Is Chlorella Good for Health?

Nope! Click on the links to learn more about blue-green algae, and The Harmful Effects of Chlorella & Spirulina. Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.


Chlorella will probably not hurt you (unless you’re allergic to it), but we have no studies on the effects of long-term use. More importantly, we have no strong evidence to show that it will do you any good. Side effects can include diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, green discoloration of the stools and stomach cramping. Taking chlorella supplements can also lead to sun sensitivity.

For the record, I don’t approve of taking blue-green algae (Aphanizomenon), which is different from chlorella. Some species of blue-green algae produce toxins, including neurotoxins that can increase long-term risks of degenerative diseases of the central nervous system. Note, however, that spirulina, a common variety of blue-green algae, does not produce these neurotoxins and was given a favorable safety rating after an extensive review by the United States Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements Information Expert Committee in 2010.

 Spirulina and chlorella are often promoted together as green “superfoods,” but the science that addresses their nutritional benefits is scant at best. Some laboratory and animal studies have indicated that spirulina has antiviral and anticancer effects, boosts the immune system and protects against allergic reactions, but there’s no proof of any such positive health effects in humans. Spirulina has been used in World Health Organization (WHO) feeding programs for malnourished children in underdeveloped countries, and the WHO has found that a daily, one-gram dose of spirulina provides enough beta-carotene to reduce the incidence of Bitot’s spots (a type of blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency). Spirulina is also a good source of protein, although Western diets already contain more than adequate amounts.

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