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Chlorella and Spirulina

January 6, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

In the world of high fashion models there are certain physical traits that you expect to find in the men and women strutting down the catwalk. But every once in a while an unlikely superstar emerges. These individuals generally don’t possess the typical characteristics found in other “supermodels”. They may be heavier, shorter or just downright “unique” in appearance. A similar phenomenon is found in the field of naturopathic medicine. There are plenty of remedies derived from beautiful sources such as echinacea flowers, lavender buds and milk thistle. However other popular supplements are extracted from decidedly unattractive reservoirs.

In the eyes of many people, algae such as Chlorella and Spirulina are nothing more than common pond scum. Alternative medicine buffs and research scientists vehemently disagree with that point of view. Both perspectives have a basis in reality. Certain varieties of algae can, in fact, be toxic and virtually all algae have an unpleasant aroma and taste. Naturally, these attributes lend themselves to giving algae a bad reputation. But under a microscope or in the context of medical studies, these very same outcasts are often found to have very promising health promoting features.(1,2,3)

Here’s a bullet point overview of some of the most recent data relating to both of these blue-green supermodels:

  • Chlorella and Pregnancy – A group of 70 women with pregnancy anemia and pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) were given either 6 grams/daily of Chlorella or a placebo from the 12th week of gestation until delivery. Those receiving the Chlorella supplements demonstrated improvements in anemia in their second and third trimesters – as measured by hemoglobin levels. Two key signs of pregnancy induced hypertension (edema and proteinuria) also declined in the Chlorella users during the third trimester. The Japanese scientists conducting the trial noted that Chlorella contains organic sources of folic acid, iron and Vitamin B12 which probably contributed to some of the health benefits exhibited in this study. (4)
  • Chlorella and Smokers – A study published in the August 2009 edition of the journal Nutrition examined the effects of Chlorella supplementation in a group of male smokers. A group of participants with ages ranging from 20 to 65 were asked to take 6.3 grams of Chlorella vulgaris or a placebo over the course of 6 weeks. Blood samples were taken pre and post trial. The results of the testing revealed that the Chlorella users showed increased levels of select antioxidants such as Vitamins C (44% higher) and Vitamin E (16% higher). There were also indications of greater systemic antioxidant enzymes (erythrocyte catalase and superoxide dismutase) and a reduction in DNA damage resulting from tobacco use. The researchers concluded that “Chlorella is an important whole-food supplement that should be included as a key component of a healthy diet”. (5)
  • Chlorella and Animal Studies – Several recent animal trials also shed light on potential future applications for Chlorella. An October 2009 study in the journal Neuroscience Letters describes how Chlorella supplementation can decrease age-related oxidative stress and prevent cognitive decline in older mice. That same month, another trial in the Journal of Medicinal Food reports that adding Chlorella to an unhealthy diet “may prevent insulin resistance” in diabetes-prone rats. In addition, a Taiwanese study determined that Chlorella is as effective as milk thistle in protecting the liver of lab rats against chemically induced damage. This is noteworthy because milk thistle is considered the number one natural remedy for supporting liver health. (6,7,8)
  • Spirulina and Athletic Performance – Adding 6 grams daily of Spirulina to the diets of “moderately trained males” for 4 weeks was shown to improve exercise performance and stamina, increase fat burning and systemic antioxidant levels (glutathione/GSH) and reduce exercise induced oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation). (9)
  • Spirulina + Chlorella and Heavy Metals – A new experiment conducted at the Department of Pharmacology at the Mymensingh Medical College in Bangladesh discovered that Spirulina extracts can effectively remove arsenic from the livers of mice suffering from arsenic poisoning (arsenicosis). In September 2009, a group of Japanese researchers also reported that Chlorella could “contribute to the prevention of gastrointestinal absorption of lead and the promotion of the excretion of lead” in mice. In many parts of the world, heavy metal exposure is a leading cause of developmental disorders and illness. Medicinal algae may be a safe and viable strategy to mitigate such a risk in regions where arsenic or lead exposure is common. (10,11)
  • Spirulina and Diabetes – 30 days worth of Spirulina supplementation provoked positive changes in diabetic rats according to an Indian study from Pondicherry University in Kalapet. Improvements in blood glucose, body weight, insulin and pancreatic health were noted. Yet another Indian trial determined that combining Spirulina with a common anti-diabetic medication (Rosiglitazone or Avandia) could reduce the risk of drug related bone loss in a group of insulin resistant rats. The authors theorized that the calcium and phosphorous in Spirulina may account for the bone strengthening effect noted. I would personally add that Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 may also be at work here. In addition, improvements in “fasting serum glucose, HDL, LDL and triglycerides” were found in the rats receiving the Spirulina/drug combination. (12,13)
Spirulina May Improve Athletic Performance
Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2010 (link)

While searching through the scientific literature I wasn’t surprised to find numerous studies emanating from Asian countries such as China, Japan and Korea. But what I found particularly interesting was the rather impressive number of algae experiments conducted in India. I simply wasn’t aware of the commercial or traditional use of therapeutic algae in that country. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was taken aback by this news. A scientific review of traditional Indian plants in the September 2009 edition of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology includes Chlorella vulgaris in it’s evaluation of this topic. The authors describe Chlorella and 12 plant species as “reported for the first time for the treatment of inflammation related diseases” in the Indian healing tradition. (14)

Future prospects also look particularly bright for medicinal algae. An eye drop consisting of an extract of Spirulina platensis is currently being evaluated for corneal diseases of the eye such as macular degeneration. Preliminary evidence suggests that this natural eye drop may one day offer a more affordable and safer option to currently available drugs including Avastin and Lucentis. (15)

The human studies I’ve referenced today have utilized encapsulated or tableted forms of Chlorella and Spirulina. Both algae have a somewhat aquatic flavor and odor. Therefore, most people prefer swallowing a handful of algae pills rather than sprinkling it into their morning cereal or yogurt. However, it is often possible to mask the taste quite well in a protein shake or smoothie. At the moment, I’m taking a “green food” supplement that comes in a capsule form. In the past I have also used a mixed greens formula that provided both Chlorella and Spirulina in a delicious powder form – no joke! This is one type of supplement that can largely be influenced by your taste. If you have a sensitive palate, I would suggest opting for capsules, tablets or naturally flavored powdered forms. Be sure to choose a form that suits your needs. If you can’t stand the taste, it’s unlikely that you’ll take it consistently.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Diabetes, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements

53 Comments & Updates to “Chlorella and Spirulina”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Morning JP,

    nice topic. on my desk lie a few product samples of chlorella and spirulina. i read that some dentists use those to detox after a amalgam filling removal (toghether with cilantro and wild ramsons or wild garlic). the producer is greenvalley (thats the brand, they produce in japan, india and usa all organic). i read on a few sites that algae can also remove radioactive minerals off the body like uranium from water and therefore clean the kidneys and the liver, cleanse from mercury and lead and so on.

    hubby and i lived 3 years in bavaria and drinking water there is often contaminated with uranium – very high levels. for bottlet water theres a limit of 2 mcg/l but the drinking water out of the water tap contains there in some places more than 18-32 mcg/l! bad for babys! i didn’t know that for a long time 🙁 so i think im contaminated 😉

    the only bad thing about algae is that their vitamin b12 is an analog to the form that our body can use. so if taken to much from algae our vitamin b12 receptors are blocked with a for us non working vitamin b12. thats a little bit a problem. read about vegetarian ladies which had supplemented during pregnancy with algae and their offsprings are handicapped because of vitamin b12 deficiency. this point should be considered.

    however beyond that is a good way to alkalize blood and detox and clean body (my opinion :-)) so for now i have to overcome the taste and try my samples 😉

    bon appetite!

    Nina K.

  2. morello Says:

    Dear JP,
    You have made all these complex information so easy to understand for the reader. Your work and rasearch are wonderful. Thanks for created a wonderful health resource center.

  3. JP Says:

    Good day, Nina! 🙂

    I’ve also been in contact with some alt-med doctors who include chlorella to manage established or suspected heavy metal exposure (mercury is often cited).

    I’m sorry to hear of the contaminated water in your home land. It seems none of us can entirely escape one type of health hazard or another. The best we can do is avoid what we can and protect against any unknown insults via diet, lifestyle and the judicious use of supplements. Apart from that, we can keep our fingers crossed or pray! 🙂

    Your point about Vitamin B12 is a good one. In fact, I wouldn’t take algae along with most other supplements. Taking Chlorella and Spirulina on an empty stomach may be best for this reason (B12) and others such as it’s ability to bind to metals.

    I hope the taste of your sample supplements is better than you imagine! Good luck! 🙂

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Morello! 🙂

    Be well!


  5. Bill Rawls, MD Says:

    Hi JP! Happy new year! A great article on the wonders of pond scum! I am also hoping that algae may prove to be valuable as an energy source one day, but I guess that is another topic 🙂

    As always, I must stress the importance of taking a QUALITY greens supplement. Beware the powered greens “miracle” packets at the grocery checkout! They may taste delicious but most of the time contain very little nutrients that can be readily absorbed by the body.

    Best wishes, Bill

  6. JP Says:

    Happy New Year, Bill! 🙂

    I’m not sure if algae will ever come into it’s own with regard to global energy but I think it can play a role presently in individual energy! 😉

    We agree that quality is important when considering “greens” or any supplement. It’s not just what you put in your body but also what impurities you keep out of it. Low quality algae supplements that lack purity and that include lots of fillers and questionable ingredients should definitely be avoided. Thank you for pointing out that important factor!

    Be well!


  7. Sai Says:

    Hello JP!

    I am having the amazing grass superfood which has both these algae as a bed-time drink as i see your well written and researched article.I also wanted to ask your thoughts on carb blockers and their effect on blood sugar! Since having this superfood my uric acid levels (which is always in 8 or 9 range has come to 7.8 and getting better. Thanks again for all your useful and informative postings.

    Best Regards


  8. JP Says:

    Good day, Sai! 🙂

    I’m thrilled to hear about the decline in your uric acid levels.

    re: starch blockers

    Do you eat many carbs in your daily diet? The reason I ask is because alpha amylase inhibitors (such as white kidney bean extract) are mainly/possibly effective in diets rich in carbohydrates.

    Please check out this abstract:


    Some studies have found reasonably positive results:


    The latest study isn’t very promising though – based on the typical dosage used:


    More studies can be found via the manufacturer’s web site (all PDF files): http://www.phase2info.com/clinical-studies

    Bottomline: I suspect that this variety of supplement wouldn’t be very useful … unless your diet is higher in carbs. If it is, I think it would be worth trying.

    PS – I’m beginning to see a new variety of supplements containing sucrase inhibitors (such as L-arabinose) on the market. I’ve yet to see any clinical studies that support their use. Hopefully some evidence will come to light soon.

    I hope this helps!

    Be well!


  9. Hank Says:

    I purchase Jarrow Formulas’ Yaeyama Chlorella from iHerb. A 1 kilogram jar of powder costs less than $45.

  10. JP Says:

    Thanks for the tip, Hank.

    That seems like a high quality product.

    Be well!


  11. anastasia Says:

    I’m pregnant and I searched internet to find out if spirilina and chlorella are safe to take.So chlorella is but what about spirulina?Another sites says not but it old info 90’s.I would like to know about resent one…Thank you

  12. JP Says:


    I was only able to find animal studies re: spirulina and pregnancy:

    “Spirulina appears to be effective in improving the iron status of rats during pregnancy and lactation.”


    “Treatment was not associated with any adverse effect on any measure of reproductive performance, including male and female fertility and duration of gestation. There was no increase in the number of abnormal pups at caesarean section or at birth. S. maxima consumption did not result in adverse effects on developmental markers of the pups.”


    “Spirulina appears to be a good dietary supplement during pregnancy.”


    “There is not enough information to recommend the safe use of spirulina during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In mice, diets containing up to 30% spirulina are not reported to cause harmful effects to either the mother or the offspring. However, reliable human studies addressing safety during pregnancy or breastfeeding are not available.”


    Be well!


  13. Silvia Says:

    Please tell me what brand has the best quality of chlorella. Thank you..

  14. JP Says:


    There are quite a few high quality brands currently available. Here are a few I’d personally consider:

    Chlorenergy Chlorella

    Sun Chlorella

    Swanson Vitamins Kyoto Chlorella

    Yaeyama Chlorella (contained in several brands such as Jarrow Formulas and Source Naturals)

    I hope this helps!

    Be well!


  15. Morgan Says:

    Please explain again about B12 analogues. Does this mean that B12 from other sources (eg red meant) will also not get taken up or is it just the B12 from the chlorella?

    I am an athlete and B12 uptake is crucial for me. If chlorella reduces or prevents B12 uptake, I should stop taking it!


  16. JP Says:


    What’s important to understand is that some foods such as chlorella and red meat contain “true Vitamin B12”. On the other hand, spirulina mostly contains “psuedo-Vitamin B12” which isn’t active in animals and humans. Only the former satisfies Vitamin B12 requirements in the body.



    Be well!


  17. Morgan Says:

    Thank you very much, JP. I understand that you are saying that chlorella is better than spirulina for B12, but my question is, having read that chlorella may contain B12 analogues, which block the uptake of B12, do people taking chlorella run the risk of failing to take up B12, whatever the B12 source may be? Thank you.

  18. JP Says:


    The first link in my last reply explains that chlorella primarily contains “true Vitamin B12”. B12 analogues are also referred to as “psuedo Vitamin B12”. Spirulina is rich in this form of B12 but chlorella is not.

    One of the studies I cited in this columns suggests that chlorella is unlikely to interfere with B12 uptake. In fact, the pregnant women in the study showed improvements in anemia and hemoglobin status. Vitamin B12 intake plays a positive role in managing anemia and the production of hemoglobin.


    I personally wouldn’t be concerned about chlorella affecting my B12 status in a negative manner.

    Be well!


  19. k2c Says:

    Always enjoy reading your blog and I appreciate all the valuable information in an easy to read format.

    I bought some Now Chlorella a long time ago, and had some bad side effects even with only a half teaspoon dose. The first time I used it, I had nausea, chills, sweats and ran a low grade fever.

    After leaving it alone for a long time, I took it again and experienced just nausea. Now I’ve lowered my dose to around 1/4 tsp. and have no bad effects. I plan to use this daily, along with a Kelp supplement a few times per week.

    Thanks for everything you do, keep up the great work 🙂

  20. JP Says:

    Thank you, K2C!

    It sure sounds like dosage is the issue. When I’ve used chlorella in the past, I’ve always opted for the capsules or tablets. The powders are a better deal and contain fewer added ingredients (binding & flowing agents, gelatin, etc.) but I found the taste of both chlorella and spirulina to be unappealing.

    I’m happy you’ve found a way to use the chlorella that suits your body well. I hope you find very positive results with it!

    Be well!


  21. Lidka Says:

    Thank you for your blog.

    I was wandering if chlorella and spirulina would help me with my thinning hair.I am on a protein diet and I think that’s the cause of my hair problem. Thank you.Regards.

  22. JP Says:


    If I were you, I would try to determine what nutrients you may be missing in your diet. Hair loss associated with restrictive diets can often be remedied by the judicious use of supplements and/or eating specific foods that address (nutrient) deficiencies. I would look into that first before relying on chlorella and spirulina.

    Be well!


  23. gwen Says:

    Hi. I am currently taking a mulitvitamin with minerals. I want to start taking chlorella and spirulina, would it be wise to stop taking the multivitamin and minerals, as taking both might be too much of a good thing? Thanks

  24. JP Says:


    In most cases, it’s unnecessary to stop using a multivitamin/mineral while taking supplemental “greens”.

    Be well!


  25. janet Says:

    Hello jp! Should children be takinh chlorella and spirulina and if so at what age should they start?

  26. JP Says:


    I think the majority of children don’t require supplements such as chlorella and spirulina. For the most, kids just need to eat a healthy, whole food-based diet and take an age-appropriate multivitamin/mineral.

    Be well!


  27. Renee Stanley Says:

    JP I’m a new user of sun chlorella,3 days, my question is can or will it undo muscle and or joint damage caused from prescription meds,for me omeprazole, which I just researched this morning and am stopping

  28. JP Says:


    I wish I could give you a definitive response. But there simply isn’t any specific data that I can use to answer that question. The best I can say is that it’s possible that the antioxidants and nutrients in Sun Chlorella will assist with the healing process.

    BTW, I recently updated this column. I included a paragraph (at the end of the column) with some new research that may be of interest:


    Be well!


  29. Darren Says:

    Hello JP!

    I’ve been hearing a lot from friends and family about the benefits of chlorella and spirulina, so it aroused my interest and I looked up these products on Amazon and saw a new brand called FEBICO. Do you know anything of this brand? I think this is a company from Taiwan, do you know anything about the quality of their products?

    Thanks for your help on this.

  30. JP Says:

    Hello, Darrin.

    I’m sorry but I’m not familiar with this manufacturer. I’ve visited their website. However it’s difficult to determine quality based on a web site alone.

    Be well!


  31. Rob Says:

    Would you recommend taking chlorells and spirulina together and is it better for them to taken away from other supplements?

  32. JP Says:

    Hi, Rob.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to take chlorella and spirulina together. Ideally, I think they’re best taken with food (a meal or snack) and apart from other supplemental nutrients (multivitamins, etc.).

    Be well!


  33. Sanjay Says:

    Hi JP,
    In one of the discussions, the outcome is suggesting that consuming chlorella alone will not inhibit vit b12 absorption, but having it with spirulina may inhibit the same. Does it not suggest that one should only consume chlorella? My next question is the disparity in the recommended dosage on the net. What is the dosage of both these suppliments

  34. JP Says:

    Hi, Sanjay.

    Chlorella and spirulina have the own unique attributes. They both possess various health promoting properties, but they’re not exactly interchangeable. In terms of dosage, I would try to stick closely to dosages that have been validated in controlled clinical studies. Also, dose varies based on the condition being addressed. Having said that, a 6 gram/day dosage is frequently cited in the medical literature.

    Be well!


  35. Sanjay Says:

    Hi JP,

    Thanks for the reply. If I have both spirulina and chlorella, i will get over with the problem of Vit B 12 absorption….is that right? Also 6 gm/ day of both or 3g spirulina and 3 gm chlorella?


  36. JP Says:

    Hi, Sanjay.

    I wouldn’t anticipate any problem with B12 if you used both supplements. Most of the studies have used one supplement or the other – not both combined. That’s what I was referring to when mentioning the 6 gram/day dosage. Exactly what dosage you use ought to be based on your reason for using chlorella and spirulina.

    Be well!


  37. Sanjay Says:

    Hi JP,

    My problem is that though my body is easily able to absorb spirulina, same is not the case with chlorella. I go into passing plenty of stools whenever i take chlorella this makes me weak. Sticking on to spirulina alone poses the risk of vit b12 deficiency. Could you please advise


  38. Sanjay Says:

    Hi JP,

    Is 6 gm per day a combination of spirulina and chlorella or you need to take 6 gm each. Also, I eat lot of poultry in my diet. If I continue to take spirulina alone will i have vit b 12 deficiency.Like i wrote earlier, I cant seem to absorb chlorella well

  39. JP Says:

    Hi, Sanjay.

    Some studies have used 6 grams a day of spirulina. I doubt a deficiency would occur if you eat a nutrient dense diet. A high-potency multivitamin can offer additional protection in this regard. However, I think it would be wise to consume spirulina apart from supplements containing B12.

    Be well!


  40. Sanjay Says:

    Hi JP,

    I am consuming 6 gms of spirulina and 3 gms of chlorella daily. I am not keen on taking Vit B 12 suppliments..Has there been a known case of someone who got into a Vit B 12 deficiency due to spirulina? Another doubt is that I do not feel that hungry now and if I eat the food as much as i used to do earlier, I feel i am bloated…


  41. JP Says:

    Hi, Sanjay.

    I’m not aware of any documented cases in the medical literature. To be on the safe side, I would just try to eat plenty of foods rich in B12 (salmon, sardines, yogurt, etc.) in addition to supplementing with spirulina.

    Based on your previous reply, it may be worthwhile discontinuing the chlorella temporarily to determine if it’s the cause of the bloating. If you decide to reintroduce it at some point, I would consider doing so gradually.

    Be well!


  42. Shabana Says:

    Hi JP,
    I read this report”Superfoods For Optimum Health: Chlorella and Spirulina
    by Mike Adams, the Consumer Wellness Research Center”where he swears by this super food as a cure for almost anything. But reading your blog gave me a slightly different view. I am also a little confused about the dosage issue-Mike Adams says to take 5gms with each meal and it is only half the dosage and since its not a drug or medicine, there is no upper limit to taking it. A GNC shop here has only 500mg caps of only Spirulina.
    Is this available in India and whats the best brand? Any pointers will help me get it from India. Thanks.

  43. shar Says:

    hi,,my father-in-law as been takeing cholera an spirulina to get rid of heavy metals from scans mri ct,gandolinium and others lots scans over the last few years ,my question is is he ok with the b12 uptake , he takes b12 just 2 1000mg tabs, in a week,,main question,,,the spirulina and cholera that he takes is about half a teaspoon of powder a day, 1 drink bedtime 1 drink morning,,i am worried because he does have liver diesease ,,fibrosis,,,caused from a virus,,,which he is a sustained response from treatment for over 6 years, he got damage to his liver they found with biopsy,,,,he as only just started the cholera spirulina,,should i tell him to quit ,,hes on about useing a clay for cleaning also and a cheolator or something sound like that ,,,:::?/???

  44. JP Says:

    Hi, Shabana.

    I’m sorry for the delay in my response. I didn’t see your question until just now.

    I don’t know what evidence Mike is using to make such a recommendation. However, I disagree with the philosophy that all natural foods and supplements are safe no matter what the dosage. This is a generalization that may be hazardous to one’s health, IMO.

    Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the availability of chlorella and spirulina in India. I know that some US-based, online supplement vendors do ship internationally. Although, I checked two major US sites (IHerb and Vitacost) and they do not appear to deliver to India. Have you tried searching under terms such as, “Where to buy chlorella in India” and “Where to buy spirulina in India”? I know that’s an obvious suggestion. But, it just may be the most practical one as well. 🙂

    Be well!


  45. JP Says:

    Hi, Shar.

    There is some preliminary evidence that chlorella and spirulina *may* protect the liver under experimental conditions. However, the findings have been mixed – some negative, some positive. Whether or not it’s appropriate for your father-in-law is difficult to say. This is a decision that he should make with his doctor, IMO – who knows all the details about his current health status and medical history.




    Be well!


  46. JP Says:

    Chlorella Update:


    Nutr J. 2014 Jun 11;13(1):57. [Epub ahead of print]

    Impact of daily Chlorella consumption on serum lipid and carotenoid profiles in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

    Ryu NH, Lim Y, Park JE, Kim J, Kim JY, Kwon SW, Kwon O.


    High level of serum cholesterol is considered to be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was performed to test the hypothesis that a daily intake of Chlorella may improve serum lipid profile through enhancement of serum carotenoid concentration in mildly hypercholesterolemic subjects.


    Eligible subjects (n = 63) were randomized to either Chlorella (5 g/day) or placebo for a double-blinded trial with a 2-week lead-in period and a 4-week intervention period. Serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, lipoproteins, apolipoproteins and carotenoids were assessed at the beginning and the end of the trial.


    Compared with the control group, the Chlorella group exhibited remarkable changes in total cholesterol (Chlorella -1.6%; placebo 0.03%; P = 0.036), triglycerides (Chlorella -10.3%; placebo 11.9%; P = 0.002), lutein/zeaxanthin (Chlorella 89.6%; placebo -1.7%; P < 0.0001), and alpha-carotene (Chlorella 163.6%; placebo 15%; P < 0.0001). Improvement of serum lipids was supported by significant reductions of very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (Chlorella -11%; placebo 11.8%; P = 0.006), apolipoprotein B (Chlorella -1.5%; placebo 1.7%; P = 0.044), non high-density lipoprotein (Chlorella -2.6%; placebo -0.5%; P = 0.032), and high-density lipoprotein/triglycerides (Chlorella 4.0%; placebo -9.5%; P = 0.023), suggesting an inhibitory effect of Chlorella on the intestinal absorption of dietary and endogenous lipids. Further, the changes of serum lipids appeared to be associated with the changes of serum carotenoids. CONCLUSION: Daily consumption of Chlorella supplements provided the potential of health benefits reducing serum lipid risk factors, mainly triglycerides and total cholesterol, in mildly hypercholesterolemic subjects. The effect was related to carotenoid consumption. Be well! JP

  47. JP Says:

    Chlorella aids those with fatty liver disease:


    Health Promot Perspect. 2014 Jul 12;4(1):107-15. doi: 10.5681/hpp.2014.014. eCollection 2014.

    The Effect of Chlorella vulgaris Supplementation on Liver En-zymes, Serum Glucose and Lipid Profile in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

    Ebrahimi-Mameghani M1, Aliashrafi S2, Javadzadeh Y3, AsghariJafarabadi M4.


    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming a public health problem worldwide and using microalgae is a new approach on its treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of Chlorella vulgaris supplementation on liver enzymes, serum glucose and lipid profile in patients with NAFLD.


    This double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on 60 NAFLD patients from specialized clinics of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences from December 2011 to July 2012. The subjects were randomly allocated into 2 groups: 1) “intervention” (n=30) received 400 mg/day vitamin E plus four 300 mg tablets of Chlorella vulgaris and, 2) “placebo” (n=30) received 400 mg/day vitamin E and four placebo tablets per day for 8 weeks. Weight, liver enzymes and metabolic factors were assessed in fasting serum and dietary data was collected at baseline and end of the study.


    Weight, liver enzymes, fasting blood sugar (FBS) and lipid profile decreased significantly in both groups (P<0.05). The differences in weight, ALP and FBS between the two groups were statistically significant (P=0.01, P=0.04 and P=0.02, respectively).


    C. vulgaris seems to improve FBS and lipid profile and therefore could be considered as an effective complementary treatment in NAFLD.

    Be well!


  48. JP Says:

    Update 07/09/15:


    Complementary Therapies in Medicine – 18 June 2015

    A Randomized Controlled Trial of 6-Week Chlorella vulgaris supplementation in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder

    Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a widespread psychiatric disorder with incapacitating symptoms. Oxidative stress has been identified to play a role in the pathophysiology of MDD.

    Objective: To evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of a chemically defined and antioxidant-rich Chlorella vulgaris extract (CVE) as adjunct to standard treatment in patients suffering from MDD.

    Methods: Subjects with MDD diagnosis according to DSM-IV criteria who were receiving standard antidepressant therapy were assigned to add-on therapy with CVE (1800 mg/day; n=42), or continued standard antidepressant therapy alone (n=50) for a period of 6 weeks. Changes in the frequency of depressive symptoms were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) scale.

    Results: There were significant reductions in total and subscale BDI-II and HADS scores in both CVE and control groups by the end of trial. The magnitude of reductions in total BDI-II score [-4.14 (-5.30 to -2.97)] as well as physical [-2.34 (-2.84 to -1.84)] and cognitive [-1.12 (-1.62 to -0.61)] subscales were significantly greater in the CVE versus control group, however, reduction of the affective symptoms was greater in the control compared with the CVE group [0.95 (0.18 to 1.72)]. Total HADS [-3.71 (-4.44 to -2.98)] as well as individual subscales of depression [-1.46 (-2.02 to -0.90)] and anxiety [-2.25 (-2.74 to -1.76)] were reduced to a greater degree in the CVE group. CVE was well tolerated and no serious adverse event was reported.

    Conclusion: This pilot exploratory trial provides the first clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of adjunctive therapy with CVE in improving physical and cognitive symptoms of depression as well as anxiety symptoms in patients who are receiving standard antidepressant therapy.

    Be well!


  49. JP Says:

    Updated 07/25/15:


    Nutr J. 2015 Jul 21;14(1):70.

    Impact of daily supplementation of Spirulina platensis on the immune system of naïve HIV-1 patients in Cameroon: a 12-months single blind, randomized, multicenter trial.

    BACKGROUND: Micronutrient deficiencies occur early in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections they have reverse effects on the nutritional status. The diet supplementation with a natural nutraceutical rich in proteins and micronutrient like Spirulina platensis, may be effective and efficient in delaying HIV disease progression by frequently reported improvement in immune response.

    METHODS: A prospective single-blind, randomized, multicenter study conducted on 320 HIV-1 ARV-naïve participants for 12 months. Participants received either S. platensis supplementation and standard care or standard care and local balanced diet without S. platenis. Selected hematological and biochemical as well as CD4 count cells, viral load copies were assessed at three separate times.

    RESULTS: Among the 169 ART-naïve participants enrolled in the study, the female was mostly represented (67.1 %). The significant increase of CD4 count cells (596.32-614.92 cells count) and significant decrease of viral load levels (74.7 × 103-30.87 × 103 copies/mL) of the patients who received a supplementation of S. platensis was found after 6 months of treatment. Haemoglobin level was also significantly higher in the same group while the fasting blood glucose concentration decreased after 12 months compared to control.

    CONCLUSION: A daily supplementation with S. platensis to diet combined with a reasonable balanced diet has significantly increased the CD4 cells and reduced the viral load after 6 months. Further studies are recommended among a large specific group of people infected by the HIV in order to investigate the mechanisms involved on the effect of S. platensis on immune system.

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  50. JP Says:

    Updated 02/20/16:


    Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Feb 17:1-4.

    A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study of spirulina supplementation on indices of mental and physical fatigue in men.

    Spirulina may increase people’s ability to resist mental and physical fatigue. This study tested that hypothesis in a randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled study in men. After 1 week, a 3 g/day dose of spirulina produced a small, but statistically significant increase in exercise output (Kcals consumed in 30 min exercise on a cross trainer machine). A mathematical based mental fatigue test showed improved performance 4 h after the first time of supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. Similarly, a subjective survey for a sense of physical and mental fatigue showed improvement within 4 h of the first supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. These results show that spirulina intake can affect fatigue in men.

    Be well!


  51. JP Says:

    Updated 07/21/16:


    J Med Food. 2016 Jul;19(7):645-53.

    Clinical Safety of a High Dose of Phycocyanin-Enriched Aqueous Extract from Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis: Results from a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study with a Focus on Anticoagulant Activity and Platelet Activation.

    The goal for this study was to evaluate safety regarding anticoagulant activity and platelet activation during daily consumption of an aqueous cyanophyta extract (ACE), containing a high dose of phycocyanin. Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study design, 24 men and women were enrolled after informed consent, and consumed either ACE (2.3 g/day) or placebo daily for 2 weeks. The ACE dose was equivalent to ∼1 g phycocyanin per day, chosen based on the highest dose Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Consuming ACE did not alter markers for platelet activation (P-selectin expression) or serum P-selectin levels. No changes were seen for activated partial thromboplastin time, thrombin clotting time, or fibrinogen activity. Serum levels of aspartate transaminase (AST) showed a significant reduction after 2 weeks of ACE consumption (P < .001), in contrast to placebo where no changes were seen; the difference in AST levels between the two groups was significant at 2 weeks (P < .02). Reduced levels of alanine transaminase (ALT) were also seen in the group consuming ACE (P < .08). Previous studies showed reduction of chronic pain when consuming 1 g ACE per day. The higher dose of 2.3 g/day in this study was associated with significant reduction of chronic pain at rest and when physically active (P < .05). Consumption of ACE showed safety regarding markers pertaining to anticoagulant activity and platelet activation status, in conjunction with rapid and robust relief of chronic pain. Reduction in AST and ALT suggested improvement in liver function and metabolism. Be well! JP

  52. JP Says:

    Updated 10/27/16:


    J Agric Food Chem. 2016 Oct 24.

    Characterization and Quantitation of Vitamin B12 Compounds in Various Chlorella Supplements.

    Vitamin B12 was determined and characterized in 19 dried Chlorella health supplements. Vitamin contents of dried Chlorella cells varied from < 0.1 μg to approximately 415 μg per 100 g dry weight. Subsequent liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry analyses showed the presence of inactive corrinoid compounds, a cobalt-free corrinoid, and 5-methoxybenzimidazolyl cyanocobamide (factor IIIm) in four and three high vitamin B12-containing Chlorella tablets, respectively. In four Chlorella tablet types with high and moderate vitamin B12 contents, the coenzyme forms of vitamin B12 5'-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (approximately 32%) and methylcobalamin (approximately 8%) were considerably present, whereas the unnaturally occurring corrinoid cyanocobalamin was present at the lowest concentrations. The species Chlorella sorokiniana (formerly C. pyrenoidosa) is commonly used in dietary supplements and did not show an absolute requirement of vitamin B12 for growth despite vitamin B12 uptake from the medium being observed. In further experiments, vitamin B12-dependent methylmalonyl-CoA mutase and methionine synthase activities were detected in cell homogenates. In particular, methionine synthase activity was significantly increased following the addition of vitamin B12 to the medium. These results suggest that vitamin B12 contents of Chlorella tablets reflect the presence of vitamin B12 generating organic ingredients in the medium or the concomitant growth of vitamin B12-synthesizing bacteria under open culture conditions. Be well! JP

  53. JP Says:

    Updated 10/29/16:


    Int J Pediatr. 2016;2016:1296414. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

    Spirulina Supplements Improved the Nutritional Status of Undernourished Children Quickly and Significantly: Experience from Kisantu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Aim. Despite high levels of malnutrition, there is still very little information on the nutritional benefits of Spirulina, a natural alga that provides essential amino acids, rare essential lipids, and numerous minerals and vitamins, to undernourished children in the world. Methods. We carried out a prospective study of 50 children aged between six and 60 months. The intervention group consisted of 16 children who received 10 g of Spirulina daily, as well as the local diet administered by the nutritional centre, and the control group of 34 children who just received the local diet. Both groups of children were assessed on day zero, day 15, and day 30. Results. After treatment, the weight-for-age Z scores and weight-for-height Z scores increased significantly in the intervention group. At day 15, there was a statistically significant difference between the mean corpuscular volume, total proteins, and albumin (p < 0.05) in both groups, in favour of the intervention group, and at day 30, this difference extended to all of the studied parameters (p < 0.05). Conclusion. This study found that the nutritional status of undernourished children who received Spirulina supplements as well as the local diet administered by the nutritional centre improved quickly and significantly. Be well! JP

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