Unicellular seaweed rich in proteins (45%), fats (20%), carbohydrates (20%), fibre (5%), minerals and vitamins.
Although proposed around 1940 as an important source of food for humanity, due to the difficulties and high cost of its cultivation, it is currently used as a dietary supplement and as a biofuel.
The consumption of chlorella supplements during pregnancy causes the levels of carotenoids - lutein, zeaxanthin and β-carotene - to be doubled in breast milk (Nagayama 2014), and the concentration of dioxins to decrease and that of immunoglobulin A, IgA to increase (Nakano 2007).
Research into its supposed properties (Panahi 2016) in relation to multiple aspects of health (lipid-lowering, hypoglycaemic, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, liver protector, anti-hypertensive, immunity enhancer, anti-depressant, useful in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis...) is promising, but for now the scientific evidence is insufficient and needs to be confirmed (Noguchi 2014, American Cancer Society 2011, Halperin 2003, Merchant 2001).
It must be ensured that it comes from a reliable source and there are quality controls to avoid contamination with heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, copper, chromium, lead) and liver toxins such as microcystins (Desideri 2016, Kumar 2013, Heussner 2012).
Dietary supplements of algae such as spirulina or chlorella are the food group with the highest concentration of arsenic (EFSA 2014).
There have been reports of psychosis possibly induced by the abuse of chlorella alone or associated with other alternative dietary supplements (Yadav 2016, Selvaraj 2013).
Moderate consumption from reliable sources would be low risk during breastfeeding, although it is absolutely non-essential.
See below the information of this related product:
- Spirulina (Low Risk probable)
Very Low Risk
Compatible. Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.
Moderately safe. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.
Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use a safer alternative. Read the Comment.
Very High Risk
Not recommended. Cessation of breastfeeding or alternative.
- Green Algae
- Sun Chlorella
- Chlorella pyrenoidosa (Latin, another name)
- Chlorella vulgaris (Latin, another name)
Drug trade names
- Desideri D, Cantaluppi C, Ceccotto F, Meli MA, Roselli C, Feduzi L. Essential and toxic elements in seaweeds for human consumption. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2016Abstract
- Panahi Y, Darvishi B, Jowzi N, Beiraghdar F, Sahebkar A. Chlorella vulgaris: A Multifunctional Dietary Supplement with Diverse Medicinal Properties. Curr Pharm Des. 2016Abstract
- Yadav P, Stigall K, Johnson HE, Rayapati AO, Chopra N. Functional foods: How functional are they? A case report of supplement-induced psychosis. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2016Abstract
- Nagayama J, Noda K, Uchikawa T, Maruyama I, Shimomura H, Miyahara M. Effect of maternal Chlorella supplementation on carotenoid concentration in breast milk at early lactation. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014Abstract
- Noguchi N, Maruyama I, Yamada A. The influence of chlorella and its hot water extract supplementation on quality of life in patients with breast cancer. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014Abstract
- EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). Dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic in the European population. EFSA Journal. 2014 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
- Kumar RM, Frankilin J, Raj SP. Accumulation of heavy metals (Cu, Cr, Pb and Cd) in freshwater micro algae (Chlorella sp.). J Environ Sci Eng. 2013Abstract
- Selvaraj V, Singh H, Ramaswamy S. Chlorella-induced psychosis. Psychosomatics. 2013Abstract
- Heussner AH, Mazija L, Fastner J, Dietrich DR. Toxin content and cytotoxicity of algal dietary supplements. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012Abstract
- American Cancer Society. Chlorella 2011 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
- Nakano S, Takekoshi H, Nakano M. Chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) supplementation decreases dioxin and increases immunoglobulin a concentrations in breast milk. J Med Food. 2007Abstract
- Halperin SA, Smith B, Nolan C, Shay J, Kralovec J. Safety and immunoenhancing effect of a Chlorella-derived dietary supplement in healthy adults undergoing influenza vaccination: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. CMAJ. 2003Abstract
- Merchant RE, Andre CA. A review of recent clinical trials of the nutritional supplement Chlorella pyrenoidosa in the treatment of fibromyalgia, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001Abstract