Scientific Name/Common Name: Chlorella vulgaris / Chlorella
Part(s) Used: Dried and powdered whole algae.
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Per 100 g: 58.4 g protein; 51300 IU vitamin A; 10 mg vitamin C; 23.8 mg niacin; 205 mcg vitamin B12; 94 mcg folate; 23 g carbohydrate; 221 mg calcium; 130 mg iron; 315 mg magnesium; 895 mg phosphorous; 71 mg zinc.
Overview: Chlorella is a nutrient-dense unicellular fresh water green algae rich in proteins (~60%), vitamins, and minerals that is used as a source of food and beneficial phytochemicals. Chlorella has been on the earth since the Precambrian period: over 2.5 billion years. The cells of Chlorella were first identified under a microscope in the 1890s but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the Carnegie Institute concluded that chlorella could be grown commercially as a solution to help world hunger. It is often supplemented with by vegetarians and vegans as a good source of iron, protein, and B vitamins. Under certain growing conditions it can also produce polyunsaturated fatty acids like GLA and EPA. Unlike Spirulina, the form of vitamin B12 in Chlorella is active and bioavailable.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Chlorella is generally taken as a health food to supplement the diet with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Sometimes it is used for cleansing and detoxification. There is currently not much scientific evidence in humans available regarding its effectiveness for any particular health conditions though.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Yongmanitchai, W; Ward, OP (1991). “Growth of and omega-3 fatty acid production by Phaeodactylum tricornutum under different culture conditions”. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 57 (2): 419–25.
Watanabe F, et al. Characterization and bioavailability of vitamin B12-compounds from edible algae . J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). (2002)
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.