Comparison of Spirulina and Chlorella

Digestibility and nutritional value.
So much different than Chlorella

Many of you may be wondering how chlorella and spirulina are different. Indeed, the ingredients, and even the color and shape of tablets are similar. However, there're various differences between, Chlorella, which belongs to chlorophyceae, and Spirulina, which belongs to cyanobacteria. Rather, it can be said that Spirulina was newly introduced as a solution to the drawbacks of Chlorella.
Firstly, the drawback of Chlorella is that it is too small. The diameter is about 0.3 to 0.5 micron, which is only 1/1000 the size of Spirulina, so it is necessary to use a very complicated method of centrifugation for collection. In contrast, Spirulina can easily be harvested by filtration. Spirulina is far more suitable for mass production.
Digestibility and nutritional value  So different from Chlorella this much!
Photomicrograph of Chlorella
(upper) and Spirulina(lower)

About 95% digested in 2 hours!

Secondly, Chlorella is a unicellular plant, which has a hard cell wall and is very difficult to digest. In order to be easily digested, it must be mechanically crushed or processed unnaturally, and there is a risk that the ingredients will be damaged.
On the contrary, since Spirulina is multicellular, the cell membrane is soft and easy to be digested without any modification. Therefore, the feces are less likely to turn green.
Please look at the table on the right. It shows the difference in digestibility between Spirulina and Chlorella quite obviously. Chlorella has a digestibility of 12.0% after 1 hour when untreated, and 58.7% even when the cell membrane is destroyed. Spirulina showed a very high digestibility of 80.0% without any treatment and 95.1% after 2 hours.
Artificial digestibility of Spirulina
Artificial digestibility of Spirulina

Nutrition comparison between Spirulina and Chlorella

Also, the table below compares the nutrients of Spirulina and Chlorella. This table shows that Spirulina is generally more nutritious than Chlorella. Especially, high content rate of protein, pro Vitamin A, and Vitamin B12. In addition, the dietary fiber content of Chlorella is 2 to 3%, whereas that of Spirulina is about 4 times 8 to 10%.

Component analysis table of Spirulina ・ Chlorella (in 100 g)

Spirulina Chlorella
Isoleucine 3.25~3.9% 5.5%
Protein 52~80g 55~60g
Fat 6.7~8.3g 10~12g
Chlorophyll 1~2.5g 1~2g
Total carotenoid 0.2~0.45g 0.2~0.4g
Phycocyanin 3~9.0g 0g
Potassium 1,800mg 1,400mg
Calcium 263~495mg 200~400mg
Phosphorus 550~1400mg 300~500mg
Magnesium 200~383mg 250~300mg
Iron 62~115mg 50~80mg
Pro Vitamin A(β-carotene) 80~200mg 0.4~0.5mg
Vitamin B1 2~5mg 1~2mg
Vitamin B2 2~5mg 4~5mg
Vitamin B6 0.7~1.3mg 0.8~1.2mg
Vitamin B12 0.2~0.4mg 0.1~0.2mg
Vitamin E 6~12mg 6~8mg
Nicotinic acid 8~10mg 8~10mg
Inositol 65~140mg 80~100mg
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