Spirulina vs Chlorella

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chlorellaI recently received an email from a customer who was interested in supplementing with greens, specifically chlorella and spirulina. Spirulina and chlorella are nutrient-dense algae grown in mineral-rich pools of fresh water. Although both these algae look and taste very similar and offer some similar benefits, they also offer very different nutritional profiles and if you are going to choose one, it best to know which one will offer the nutritional aspects that will be most beneficial to you.


This single-celled green alga is a rich source of chlorophyll, as well as vitamins A, C, B12, iron, magnesium and zinc. Chlorella is valued primarily for its ability to bind to heavy metals and unwanted chemicals in the body, so is often used to aid detoxification.

Chlorella also contains a unique complex called chlorella growth factor. This growth factor is caused by its rapid reproduction rate. With the ability to quadruple in numbers every 20-24 hours, chlorella has been shown to possibly repair damage to nerve tissues and aid in cell production.


Spirulina also gets its blue green color from chlorophyll, the super-pigment that allows plants to absorb and metabolize light. It’s rich in protein, B vitamins, copper and iron, and also contains abundant antioxidants. It is considered one of the most bioavailable and nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Spirulina is also richer in protein and healthy fats, including gamma-linoleic acid, which is essential for maintaining a sharp mind and healthy heart. And Spirulina offers higher concentrations of phytochemicals that help prevent cancer.

6 Differences Between Chlorella and Spiurlina

  1. Chlorella is higher in chlorophyll. Chlorella is a green algae, which means it’s very rich in chlorophyll and offers up to 10 times more than spirulina.
  2. Spirulina is richer in protein. Spirulina contains anywhere from 50-70% protein.
  3. Spirulina is richer in essential fatty acids. Spirulina contains gamma-linoleic acid, which is very rare to find in foods and offers benefits for the brain and heart.
  4. Chlorella offers a stronger detox due to its high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is effective at cleansing the liver and digestive tract.
  5. Spirulina has a unique antioxidant called phycocyanin, which is a phytonutrient that helps protect the cells and may help prevent cancer.
  6. Chlorella has a unique anti-aging component, a growth factor that helps repair nerve tissue damage and boost the immune system.

So which one is best for you? Well, both chlorella and spirulina are extremely nutrient-dense foods, and either of them would make a beneficial addition to a healthy diet – and you don’t have to choose between the two. Enjoy both chlorella and spirulina in your smoothies, desserts, mixed in to your water or even in tablet form and enjoy their superpowers.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2023