Information, effects, dosage, side effects
Chlorella is a microalgae with a variety of health-promoting effects. In dried form, the algae provides numerous minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins - including vitamins K, E, D, C and A as well as the minerals zinc, magnesium, and calcium. The areas of application of chlorella are just as diverse as the ingredients. So the algaecan be used for high blood pressure as well as for diseases of the liver or heavy metal poisoning.
Chlorella are freshwater algae that belong to the microalgae. The genus chlorella includes 24 species such as chlorella fusca, chlorella rugosa, or chlorella salina. The best known species is chlorella vulgaris. Chlorella sorokiniana is also used in part for the production of nutritional supplements.
The terms chlorella and spirulina often coincide. But the blue-green spirulina is actually not an algae, but a genus of cyanobacteria. Unlike spirulina, chlorella has a cell nucleus. From a botanical point of view it is one of the plants. The multicellular bacterium spirulina, like the chlorella algae, has a high nutrient density and a remarkable protein content.
Due to the high vitamin and mineral content, chlorella is well suited as a dietary supplement. The chlorophyll quantities of chlorella are also worth mentioning. Chlorophyll is the leaf pigment that gives algae their deep green colour. Since the alga also contains cobalamin - which belongs to the vitamin B12 group - it is particularly popular as a dietary supplement with people who eat vegan or predominantly from raw food.
Chlorella algae is a collective term for a genus of freshwater algae from the chlorellaceae family and the order of the chlorellales. This genus currently comprises 24 different types of algae. Chlorella vulgaris is primarily used for the production of food supplements.
The green algae Chlorella vulgaris is the best known representative of Chlorella. It is a unicellular algae with a spherical shape. It can reach a diameter of 4 to 10 μm.
The name of the aquatic plant comes from the Greek. So, chloros means green, whereas the ending -ella means small. Chlorella algae is not only one of the most studied, but also one of the oldest plants. It is estimated that it has existed on Earth for more than 2.5 billion years.
The microalgae prefers fresh water as a habitat. It occurs worldwide in both flowing and still waters. Due to the wide range of possible uses, the plant is also cultivated in large plants.
The unmarked microalgae reproduce through car pores. Daughter cells form in the mother cell and grow there. If the mother cell disintegrates, the auto pores are released and can spread further.
Anyone who finds out about the chlorella algae will sooner or later come across the term chlorella pyrenoidosa. Chlorella vulgaris and chlorella sorokiniana are often referred to as chlorella pyrenoidosa.
However, this is an outdated name. In the 1990s, scientists examined various microalgae that were previously known as chlorella pyrenoidosa. By looking at the cell wall structure, the structure of the so-called pyrenoids and with regard to various other physiological, chemical, molecular-biological, and morphological factors, they found that the microalgae are different species.
The species chlorella pyrenoidosa therefore officially no longer exists, even if the term is still common today. In the case of food supplements that are labeled with chlorella pyrenoidosa, it is therefore unclear which algae is contained. When buying, you should therefore pay attention to the name chlorella vulgaris.
The microalgae chlorella is one of the oldest organisms on earth. It has been estimated to have existed for over 2.5 billion years. She has a strong talent for adaptation and was able to withstand many adverse living conditions.
The microalgae has been supplementing and expanding the diet of the indigenous peoples in South America and Asia for several centuries. However, the Dutch microbiologist Martinus Willem Beijerinck was only able to isolate the algae in Delft in 1889.
Due to the broad nutrient profile, the algae became increasingly popular. That is why scientists in the 1950s worked on how to cultivate the algae and how to produce large quantities of chlorella vulgaris. The aim of the researchers was to use chlorella algae to ensure good protein supply for the entire world population.
Today chlorella is cultivated worldwide. Germany, for example, has the largest algae farm in Europe that specialises in the cultivation of chlorella. The cultivated algae are processed into nutritional supplements, used in cosmetics or as larval feed in aquacultures.
Due to its content of proteins, fatty acids and secondary plant substances, chlorella has a special nutritional value. For example, the plant contains vitamin B12, vitamin B9 and vitamin C. Calcium, potassium or iron are also part of the microalgae.
The nutrient content of chlorella algae depends not only on the type of algae, but also on the cultivation and processing.
Microalgae are one of the most important vegetable protein sources. The protein content of dried chlorella vulgaris is 51 to 58 percent. The algae thus contain more protein than dry milk, fish, chicken, or beef.
The biological value of a food or a protein is determined by the composition of the amino acids. The higher the biological value of a protein, the better the body can convert this nutritional protein into the body's own protein.
The more proteinogenic and essential amino acids a food contains, the higher the protein quality. The amino acid profile of chlorella algae has 8 of the important essential amino acids:
Chlorella contains more leucine than chicken eggs and the lysine content is also significantly higher. The microalgae is therefore a good vegetable protein source from both a quantitative and a qualitative point of view.
Chlorella not only contains high-quality proteins, but also more than 30 fatty acids. These include saturated fatty acids such as palmitic acid or lauric acid as well as mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
A basic distinction can be made between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. While saturated fatty acids are mainly found in animal foods, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are preferred in plant foods and fish.
A fatty acid is saturated if it has no double bonds between its individual carbon atoms. In addition to lauric and palmitic acids, the saturated fatty acids also include capric or arachic acid.
Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, have one or more double bonds between their carbon atoms. They are significantly more reactive than saturated fatty acids and can spoil faster. The health-promoting unsaturated fatty acids include omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
The human body needs fatty acids for various metabolic processes. Fatty acids are part of the cell walls and the cell nucleus, they build up tissue hormones and regulate fat metabolism.
Fats in general and especially the saturated fatty acids are suspected of harming the body. But in no way should fats be missing in a healthy diet. Rather, it depends on the ratio when eating.
30 percent of the calories consumed daily should come from fat. Saturated fatty acids should not amount to more than 10 percent of the energy, since they can increase the risk of diseases of the cardiovascular system. The proportion of omega-6 fatty acids should be around 8 percent, omega-3 fatty acids should make up 1 to 2 percent of the energy supply. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is optimally 5:1.
However, today's diet leads to significantly different conditions. For example, many people ingest too many saturated fatty acids from animal products. Furthermore, the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is often 10:1 or even 20:1.
A wrong combination of fatty acids has a negative impact on health. The risk of fat metabolism disorders, coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart attack increases. [
The fat content of the dried algae is on average 12 percent, but can also be more than 30 percent depending on the cultivation and processing. Chlorella is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and can thus contribute to a good quality supply of essential fats.
The microalgae contain various vitamins. These include, for example, vitamin B12, vitamin E, and folic acid.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays an important role in numerous metabolic processes in the human body. It supports blood formation and the formation of genetic material and promotes cell growth. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to the following symptoms:
Since vitamin B12 is almost exclusively contained in foods of animal origin, vegans and vegetarians in particular are at risk of suffering from a deficiency. Chlorella algae is a plant-based alternative to the supply of vitamin B12 for all people who want to do without animal products.
100 g of dried algae contain around 25 to 100 μg of methylcobalamin. The content strongly depends on the growing conditions, since the vitamin B12 is produced by microorganisms that live in the soil or on the algae.
In contrast to Spirulina, Chlorella mainly has real vitamin B12 and not so-called vitamin B12 analogues. These are chemically similar to vitamin B12 and bind to the same transport molecules in the body, but have no effect. Chlorella is the only algae that is suitable for the substitution of vitamin B12.
Folic acid, a vitamin from the B group, is involved in cell division and blood formation in the body. Since the vitamin also plays a crucial role in various growth processes, women who want to have children should consume more folic acid.
Iron also plays a crucial role in blood formation, as it is an essential component of the red blood pigment hemoglobin. Pregnant women and women who have heavy periods are particularly at risk of iron deficiency.
Chlorella cannot only be used to replace vitamin B12, it also contains iron and folic acid. In a study from 2010, scientists were able to significantly reduce the risk of anaemia in pregnant women by taking 6 g of chlorella per day.
Chlorella also contains:
The high chlorophyll content of the microalgae is responsible for its green color. Chlorophyll is a natural dye that is assigned to the secondary plant substances. The dye plays an important role in photosynthesis.
The green vegetable dye is also important for humans. The chlorophyll from plants has an anti-carcinogenic effect. This means that it can counteract the development of cancer. Chlorophyll is also known for its detoxifying properties.
Due to the high nutrient density, the microalgae have a broad spectrum of activity. Among other things, chlorella has an influence on sugar metabolism, cognitive performance, and immune function. The algae can also contribute to maintaining health and increasing general well-being by supplying important vitamins and minerals.
The ingredients of the microalgae seem to have a positive impact on the immune system. Taking 6 g of chlorella per day over a period of 4 weeks leads to a significant increase in the immunoglobulin A in the saliva. The IgA protects the body from pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
Surprisingly, there are also increased IgA values in breast milk if the mother took chlorella during pregnancy. Immunoglobulins A in breast milk protect the breastfed child from infections.
In a study from 2000, the researchers were able to significantly reduce the pain of fibromyalgia patients by taking Chlorella. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is associated with pain in various parts of the body, fatigue, sleep disorders, morning stiffness, and difficulty concentrating. Patients reported 20 to 50 percent improvement in symptoms after taking Chlorella.
Among other things, chlorella
The main task of the gastrointestinal tract is to absorb the nutrients required by the body from food. But the intestine in particular takes on many other tasks. It is an important part of the immune system and, thanks to the so-called enteric nervous system (ENS), an important part of the nervous system. Various complaints can occur with impaired gastric or intestinal functions. These include:
The human intestine is by no means a sterile tube, but is populated by many bacteria. Around 1,000 trillion bacterial cells are found in the intestine. This bacterial colonisation is also known as the intestinal flora or microbiome.
Intestinal bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) or lactobacilli act as digestive aids. For example, they break down fibre or produce digestive enzymes. But they are also an important part of the intestinal barrier and prevent pathogens from spreading in the intestine.
A disturbed intestinal flora can be found in many diseases. For example, patients with an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis have a striking microbiome.
The microalgae appear to have a positive effect on the intestinal flora. In studies with experimental animals, an increase in lactobacilli was observed when taking chlorella vulgaris. These regulate the pH value in the intestine via the production of lactic acid, thus promoting digestion and also protecting against potential pathogens.
Salmonella and pathologically increased E. coli, however, decrease with the intake of chlorella. Salmonella can cause severe intestinal infections and lead to severe diarrhoea.
The intestinal barrier is a functional structure that prevents pathogens and other harmful substances from entering the bloodstream via the intestinal wall. The intestinal barrier consists of the microbiome, the intestinal mucosa and a layer of mucus.
Tight junctions are crucial for the tightness of this intestinal barrier. These are proteins that surround the epithelial cells of the intestinal mucosa. They prevent substances from entering the body uncontrolled. If necessary, the tight junctions open selectively and thus enable nutrient absorption.
The barrier function of the intestine can be damaged by various factors. For example, nanoparticles, sweeteners, emulsifiers, or organic solvents are suspected of increasing the permeability of the intestine.
If the intestinal barrier no longer functions properly, there is a so-called leaky gut syndrome. Such a dysfunction can be seen in various diseases. In addition to the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, celiac disease also belongs to this. The symptoms vary:
Taking chlorella can reduce the oxidative stress in the intestine and strengthen the microflora. This has a positive effect on the intestinal mucosa and its barrier function. This prevents bacteria, bacterial toxins and other harmful substances from entering the bloodstream.
Ulcerative colitis is a dreaded chronic bowel disease that is accompanied by pronounced inflammation of the rectum and colon. The inflammation causes ulcers, which in turn lead to slimy bloody diarrhoea and cramp-like abdominal pain. Severe complications can lead to serious complications such as the toxic megacolon or life-threatening bleeding.
Patients with ulcerative colitis benefit from the microalgae chlorella. In a placebo-controlled double-blind study, Merchant et al. investigated the effect of chlorella on ulcerative colitis. They found that chlorella promotes wound healing and also improves immune function. This significantly improved the complaints in the colitis patients.
More and more people suffer from chronic stress. The consequences can be serious for the body. A stomach ulcer can develop under constant stress.
With a gastric ulcer, there is a deep injury to the stomach lining. Patients with a gastric ulcer suffer from anorexia, nausea, and vomiting. Chronic blood loss can also lead to anaemia. At worst, the ulcer breaks through and creates a life-threatening peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum).
Tamaka et al. found that taking chlorella vulgaris can counteract the development of stress-related ulcers in the stomach lining. This preventive effect is presumably based on the positive influence on the intestinal-brain axis and the protection of the gastric mucosa.
Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem, but also a health problem. More than 50 percent of all adults in Germany are overweight. 15 percent of children and adolescents are also obese.
According to the definition of the German Obesity Society, obesity is an increase in body fat that goes beyond the norm. The basis for calculation is the body mass index (BMI), the quotient of weight and height squared. Anyone who has a BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight. Obesity begins with a BMI of over 30.
Obesity can lead to severe health restrictions. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of complications such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus and orthopedic complaints. It is all the more important to reduce body weight if you are overweight.
Chlorella algae could be helpful here. In two studies, scientists administered volunteers with a non-alcoholic fatty liver 4 tablets of 300 mg chlorella per day. After 8 weeks of taking positive results.
The study participants who took chlorella lost more weight than the participants from the placebo group. In addition, the so-called insulin sensitivity improved in the chlorella group.
Insulin resistance, which is often associated with reduced insulin sensitivity, leads to the metabolic disease diabetes mellitus 2. The cells no longer respond to the insulin from the blood, which leads to increased blood sugar levels.
Obese people can benefit twice from the microalgae. They reduce their weight more easily and also protect themselves from a serious complication of being overweight.
Our body is exposed to numerous environmental toxins every day. Chlorella can bind heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins and can therefore be used to remove toxins.
Heavy metal poisoning is poisoning by heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, or thallium. Lead poisoning is also assigned to heavy metal poisoning. The symptoms of heavy metal poisoning vary depending on the extent and the responsible metal.
Cadmium can accumulate in the body over a long period of time due to industry or environmental factors and thus lead to severe chronic poisoning. Cadmium poisoning primarily damages the bones and kidneys. Symptoms also include diarrhoea, stomach pain, vomiting, and mental disorders. For ethical reasons, there are almost exclusively animal-based studies on the connection between heavy metal poisoning and chlorella.
In one of these studies, chlorella showed kidney protection in rats with cadmium poisoning. The kidney values in the blood improved and the protein excretion in the urine, which is a marker for kidney health, decreased.
Mercury poisoning is also feared. Mercury poisoning, also known as mercurialism, is triggered, among other things, by the absorption of fumes. Amalgam tooth fillings are also suspected to be the cause of mercury poisoning.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
Chlorella can be used for (supportive) detoxification due to its heavy metal binding properties. In animal experiments, the microalgae also proved positive in the case of mercury poisoning of the mother during pregnancy. Chlorella prevented the transport of methylmercury to the fetus and thus protected the unborn child from poisoning. In addition to this, less mercury was deposited in the brain in the maternal test animals from the chlorella group than in the animals in the placebo group.
Dioxins is a collective term for various chemical substances such as polychlorinated dibenzodioxins or polybrominated dibenzofurans. The chlorine-containing dioxins and furans arise primarily in combustion processes in the presence of chlorine or organic carbon. Dioxins were released into the environment in large quantities in the 1980s via dioxin-contaminated chemicals and certain pesticides (herbicides).
Even today, the soil is contaminated by fertilisation with secondary raw material fertilisers. The uncontrolled burning of painted wood can also be a source of dioxins. Since dioxin has a long half-life, there are still greater amounts in the environment.
For example, the dioxin enters the food chain via soil particles that stick to the vegetables. Dioxins also accumulate in eggs and meat from animals that are in soils contaminated with dioxins. Fish can also be contaminated with dioxins.
In the human body, dioxin accumulates in body fat and is only eliminated very slowly. Most of the dioxins are suspected to be carcinogenic. Dioxin also reaches the child at very low concentrations via the placenta and breast milk. Dioxin exposures to the mother, which are still in the normal range, can delay child development or even disturb them in the long term.
Since dioxin accumulates primarily in fat and breast milk is extremely fatty, it is considered a good marker for thetotal burden on the mother. Women who take chlorella during pregnancy have lower level of dioxins in their breast milk. For this reason, it can be assumed that chlorella ensures that not a lot of dioxin reaches the unborn child via the umbilical cord.
Animal experiments have also shown that chlorella increases dioxin excretion in the urine. Test animals that received an oil containing dioxin and chlorella at the same time excreted more dioxin in the urine than the controlanimals. This result suggests that chlorella reduces the absorption of dioxin in the intestine and can therefore protect against (chronic) dioxin poisoning.
The microalgae chlorella can be used (accompanying) to detoxify the body in case of poisoning with various substances. In consultation with a doctor or therapist, it can make sense to take it, especially if there is a high level of dioxin and chronic poisoning with cadmium and mercury.
The liver is not only the largest gland in the human body, but also an extremely important metabolic organ that takes on numerous tasks. It stores sugar, fat and amino acids, produces proteins, cholesterol and bile acids, and converts toxic substances such as ammonia into non-toxic substances. In addition, it is used to break down hormones and for the metabolism of medication and / or alcohol.
Virus infections, alcohol, medication, or other harmful substances can damage the liver and impair the liver function. The most common liver diseases include fatty liver, inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) and liver cancer.
Liver disease can be manifested by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. Fatigue and a feeling of pressure in the right upper abdomen can also indicate a liver disease.
Aliashrafi et al. was able to prove in her study from 2014, that the microalgae chlorella has a positive influence on liver health. They administered 300 mg of chlorella per day with fatty liver-induced fatty liver. After 8 weeks, the ALT and AST liver values in the blood improved significantly.
According to the Noguchi et al. study, chlorella can also be used to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver. In animal experiments, chlorella inhibited the activity of the MCP-1 protein in rats fed a fatty diet. The algae also inhibited the growth of fat cells in the liver.
However, chlorella not only seems to offer protection from food that is too fatty, but also to protect against alcohol-related liver damage. Byun et al. used a chlorella vulgaris ethanol extract in his research work. With the help of the microalgae, they were able to reduce alcohol-related damage to the liver. This was demonstrated, among other things, by a decrease in the γ-glutamyl transferase and the glutamic pyruvic transaminase in the blood. Both values are considered markers of liver health.
A lutein-protein complex (LPC) is responsible for the liver protective effect. Cai et al. successfully extracted this special complex from the microalgae for the first time in 2015. In the animal model, this complex had a positive effect on the liver cells. The liver aminotransferases in the blood decreased significantly after administering the lutein-protein complex. ALT and AST are usually only found in the liver cells. If they are also present in the blood to a greater extent, this indicates damage to the liver cells.
Hepatitis is an inflammation to the liver. It can be toxic, infectious or auto-immunologic. Infectious forms include viral hepatitis A, B, C and E.
Hepatitis C is particularly feared because it takes a chronic course in 80 percent of all cases of diseases and can lead to severe liver damage. Infection with the hepatitis C virus is a significant risk factor for liver cancer.
Chlorella can be used to support the treatment of people with hepatitis C. In a 2013 study, patients with chronic liver inflammation received Chlorella vulgaris over a 12-week period. This not only improved their liver values in the blood, more than 70 percent of the study participants also reported an improved general condition. More than 60 percent also had a greater energy level and no longer suffered as much from the tiredness typical to this disease.
Most people in Germany still die from cardiovascular diseases. In 2015, almost 40 percent of all deaths were due to a cardiovascular disease. Nearly 51,000 people died of a heart attack in 2015.
Various (influenceable) factors can favour the development of a cardiovascular disease:
An important risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening diseases of the cardiovascular system is high blood pressure. According to the guidelines of the high pressure league, hypertension occurs when the systolic value exceeds 140 and / or the diastolic blood pressure value is greater than 90. [
In various studies, scientists have been able to prove that chlorella vulgaris has a positive effect on blood pressure. There was an improvement in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.
Elevated blood lipid levels (hyperlipidemia) as well as hypertension increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown that people with high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood can benefit from taking chlorella.
The microalgae can significantly reduce the fat content in the blood. In a study from 2014, scientists were able to lower their subjects' cholesterol levels by an average of 1.6 percent. The triglyceride content even decreased by almost 12 percent. Chlorella also had a positive effect on the ratio of 'bad' LDL cholesterol to 'good' HDL cholesterol. While the LDL cholesterol content decreased, the HDL cholesterol increased by 4 percent.
Deposits of fat, thrombi, connective tissue and lime in the arterial blood vessels are summariesd as arteriosclerosis, popularly known as arterial calcification. Arteriosclerosis is one of the main risk factors for diseases such as a heart attack and stroke.
The algae chlorella contains nutrients that can counteract the formation of arterial calcification. These include antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, the amino acid arginine, potassium, or calcium.
All metabolic processes that take place in the human body require a certain pH value. The ideal pH value of the blood is 7.4 and is thus in the basic range. However, a one-sided and acidic diet, physical and psychological stress can change the pH. In order to keep it within the required limit, the body has a buffer system.
In order to buffer acidic end products, the organism primarily needs basic minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, or zinc. As the microalgae contains numerous minerals, it can help regulate the acid-base balance.
With a size of up to 2 square meters, the skin is the largest human sensory organ. It protects against cold and heat, makes it possible to feel and offers protection against pathogens as a natural barrier. But it does not just take on health tasks. A beautiful complexion also contributes to general well-being.
Chlorella can have a positive effect on the complexion in various ways. The microalgae shows positive effects on dry skin or on skin prone to inflammation. Chlorella can improve wound healing and is therefore also suitable for oral or topical use in inflammatory skin diseases such as acne or neurodermatitis.
Participants in a Polish study from 2017 not only reported reduced susceptibility to infections and better vitality after taking chlorella, but also hair quality and skin appearance improved noticeably.
Chlorella algae are grown in large aquacultures. The nutrient content largely depends on the type of cultivation. In order to obtain as many nutrients and vital substances as possible, the microalgae should be filtered off and dried as gently as possible. The algae can then be processed further.
The dried algae can be pulverised and used as a powder. The powder can be easily stirred into smoothies or water. Dosing can be done easily and individually using a small measuring spoon or a precise scale.
Pellets are nothing more than powdered and pressed chlorella. At best, the pellets contain no additives. They are easy to dose, taste neutral and can be taken quickly and easily. Pellets can also be used better than powder when travelling.
The term tablets is usually used synonymously with the term pellets. This is also pressed chlorella powder.
Chlorella capsules consist of a capsule shell and the chlorella filling. The shell can also be made from gelatin but also in plant based form from cellulose or carrageenan. Just like the tablets and pellets, the capsules contain a standardised amount of chlorella. This enables safe dosing and easy intake.
Chlorella extract, the concentrated form of algae, is often referred to as Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). The extract contains many phytochemicals as well as glycoproteins. It can be taken alone or in addition to the whole chlorella algae.
There is no general recommendation for the chlorella microalgae. Studies usually recommend a chlorella dosage between 6 and 10 grams. It is advisable to start with a smaller amount of chlorella per day and gradually increase the dose if you tolerate it well.
Chlorella is generally considered to be well tolerated. Side effects are hardly known, occasionally headaches or nausea can occur in the first few weeks.
Since chlorella contains significant amounts of vitamin K, caution should be taken when taking anticoagulants. Warfarin and Marcumar are so-called (indirect) vitamin K antagonists. So they counteract the vitamin K. Excessive vitamin K intake can reduce the effectiveness of the anticoagulants and thus increase the risk of blood clots forming in the blood vessels.
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