Spirulina and chlorella are both different species of algae that have in recent decades gained popularity as dietary supplements for healing, prevention and maintenance of good health. Chlorella is most specifically associated with detox benefits, especially of heavy metals, chemo and radiation, whereas spirulina is most associated with nutritional, energy and athletic support. However both of them can be used to help the immune system and help prevent or treat cancer, as well as strengthen and support overall health.
How you should use either of them will depend on your specific needs and what your body can handle. If you are just in health maintenance mode or want to give your body a boost during stressful times, typically following the directions on the product package will suffice. If, on the other hand, you are wanting to use either or both of these algae as part of a healing protocol for a specific condition, you may need to use them in higher quantities.
Either way, there is no one exact amount that will be ideal for all people or conditions, similar to how herbs and other healing foods work. There are general guidelines that can help us determine what may be best and safest, and as always we should pay attention to how we feel, and adjust as may be required.
How much Spirulina and/or Chlorella should I use?
Spirulina and chlorella dosage is measured per gram. The products most commonly come in tablet and powder form. Tablets are usually 500mg (half a gram), but they also come in 250mg and 1000mg. A teaspoon of the powder can range anywhere from 1 gram to 3 grams, depending on how flat or full the teaspoon is.
The recommended dosage for each of these supplements ranges between 1 to 8 grams per day, with the average recommended dose for most people being 3 to 5 grams. To decide what is right for your specific needs, especially if you are dealing with a serious condition like cancer, you may need to consult with a specialized natural healthcare provider.
It is normally best for everyone to start off with a small dose, like 500mg, and consecutively work your way up, to your desired dosage. You can move up in increments of 500mg a day, each day or every few days, so that your body can adapt. Abruptly taking high doses of spirulina or chlorella can result in various digestive disturbances, such as indigestion, nausea, cramps, diarrhea and foul smelling gas. Most people will tolerate these substances well, if the body is given a chance to adapt. If any unpleasant symptoms arise, lower the dose. If any allergic or serious symptoms arise discontinue use.
There is a small subset of the population who should not use these supplements, or use them only under the guidance of their natural healthcare provider. For spirulina, this specifically includes anyone who has phenylketonuria, has an auto-immune disease, kidney disease or hyperparathyroidism, and pregnant women. For chlorella, this specifically includes anyone who also may have an auto-immune disease or hyperparathyroidism, anyone who may be on blood-thinners (anti-coagulants), who may have iron overload, and pregnant women.
How should I eat Spirulina and/or Chlorella?
Whether we are dealing with a nutrient like a vitamin or mineral, an herb, or a medicinal food, it is usually best to spread out the desired dose, especially if it is high, over the course of a day, rather than take it all at once. The body has an easier time digesting and assimilating things this way, and is normally more efficient in using substances which do not overwhelm it. While the body will store some compounds, if they are in excess for any present needs, it will aim to excrete others. If you are going to take a 3 gram dose, consider splitting it up over two 1.5g or three 1g portions. If you are going for higher therapeutic doses, like 6 or 9 grams per day, then you will definitely want to spread them out throughout the day.
If you buy these supplements in powder form, the easiest way to eat them is by adding them to smoothies. Make sure that these are whole-food smoothies, like green smoothies, without any dairy. you can add to smoothies. Other good ways to eat them are in smoothie bowls. Do keep in mind that they will heavily alter the color and flavor of anything you add them to.
If you buy these supplements in tablet form, you can take them really anytime of day with water. You can experiment taking them with or without food to see what will work best for you. This is the easiest way to use them, as you do not have to concern yourself with what meals to put them into without ruining the meals. However, tablets will normally be slightly more processed than the pure powder itself.
Should I Use Both Spirulina and/or Chlorella?
There is no shortage of overwhelmingly positive articles and blog posts online today about the many benefits of both spirulina and chlorella. However, please be aware that only some of these are valid benefits, while others are anecdotal and claimed by the very people who have some stake in selling these products. Nothing is a magic bullet and neither spirulina, nor chlorella will fix your health or weight. The best and most effective solutions always reside in the overall quality of our diet and lifestyle.
If you feel that you have a good reason to take either or both spirulina and chlorella, then do so with the above guidance in mind. Keep in mind that if you take both, you should be extra mindful of your dosage, as they have many similar benefits that overlap, and more is not necessarily better. Pay attention to how you feel and aim to stay objective about what you are doing and why to avoid stressing your body or wasting your money. Don’t fall for hype and fads that are all too common in the world of nutrition and supplements today. Just because something sounds good or is good, does not automatically mean it is good for you or that you need it.
Caution About Spirulina and Chlorella Quality
The most important thing to keep in mind about spirulina and chlorella is its quality. If you are going to use either of them, you need to source them from sources that have a trusted reputation for purity and quality. Both of these supplements are prone to having various contamination issues, including serious toxins, like BMAA from other micro-organisms, toxins from chemicals, like heavy metals, and radioactive toxicity. Make sure you know where your spirulina and chlorella is coming from, how it was grown, harvested and what purity testing was done on it, if any. Don’t buy cheap products from your average supplement company or from questionable sources. Here is a guide from Organic Burst on how to ensure your spirulina comes from a clean source. In this sense, chlorella tends to be a safer option, which carries less contamination risks.
Related References and Reading
Chlorella for Cancer Use from The Truth About Cancer
Spirulina for Cancer Use from The Truth About Cancer
Is Chlorella Good for You from Dr. Michael Greger
Is Blue-Green Algae Good For You? from Dr. Michael Greger
Spirulina Benefits: 10 Proven Health Reasons from Dr. Axe
Chlorella Benefits: 7 Proven Health Reasons from Dr.Axe