Chlorella and Spirulina are blue-green algae that have gained popularity in recent times due to their wide range of health benefits.
Both chlorella and spirulina have been shown to provide promising health benefits with respect to managing blood cholesterol and glucose levels, providing good quality proteins, fighting free radicals and boosting immune health.
Chlorella and spirulina both are available in the form of tablets, capsules or powder supplements.
Chlorella and spirulina are almost similar except for a few differences in their calories and micronutrients content.
Chlorella is rich in carotenoids, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. The most abundant carotenoids present in chlorella are lutein and zeaxanthin which has been shown to improve eye and vision health. In addition, they are powerful antioxidants that are good for reducing cancer risk as they fight free radicals, oxidative stress and other harmful cancer-causing pathogens. Therefore, chlorella is considered an abundant source of antioxidants.
Both chlorella and spirulina are rich in good fats. They contain both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which are considered good for health as these polyunsaturated fats help maintain blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart diseases. Due to the presence of omega 3 fatty acids, chlorella and spirulina have excellent heart health-boosting properties. Studies have shown that they are effective in improving overall lipid profile by lowering the levels of LDL and VLDL but raising HDL levels. The omega 3 content of chlorella is higher as compared to spirulina.
Spirulina differs from chlorella with respect to their protein content. Although, both are rich in proteins scientists believe that spirulina has comparatively higher protein as compared to chlorella. Spirulina is one of the richest sources of plant-based proteins. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Its protein quality can be estimated from the fact that spirulina is one of the foods used by NASA astronauts during their space missions.
Some of the other nutrients present in chlorella are dietary fibre, vitamin A, C, E, riboflavin, zinc and iron. Whereas spirulina contains vitamin A, K, niacin, vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium and potassium.
In addition, both these blue-green algae are considered good for diabetics as they prevent fluctuations in blood glucose levels, decrease insulin resistance and improve its sensitivity. Studies have demonstrated their significant effect of improving blood sugar levels.
To sum up, we can say that both chlorella and spirulina exert their health benefits and both are healthy for us. They are rich in good fats, minerals and vitamins. Spirulina gains an extra edge because of its high protein content as compared to spirulina. On the other hand, chlorella has a higher content of good fats than spirulina. Chlorella has been shown to aid in detoxification by binding to heavy metals like lead and cadmium in our body.
If you are planning to consume Spirulina or Chlorella supplements then it is better to consult a doctor for specific dosages because there is no specific RDA for them. People on medications like blood thinners should be extra cautious.
- Merchant, R. E., & Andre, C. A. (2001). A review of recent clinical trials of the nutritional supplement Chlorella pyrenoidosa in the treatment of fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 7(3), 79–91.
- Na Hee Ryu et al.(2014).Impact of daily Chlorella consumption on serum lipid and carotenoid profiles in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Nutrition Journal.13:57. http://www.nutritionj.com/content/13/1/57
- The Effect of Chlorella Supplementation on Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus - Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov. (n.d.) Https://Clinicaltrials.Gov/Ct2/Show/NCT03625856.
- Deng, R., & Chow, T. J. (2010). Hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and antiinflammatory activities of microalgae Spirulina. Cardiovascular therapeutics, 28(4), e33–e45. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-5922.2010.00200.x
- Gabriela Gutiérrez-Salmeán et al.(2015).Nutritional and toxicological aspects of Spirulina.Nutr Hosp.32(1),34-40
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