Spirulina and Chlorella: Does Color of Algae Matter?

Spirulina

Both Spirulina and chlorella have risen to popularity in the supplement world. You may be wondering, which one is better for you and your wellness journey? 

There’s a lot to know about your algae supplements, including the type of algae they include. The good news is that Spirulina and chlorella offer different potential health benefits and nutrients.

At iwi, we believe in nutritional transparency. That means sharing the full story of our ingredients, so you can make the best-informed choices. We also believe in helping everyone in our global community, so that’s why we make our algae supplements full of the ingredients you need. 

If you’re looking for a new algae supplement, we are here to make it easier for you. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between chlorella and Spirulina and which one is better! 

What Is Chlorella?

Chlorella

Chlorella is a single-celled green alga that grows in freshwater. It’s often used as a supplement and for food. It contains a vast profile of different nutritional benefits for you and your body. 

It is often marketed as a superfood, and for good reason since it contains a wide variety of nutrients that are great for you and your body. 

What Are the Benefits of Chlorella?

Chlorella offers many nutritional benefits since it’s a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals.

When it comes to supporting your overall health and wellness goals, there’s no better option than algae supplements. It’s got everything you need to help you feel and perform your best.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chlorella is a source of many nutrients that aren't typically found in plants, including vitamin D and vitamin B12, making it a welcome addition for anyone who follows a plant-based diet. 

As its name implies, chlorella is also rich in chlorophyll, the green plant pigment involved in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is taken as a supplement to help promote fresh breath and improved body odor. It is also thought to help support oxygen delivery in the body.

Although chlorella is full of a wide variety of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds, it is relatively low in the long-chain fatty acids DHA and EPA. While it shouldn't be counted on as a reliable source of omega-3, chlorella can still make a great addition to a supplement routine.. 

What Is Spirulina?

Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green alga that grows primarily in lakes and ponds. Like chlorella, it’s considered a superfood since it has such high levels of nutrients. 

Spirulina has been touted for its protein content, since it is higher than most green plants in protein — 1.5 tablespoons of Spirulina powder contains the same amount of complete protein as an egg — but in other nutritional factors, chlorella outweighs it. Although it has a different color than chlorella, it still provides a great assortment of different nutrients, from minerals to protein to different vitamins! 

Like chlorella, it also has a vast nutrient profile, so it’s popular in many forms of supplements. It can come as a powder, tablet, softgel, capsule, or any variety of supplements. 

What Are the Benefits of Spirulina?

Many different benefits come from Spirulina since it contains such abundant nutrients and antioxidant properties. Although chlorella is better in some aspects than Spirulina, Spirulina can still be a great choice, depending on your preferences. 

Read below to learn more about Spirulina's specific benefits for you and your body! 

Protein 

One of the main reasons many people like Spirulina is its high amount of protein. 

While a study shows that both Spirulina and chlorella contain all essential amino acids that your body easily absorbs, a 2018 study shows that some strains of Spirulina can contain up to 10% more protein than chlorella.

If you’re looking to up your intake of protein, Spirulina can be a great addition to incorporate into your daily diet. 

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol 

Another great benefit of Spirulina is how it can help all different aspects of your body. For example, Spirulina may also benefit your cholesterol profile and blood pressure. 

A study showed a group of people that had a gram of Spirulina helped aid their high cholesterol by supporting healthy levels of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol. 

Do Spirulina and Chlorella Have Any Similarities? 

Although they vary in some of the nutrients they offer, both are relatively similar when it comes to providing nutrients and health benefits for you. 

Antioxidants 

Both Spirulina and chlorella contain a high amount of antioxidants. These can play a key role in protecting your cells and maintaining your overall wellness. 

Both forms of algae contain antioxidant properties, and studies show chlorella supplements provide ample vitamin C and vitamin E.

May Support Heart Health

Another benefit of algae supplements from chlorella or Spirulina is the possible heart health benefits they provide. 

This is because they may support a healthy blood lipid composition and proper blood pressure levels. If you’re looking for additional support for your heart health, algae supplements can be a great ally for cardiovascular health. 

What Are the Differences Between Chlorella and Spirulina?

While both contain nutrients we all need, certain differences can be helpful to know. Understanding the differences between what these two algae offer can be a great tool in deciding which one you want to take.

Chlorella is higher in several different categories:

  • Calories: 115 calories in a one-ounce serving
  • Vitamin A: 287% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin: 71% of DV
  • Magnesium: 22% of DV 
  • Iron: 202% of DV
  • Zinc: 133% of DV

A study shows that chlorella has more omega-3 fatty acids, while Spirulina boasts more omega-6 fatty acids, although both are low in overall omega-3 content.

Spirulina still contains a high amount of certain categories, even though it’s lower in calories. For example, Spirulina contains a good amount of:

  • Riboflavin: 60% of DV
  • Thiamine: 44% of DV
  • Iron: 44% of DV
  • Copper: 85% of DV 

They both vary in what they offer, and although chlorella does have a higher nutrient profile in some aspects, Spirulina still does a great job of providing you with the nutrients you need. 

Which One Is Healthier? 

Both forms of algae are extremely beneficial for your health needs. It’s just a matter of knowing the differences so you can find the one that helps support your health journey. 

Chlorella offers a slight advantage over Spirulina when it comes to certain nutritional factors, but overall, the two types of algae are fairly comparable. 

The good news is that you can’t go wrong with either. What are you looking for when it comes to your wellness journey? 

Depending on your personal preference, you may support one over the other. Both Spirulina and chlorella are highly nutritious and safe to eat for most people. 

Does the Color of Algae Matter? 

The color does not contribute to what kind of nutrients it has; it more has to do with how much light it needs to grow. Essentially, algae all have different pigments that absorb different wavelengths of light. 

That means that no color is better or healthier than the other. Although Spirulina and chlorella offer slightly different nutrients, they both benefit you. 

Choosing Algae Omega-3 Supplements From iwi 

When it comes to choosing your next algae supplement, iwi values nutritional transparency. That means providing you with the best nutrients you need for your body, and we are upfront and honest with you.

Our algae oil packs a punch with nutrients. We incorporate nannochloropsis algae into our supplements, which shares some traits with chlorella, but is much higher in omega-3 than chlorella or Spirulina.

Nannochloropsis oculata is an ocean strain of algae which creates rich amounts of omega-3 in a unique form known as the polar lipid form. Polar lipids mix with water because of their unique two-ended structure, which means that polar lipid omega-3s are the best absorbed form.

At iwi, we love that we can provide you with the superior form of omega-3 that your body needs, all while growing algae sustainably in a way that benefits our global community. 

iwi’s Dedication 

So, if you’re ready to get started on your supplement journey, look no further than iwi’s algae omega-3 supplements, which are designed with you and the Earth in mind. 

No matter how far along you are in your health journey, we have algae supplements to help you accomplish any of your goals. 

We are passionate about several things at iwi: algae, omega-3s, the planet, and most importantly, you and the global community. So, we combined all of these factors and created our algae omega-3 supplement because the world's health matters to us. 

Ready to get started and experience better living? It starts now with iwi. Shop our supplements today and get started on your journey. 

 

Sources:

Investigation of in vitro digestibility of dietary microalga Chlorella vulgaris and cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis as a nutritional supplement | PMC

Bioavailability and Safety of Nutrients from the Microalgae Chlorella vulgaris, Nannochloropsis oceanica and Phaeodactylum tricornutum in C57BL/6 Mice | PMC

The hypolipidaemic effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) supplementation in a Cretan population: a prospective study | PubMed

Six-week supplementation with Chlorella has favorable impact on antioxidant status in Korean male smokers | NCBI

Antidiabetic potential of phycocyanin: effects on KKAy mice | PubMed

Influence of Extractive Solvents on Lipid and Fatty Acids Content of Edible Freshwater Algal and Seaweed Products, the Green Microalga Chlorella kessleri and the Cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis | PubMed

Marine Cryptophytes Are Great Sources of EPA and DHA | PMC

Spirulina powder | USDA

Acute appearance of fatty acids in human plasma--a comparative study between polar-lipid rich oil from the microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata and krill oil in healthy young males | NCBI

  Reviewed by Dr. Eneko Ganuza

  VP of Research and Development at iwi


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