Chlorella or spirulina?

Both chlorella and spirulina are considered superfoods as they are packed with nutrition that is absorbed easily by the body. Both derive from algae but offer different benefits to your health. So when standing at the shelf in the health food shop, how do you know if  chlorella or spirulina is the right one for you?


Spirulina is a fresh water, blue-green algae that is rich in pre-digested protein, vitamins, minerals, nucleic acids, carotenoids and essential fatty acids. It is one of the most potent superfoods on the market.


Spirulina has a high protein content (65%) making it a great supplement for vegans and vegetarians (the protein in Spirulina is used at a rate of 50-61%).

Spirulina has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, containing all of the essential amino acids. It is especially useful when combined with other omega 3 rich supplements such as fermented cod liver oil.

Spirulina contains high levels of absorbable (bioavailable) iron and 26 times the calcium found in milk products.

Spirulina contains high levels of chlorophyll, which cleanses the blood and detoxifies the body from heavy metals.

Spirulina helps you burn fat by decreasing the glucose oxidation that increases the utilisation of fat for fuel.

Some research has shown spirulina may bind with radioactive isotopes therefore reduce damage caused by exposure to radiation.

Spirulina exerts strong anti-microbial effects that protect again harmful bacteria and yeasts in the gut.

Spirulina may help to reduce cholesterol levels. This is potentially due to its rich vegetable protein and antioxidant content (such as phycocyanins).

Spirulina is exerts chemoprotective effects (i.e. protects against cancer)

Components of Spirulina reduce inflammation and diminish free radicals thus protect against degenerative disease.

Spirulina is a good option for…

  • Pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating and menopausal women.
  • Children
  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Skin issues such as acne, dermatitis, eczema.
  • Weight loss
  • Heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Exposure to radioactivity – frequent plane travel, x-rays, radiation therapy, excessive mobile phone use, etc.
  • Degenerative diseases such as Alzeimers, Parkinsons and macular degeneration.


Spirulina should be avoided if you have a seafood/ iodine allergy or by those who suffer from hyperthyroidism. It is also worth trying to source spirulina that hasn’t been harvested in the Pacific Ocean, which is currently potent in post Fukishima radiation.


Chlorella is a single-celled, fresh water green algae. Whilst it doesn’t offer quite the same protein content as Spirulina, it is still packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is however a far more superior when it comes to detoxification.


Chlorella offers the greatest amount of chlorophyll per gram than in any other plant in the world. It assists with the processing of oxygen thus promotes growth and repair of the tissues.

Chlorella is a powerful chelation tool in the detoxification of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead.

Unlike Spirulina, Chlorella contains Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), a compound rich in nucleic acids that rejuvenates your entire body and boosts the immune system.

Chlorella may assist with digestion and bowel function by stimulating the production of anaerobic bacteria in the gut.

Chlorella’s cell walls absorb toxins in the gut. This assists with optimum gut pH and healthy peristalsis (which you need to do a poo).

Chlorella may reduce symptoms of estrogen dominance. It does so by converting estradiol into estrone, assisting with estrone clearance thus leaving the friendly form of estrogen ‘estrole’ alone.

The high antioxidant content of Chlorella may assist cardiovascular disease by  helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Chlorella is a good option for…

  • General detoxification.
  • Heavy metal detoxification/  poisoning (including those with amalgam fillings.)
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive distress, and reduced ability to properly assimilate and utilize fats
  • Estrogen dominance
  • Female reproductive problems
  • PMS
  • Aching joints
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Candida issues
  • Blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Weak immune systems
  • Poor lymphatic function
  • Water retention
  • Osteoporosis
  • Degenerative diseases such as Alzeimers, Parkinsons and macular degeneration.


For those that are sensitive, chlorophyll’s powerful detoxifying properties may cause powerful detoxification symptoms as well. The key is to start at a low dose and to build it up slowly week by week.

The Key differences between spirulina and chlorella

  • Chlorella is a far superior detoxifier for heavy metals.
  • If you are sensitive, spirulina tends to be easier on the digestive system than chlorella and other blue-green algaes. This is because spirulina doesn’t have a hard cell wall like chlorella thus is easy to break down and digest.
  •  Spirulina  is more useful in the treatment of arsenic poisoning.
  • Spirulina’s protein, B12, essential fatty acid and antioxidant levels are far higher than those in chlorella.
  • Chlorella contains higher levels of RNA, DNA, nucelotides, beta carotene and chlorophyll.
  • Spirulina is a richer source of essential fatty acids (such as GLA ) thus better enhances brain and heart function.
  • Due to its higher levels of phycocyanin, Spirulina is more chemo-protective than chlorella.

Eleven ways to take your spirulina or chlorella supplement

  1. For maximum absorption, add a heaped teaspoon of the supergreen of choice to a big glass of water. If you can’t handle the taste, both are available in tablet form.
  2. Add a teaspoon of either to your smoothie or green vegetable juice.
  3. Add a teaspoon of spirulina to homemade salsa or guacamole. It enhances the taste and texture very nicely.
  4. Make spirulina pesto: Blend 1 packed cup of basil leaves, 3-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of spirulina, 55g of pine nuts or walnuts and a big pinch of sea salt.
  5. Replace sandwiches and wraps with spirulina crackers. Kitz’s Living Foods Herb, Dulse and Spirulina crackers are delicious and are available at most health food stores.
  6. Add a tablespoon of spirulina or chlorella to your homemade green soup ingredients before blending them all together. This adds a nice salty, nutty flavour as well as creaminess.
  7. Replace your French fries with Spirulina Chips: Slice 6 potatoes/ sweet potatoes into the desired chip size and pre-cook/ bake for 20min on 180C. During this twenty minutes, add 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika, 2 tablespoons of spirulina, 1 teaspoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of crushed garlic and 3 tablespoons of tamari sauce into a cooking bag and shake it to mix. Once the chips are cooked, put them inside the bag and shake them all around a bit. Then lay them back onto the baking tray and continue baking until crispy (for likely another 20 minutes, it will depend on what sort of oven you have).
  8. Enjoy a spirulina chia pudding. Replace the cacao with a tablespoon of spirulina in this recipe.
  9. Lightly sprinkle chlorella powder on top of a green salad. It makes for a nice nutty flavor.
  10. My favourite: Spirulina bliss balls. Sarah Wilson has an excellent sugar-free bliss ball recipe here. Replace the cacao with a tablespoon of spirulina or simply add it to the recipe as it.
  11. If you have a sweet snack craving, try Raw Revolution Organic Spirulina Dream bars which are available at most health food stores.

Please contact me for other specific brand recommendations.

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