Difference between chlorella and spirulina

Chlorella and spirulina both provide polyunsaturated fatty acids in different and complementary proportions. Chlorella contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (like those found in flax seeds) while spirulina contains omega-6 fatty acids.

Chlorella contains chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant, especially to detoxify the body and stimulate liver activity.

As the cell membrane of chlorella contains non assimilable fibers (16 to 20%), chlorella will be preferred by those who want to rebalance or stimulate their intestinal transit. As spirulina does not have a cellulose membrane, it will be more easily digested than chlorella and will be preferred by sportsmen; moreover, spirulina helps to fight against muscular fatigue and to regain energy and vitality.

The absorption of iron contained in chlorella and spirulina is at least 5 times more efficient than that of meat. Three grams of chlorella or five grams of spirulina provide between 4 and 5 mg of bio-assimilable iron and correspond to about 50% of the recommended daily intake for people over 50 years old.

Chlorella is preferred for its better iron intake.  Chlorella contains B12, 100% bio-assimilable and active compared to spirulina which also contains partially assimilable B12 p.c. considered as analogous and therefore less active for humans. (2)

Spirulina is rich in phycocyanin: a rare blue-green pigment, immunostimulant and powerful antioxidant. Spirulina is richer in carotenoids, hence its protective effect essential to maintain good health and protect cells from the effects of aging. In recent studies, carotenoids have also been identified as primary protectors of the cardiovascular system.  In addition, Chinese researchers have shown that phycocyanin, a respiratory protein pigment unique to Spirulina, is involved in bone marrow by stimulating the evolution and differentiation of red and white lineage stem cells.

A sample of slightly hypertensive volunteers consumed chlorella for two months and noted a decrease and stabilization of their blood pressure as well as a reduction of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. (4)

1. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium and Carotenoids, 2000. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine.
2. Watanabe 1999, 2007.
3. Zhang et al - Effects of polysaccharide and phycocyanin from spirulina on peripheral blood and hematopoietic system of bone marrow in mice, Proc. of Second Asia pacific conf. on algal biotech, Univ. of Malaysia, 1994.
4. Merchant et al - Nutritional supplementation with chlorella p for mild to moderate hypertension, J. Med. Food, 2002, 5(3):141-52

Minerals and trace elements

Chlorella and spirulina are rich in minerals and trace elements.

It is important to remember that these superfoods improve general well-being and increase immunity.

Chlorella is richer in manganese and phosphorus than spirulina but also in iron. As for spirulina, it is much richer in potassium and sodium (15 times more salt) as well as in zinc than chlorella. It is even possible that this microalgae can help prevent certain cancers.

They both contain, in the same proportions, magnesium, calcium and copper. They are therefore complementary in their contribution of iron, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc.

These elements, in a significant proportion, promote the acid-base balance of our body.

Chlorella and spirulina contain vitamin K1 which is essential for coagulation. For people who must take anticoagulants in high doses, chlorella would be preferable because it contains less vitamin K1 than spirulina. In case of doubt, it is always advisable to consult your doctor.

Dosage – Chlorella

Before taking chlorella, it may be helpful to start with a liver cleanse with products such as milk thistle, artichoke, boldo. If in doubt, spirulina would also be an excellent choice to start the detoxification gently.

Chlorella is particularly recommended for people with chronic problems or conditions such as constipation, allergies, candida albicans, canker sores or inflammatory diseases. Chlorella is also very appreciated by people who have sleeping problems or who suffer from depression.

It is recommended to start with a small dosage and to increase very gradually to avoid nausea and diarrhea.

No toxicity has been observed with chlorella or spirulina. However, people suffering from hemochromatosis (excess of iron) should not consume them because of the richness of bio-assimilable iron in chlorella and spirulina.

In addition, people taking high doses of anticoagulants should consult their doctor beforehand because chlorella and spirulina contain a high level of vitamin K1. In case of liver weakness, it is always recommended to seek advice from a health professional.

Recommended dosage

Adults: Take 1 to 2 tablespoons 1 to 2 times daily. Take a few hours before or after taking other medications or natural health products. Mix with organic fruit or apple juice, in your smoothie or as recommended by your health care professional. Drink plenty of water. Store in a dark, dry, cool place.

For preventive health purposes, nutritionists recommend taking 3 to 5 grams per day. For optimal effects, it is recommended to consume them for at least 3 months. Chlorella and spirulina can be taken alternately or alone to better meet your needs.