The algae chlorella and spirulina are being used frequently as supplements. Each has its range of nutritional and health benefits, from lowering blood sugar to managing heart diseases.
Chlorella has a high index of:
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Provitamin A
While spirulina has a lower index of calories but a high index of:
Benefits of Spirulina and Chlorella
1. Both may Improve Heart Health
The algae chlorella and spirulina can enhance heart health by maintaining your lipid profile and blood pressure levels; this has been proven by many studies, some of which are given below:
In a controlled 4-week study, a group of 63 subjects receiving a daily dosage of 5 grams of chlorella experienced a 10% reduction in total triglycerides, as opposed to a placebo group. Furthermore, the subjects also showed an 11% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol and a 4% increase in HDL( good) cholesterol levels.
In another research, subjects with high blood pressure receiving chlorella supplements daily over 12 weeks showed marked lowering of blood pressure as opposed to a placebo group (36)
Much like chlorella, spirulina shares the same beneficial range.
A 3-month study showed that 52 subjects with high cholesterol taking a daily dosage of 1 gram spirulina experienced decreased triglycerides by 16% and LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10%.
In another study, a 6-8% reduction in blood pressure was seen in a group of 36 subjects after a daily dosage of 4.5grams of spirulina was given over six weeks.
2. Both may Benefit Blood Sugar Control
Various research has shown that chlorella and spirulina can manage blood sugar levels. The mechanism of action of this is unknown. However, studies have shown that spirulina may work by enhancing insulin sensitivity in both animals and humans.
The term insulin sensitivity estimates how efficiently cells respond to the hormone insulin, which actively transports glucose from the bloodstream into the cells for energy usage.
Moreover, research has shown improved blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity with chlorella supplements. Both these properties have a marked impact on people who have diabetes and insulin resistant.
3. Both are High in Antioxidants
With a high index of polyunsaturated fat, both chlorella and spirulina are rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants interact and stabilise free radicals in the body, which prevent cell and tissue damage.
As per a study conducted, 52 subjects were supplemented with 6.3grams of chlorella or a placebo for six weeks who initially smoked cigarettes.
These subjects experienced an increase of 44% and 16% in vitamin C and vitamin E levels, respectively, as each of them has antioxidant abilities.
In addition to this, a marked decrease in DNA damage was seen in people who were on a chlorella supplement.
Further research also shows that when a daily dosage of either one or 2grams of spirulina was given to people suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease( COPD) over 60 days, the subjects showed a 20% and a 29% increase in levels of the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which works as an antioxidant, and vitamin C, respectively, including a 36% decrease in blood levels of an essential marker of oxidative stress was also seen.
4. Chlorella Contains Higher Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The algae mentioned above have almost identical fat profiles. However, the type of fat may vary, with both having an abundance of polyunsaturated fat, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
The essential polyunsaturated fats are an integral part of cellular growth and proper cerebral function like Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The word essential is critical here as these fats can not be manufactured within the body and must solely be obtained from dietary sources.
The replacement of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats in the diet leads to a lower risk factor for heart disease. The range of benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids entails reduced inflammation, improved bone health, and a lower risk of heart diseases and certain cancers.
However, only large quantities of these algae are capable enough to meet the daily requirements of omega-3 fatty acids, and people usually don’t consume such quantities.
The polyunsaturated fat profile of both algae is quite diverse, with studies showing results of chlorella having a higher index of omega-3 fatty acids. In comparison, spirulina has a higher index of omega-6 fatty acids.
Even though chlorella has omega-3 fatty acids in abundance, concentrated algal oil supplements have the upper hand in alternatives to animal-based omega-3 supplements.
5. Spirulina may be Higher in Protein.
These algae have been used as a source of nutrition in ancient civilisations as old as the Aztecs and even to this day as dietary supplements for NASA’s astronauts. Research is being conducted on the high protein levels present in Chlorella as a sustainable nutrient for more extended missions in space.
Their high protein content is that they include all kinds of essential amino acids, which are easily absorbed by the digestive system.
When it comes down to comparing the two algae based on protein content, spirulina takes the lead with up to 10% more protein than chlorella.
Blue-green algae, commonly known as spirulina, is an extremely healthy type of cyanobacteria. Chlorella is a freshwater green algae. Both can help improve your levels of blood lipids, suppress oxidation, reduce blood pressure and lower blood sugar.
Even though more research needs to be done before anything can be said with certainty, it is believed that spirulina and chlorella may be one of the few superfoods worthy of the title. This supplement is widely available online and in stores.
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