Chlorella vs Spirulina: Which Superfood Algae is Best?

It's a lucky thing that 'chlorella' and 'spirulina' both have such pretty, feminine-sounding names. 'Cause if I told my little brother that I'd actually been feeding him algae - he might try to kill me.

And it'd be an understandable reaction, considering how we normally think of algae.

Algae's just that nasty stuff on rocks you try to avoid when you're lucky enough to take a swim in a lake.

Or it's that icky green stuff that obscures your fish tank and demands to be cleaned out, no matter how busy your schedule is.

Either way - algae gets a bad rep.

But if you take a moment to get to know this misunderstood microorganism, you'll find that it's so, so much more than pond scum.

Algae is actually a pretty cool cat that uses the very basic ingredients of nature - sunlight, carbon dioxide, and mineral water - to survive and reproduce faster than rabbits.

And even more fascinating is what these moldy green things have to offer you: algae is one of the most nutritionally-dense, health-balancing, efficient and effective superfoods on earth.

But not all algae is the same.

I'm going to go into two of the most popular, most researched types of algae superfoods available on the market today: chlorella and spirulina.

Each has unique benefits you'll want to know about. 

chlorella vs spirulina: which is better?

Hopefully, it'll give you some context to understanding what algae can do for you and which type of algae will best meet your health needs and goals.

Let's get started, shall we?​

Chlorella vs Spirulina: The Showdown

Chlorella benefits

  • The highest known source of chlorophyll - it makes up around 3% to 5% of the biomass of chlorella
  • Powerful detoxification aid, binding to heavy metals to remove them from the body
  • Protects arteries from stiffness and clogging to keep them young and healthy
  • Great for gut health - stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and helps maintain proper gastrointestinal pH
  • Rich in RNA and DNA nucleic acids, which help protect our cells, boost energy levels and actively delay our body's aging process.
  • Abundant source of beta-carotene and magnesium

spirulina benefits

  • Highly bioavailable nutrients, thanks to the fact that spirulina has a perfectly digestible cell wall
  • Very rich in complete protein, being made up of around 70% full protein with all 8 essential amino acids
  • A rare vegan source of Vitamin B12
  • Protects arteries from stiffness and clogging to keep them young and healthy
  • Offers the full form of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
  • Contains a phytochemical unique to spirulina with benefits that range from boosting brain function to aiding the immune system
  • May aid weight loss thanks to the protein content and athletic improvement

Okay, both chlorella and spirulina are sounding pretty darn good. 

So how do you decide? Well, let's compare the two...

CHLORELLA vs SPIRULINA: So...Which One's the last algae standing?

Both chlorella and spirulina come packed with health perks. Let's go over a run-down of quick comparisons to help you decide which algae will be the best for you.

  • Chlorella is higher in chlorophyll. Chlorella is roughly 3 to 5 % chlorophyll, which is the highest of the microalgae (around 10x more chlorphyll than spirulina and significantly more than any leafy green vegetable.
  • Spirulina is easiest to digest. Spirulina naturally has a perfectly digestible cell wall, making it easy for your body to immediately digest and absorb its nutrients.
  • Chlorella offers more potent detox. Chlorella features a true nucleus, unlike spirulina, which makes it a powerful detoxification aid, binding to heavy metals like cadmium, uranium, mercury, and even radioactive materials to remove them from your body
  • Spirulina is more nutrient-diverse. Both chlorella and spirulina are among the richest nutrient sources of earth, but spirulina wins in the diversity and richness department. It has more protein and iron, as well as all eight essential amino acids, essential minerals like zinc, calcium, and potassium, as well as a load of B vitamins and vitamin C, D, and E. Spirulina also has more carotenoids than chlorella and has the added advantage of being a source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA).
  • Both promote gut health. Both chlorella and spirulina promotes healthy lactobacillus flora in the gut, which is crucial for overall bowel health.
  • Both contain unique elements. Chlorella contains a special Growth Factor which can help repair damage to nerve tissue and is ideal for those with degenerative brain and nerve disorders. Spirulina contains a phytochemical called phycocyanin that support a range of crucial body functions and protects our tissues from oxidation.

​As you can see, this can go on and on. To be honest, I've never been able to decide between chlorella and spirulina - to this day, I don't know which one is "best."

My solution? To have my cake and eat it, too. Or: take both.

chlorella vs spirulina: which is best?

They both share a range of similar benefits - immune boost, gut health, cell protection - while each has its own set of distinctive, precious health perks that're heard to overlook.

The only downside to that is it can add up - these are not cheap supplements.

The best solution I've found is to take a supplement that combines both spirulina and its immune-boosting, nutrition-rich benefits with chlorella and its chlorophyll-rich, heavy-metal-and-toxin-detoxifying cleansing benefits. 

That way, you get the benefits of both worlds 🙂

Where to Buy Chlorella and Spirulina?

Whether you start on spirulina, chlorella, or both - please, please start small. This stuff can be potent and you can feel a little sick to your stomach in the beginning so start with less than the recommended dose and slowly move up from there.

chlorella and spirulina tablets

Sunlit's 50/50 Chlorella and Spirulina tablets is a bit price-y but is still our top choice - 100% pure, raw, and organic.

chlorella and spirulina tablets

Super 50-50 is new to the algae scene but despite their kitschy packaging - their quality is legit. 100% pure, raw, and organic. 

About the Author Jessica

After growing up a perpetually pudgy kid, Jessica discovered real food - and her waistline shortly afterward. When she's not crafting concoctions in the kitchen, she spends her free time writing about food, making her own deodorant, watching sci-fi, doing headstands, and looking for gluten free food that doesn't suck.

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