Chlorella vs Spirulina: Which Is Better?

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby

I am a chiropractor, father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. Feeling good about yourself is a choice: My mission is to transform lives through optimized health and overall well-being.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’ve been called a Data Ninja, The Fact Checker, and a Human Search Engine. I’m an indie content curator who does research daily, and quizzes myself on the important issues of the day.

chlorella vs spirulina

Chlorella and spirulina are two of the most popular health supplements on the market today. Both are nutrient-rich and offer a host of health benefits. But between chlorella vs spirulina, which is better?

Chlorella is better for its slightly richer nutrient composition. The single-celled green organism is rich in chlorophyll, protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, Spirulina, blue-green algae, is richer in proteins and zinc.

Both supplements are popular for their health benefits, which include boosting energy levels, improving immunity, and aiding in weight loss.

Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of spirulina and chlorella. By the end, you should know which one is right for you.

Chlorella: What Is It?

Chlorella is a tiny, single-celled, green algae typical in freshwater environments such as ponds and lakes. It is one of the earth’s oldest organisms dating to over two billion years. Though used for many years, studies into its human health benefits began in the 1950s.

It is often referred to as a “superfood” because of its high nutrient content. Chlorella is a rich source of:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Proteins
  • Amino acids
  • Chlorophyll

What Exactly Is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a multi-celled, blue-green alga often consumed as a dietary supplement or powder. It is a kind of cyanobacteria, a class of bacteria that gets its energy from photosynthesis. These bacteria are often present in fresh and saltwater environments.

Spirulina is rich in:

  • Vitamins
  • Proteins
  • Minerals
  • Antioxidants.
spirulina powder and tablets in a clear container

Chlorella’s Health Benefits

  • It is a natural anti-inflammatory.
  • Chlorella has anti-aging properties.
  • Chlorella is a natural energy source.
  • It helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Helps to improve cardiovascular health.
  • It improves mental clarity and concentration.
  • Chlorella has excellent detoxifying properties.
  • Chlorella can also help to promote weight loss.

Spirulina’s Health Benefits 

  • Spirulina improves digestion.
  • It helps to detoxify the body.
  • Spirulina helps to improve cognitive function.
  • Spirulina helps to grow and maintain body tissues.
  • Spirulina helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Spirulina has anti-cancer properties due to its high phycocyanin.
  • Spirulina is a good carotenoid source that protects cells from damage.

Five Chlorella and Spirulina Differences

You may wonder: “is spirulina the same as chlorella?” Spirulina and Chlorella differ in nutrient compositions. However, the most notable difference between spirulina and chlorella lies in their appearances and growing locations.

#1. Color

Chlorella is a green alga, while spirulina is a blue-green alga. Chlorella contains more chlorophyll than spirulina, which gives it its green color. Spirulina gets its blue color from the pigment phycocyanin.

#2. Cell Number

The number of cells in these two is different. Chlorella is a single cell. Spirulina is a multi-cellular organism.

#3. Cell Shape

From the name Spirulina, you can easily tell that this alga has a spiral shape. On the other hand, chlorella is spherical.

#4. Habitat

Most Chlorella varieties grow in freshwater. On the other hand, Spirulina thrives in fresh and saltwater. Chlorella is typical in:

hands cupped holding green algae from the water
  • Taiwan
  • Japan
  • Korea

Spirulina is common in:

  • Asia
  • Hawaii
  • Africa
  • South America.

#5. Cell Wall

Chlorella has a cell wall made of cellulose, which is difficult for humans to digest. Spirulina has a cell wall made of peptidoglycan, which is easier for humans to digest. Cellulose is a type of sugar. Peptidoglycan is a type of protein.

Recap

Here’s a table showing the key dissimilarities.

FeatureChlorellaSpirulina
ColorGreenGreen-Blue
Cell numberSingleMulticellular
Cell shapeSphericalSpiral
HabitatMostly freshwaterFresh and saltwater
Cell coveringCellulosePep

Five Chlorella and Spirulina Similarities

Spirulina and chlorella are similar in many ways. Both are microscopic freshwater algae consumed as dietary supplements for centuries.

But what is spirulina and chlorella good for? They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also a good source of dietary fiber.

#1. Daily Intake

Chlorella and spirulina are both safe to consume. There is no official recommended daily intake for either chlorella or spirulina. However, the consensus is a daily intake of 3-5 grams.

You may also be wondering when to take spirulina: morning or night? You can have both supplements for at least four hours to sleep.

#2. Anti-Oxidant Properties

Both Chlorella and spirulina are high in antioxidants. These protect the body against damage from free radicals. These radicals cause several conditions, including cancer.

healthy and happy women on the beach

#3. Blood Sugar Regulation

Chlorella and spirulina can improve blood sugar levels by helping the body process and use insulin. These algae are rich in chlorophyll. This pigment improves blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin from the pancreas.

#4. Amino Acid and Protein-Rich

Both supplements abound with proteins and amino acids. These acids create protein building blocks and are essential for many bodily functions, including

  • Muscle growth and repair
  • Immune system function
  • Hormone production

#5. Cholesterol Regulation

Both chlorella and spirulina are effective in reducing cholesterol levels. They contain high chlorophyll amounts. This substance binds with cholesterol and removes it from the body.

Recap

Chlorella and Spirulina are both high in nutrients that can impact various aspects of health. For example, both are protein-rich, which can help with muscle development and repair.

Here is a list of their constituents in an ounce.

NutrientSpirulinaChlorella
Carbs7g7g
Folate0.07 the DV (Daily Value)0.07 the DV
Calories81115
Fat2g3g
Vitamin A0.03 the DV2.87 the DV
Vitamin B20.6 the DV0.71 the DV
Vitamin B10.44 the DV0.32 the DV
Magnesium0.14 the DV0.22 the DV
Phosphorus0.03 the DV0.25 the DV
Iron0.44 the DV2.02 the DV
Copper0.04 the DV1.33 the DV
Zinc0.85 the DV0.0 the DV

What Is Better Chlorella or Spirulina?

Though these supplements have many nutrients, Chlorella is better than Spirulina due to its higher proportions. Still, both do many similar tasks. They boost immunity, improve digestion, promote detoxification, and more.

Should Spirulina and Chlorella Be Taken Together?

Spirulina and chlorella should be taken together for maximum benefits. Since there is no harm in combining these supplements, you can gain many benefits. While Chlorella gives you ample vitamin A, copper, and iron levels, the latter supplies you with zinc.

Who Should Not Take Chlorella?

Those pregnant and breastfeeding should not take Chlorella or Spirulina. Others include:

diabetic person checking his blood sugar levels using a kit
  • Young children
  • The diabetic
  • Those with auto-immune infections
  • Those awaiting surgery
  • Those with nerve damage
  • Those with bleeding disorders.

Taking these supplements despite unsuitable statuses exposes you to the immense danger of spirulina and chlorella.

What Does Chlorella Do in the Body?

Chlorella improves immunity in the body. It lowers the risk of cognitive problems, cancer, heart issues, inflammation, and diabetes. It also improves digestion, energy levels, and weight loss.

Conclusion

So, which is better, chlorella or spirulina? It depends on your needs. Chlorella is better if you are looking for a supplement that is rich in

  • Chlorophyll
  • Vitamin A
  • Calories
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Phosphorus.

Spirulina is the better choice if you are looking for a supplement that is higher in protein and zinc.

Ultimately, the best way to determine which supplement is right for you is to speak with a health care professional.

However, there is no harm in taking both. Besides, doing this allows you to complement your supplements for their deficiencies.

In our opinion, though, chlorella comes on top if you can only get one. This guide is only an introduction. Check out our article on surprising chlorella benefits for a deeper dive into this supplement.

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