Chlorella For Pregnant Women And Lactating Mothers: Is It Okay To Take It?

chlorella for pregnant women

Article at a glance:

  • A healthy pregnancy is vital for the mother and the baby, and it starts by making sure that pregnant women get enough of the essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Chlorella is rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that could help lower pregnancy-related anemia and hypertension risks.
  • Studies have also shown that supplementing chlorella during pregnancy may benefit the baby’s health and when breastfeeding.


The importance of getting essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients during pregnancy cannot be overstated. Luckily, superfoods like chlorella have been widely available for decades as dietary supplements. It’s a nice option to have on days when you’re craving anything other than vegetables.

Here, we will cover how supplementing chlorella for pregnant women can be beneficial and whether it’s safe for the mother and the baby.


Is Chlorella Safe to Use During Pregnancy?


chlorella for pregnancy


Pregnant women must keep track of many precautions to keep them and their babies healthy. Many are related to having a healthy diet throughout their pregnancy and even after giving birth when breastfeeding.

So even with dietary supplements, ensuring they are safe is important. That leads us to the question, can you take chlorella during pregnancy?

Chlorella has been certified as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, which means it’s generally safe to be consumed as a dietary supplement. It’s generally considered safe for human consumption, including pregnant women.

It’s understandable, though, if there are more concerns about taking chlorella during early pregnancy because this is a vital stage in the development of the fetus.

Available sources indicate that consuming chlorella for pregnant women should be safe at any stage of pregnancy. However, if you’re considering taking dietary supplements at any point in pregnancy, always consult your physician first.


Benefits of Chlorella for Pregnancy


What Does Chlorella Do for Pregnancy?

The mere intake of dietary supplements can help pregnant women acquire enough nutrients to stay healthy. But what sets chlorella apart from other supplements is it’s naturally rich in vitamins and minerals that pregnant women may particularly need.


1. Nutrient-Dense Supplement for Pregnant Women


Researchers noted that the positive effects of chlorella for pregnant women, including lowering risks of anemia and high blood pressure, could be explained by the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients present in the green algae superfood.

A meta-analysis of chlorella’s benefits to human health published in 2020 noted that chlorella has “larger amounts” of iron, folate, and vitamin B12 — all of which are essential nutrients for pregnant women — than other plant-based foods.

These nutrients have been found to improve cardiovascular health. Dietary supplementation of folate and vitamin B12, along with vitamin B6, has been associated with lower blood pressure in children ages 3 to 6 years old and reduced risks of high blood pressure in adults.


2. May Reduce Risks of Pregnancy-Related Anemia


Anemia occurs when a person has less red blood cells in the blood. These cells contain hemoglobin protein, which is responsible for transporting oxygen and iron throughout the body.

It’s one of the conditions that pregnant women need to watch out for because the blood in the body naturally increases by up to 30 percent during pregnancy because the fetus also relies on it. Hence, they will also need more iron and other vitamins needed to produce hemoglobin.

Aside from nutrient deficiency, other risk factors include being pregnant with twins or more, having two close pregnancies, and experiencing heavy periods before getting pregnant. Frequent vomiting due to morning sickness can also cause pregnancy anemia.

It’s common for pregnant women to be recommended to take dietary supplements that are rich in iron and vitamins to help reduce the risks of anemia. Chlorella happens to be one of those natural supplements.

The green alga is one of the plant-based food sources with a rich iron content. A scientific review of commercially available chlorella products revealed that they contain as much as 104 mg of iron for every 100 g of chlorella dry weight.

In one clinical trial, 32 out of 70 pregnant women consumed 6 g of Chlorella supplement (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) daily from the 12th to 18th week of gestation until delivery. The chlorella group had a “significantly lower” number of anemic participants during the second and third trimesters. Noting these results, researchers suggested that supplementing chlorella in pregnant women could be a natural source of iron.


3. May Help With Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension


Different types of hypertension, or high blood pressure, commonly occur during pregnancy. One of them is called gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension, which is usually detected after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Although it’s likely to go away after delivery, hypertension during pregnancy could lead to complications for the mother and the baby. Apart from making sure pregnant women get enough nutrients, making sure they don’t have elevated blood pressure is equally important.

Chlorella has demonstrated potential in helping patients with high blood pressure. A pilot study supplemented individuals with mild to moderate hypertension with Chlorella pyrenoidosa — 10 g of chlorella tablets and 100 ml chlorella extract — daily for two months. The results suggested that chlorella supplementation may help lower or maintain sitting diastolic blood pressure.

The above-mentioned study, where pregnant women took chlorella supplements, also found that the algae superfood may help lower the risks of high blood pressure, proteinuria, and edema in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Consuming chlorella can also help manage cardiovascular risks for anyone, not just pregnant women. Studies show that chlorella supplementation may improve levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and fasting blood sugar.


Benefits of Chlorella for Nursing Mothers


Can I Take Chlorella While Breastfeeding?

Women must stay healthy even after delivery, especially when breastfeeding. And there’s evidence that suggests a link between the benefits of taking chlorella and lactation. That, in turn, could also provide health benefits to infants consuming breast milk.


1. Healthier Breast Milk


One study had 10 healthy pregnant women who took a 2 g chlorella tablet daily from the 16th-20th week of pregnancy until delivery and 10 other pregnant women who didn’t take the supplement.

In the first six days postpartum, the lactating mothers in the chlorella group produced breast milk with “significantly more” nutrients, specifically beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These are types of carotenoids that can help strengthen the immune system. While chlorella is generally rich in carotenoids, the specific carotenoids can vary in every chlorella species, so it’s one thing to consider when choosing a chlorella supplement.

A scientific review noted that Chlorella pyrenoidosa contains a variety of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, and neoxanthin. Meanwhile, Chlorella vulgaris is composed mostly of lutein.


2. May Help ‘Detox’ Breast Milk


Chlorella is popular for its detoxifying effect, and it’s shown that it may help flush out heavy metals from the body. It appears to have the same effect on pregnant women and nursing mothers.

According to the WHO, humans are largely exposed to dioxins through the food we eat, particularly meat and dairy. These environmental pollutants can be extremely toxic and can cause serious health problems affecting the immune system, hormone balance, and cancer.

A 2007 clinical study noted that breast milk can contain high concentrations of dioxins, which can then be passed on to infants. So the trial had 18 out of 35 pregnant women take Chlorella pyrenoidosa (chlorella) supplements.  Subjects who took chlorella while pregnant reportedly produced breast milk with much lower traces of dioxins than the control group. This suggests that supplementing chlorella while pregnant could lower the risks of dioxin transfer to infants through breast milk.


3. More Antibodies in Breast Milk


Chlorella for Healthier Breast Milk


The same study also found that lactating women who took chlorella while pregnant produced breast milk with higher concentrations of immunoglobulin A (IgA). It’s an antibody that plays a major role in the immune system and our line of defense against infections.


Is Chlorella Safe for Babies?


Is Taking Chlorella Okay During Pregnancy for the Fetus?

Knowing if taking chlorella is safe during pregnancy is important not just for pregnant women but for babies as well.

Scientific studies on supplementing chlorella for pregnant women have not reported adverse effects on the fetus. There are no known dangers in chlorella supplementation for nursing mothers and their babies while breastfeeding. If any, some studies suggest that it’s likely beneficial to babies.

Researchers noted that the placenta can also transfer dioxins from pregnant women to the fetus. But in one study, pregnant women who consumed chlorella supplements had lower levels of dioxin in the cord blood and breast milk than those in the control group. The results further suggest that chlorella supplementation may help suppress the transfer of harmful toxins from the mother to the baby via placenta or breastfeeding.


How Much Chlorella Is Safe During Pregnancy?


The standard daily dose of chlorella supplement for adults is 3 to 5 g daily. However, taking up to 10 g of chlorella for up to three months can also be safe.

When it comes to pregnant women, some suggest that taking 6 g of chlorella daily can be safe at any stage of pregnancy.

However, it’s always best to consult your doctor before starting chlorella supplementation and determine the best daily dose for your nutritional needs during pregnancy.


Are There Side Effects of Taking Chlorella for Pregnancy?


Most people, pregnant or not, can tolerate chlorella supplements. Some minor side effects have been reported, including nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. While there have been cases of allergic reactions from taking chlorella, it is quite uncommon.

Supplementing with chlorella and breastfeeding at the same time is also generally safe both for the mother and the baby. However, lactating women might produce green breast milk.

A case study analyzed green breast milk likely due to a blue-green algae complex supplement that contains chlorella. It found no cytology anomalies in the milk, along with a negative microbiologic culture. The breast milk color returned to normal 3 days after the algae supplement was stopped.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is It Safe to Drink Chlorophyll While Pregnant?


Chlorophyll is one of the main pigments in chlorella and is regarded as a powerful detoxifying agent. It’s commonly available in tablet form as a supplement, but it’s also widely consumed as “liquid chlorophyll.”

Liquid chlorophyll, however, is not made entirely of chlorophyll. It’s usually a semi-synthetic derivative of the natural green pigment that contains sodium and copper salts.

Both chlorophyll and chlorophyllin are known to be safe for human consumption, too. However, there’s not much research conducted on pregnant and breastfeeding women. So while it can be safe to take, it’s best to ask your doctor first.


When Should You Not Take Chlorella?


As mentioned, chlorella is generally safe with a few known side effects. However, some people may have to avoid this nutrient-dense supplement because it could interact with certain medications.

For instance, chlorella’s vitamin K content might interfere with the efficacy of drugs like warfarin.


Consider Chlorella Supplements for a Healthy Pregnancy


One of the great things about considering chlorella as a dietary supplement for pregnant mothers is that various clinical trials on human subjects indicate it’s safe and even beneficial.

Research has found it rich in folate, which is essential for the healthy development of the fetus. It’s also rich in antioxidants like vitamin C to strengthen the mother’s immune system during pregnancy.

With its rich contents of iron and vitamin B12, among other minerals and vitamins, chlorella provides pregnant women a natural option to lower the risks of experiencing high blood pressure and anemia. Along with a healthy lifestyle and diet, these could lead to a healthier pregnancy for both the mother and her baby.

So if you hope to get these benefits during pregnancy and postpartum once you’re breastfeeding, ask your doctor and start your journey with an incredible supplement in chlorella.


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John Riedl

Simply put that’s why I’ve gone down the health journey of research and creating health brands.

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