Chlorella vs Chlorophyll: What’s the Difference?

October 4, 2023

Chlorella vs Chlorophyll. Are they the same? In this article, you’ll learn the difference between the two, their potential health benefits, and how you can use them to your advantage for healing unwanted ailments. 

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For starters, Chlorella and chlorophyll are most certainly related. However, they are distinct entities in the world of biology and nutrition. 

When it comes to chlorella, I know firsthand how it affects the human body and its powerful ability to heal. In addition to nutritional adjustments, it was what I used in combination with spirulina to help my mom reverse her diabetes. The benefits of chlorella and chlorophyll are legit and can have a positive effect on you as a whole. 

​​Is it guaranteed? No. Nothing is guaranteed. But I can assure you, that it is absolutely possible. 

So whether you’re looking to reduce cholesterol levels, neutralize insulin sensitivity, improve cardiovascular health or other health conditions, read on to learn more.

What is Chlorella?

Chlorella is a type of single-celled green freshwater algae that packs a powerful nutritional punch. It is commonly used as a dietary supplement due to its potential health benefits. Some of which include healthy weight loss, lowering high blood pressure, neutralizing blood sugar levels, and boosting the immune system.

Furthermore, this superfood is nutrient-rich with a multitude of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a high amount of protein. This makes it an excellent source of plant-based protein.  

Chlorella Health Benefits

Chlorella is often promoted as a dietary supplement with various health benefits. Some of these include reducing high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. 

Here are Some of the Chlorella Benefits:

Nutrient Rich: Chlorella is packed with essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin B, B-complex vitamins, vitamins C, and vitamin K), and minerals (such as iron, magnesium, and zinc).

Protein Source: Chlorella is composed of about 50-60% protein and includes all 9 essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).

Chlorophyll Content: Chlorella contains high levels of chlorophyll. This benefit often leads to a boost in red blood cells, preventing heart disease and cancer, aiding in weight loss, healing skin damage, and much more. 

Antioxidants: Chlorella contains various antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress, boost immune function, fight infection, and support overall health. 

Detoxification Support: Chlorella has the potential to aid in detoxification by binding to heavy metals and other toxins in the body, facilitating their elimination.

Digestive Health: The dietary fiber in chlorella supports digestive health and helps to move things along through the digestive tract.

Blood Pressure Regulation: Chlorella contains peptides that act as ACE inhibitors, which are medications used to lower blood pressure. 

Cholesterol Management: Chlorella has the ability to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. Both of these commonly lead to build-up in your arteries while putting tremendous strain on the heart. The fatty acids and minerals such as potassium in Chlorella also help to reduce the stiffening of the blood vessels. 

Chlorella is available in the supplement form of powders, capsules, and tablets. It can be consumed as a standalone supplement or added to smoothies, juices, or other foods. 

As with any dietary supplement, consult with your physician before adding chlorella or any other supplement to your routine. Especially if you have underlying health conditions or take other medications.

Does Chlorella Have Side Effects?

Chlorella is generally safe for most people when used as a dietary supplement. However, like any supplement, it can cause side effects in some individuals. Especially when taken in high doses or by anyone who may be more sensitive to its effects.

It varies on a case-by-case basis but typically, it doesn’t affect you negatively. 

As someone who has taken Chlorella, I’ve never experienced a side effect. Nor did my mom, when we were working on reversing her diabetes. I talk a little more about this here

Still, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects. Always consult with your health care provider before adding chlorella products to your daily routine. Especially if you have an underlying medical condition or are taking medications. 

Possible Side Effects of Chlorella:

Digestive Issues: Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as nausea, diarrhea, or flatulence, when consuming chlorella. Starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it may help reduce the likelihood of digestive issues.

Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, individuals may have an allergic reaction to chlorella. Allergic reactions can vary and may include symptoms like rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. 

Sensitivity to Iodine: Chlorella can naturally contain iodine, which can be problematic for individuals with iodine sensitivity or thyroid conditions. 

Photosensitivity: Some users have reported increased sensitivity to sunlight or UV radiation when consuming chlorella. If you experience heightened sun sensitivity, take appropriate precautions, such as using sunscreen and protective clothing.

Interactions with Medications: Chlorella may interact with certain medications or supplements. For instance, chlorella’s potential blood-thinning effects could interact with anticoagulant medications (blood thinners). 

Possible Contaminants: Since chlorella is often grown in water, there is a potential risk of contamination by heavy metals or other environmental toxins. Choosing a reputable and high-quality chlorella supplement can help minimize this risk.

As with any dietary supplement, start with a lower dose and increase to its daily serving from there. Monitor your body's reaction (if any). If you have concerns or experience any adverse effects while taking chlorella, discontinue use and consult your physician immediately.

What is Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll, on the other hand, is a green pigment found in the chloroplasts of plant cells and some photosynthetic microorganisms. It plays a critical role in photosynthesis – the process by which plants, algae, and certain bacteria convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy. 

This chemical energy is used to produce glucose (a type of sugar) and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water.

Photosynthesis involves several complex steps, and chlorophyll is essential to the initial stages of this process. There are several types of chlorophyll, with the most common forms being chlorophyll-a and chlorophyll-b. 

Each type of chlorophyll absorbs sunlight and uses that energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. This is what gives plants their characteristic green color.

12 Best Chlorella Supplements Plus Benefits

Discover the top brands and why this superfood is essential to your overall health and vitality.

Chlorophyll Health Benefits 

Chlorophyll is found abundantly in green plants. It can also be found in leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and parsley, as well as in other plant-based foods. 

Because of similar health benefits to chlorella, some use liquid chlorophyll as a dietary supplement. 

While chlorophyll itself is not typically consumed directly by humans, consuming chlorophyll-rich foods or nutritional supplements can offer various health benefits. 

Health Benefits Associated with Chlorophyll Consumption:

Potential Antioxidant Effects: Chlorophyll is believed to possess antioxidant properties, which means it may help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress. Antioxidants are associated with promoting overall health and potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Detoxification Support: Chlorophyll can aid in detoxification by binding to toxins and heavy metals, facilitating their elimination from the body. 

Wound Healing: Chlorophyll-based ointments and dressings have been used in traditional medicine to promote wound healing and reduce inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory properties make healing a whole lot faster with its ability to support tissue regeneration.

Potential Cancer Prevention: Studies show that chlorophyll and chlorophyllin (a derivative of chlorophyll) have potential anti-cancer properties by blocking the absorption of certain carcinogens. In turn, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. 

Bad Breath and Body Odor Reduction: Chlorophyll has been used as an ingredient in some oral hygiene products and deodorants due to its ability to neutralize odors. 

Gastrointestinal Health: Chlorophyllin, a water-soluble derivative of chlorophyll, has been studied for its potential to reduce the formation of certain types of harmful bacteria in the gut. This effect could potentially contribute to gastrointestinal and gut health.

Blood Health: Chlorophyll is structurally similar to heme (a component of hemoglobin) which can potentially help to increase red blood cell count and improve blood oxygenation. 

If you’re interested in incorporating more chlorophyll-rich foods into your diet, focus on consuming a variety of leafy green vegetables. They are naturally rich sources of chlorophyll.  

A nutrient-dense raw food meal plan would help give you a good chlorophyll and nutritional boost. 

As with any dietary supplement, consult a healthcare provider before taking chlorophyll supplements, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

The Main Difference

Simply stated, chlorella is a type of green algae that can be consumed as a nutritional supplement, while chlorophyll is a pigment found in plants essentially for photosynthesis. 

Key Differences between Chlorella and Chlorophyll

While both chlorella and chlorophyll are associated with the vibrant world of green nutrition, they play distinct roles and offer different advantages. Chlorophyll, the essential pigment in plants, orchestrates the process of photosynthesis, enabling plants to convert sunlight into energy. 

On the other hand, chlorella is a type of single-celled freshwater algae packed with high amounts of nutrients.

As explained earlier, its nutrient profile consists of vitamins and minerals, proteins, and essential fatty acids. And while chlorophyll is found in various green plants, chlorella itself is an algae. 

Furthermore, chlorophyll’s health benefits revolve around its antioxidant properties and detoxification support. Whereas chlorella’s high nutrient content offers immune support, promotes healthy digestion, and provides the option for algae supplements. 

Does Chlorella Have Chlorophyll?

Yes, chlorella contains chlorophyll. Chlorella, being a type of green algae, is actively involved in photosynthesis, and therefore, it contains chlorophyll as part of its cellular structure.

When people consume chlorella as a dietary supplement, they are often indirectly consuming chlorophyll as well. However, the amount of chlorophyll in chlorella supplements might vary, as well as specific health effects. 

Is Chlorella and Spirulina the Same?

In short, no. They are not the same. Yes, chlorella and spirulina are both types of microalgae, but they are distinct organisms with differences in their characteristics, nutritional profiles, and potential health benefits.

Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria, often referred to as blue-green algae. 

Unlike chlorella, spirulina is a prokaryotic organism, which means it lacks a distinct nucleus and membrane-bound organelles. Spirulina has a spiral, filamentous shape and grows naturally in freshwater and alkaline environments. 

It is rich in protein (about 60-70% by weight) and contains essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Spirulina is often consumed as a dietary supplement and is known for its amazing health benefits, including immune support, energy boost, and nutrient-dense nature.

6 Key Differences Between Chlorella & Spirulina:

  1. Organism Type: Chlorella is a eukaryotic green algae, while spirulina is a prokaryotic cyanobacteria.

  2. Cell Shape: Chlorella is spherical, while spirulina has a spiral, filamentous shape.

  3. Nutritional Content: While both chlorella and spirulina are rich in nutrients, their exact nutritional profiles vary. Spirulina is known for its high protein content and nutrient density, while chlorella is valued for its protein and unique nutritional compounds.

  4. Cultivation: Chlorella is typically cultivated in freshwater ponds or tanks, while spirulina can be found in natural alkaline lakes as well as cultivated environments.

  5. Color: Chlorella is green due to its chlorophyll content, while spirulina can appear blue-green.

  6. Uses: Both chlorella and spirulina are commonly consumed as dietary supplements. They are often used for their potential health benefits, but the specific benefits may vary between the two.

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Sandra Campillo

Sandra Campillo is an eco, vegan lifestyle and travel blogger and entrepreneur. Join Sandra and her community of readers on to learn how to live a healthier, more sustainable, and compassionate way of life while creating a passive income lifestyle.

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