Chlorophyll–the green pigment vital for photosynthesis that is found in all plants–is one of the best reasons to eat green veggies. While plants are a good source of chlorophyll, none are as richly endowed as freshwater microalgae, of which spirulina and chlorella are the most popular and well researched.

Supporting healing, delaying aging, and significantly lowering cancer risk, microalgae gently detoxify, quiet inflammation, and activate cell renewal. In addition, these superfoods contain a powerhouse of essential nutrients: trace minerals, iron, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and highly absorbable amino acids.

The benefits for disease prevention and health are phenomenal. These are superfoods of the very best variety.

Spirulina Enhances Immunity

Use of spirulina–a blue-green algae found in the warm waters of Mexico and Central Africa–has a long history in Central American and African cultures. NASA has considered it for space travel, and the UN recommends it as suitable food for children living in poverty.
Like all microalgae, spirulina is packed full of nutrition, but it is exceptionally rich in easily digestible amino acids–making up more than 60 percent of total mass–and spirulina contains more beta carotene than carrots.

Spirulina is unique as it contains the rare blue pigment phycocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Studies show that spirulina activates the immune system to prevent the progression and spread of cancer cells.

Research on viral infections and allergies shows that spirulina holds promise in treating illnesses such as AIDS, herpes, and influenza. After the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986, spirulina was successful in reducing radiation sickness in children.

Unlike the tough cellulose of other plants, spirulina has a unique cell structure of mucopolysaccharides–easily digestible sugars and amino acids. Early studies with animals indicate this aspect of spirulina is the reason for its ability to sink cholesterol and triglycerides, helping to prevent atherosclerosis and related conditions of stroke and heart attacks.

Chlorella: Nature’s Purifier

Chlorella is a green algae highly prized and well researched in Japan. Chlorella is rich in chlorophyll, containing 3 to 5 percent chlorophyll, highest of the microalgae and significantly more than any leafy green vegetable.

The high levels of chlorophyll in chlorella help to cleanse the bowels and liver, sweeping the blood clean of toxins, and ensuring clear skin. Like spirulina, chlorella gently stimulates underactive bowels and increases waste while enhancing the lactobacillus flora necessary for bowel health. Chlorella may reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, and it also reduces triglycerides and cholesterol.

Recent studies in Japan and United States show chlorella’s effectiveness in the treatment of chronic muscle pain, as in fibromyalgia.

Whether you want to sustain peak health, detoxify, or treat an illness, the microalgae chlorella and spirulina offer myriad nutrients and health benefits.

Dosages

Spirulina and chlorella have the same dosages and are available in powder, tablet, or capsule form. Ensure the quality is pure, since microalgae take on their environment.

  • 3,000 mg daily as a preventive
  • 10,000 to 20,000 mg per day therapeutically

Rejuvenating Spirulina Smoothie

Chlorella is slightly more “green” tasting, but it can also be substituted for spirulina in a smoothie or sprinkled on salads. Try either microalgae in this delicious drink.

1 cup (250 mL) fruit juice
1 banana
1/2 cup (125 mL) blueberries
1 heaping tsp (5 mL) spirulina

Combine fruit juice, banana, blueberries, and spirulina in food processor. Pour into large 12 oz (325 mL) glass and enjoy!

Makes 1 smoothie.

About the Author

Nicole Duelli, CCH, RSHom(NA), enjoys sharing her love of natural medicine. A certified classical homeopath, she teaches at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.