Spirulina vs Chlorella - What is the Difference?

Spirulina vs Chlorella - What is the Difference?

Key points

  • Both spirulina and chlorella have strong nutrient profiles. They are rich in vital minerals and vitamins, and both act as great natural metal chelators, helping to detoxify the body. Each of these algae is a great dietary supplement with many health benefits. However, spirulina is more readily available to consumers.
  • Chlorella contains more polyunsaturated fat as well as some minerals, but spirulina is a better protein source, and it also contains fewer calories.
  • Spirulina and chlorella are excellent antioxidants that can also improve heart health and help maintain healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Studies have found that both supplements promote immune system functioning and increase the white cell count in the blood.
  • You can take spirulina alone or consume it in the form of gummies or sparkling drinks. Chlorella, on the other hand, is only available in a “broken cell wall” supplement form.

Blue-green algae are some of the most popular dietary supplements on the market today, and spirulina and chlorella are two of the most common types of this algae. While both of these supplements look and taste quite similar to each other and have a lot of similar health benefits, they have totally different but equally impressive nutrient profiles. 

While spirulina has been in use for thousands of years, chlorella was discovered relatively recently in the 19th century. Spirulina is one of the most well-studied supplements on the market today, while only a handful of studies have been done on chlorella to date. 

Both spirulina and chlorella offer a range of health benefits, and the choice of the supplement usually depends on the customer’s health goals. While spirulina can be consumed independently without an issue, humans can’t digest chlorella properly, so it has to be taken in the form of a “broken cell wall” supplement. 

Both of these supplements are known as “superfoods”, but what is the difference between them, and how can you figure out which supplement is a better choice for you? We will give the answer in this article.

Spirulina And Chlorella Have Different Nutrient And Calorie Content

Both chlorella and spirulina are very rich in nutrients, but their nutrient profiles are completely different. Chlorella is richer in fat and therefore contains more calories. But it also contains more minerals like magnesium and zinc as well as provitamin A. 

Spirulina, on the other hand, delivers more protein, thiamine, and copper and has fewer calories.

Despite the minor differences, both algae contain high levels of essential vitamins, including vitamin A, B group vitamins, and beta carotene. However, keep in mind that neither spirulina nor chlorella contains vitamin B12, so it’s important to get it from other sources.

There’s also ongoing research about the potential of these algae to help with weight loss. 

Chlorella also contains the Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), which is a complex of vital amino acids, proteins, peptides, and vitamins. This complex helps boost the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which promotes gut health. It also contains enzymes that help with digestion.

Both Algae Supplements Are Rich In Antioxidants

Both chlorella and spirulina have potent antioxidative properties and contain antioxidant compounds such as carotenoids and phenolic compounds. These compounds help our bodies to destroy free radicals, prevent cell damage, and minimize oxidative stress. However, some studies suggest that spirulina’s antioxidative properties might be slightly stronger due to its high phycocyanin content.

Phycocyanin is being actively studied for its anti-cancer properties, as scientists suspect that it can prevent cancer from spreading and might even destroy some cancer cells. Phycocyanin also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. 

Spirulina and chlorella are great for natural detoxification, and both of these algae have the ability to eliminate heavy metals from the body, including cadmium and aluminium. What’s more, these supplements can detoxify the body without causing any negative side effects of detoxification. 

Additionally, scientists have found that spirulina and chlorella may increase the number of white blood cells, which boosts the immune system. 

Omega-3 & 6 Fatty Acids Content

Both blue-green algae contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, but the difference lies in the type of fat they contain. Chlorella contains more Omega-3, while spirulina has higher levels of Omega-6 fatty acids. These are vital for maintaining healthy brain function and cell growth. Our bodies can’t produce these fats naturally, which is why it’s essential for us to include them in our diets.

Studies have shown that the consumption of polyunsaturated fats is linked with a lower possibility of heart disease. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are especially effective at reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of some cancer types, and improving bone health.

Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids have the potential ability to reduce inflammation, which is why many researchers are currently interested in using them as potential remedies for many inflammation-related health conditions. Scientists believe that these nutrients can help ease pain and swelling as a result of rheumatoid arthritis, help with allergies, control blood pressure, help breast cancer patients, and treat symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and osteoporosis associated with menopause.



Spirulina Is A Better Protein Source

Spirulina is considered to be one of the best complete plant-based protein sources. A complete protein is one coming from a food source that contains all 20 essential amino acids. At one point, NASA even used spirulina as an additional protein source for astronauts during space missions. The protein that this alga contains all vital amino acids, and it can be easily absorbed by our bodies.

Chlorella is a good protein source as well, but studies have found that spirulina contains up to 10% more protein than chlorella.

Spirulina And Chlorella Improve Heart Health

A number of studies have found that adding chlorella and spirulina to your diet can help maintain healthy blood lipid levels and normalize blood pressure, which is associated with lowering the risks for heart diseases. These algae increase the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood while lowering the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Cholesterol helps our body to function properly, but when there’s too much of it, it contributes to different heart diseases.

Both Normalize Blood Sugar Levels

Spirulina and chlorella both have the potential to help keep blood sugar levels balanced. While scientists haven’t figured out how exactly it works, animal and human studies have shown that these supplements can increase insulin sensitivity, which is the body’s response to insulin. This makes spirulina and chlorella especially useful for diabetic people and those with insulin resistance.



Bottom Line

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth adding either of these algae to your diet, the answer is yes. It won’t automatically help you meet all your dietary needs, but it will definitely give you a good nutrient boost. 

While both spirulina and chlorella are great dietary supplements, spirulina is more widely available to consumers and is sold in different forms starting from regular powder to gummies and sparkling drinks. This can be especially useful for people who find the natural taste of these algae off-putting. Since both grow in a water environment, they have an earthy, sea-grass taste. 

If you’re looking for a more pleasant way to consume spirulina supplements, try sparkling spirulina drinks by FUL®. These beverages contain natural nutrient-dense spirulina extract and come in different flavours, each of which helps to shadow spirulina’s taste without reducing its nutrient profile.


Try Sparkling Spirulina Drink



Can I take spirulina and chlorella together?

Yes, spirulina and chlorella can be consumed together with no adverse health effects. They deliver different nutrients, so mixing them will give you an even bigger nutrient boost. However, you can also take them separately.

What does chlorella and spirulina do?

Chlorella and spirulina are rich in vital minerals and nutrients and have a lot of health benefits. These microalgae have been studied for their ability to help with preventing heart disease, maintaining healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as well as detoxifying the body from heavy metals. Both of them are great antioxidants as well.

Which has more chlorophyll spirulina or chlorella?

Both spirulina and chlorella have strong nutritional profiles and are rich in many minerals and vitamins. Chlorella contains more chlorophyll, but spirulina is the better source of protein.

Is chlorella safer than spirulina?

Some people think that chlorella is safer than spirulina because it has stricter growing conditions, but if you buy spirulina from a reliable brand, it’s just as safe as chlorella and vice versa. If you buy chlorella from an unreliable source, it can be contaminated with heavy metals and toxins if it is cultivated in poor conditions.

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  • FUL really changed my opinion on healthy drinks and dietary supplements! I’ve always hated pills and powders and these drinks really helped me get all the nutrients I need.

    Imaan Almond on
  • My dietitian said that there is really not a big difference between spirulina and chlorella and I can take whatever I prefer.

    Aleena Richard on

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