Health benefits of Chlorella and Spirulina

Health benefits of Chlorella and Spirulina

Microalgae are single-celled microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye. But because they grow quickly and multiply, they can easily be detected in their chosen environments. Microalgae can be found in both freshwater and saltwater, and their high tolerance to extreme temperatures and conditions makes them some of the most abundant microorganisms in nature. [1]

Microalgae are sometimes loosely referred to as “aquatic plants” because of their similarities to terrestrial plants, the most notable of which are their chlorophyll content and their dependence on the sun for survival. [2] Because microalgae also grow through photosynthesis – a process that requires sunlight, carbon dioxide and water – they are buoyant and can be located where sunlight penetrates the water.

Another characteristic that makes microalgae plant-like is their use of inorganic nutrients. Just like how plants need minerals from the soil to produce certain nutrients during photosynthesis, microalgae use inorganic compounds like nitrates, phosphates and sulfur to create protein, carbohydrates and fats. [3]

And because microalgae can manufacture these nutrients – which humans require for optimal health and nutrition – sustainably and more efficiently than plants on land, they have become valuable sources of many bioproducts for human consumption. Some of these bioproducts include proteins, vitamins, lipids, antioxidants, bioactive polysaccharides and carotenoids. [4] 

Chlorella and Spirulina: Two of the most important microalgae for human health     

Of the thousands of microalgal species now known to humans, two have emerged as the most commercially and nutritionally important: the single-celled green algae, chlorella, and the multicellular blue-green algae, spirulina. These microalgae are said to be among the oldest microorganisms on the planet.

Chlorella can often be found in freshwater and is known for producing high amounts of chlorophyll, a green plant pigment that helps plants produce food during photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is beneficial to humans as it acts as a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that can protect healthy cells from oxidative stress. Studies show that chlorophyll can also support the body’s natural ability to detoxify. [5]

While chlorella gets its color from chlorophyll, spirulina owes its blue-green color to an equally beneficial pigment-protein complex called phycocyanin. This compound has a light-absorbing molecule, or chromophore, attached to it called phycocyanobilin that confers color to spirulina as well as some health-supporting properties. [6] According to a study published in the Journal of Immunology Research, phycocyanobilin is a powerful free radical scavenger that can protect healthy cells from oxidative damage. [7] Phycocyanin and phycocyanobilin also enable spirulina to support healthy immune functions. [8]

Both chlorella and spirulina contain an abundance of other health-supporting pigments, such as the tetraterpene carotenoids. [9][10] The most widely distributed plant pigments in nature, carotenoids work together with chlorophyll during photosynthesis and serve as important protectants against photooxidative damage. [11] Carotenoids also confer protective benefits to humans, thanks to their potent antioxidant activities.

Some examples of antioxidant carotenoids that you can get from microalgae, particularly chlorella and spirulina, include astaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and alpha- and beta-carotene. Astaxanthin, a reddish-orange carotenoid, is a powerful antioxidant that benefits the brain, skin and immune system. [12] Some species of spirulina, such as Spirulina platensis, are capable of producing incredibly high amounts of natural astaxanthin, thanks to their abundance of beta-carotene. [13] Beta-carotene is not only involved in the production of astaxanthin in microalgae, but also in the biosynthesis of vitamin A in the human body.

According to a study published in the journal Cosmetics, diets that are rich in carotenoids like astaxanthin and beta-carotene provide plenty of benefits for the skin both at the surface and cellular levels. This is because of the antioxidant protection provided by both carotenoids, which can help mitigate the skin damage caused by harsh elements in the environment and support healthy, glowing skin. [14] Supplementing with beta-carotene has also been found to support the skin’s natural ability to repair surface damage. [15]

Like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin serve as precursors to vitamin A, an essential nutrient that supports optimal eye, immune and reproductive functions. [16] Both alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin are powerful antioxidants that can also contribute to your body’s antioxidant defense. [17][18] Meanwhile, lutein and zeaxanthin are recognized for their ability to protect the eyes from free radical damage and support healthy vision. [19]

In addition to supporting the health of your eyes and immune system, the carotenoids in chlorella and spirulina also offer benefits for your heart. According to a study published in the journal Food & Nutrition Research, carotenoids can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. [20] A study published in Nutrition Journal also recommends supplementing with carotenoid-rich chlorella to support healthy blood cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range [21] 

Chlorella and Spirulina as excellent sources of nutrition 

Aside from the abovementioned beneficial compounds, chlorella and spirulina also offer a wealth of essential nutrients – that is, nutrients that your body needs but can’t produce on its own. This is why chlorella and spirulina are considered by many to be two of the most nutritious superfoods on the planet.

Protein is one example of an essential nutrient that your diet needs to supply sufficient amounts of. Your body needs protein to build and repair bones and muscles, as well as to make hormones and functional enzymes. [22] In order to do these things, your body breaks down protein from your diet into amino acids – the building blocks of protein – and assembles them into the specific proteins that it needs.

While many amino acids occur naturally in the human body, there are nine amino acids that you can only get from external sources. These nine essential amino acids are all present in chlorella and spirulina, making them complete protein sources. According to a study, chlorella is made up of 50 to 60% protein while essential amino acids make up 47% of spirulina’s total protein weight. [23][24] This means they are the perfect alternative sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians, who can’t rely on animal-based foods for their protein intake.

Thanks to their high protein content, chlorella and spirulina can support sensible weight management goals, especially when combined with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. According to studies, protein-rich foods can make you feel full for longer, and this can help you avoid overeating or unhealthy snacking between meals. [25]

Chlorella and spirulina also boast incredibly high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are healthy fats that fulfill various roles inside your body. Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as heart-healthy fats, are integral components of cell membranes and are crucial for maintaining healthy blood vessel function. [26] Meanwhile, omega-6 fatty acids are known for supporting the growth of healthy skin, hair and bones. [27]

According to a study published in the Journal of AOAC International, spirulina is a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid. [28] LA and GLA have been shown to support optimal heart and skin health, while arachidonic acid can help maintain healthy immune function. [29][30][31] Spirulina also contains omega-3s, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are known to support healthy heart and brain functions. [32] The only other sources of DHA and EPA are seafoods like fatty fish and krill, which makes chlorella and spirulina important sources of these healthy fats for vegans and vegetarians.

Like spirulina, chlorella is an excellent source of LA and ALA. It also contains high amounts of oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid found in abundance in olive oil. Oleic acid is known to support healthy blood cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range, as well as the body’s natural healing process. [33][34] Chlorella is also a decent source of DHA and a rare omega-6 fatty acid called eicosadienoic acid, which can only be found in small amounts in animal tissues and human milk. [35] Studies show that eicosadienoic acid can support healthy immune responses. [36][37]

In addition to protein and healthy fats, chlorella can provide a variety of essential nutrients. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s food database, a 100-gram (g) serving of organic broken cell wall chlorella powder contains the following: [38]

  • Protein, 60 g
  • Carbohydrates, 40 g
  • Calcium, 333 milligrams (mg)
  • Iron, 240 mg
  • Vitamin C, 20 mg
  • Vitamin B12, 300 micrograms (mcg)
  • Vitamin A, 58,300 International Units (IU)

Supplementing with chlorella can also contribute to your daily intake of copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B9. [39]

Here’s what you can get from a 100g-serving of dried spirulina, according to the USDA’s food database: [40]

  • Protein, 57.5 g
  • Carbohydrates, 23.9 g
  • Calcium, 120 mg
  • Iron, 28.5 mg
  • Magnesium, 195 mg
  • Phosphorus, 118 mg
  • Potassium, 1360 mg
  • Copper, 6.1 mg
  • Selenium, 7.2 mcg
  • Vitamin C, 10.1 mg
  • Vitamin B3, 12.8 mg
  • Vitamin B9, 94 mcg
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), 5 mg
  • Vitamin K, (phylloquinone), 25.5 mcg

 To recap, here are the 7 health benefits offered by chlorella and spirulina:

  • Complete protein sources for vegans and vegetarians
  • Abundant sources of beneficial phytonutrients
  • Support a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Support a healthy immune system
  • Support the body’s natural ability to remove toxins
  • Support healthy, glowing skin
  • Support sensible weight management plans 

Where to get clean, lab-verified Chlorella and Spirulina 

Chlorella and spirulina are nutrient powerhouses that provide plenty of health benefits. As two of the best superfoods for supporting optimal health, nutrition and wellness, they deserve to be a part of your daily diet. This is why the Health Ranger Store is offering a powerful superfood formula that combines these nutritious microalgae in a convenient powder format.

Health Ranger Select Pure Microalgae Superfood Blend Powder is a dietary supplement that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. This premium powder blend is specially formulated to help you boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals plus a wide array of health-supporting phytonutrients. A rich source of nonanimal-based protein and essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, our ultra-clean chlorella and spirulina powder is also the perfect supplement for vegans and vegetarians.

Health Ranger Select Pure Microalgae Superfood Blend Powder also contains an abundance of chlorophyll and antioxidant carotenoids that can support the healthy functions of your heart, skin and immune system, as well as your liver and kidneys – your body’s main detoxifying organs. When taken regularly in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise, our high-quality microalgae powder can also support sensible weight management plans.

Health Ranger Select Pure Microalgae Superfood Blend Powder is made with lab-verified chlorella and spirulina powders, and is one of the cleanest and most potent superfood formulas on the market. It contains no fillers, excipients or flow agents and is vegan, non-GMO and China-free. Our nutritious microalgae powder blend is also thoroughly lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.

Maintain optimal overall health and wellness by supporting your nutritional needs with the help of chlorella and spirulina – two of the most nutrient-dense superfoods on the planet! 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.