Chlorella’s impressive nutritional profile has led some to call it a “super food.” While its exact nutrient content depends on growing conditions, the species used and how supplements are processed, it’s clear it packs several beneficial nutrients.
- Protein: Chlorella is 50–60% protein. What’s more, it’s a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids (3, 5Trusted Source).
- Vitamin B12: Some chlorella varieties may also contain vitamin B12, but more studies are needed (6Trusted Source).
- Iron and vitamin C: Chlorella can be a good source of iron. Depending on the supplement, it may provide anywhere from 6–40% of your daily need. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps you absorb iron (1Trusted Source, 3, 7).
- Other antioxidants: These tiny green cells provide a wide range of antioxidants (1Trusted Source, 3).
- Other vitamins and minerals: Chlorella provides small amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid and other B vitamins (1Trusted Source, 3, 8).
- Omega-3s: As with other algae, chlorella contains some omega-3s. Just 3 grams of chlorella delivers 100 mg of omega-3s (8).
- Fiber: In large quantities, chlorella can be a good source of fiber.
- Chlorella has gotten some buzz for its ability to help the body “detox.” In fact, animal studies indicate that it’s effective at helping remove heavy metals and other harmful compounds from the body (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).Heavy metals include some elements that are essential in small amounts, such as iron and copper, but these and other heavy metals like cadmium and lead can be toxic in larger amounts.
While it’s rare for people to have dangerous levels of heavy metals in their system, people can get exposed to heavy metals through pollution or certain jobs such as mining (12Trusted Source).
In animals, algae, including chlorella, has been found to weaken the heavy metal toxicity of the liver, brain and kidneys (13Trusted Source).
Furthermore, chlorella has been shown to help lower the amount of other harmful chemicals that are sometimes found in food. One of these is dioxin, a hormone disruptor that can contaminate animals in the food supply (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Based on this evidence, it seems that chlorella could help enhance your body’s natural ability to clear toxins.