You've heard that chlorella vulgaris can be used for detoxification? Then you are absolutely right. But the freshwater algae promises even more positive health effects. Would you like to find out what scientific studies have already been done and what you should look out for before buying this food supplement? Then you've come to the right place.
In our big Chlorella vulgaris test (2021) we want to give you all the necessary information about Chlorella vulgaris. You will not only learn about the healing effects of the freshwater algae, but also about the algae itself.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts in brief
- 3 The Best Chlorella Vulgaris: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Chlorella vulgaris
- 4.1 What is Chlorella vulgaris?
- 4.2 How does Chlorella vulgaris work?
- 4.3 When and for whom is a Chlorella vulgaris supplement useful?
- 4.4 How much do Chlorella vulgaris preparations cost?
- 4.5 What are the possible side effects of taking Chlorella vulgaris?
- 4.6 What alternatives are there to Chlorella vulgaris?
- 5 Decision: What types of chlorella vulgaris are there and which one is right for you?
- 6 Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate chlorella vulgaris preparations based on these factors
- 7 Facts worth knowing about Chlorella vulgaris
The most important facts in brief
- Chlorella vulgaris is a freshwater alga. Due to its high nutrient content, it is very popular as a food supplement.
- Studies show that taking chlorella vulgaris is particularly useful for detoxification, cardiovascular diseases, weight loss, liver problems, cancer, skin problems, a weak immune system or even for regulating the acid-base balance.
- You can take Chlorella vulgaris in the form of pressed pellets, capsules or powder. While pressed pellets and capsules are very easy to dose and can also be taken on the go, the powder is particularly suitable for people who like to mix it with meals or stir it into smoothies or dressings.
The Best Chlorella Vulgaris: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Chlorella vulgaris
What is Chlorella vulgaris?
Chlorella vulgaris is a popular food supplement due to its high nutrient content. But which valuable nutrients are contained in Chlorella vulgaris? We have listed the most important ingredients below.
- Minerals and trace elements, such as calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium or iron
- Vitamins, such as vitamin B12, B9, B5, A, C, D or E
- Amino acids
Green foods, such as Chlorella vulgaris, can have a positive effect on the purity and quality of human blood due to this fact (source: zentrum-der-gesundheit.de).
How does Chlorella vulgaris work?
Chlorella vulgaris is known for the following effects and areas of application:
- Chlorella vulgaris for detoxification
- Chlorella vulgaris for weight loss
- Chlorella vulgaris for intestinal and liver problems
- Chlorella vulgaris for cancer
- Chlorella vulgaris for better skin
- Chlorella vulgaris for a better immune system
- Chlorella vulgaris for cardiovascular diseases
- Chlorella vulgaris for a balanced acid-base balance
These individual areas of effect will be supported and explained in more detail in the following with the help of corresponding studies. However, the majority of studies on Chorella vulgaris are based on animal experiments. However, many of the effects can be transferred from animals to humans.
There are many different types of heavy metals that enter our bodies, for example through food. Some of them are necessary for the body, others poison our body, such as mercury. Heavy metals can promote inflammation, impair metabolism or even block the absorption of nutrients.
In their study published in 2006, Perales-Vela, Peña-Castro and Cañizares-Villanueva found that microalgae can distinguish harmful heavy metals from heavy metals that are essential for their growth. Microalgae can thus support the body through detoxification processes.(1)
Another study at the University of Seoul in 2015 looked at the effect of Chlorella vulgaris on carcinogenic environmental toxins. It found that Chlorella vulgaris is able to eliminate these toxins by interfering with their absorption and metabolism.(2)
Chlorella vulgaris has also been studied for its supportive function in weight loss. Its enzymes are said to influence fat and cholesterol metabolism and promote digestion.
In a study on the effect of chlorella vulgaris on fatty liver disease, it was found that taking chlorella vulgaris reduced the weight and BMI of the participants.(3)
Liver and intestine
The effect of Chlorella vulgaris on the liver has already been researched in numerous studies. Studies agree that chlorophyll, which is contained in large quantities in Chlorella vulgaris, is good for the liver. Chlorophyll can even relieve the inflammatory symptoms of a hepatitis C infection.(4)
Chlorella vulgaris is often used to cleanse the intestines. However, the effect of Chlorella vulgaris on the intestine has not yet been sufficiently researched. However, in a 2013 study with fish, it was found that chlorella vulgaris can counteract intestinal inflammation induced by feed, such as soy.(5)
There are already some studies that deal with the effect of Chlorella vulgaris on cancer cells.
Studies assume that Chlorella vulgaris has anti-cancer properties. Following these studies, Chlorella vulgaris induces a so-called apoptosis of cancer cells, i.e. programmed cell death.(6, 7)
Some of the studies focus particularly on the ingredient chlorophyll and its effect on hepatocellular carcinoma. Dietary supplementation with supplements rich in chlorophyll could prevent the development of carcinoma or other types of cancer and thus represent a possibility for prevention.(8, 9, 10, 11)
A 2011 study at the University of Alabama concluded that chlorella provides a repair enzyme that appears to be able to repair DNA damage in skin cells. Consequently, chlorella could also prevent certain types of skin cancer.(12)
It is perfectly normal for the skin to age. This is mainly due to sunlight.
Chlorella can improve the skin's appearance in different ways. For example, the microalga has a positive effect on dry skin or skin that is prone to inflammation. Chlorella is apparently able to promote wound healing and can thus also be used for inflammatory skin diseases such as acne or neurodermatitis.(13, 14, 15)
In a Polish study from 2017, the intake of chlorella not only led to a reduced susceptibility to infections and better vitality of the participants, but also to better hair quality and an improved skin appearance.(16)
Exposure of the skin to UV rays can result in oxidative stress, which can trigger cell death of skin cells. A study conducted at Chia Nan University in South Korea in 2012 concluded that the freshwater algae can reduce the effects of oxidative stress.(17)
Several studies have also looked at the effect of Chlorella vulgaris on the immune system. Some of the studies conducted report an immune-stimulating effect of the microalga.(18, 19)
Scientists are now also investigating whether the algae also have an immunomodulating effect and can thus have a positive effect on the frequency and severity of infectious diseases, for example. In a study from the USA, not only the immunostimulating but also the immunomodulating effect of chlorella could be proven.(20)
Cardiovascular diseases are often due to the decreasing elasticity of the artery walls. A study in Japan in 2013 found that chlorella can improve the elasticity of the artery walls.(21)
In some studies, a positive effect of chlorella vulgaris on blood pressure was also proven. This effect was expressed by an improvement in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.(22, 23, 24)
In addition, a Korean study from 2014 demonstrated a positive effect of chlorella on cholesterol levels.(25)
According to the Federal Statistical Office, 37 percent of all deaths in Germany in 2017 were due to cardiovascular diseases. (Source: destatis.de)
Metabolic processes in the human body depend on a specific pH value. The optimal pH value of the blood is 7.4 (slightly alkaline). However, various factors, such as diet or stress, can affect the pH value. To compensate for this change, the body has a kind of buffer system.
For this buffer system, the organism especially needs alkaline minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc or magnesium. Chlorella vulgaris is rich in these minerals and can thus support the regulation of the acid-base balance.(3)
When and for whom is a Chlorella vulgaris supplement useful?
In principle, there is nothing against pregnant women taking chlorella vulgaris. However, no detoxification should be carried out during pregnancy. For pregnant women, it is advisable to make an appointment with a doctor before taking it.
The effects of chlorella vulgaris were already discussed in the previous chapter. As studies show, the intake of chlorella vulgaris is particularly suitable for detoxification, for cardiovascular diseases, for weight loss, for liver problems, for cancer, for skin problems, for a weak immune system or also for the regulation of the acid-base balance.
However, these studies were mostly carried out with the help of animal experiments. The truthfulness of the results must always be considered in a differentiated way.
If you have health problems, you should always see a doctor. In general, it is recommended that you seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist about taking chlorella vulgaris.
How much do Chlorella vulgaris preparations cost?
Organic products cost about 20 to 30 percent more. With organic Chlorella vulgaris, you have the guarantee that the preparation is free of environmental toxins and pollutants.
Chlorella vulgaris with broken cell walls is considerably more expensive than the alternative with unbroken cell walls. What exactly the difference is, is explained in more detail in chapter 5.5 on bioavailability.
You can buy chlorella vulgaris supplements both at your local pharmacy and online.
|pellets||4.48 - 17 GBP/100 gram|
|capsules||13 - 39 GBP/100 gram|
|powder||5 - 13 GBP/100 gram|
What are the possible side effects of taking Chlorella vulgaris?
In case of overdose, the human body is able to metabolise, excrete or even store the ingredients. If, however, side effects such as vomiting or feeling unwell should occur, these can usually be remedied by reducing the daily dose. If this is not the case, you should refrain from further intake.
If you experience headaches and aching limbs after taking chlorella, you should increase your daily dose. With 18 to 24 grams of Chlorella vulgaris per day, the complaints usually disappear.
However, people with hyperthyroidism or an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, should be careful. Chlorella vulgaris has a small iodine content, which can lead to adverse reactions. The immunostimulating effect of chlorella can possibly increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
Chlorella vulgaris should not be taken in combination with blood-thinning medicines, as the alga may interfere with the effect of these medicines. To completely rule out any other interactions with serious medications, you should seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist.
What alternatives are there to Chlorella vulgaris?
Spirulina is often mentioned as an alternative to chlorella in general. Chlorella and spirulina are very different in terms of their effects. In this article about chlorella in general, you can find out what the differences are and when which alga is better suited.
If you are deficient in a certain nutrient or trace element, you can also take classic food supplements such as iron supplements, magnesium and zinc tablets or vitamin supplements.
You can also prevent nutrient deficiencies by eating a balanced diet. Find out more about foods and their nutrient content so that you can better match your daily rations to your daily needs.
Decision: What types of chlorella vulgaris are there and which one is right for you?
If you want to buy chlorella vulgaris, you can choose between three different alternatives depending on the form of presentation:
- Pressed pellets
The three types of Chlorella vulgaris each have advantages and disadvantages. To give you a better idea and help you weigh up your decision, we would like to present the differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages in the following chapters.
What are the characteristics of Chlorella vulgaris pellets and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
Pressed pellets are made of compressed powder and therefore look like classic tablets.
Pressed pellets contain Chlorella vulgaris in its pure form and no additives are added. Due to the tablet form, the dosage is very simple. Depending on your needs, you can take one tablet per day. In addition, you can easily take pressed pellets on the go.
As a rule, you can take Chlorella vulgaris tablets independently of your meals. You usually only need a glass of water to rinse or dissolve the tablets.
However, some pellets contain a carrier made from maize starch or lactose. Many people have intolerances to these substances. We therefore recommend that you buy herbal pellets.
Pressed pellets only develop their effect in the stomach. Some people take chlorella vulgaris to neutralise bad breath. However, pressed pellets are not suitable for this purpose. Pressed pellets are also unsuitable for you if you have problems swallowing tablets.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Chlorella vulgaris capsules?
Capsules not only consist of Chlorella vulgaris in its pure form, but also have a shell that encases the algae in powder form or as an extract.
Capsules not only contain the Chlorella vulgaris powder, but often also oils. This is not possible with pressed pellets, as oils and pressed pellets are not compatible.
Chlorella vulgaris extract is also available in capsule form. Chlorella vulgaris extract contains the so-called growth factor CGF and thus even more valuable ingredients than pressed pellets or powder. In addition, the extract is said to have a higher bioavailability.
In contrast to pressed pellets, capsules have additives. Their shell often consists of gelatine and in this case is not suitable for vegetarians and vegans. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you should use capsules with a cellulose shell.
As with pressed pellets, capsules also allow for exact dosage and flexible intake. However, capsules only dissolve in the stomach and are therefore not suitable for use with bad breath.
Capsules can be larger than pellets and are even more difficult to swallow. If you have problems with this, you should use chlorella vulgaris powder.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of chlorella vulgaris powder?
The dried algae is also available in powder form. Chlorella vulgaris powder has a deep green colour due to its high chlorophyll content.
Chlorella vulgaris powder can be taken in a variety of ways. For example, you can stir the powder into smoothies, dressings or water, add it to bread and pasta dough or mix it into other meals.
In contrast to pellets and capsules, with powder you can decide for yourself how much you want to take. This makes it possible to individually dose Chlorella vulgaris according to your needs.
However, the dosage is not quite as simple. You can use a measuring spoon or a precise scale to achieve an exact dosage.
Since the powder is already dissolved in the mouth and throat and works, you can also use it as a remedy for bad breath.
However, Chlorella vulgaris powder has an intense taste of its own. If you don't want the taste of algae, it's best to use capsules, as the shell allows for complete tastelessness.
Powder is not so easy to take on the go, as you always have to mix it. Depending on your daily routine, this could be a big disadvantage for you.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate chlorella vulgaris preparations based on these factors
When buying Chlorella vulgaris preparations, you should pay attention to various criteria, such as:
In the following chapters, we explain what the individual factors are and why you should pay attention to them.
Chlorella vulgaris is commercially available in the form of pressed pellets, capsules and powder. Sometimes you can also find Chlorella vulgaris creams or extracts. Creams are an alternative especially for skin problems.
We have already presented the main differences and advantages and disadvantages. Now it depends on your personal preferences which dosage form you choose.
In terms of price, capsules are more expensive than pellets. Both pellets and capsules are easy to dose and take. If you like to have versatile intake options, you should rather go for the powder.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you should buy pellets, powder or capsules with cellulose shells.
In general, powder is recommended if you are reluctant to take pellets or capsules and want to dose your rations individually.
In order for Chlorella vulgaris to have the best effect, you should find out the recommended dose for you before you buy it. Especially in the case of capsules, the proportions of chlorella vulgaris may vary.
Depending on the dosage and concentration of the individual ingredients, the price can vary greatly. The higher the concentration of Chlorella vulgaris, the higher the price.
Especially with the powder, you should find out the recommended dosage for you. It is easy to take more than you should. But don't forget: less is sometimes more. Pregnant women should never take more than three grams of Chlorella vulgaris per day.
Especially when it comes to your health, you should not skimp. There are now some products on the market that are cheaper but of poor quality.
To be sure about the quality of the chlorella vulgaris preparation, you should pay attention to the following aspects before buying:
- Results of pollutant analyses
- Bacteriological tests
Many manufacturers add more ingredients to chlorella vulgaris to advertise even better effectiveness. However, a high number of ingredients does not necessarily make the product of higher quality. Make sure that the preparation contains only the most important and natural ingredients.
Chlorella vulgaris binds harmful substances. If the freshwater algae are not cultivated in a pollutant-free environment (water) and sustainable cultivation, the preparations may contain pollutants. If the preparation smells unpleasant or pungent, it is not recommended to take it. This smell may be due to spoilage or impurities.
If you want to be sure that the product is free of environmental toxins and harmful substances, you should go for a certified organic product despite the higher price. Organic products are subject to regular independent inspections.
The origin of the raw materials can also provide information about the quality of the product. Chlorella algae from Southeast Asia and the USA are often cultivated in large ponds and can therefore be contaminated.
In Germany, on the other hand, manufacturers are subject to strict quality guidelines. Strict guidelines also apply in the EU and must be adhered to.
Some Chlorella vulgaris preparations contain additional ingredients that are often not necessary. Make sure that the ingredients are of high quality.
Chlorella vulgaris is a very nutrient-rich freshwater alga. A combination with other additives is therefore not really necessary.
Preparations are often enriched with ingredients in order to charge a higher price and to be able to advertise better effectiveness. However, these added ingredients often have no scientifically proven efficacy.
Bioavailability indicates the extent to which and the speed at which a certain active ingredient from a drug enters the bloodstream.
The cell wall of the Chlorella alga consists of three layers. In the case of Chlorella vulgaris, a distinction is made between preparations with broken and intact cell walls.
In science, it is controversial how the breaking open of the cell walls affects the utilisation of the nutrients. Older literature in particular is in favour of breaking the cell walls so that nutrients can be better absorbed.(26)
However, more recent research is of the opinion that it is not so much the breaking as the processing that plays a role. In their study, Japanese scientists were only able to detect a slight difference in protein availability between broken and intact cell walls.(27)
Products without broken cell walls are cheaper because the production process is less complex. Since the differences are only minor, you can also buy preparations with intact and natural cell walls.
Nevertheless, depending on the intended use, it may make sense to choose a chlorella product with broken cell walls. The multi-layered cell walls are responsible for binding and excreting harmful substances. If you want to use chlorella vulgaris mainly for detoxification, you should buy a product with broken cell walls.
Chlorella vulgaris preparations with broken cell walls are also easier to digest and have - even if only to a small extent - a higher bioavailability.
Facts worth knowing about Chlorella vulgaris
How, when and for how long do I take Chlorella vulgaris?
How Chlorella vulgaris should be taken depends on the dosage form. Pressed pellets and capsules should usually be swallowed with a glass of water. Powder can be mixed with water or stirred into meals, smoothies or dressings. You can find more information on how to take it in the package leaflet.
Chlorella vulgaris can usually be taken independently of meals. However, if taken with meals, the carotenoids of the algae can be better absorbed due to the fats. The powder is mainly taken with meals. This is mainly because the powder is often stirred into the food.
There is no guideline for how long you should take Chlorella vulgaris. Since it contains valuable nutrients and is taken in addition to the normal diet, you can take chlorella vulgaris for several months as long as no side effects occur. The optimal duration of intake also depends on the purpose of use.
The recommended dosage is 6 to 10 grams of chlorella vulgaris per day. It is best to start with a smaller amount and gradually increase the dose if it is well tolerated.
However, the recommended dosage varies depending on the purpose of use. The following table describes the dosage recommendations for the individual areas of application.
|Purpose of use||Recommended daily dose|
|Acute detoxification (e.g. after taking medication)||initial dose of 500 milligrams, gradually increase to approx. 20 to 30 grams, after completion of detoxification intake of 2 to 3 grams for a period of 4 to 6 weeks|
|Continuous detoxification||3 to 7 grams|
|Skin||initial maximum of 2 milligrams, gradual increase to maximum of 10 grams within 4 to 6 weeks, reduce dose if skin blemishes, itching or redness|
|Boost metabolism and weight loss||3 to 4 grams|
|Intestinal cleansing||5 to 10 grams, up to 20 grams for heavy metal exposure (4 to 12 weeks)|
|Acute liver complaints||4 to 8 grams (4 weeks)|
|Continuous strengthening of the liver||2 grams|
|Immune system||3 to 6 grams (at least 12 weeks)|
|Cardiovascular diseases||3 grams|
|Acid-base balance||3 to 5 grams|
|Pregnancy||Maximum 3 grams|
What is the shelf life of Chlorella vulgaris preparations?
The shelf life of Chlorella vulgaris depends on the moisture content of the algae. For this reason, tried and tested methods that are gentle on the nutrients should be used to dry the freshwater algae.
The best-before date is indicated on the product. It is recommended not to consume the Chlorella vulgaris preparations after the expiry date indicated.
When storing and keeping the Chlorella vulgaris products, you should always observe the following three points:
- Store in a dry place: The higher the moisture content of the algae, the shorter its shelf life.
- Store away from light: Algae should not come into contact with light. Many manufacturers use tins that can be closed airtight and protected from light.
- Keep cool: Seaweed should be stored in a cool place. However, do not store them in the refrigerator, but in a shady and colder place in the house.
How is Chlorella vulgaris cultivated?
Microalgae that are intended for human consumption do not come from lakes, but are cultivated on so-called algae farms in tanks. In the following, we describe the usual procedure.
First, a strong and healthy pre-culture is grown in the laboratory. If the cell division proceeds without problems, the pre-culture can be transferred to larger breeding tanks outdoors after one day. However, it can also take up to a week until the cell division has progressed sufficiently.
Some producers also grow only indoors. However, sunlight is necessary for the production of the growth factor CGF.
Water quality is particularly important. In the best case, water of drinking water quality is used. In addition, regular breeding controls should be carried out.
With optimal sunlight, the Chlorella vulgaris algae can be harvested after about two weeks. Afterwards, the water with the algae is put into centrifuges and the bad cells are filtered. Afterwards, the cells are washed with water and completely separated from the water.
Once the algae mass is separated from the water, it is dried into the finest green powder. Some manufacturers use a vacuum drying technique for this. The microalgae should be cooled slowly and dried quickly. This is the only way to preserve the nutrients and chlorophyll and ensure a long shelf life.
Finally, the microalgae is processed with ultrasound, friction or pressure to break down the cell membrane. The cellulose membrane of Chlorella vulgaris is not digestible by the human body. Only when the cell membrane is broken can the nutrients inside be accessed.
The finished powder can then be further processed into pressed pellets, capsules, extracts, food or creams. Before that, however, a strict quality control is carried out.
Picture source: Ilze79/ 123rf.com
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