Ask the Nutritionist
Q: Have Spirulina and Chlorella been shown to be beneficial for raising energy levels in humans and should it be a part of one’s regular well balanced diet (instead of as a substitute)?
Neal, Plano, Texas
A: There is still ongoing research looking into the effects of Spirulina and Chlorella on the human body.
Spirulina, a blue-green algae, has been used as a source of dietary protein, B-vitamins and iron. It is a relatively good source of plant dietary protein. Unfortunately, Spirulina can be contaminated with other toxic blue-green algae or heavy metals so finding a reliable brand is important. It could also possibly interfere with immunosuppressive therapy by stimulating the immune system so if you take these drugs we would not advise this supplement. It may help with energy levels when consumed along with a healthy plant base diet and is a great addition to smoothies.
Chorella, a green algae, is also a source of dietary protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. It could also interact with immunosuppressive therapy and some sources note adverse effects may include fatigue and GI upset so it is important to gauge your individual response.
Research of both these supplements is still new, and we would suggest talking to your doctor before trying any new supplements.