Clayton's Health Facts: Chlorella.

Clayton South, SPN (ISSA), is a recognized expert in the bodybuilding / fitness industry with over 150 bodybuilding, fitness and nutrition publications to his credit.
What is it and where does it come from?

Chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris) is a single-celled tiny algae that grows in fresh water, and it is also found in dark, green leafy vegetables. Chlorella is considered a whole food, and it's rich in protein, caretenoids (astaxanthin, canthaxanthin, flavoxanthin, loraxanthin, neoxanthin and violaxanthin), enzymes (pepsin) and chlorophyll.

Chlorella has the highest chlorophyll content of any plant in the world. It is grown in Japan and Taiwan.

What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

Chlorella has many beneficial effects on the immune system1 because it contains chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has been shown to help heal ulcers, heal wounds and strengthen the immune system, and this explains the power of chlorella to do the same.

Chlorella also detoxifies the body and eliminates cancer-causing substances from bloodstream before they can harm cells and internal organs.2 This makes it a potent cancer-preventative.

As a rich source of vitamins, chlorella helps to stimulate red blood cell production and arterial dilation, which can aide in muscle growth, the oxygenation of muscle tissue, and improved metabolism and respiration. Chlorella is rich in fiber and encourages beneficial intestinal microflora production, which can result in the elimination of food cravings, increased feelings of fullness at meal times, and better food elimination (and a resulting reduction in fat storage from food). For these reasons chlorella is sometimes used in muscle-building and fat-burning / weight loss nutritional supplements.

Anecdote suggests that chlorella provides relief from arthritis, and may even be effective at preventing hangovers that result from excessive alcohol consumption.

Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Everyone in good health can benefit from supplementing with chlorella.

Today's world of pollution, high-stress and excess cortisol puts everyone at risk for health complications. Chlorella is a natural way to help your body keep itself healthy. Additionally, if you want to lose weight chlorella may be part of the solution.

Chlorella is not an essential nutrient and no daily requirement (RDA) exists. No symptoms of deficiency exist.

How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

Follow label dosing instructions.

Side effects are not common, but may include being sensitive to sunlight, and general discomfort from use. Discontinue use if you notice any unusual reactions.

Do not use if you are pregnant or are nursing.

Always consult a physician prior to using any nutritional supplement.


  1. Cheng FC, Lin A, Feng JJ, Mizoguchi T, Takekoshi H, Kubota H, Kato Y, Naoki Y. Effects of chlorella on activities of protein tyrosine phosphatases, matrix metalloproteinases, caspases, cytokine release, B and T cell proliferations, and phorbol ester receptor binding. J Med Food. 2004 Summer;7(2):146-52.
  2. Hayatsu H, Negishi T, Arimoto S, et al. Porphyrins as potential inhibitors against exposure to carcinogens and mutagens. Mutat Res 1993;290:79-85.