product to product. Take chlorella exactly as per label instructions for each specific product.
  • Chlorella is marketed as an herbal supplement and is not regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents; exercise caution in choosing your product.
  • Store safely out of reach of children.

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Summary

Chlorella is a type of green algae that is used as a nutritional and dietary supplement. Chlorella contains many macronutrients, micronutrients, antioxidants, pigments, and other bioactive substances that are beneficial to health. Chlorella is used in the treatment of many ailments including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Do not take chlorella if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Common side effects of chlorella include diarrhea, green color stools, stomach cramping, nausea, gas (flatulence), skin sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity), allergic reactions, asthma, and severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

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Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2022
References
https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_chlorella_green_algae/drugs-condition.htm

https://reference.medscape.com/drug/china-chlorella-green-algae-chlorella-344567

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-907/chlorella

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551956/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501822/