Is Chlorophyll and Chlorella the Same Thing?

Written by: Pard Bharaj



Time to read 5 min

Image of Pard, the Author

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have existing health conditions.

1. Introduction: 

Chlorophyll and chlorella can be easily confused due to their similar names and health benefits.

This discussion aims to clarify the differences between the two, exploring their unique properties, benefits, and uses.

2. Chlorophyll and Chlorella Interesting Facts:

  • Richest Source of Chlorophyll:¬†¬†Chlorella is known to be the richest natural source of chlorophyll of any plant on Earth, making it an excellent natural detoxifier.
  1. Growth Factor: Chlorella contains a unique compound known as Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), which is believed to stimulate tissue repair and growth.

  2. Photosynthesis Key: Chlorophyll is the green pigment responsible for capturing light energy and converting it into chemical energy during photosynthesis, essential for plant life.

  3. Chemical Similarity: Chlorophyll is chemically similar to haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in human blood, except that chlorophyll has magnesium at its centre instead of iron.

3. Is Chlorophyll and Chlorella the Same Thing?

No, chlorophyll and chlorella are not the same thing. Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants, algae, and cyanobacteria, essential for photosynthesis. It helps plants absorb light and convert it into energy. Chlorophyll has health benefits for humans, such as detoxification, wound healing, and improved digestion.

Chlorella, on the other hand, is a type of freshwater algae. It is a whole organism rich in various nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, and, notably, chlorophyll. In fact, chlorella is the richest natural source of chlorophyll of any plant in the world. This makes it a popular supplement for those looking to increase their intake of chlorophyll and other nutrients.

4. Pros and Cons of Taking Chlorophyll Vs Chlorella:


  • Nutrient-Dense:¬†In fact chlorella is one of the world's most nutritious foods.
  • Detoxification:¬†Improves liver health and¬†Can bind to and help eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
  • High Chlorophyll Content:¬†The richest source of chlorophyll among plants, offering extensive health benefits.
  • Numerous Health Benefits: Improves immunity, cellular health, detoxification, skin health, weight loss, anti-cancer properties, gut health, good source of protein.


  • Digestive Issues: Can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhoea in some people.
  • Allergic Reactions:¬†Potential for allergic reactions, especially in those sensitive to algae. Although, this a rare thing to happen.
  • Preparation: Can take slightly longer to prepare and consume if taken as a powder.
  • Interaction with Medications: May interact with blood thinners and other medications, so caution is needed.

5. Pros and Cons of Taking Chlorophyll Supplements:


  • Easy to Consume:¬†Available in liquid, tablets, and powder, making it easy to incorporate into your diet.
  • Detoxification: Supports liver health and has been observed to enhance the body's detoxification processes.
  • Haemoglobin Production:¬†Similar in structure to haemoglobin, potentially can help with quality and quantity of red blood cells.
  • Numerous Health Benefits: Cellular health, detoxification, skin health, weight loss, anti-cancer properties.


  • Digestive Issues:¬†Can cause digestive problems such as diarrhoea, cramping, and gas in some individuals.
  • Allergic Reactions:¬†There is a potential for allergic reactions, although these are uncommon.
  • Limited Nutrients: Provides primarily chlorophyll without the additional nutrients found in whole foods such as Chlorella.
  • Blood Thinners and More: May interact with certain medications, particularly blood thinners, necessitating caution.
Is Chlorophyll and Chlorella the Same Thing?  Pros and Cons of Takings Chlorella VS Chlorophyll

Conclusion: Is Chlorophyll and Chlorella the Same Thing?

In summary, chlorophyll and chlorella, are not the same thing. Chlorophyll is the green pigment vital for photosynthesis, offering benefits like detoxification and improved digestion. 

Chlorella, a nutrient-rich freshwater algae, is the richest natural source of chlorophyll and provides numerous health benefits, including enhanced immune function, gut health and detoxification. 

Both have their unique advantages, however, I prefer to get my chlorophyll via organic chlorella supplements as this allows me to benefit from the nutrients in the algae too.

7. References and Further Reading:

1. Enhancing Health Benefits through Chlorophylls and Chlorophyll-Rich Agro-Food: A Comprehensive Review

Summary: Chlorophyll and its derivatives offer numerous health benefits, including antioxidant, antimutagenic, antigenotoxic, anticancer, and anti-obesogenic activities. They aid in detoxification by binding to and removing toxins such as aflatoxins, enhancing liver health.

Authors:¬†T√Ęnia Martins, Ana Novo Barros, Eduardo Rosa, Lu√≠s Antunes

2. Chlorophyll and Metallo-Chlorophyll Derivatives

Summary: Chlorophyll, essential for photosynthesis, is found in green plants and algae. Metallo-chlorophyll derivatives, such as sodium copper chlorophyllin (SCC), are used for their potential health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. SCC can reduce DNA damage caused by aflatoxins and aid in liver cancer prevention. Additionally, SCC has been used in wound healing and as an internal deodorant. Further research is needed to fully understand these compounds' health impacts.

Authors: Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University

3. Effect of Chlorella vulgaris on gut microbiota:

Summary: The study investigates the effect of Chlorella vulgaris on gut microbiota through simulated in vitro digestion and colonic fermentation. Results show that C. vulgaris significantly increases the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like acetate, propionate, and butyrate. Additionally, microbial profiling reveals a higher abundance of beneficial bacteria such as Faecalibacterium, Dialister, Megasphaera, Roseburia, and Veillonella in the C. vulgaris group. These changes suggest that C. vulgaris consumption may improve gut health, though further in vivo studies are necessary to confirm these effects.

Authors: Jong Beom Jin, Jin Wook Cha, Il-Shik Shin, Jin Young Jeon, Hye Suck An, Kwang Hyun Cha, Cheol-Ho Pan

4. Effect of Chlorella vulgaris on Liver Function Biomarkers: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Summary: This study reviewed and analyzed the effects of Chlorella vulgaris supplements on liver health. It found that taking C. vulgaris significantly lowers AST levels in the blood, which is a key indicator of liver health, especially in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the supplements did not show significant changes in other liver enzymes (ALT and ALP). More research is needed to confirm these findings across a broader range of conditions and larger groups of people.

Authors: Samira Yarmohammadi, Reza Hosseini-Ghatar, Sahar Foshati, Mojgan Moradi, Niloofar Hemati, Sajjad Moradi, Mohammad Ali Hojjati Kermani, Mohammad Hosein Farzaei, Haroon Khan

5. Potential of Chlorella as a Dietary Supplement to Promote Human Health

Summary: This study highlights the potential health benefits of Chlorella vulgaris as a dietary supplement. Chlorella contains numerous essential nutrients, including vitamins D2 and B12, and is particularly rich in folate and iron. It has been shown to have various pharmacological activities, such as immunomodulation, antioxidant effects, and benefits against diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. The study suggests that the health benefits of Chlorella may arise from the synergistic effects of its multiple nutrients and antioxidants, though more research is needed to identify specific bioactive compounds.

Authors: Tomohiro Bito, Eri Okumura, Masaki Fujishima, Fumio Watanabe

8. Frequently Asked Questions:

Are there specific conditions that benefit more from chlorella than chlorophyll?

Chlorella may be more beneficial for conditions requiring immune support and heavy metal detoxification.

9. Related Readings

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