Can Chlorella Lower Blood Sugar? Can Diabetics Take Chlorella?

chlorella lower blood sugar

Article at a glance:

  • Chlorella, as a superfood, has been studied for its long list of possible health benefits, including reducing blood sugar.
  • The nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals present in chlorella beg the question of whether or not it affects blood sugar levels.
  • Managing diabetes usually includes medication, but can people with diabetes take them together with chlorella supplements?


Blood sugar may be one of the most important substances in the body because it’s essentially what powers human anatomy. Unfortunately, losing the capacity to regulate it naturally can lead to chronic health conditions, including diabetes. Before that happens, you should look into lifestyle changes, diet, and supplements that can help manage blood sugar. And when talking about supplements, chlorella has to be in the mix.

So let’s find out what the scientific studies say about the relationship between chlorella and blood sugar. Can chlorella lower blood sugar at all?


What Is Blood Sugar?


graphic illustration of sugar in blood


Before we discuss whether or not chlorella can lower blood sugar, it’s vital to understand the function of blood sugar in the human body. You’ve probably heard that carbohydrates are the main energy source of the human body. This is because it’s the macronutrient where glucose primarily comes from.

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose when the digestive system processes our food and drinks. Glucose, the main type of sugar in the human body, will enter the bloodstream. Glucose is the primary energy fuel for the human body, especially the nervous system. The brain uses more than half of the glucose in our body because of how active the neurons are.

Once the amount of sugar in the bloodstream elevates, the pancreas produces insulin, which is the hormone that signals the cells to absorb glucose so it can be used as an energy source.


What Happens to Extra Blood Glucose?


The body doesn’t use all glucose in the blood at once, so the extra blood sugar is transformed into glycogen (through glycogenesis) before it’s stored in the liver or muscles.

When the blood sugar level goes down, the body will sense the need for an energy boost. This signals the pancreas to produce glucagon, the hormone that helps convert glycogen back into glucose (through glycogenolysis). Once it’s back to its glucose form, the body can then use it as an energy source.


Why Is Monitoring Blood Sugar Level Important?


While blood sugar essentially acts as the body’s fuel, having too much of it can also harm one’s health. The amount of sugar or glucose in our blood is commonly measured and is referred to as blood sugar level. It’s one of the most common health factors monitored in blood tests. It is the leading indicator for diagnosing diabetes or prediabetes.

The body has its way of regulating our blood sugar levels. That’s why our body’s ability to properly produce and respond to hormones like insulin is incredibly important.


What Causes High Blood Sugar?


Several factors can cause temporary spikes in blood sugar, such as the food we eat, stress, hormonal changes, and less (or lack of) physical activity. However, when high blood sugar or hyperglycemia happens frequently, it’s usually an indicator of more serious health conditions like diabetes or prediabetes. The latter is a condition that indicates if a person has a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Hyperglycemia occurs when we have too much glucose or sugar in our bloodstream. It also means that the body may not be producing enough insulin to regulate our blood sugar.

In other cases, high blood sugar can also be caused by insulin resistance. It’s also commonly referred to as impaired insulin sensitivity because the condition occurs when our body does not react accordingly to insulin. It happens when one develops a higher tolerance to insulin, making it much harder for cells or various parts of the body to absorb glucose.

High blood sugar could also indicate other conditions like hyperthyroidism and problems with the pancreas. So understanding and monitoring blood sugar levels is undeniably vital to keep our health in check.


What’s the Normal Blood Sugar Level?


What’s considered normal in terms of blood sugar level is not the same for patients with diabetes and non-diabetic individuals. It also changes based on testing fasting blood sugar or 2 hours postprandial (after meal) blood sugar.

Here’s a quick guide to understanding fasting blood sugar levels for individuals without diabetes, per the World Health Organization:

  • Normal — between 70-100 mg/dL (3.9-5.6 mmol/L)
  • Lifestyle changes and further monitoring are recommended — between 100-125 mg/dL (5.6-6.9 mmol/L)
  • Diabetes may be diagnosed — at 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate testings

On the other hand, here are the normal ranges of blood sugar levels for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association:

  • Fasting blood sugar — 80–130 mg/dL (4.4–7.2 mmol/L)
  • 2-hour postprandial blood sugar — Below 180 mg/dl (10.0 mmol/L)


Does Chlorella Affect Blood Sugar?


chlorella powder drink


First, it’s important to note that people with diabetes and prediabetes must follow their doctor’s recommendations for managing their blood sugar levels. Treatment usually includes maintenance medications and suggestions for maintaining a healthy lifestyle to maintain a patient’s blood sugar at normal.

However, scientists have looked into naturally-derived supplements as potential reinforcements in managing blood sugar and diabetes for years. We’ve yet to witness conclusive research that can declare chlorella’s therapeutic effect on blood sugar-related conditions. But several available human and animal clinical studies suggest that chlorella may affect blood sugar.

So can chlorella lower blood sugar? A 2008 study suggests it’s possible. Researchers observed 34 subjects, half with high risks of developing lifestyle-related illnesses, and the other half were healthy. After consuming chlorella for 16 weeks, lower body fat, total cholesterol, and blood sugar levels were seen in both groups.


Is Chlorella Good for Insulin Resistance?


An animal study published in 2009 seemed to support the previous paper, which suggested a link between taking chlorella and blood sugar levels. Additionally, it also showed chlorella’s possible effects on insulin resistance. The research particularly looked into chlorella’s hypoglycemic effect (i.e., lowering blood sugar levels) on Wistar rats. Results from this experiment suggested that adding chlorella to the animal subjects’ diet may have enhanced insulin sensitivity.

Despite the study’s promising findings, the scientists said it’s still “unclear,” and more studies on the hypoglycemic effects of chlorella in higher doses were encouraged.

Chlorella vulgaris was also evaluated for its potential benefits. One study found there’s a positive effect in supplementing chlorella vulgaris for blood sugar management in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. The experiment observed that chlorella vulgaris helped improve the subjects’ glycemic control by reducing insulin resistance.


Is Chlorella Good for Diabetics?


Multiple studies have reached promising conclusions on chlorella’s anti-diabetic activity. One of them was published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis in 2012 and found that chlorella pyrenoidosa can be an excellent inhibitor of the α-amylase and α-glucosidase enzymes, which help easily break down carbohydrates. That means this species of chlorella may aid in delaying the body’s glucose absorption, which may improve the management of type 2 diabetes.

A more recent animal study backed those findings after observing the effects of combining chlorella supplementation and aerobic exercises to treat diabetic rats. The study published in 2019 concluded that combined chlorella intake and aerobic exercise provided more significant benefits, including reduced fasting blood sugar levels and enhanced insulin sensitivity.

Another chlorella and blood sugar study suggested that the green algae may have other benefits to help manage diabetes, like speeding up wound healing. Diabetic ulcer is a possible and more common complication of this disease. Michigan Medicine reports that up to 15% of diabetics experience diabetic ulcers, commonly in the feet. It is preventable but can also lead to amputations and fatalities in more drastic cases.

It’s quite an encouraging conclusion when a 2021 animal study found that supplementing chlorella and spirulina together may promote the healing of diabetic ulcers. Researchers reported that the induced wounds were completely healed after 21 days for healthy animal models and the groups of diabetic animal subjects supplemented with chlorella, spirulina, and a combination of both algae supplements.

We might still have a long way to go before chlorella can be officially used as a complementary treatment for diabetics. It’s difficult to ignore the various studies pointing to its potential as a dietary supplement to manage diabetes.


Can People with Diabetes Take Chlorella With Their Medications?


doctor is smiling while talking to a patient


Whether you can supplement with chlorella for low blood sugar while treating diabetes or prediabetes is something you must discuss with your physician. Several human clinical studies had type 2 diabetes patients take certain daily doses of chlorella supplements, and there are rarely reported adverse side effects. However, just to be on the safe side, diabetics taking maintenance medicines must consult their doctor first before starting chlorella supplementation.

Chlorella studies mostly present favorable results on how it affects blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. But it’s not yet recognized or proven as a suitable (and effective) replacement for diabetes medications.

There’s very little information on what drugs may interact with chlorella supplements. It’s worth noting that medications for diabetes management are not part of the list. But there are cautions for chlorella’s potential mild interactions with medicines classified as blood thinners or anticoagulants because of the green algae’s vitamin K content.

What if you don’t have diabetes and just want to be on top of your health? Can non-diabetics take chlorella tablets for blood sugar management?

Chlorella supplements have been in use for decades. Its cultivation and processing have further improved over the years. There should not be any problem in taking chlorella if you don’t have any serious health condition. Remember that the standard daily dosage for healthy adults is between 3 to 5 grams. It’s best to stick with this dosage.

Make sure to only buy from reputable brands and choose products containing pure chlorella to ensure you get the best quality supplements. Chlorella supplements from Taiwan are deemed the best in the world.


Frequently Asked Questions


Does Chlorella Have Sugar?

No, it has zero sugar content.


Does Chlorophyll Raise Blood Sugar?

The glycemic index measures how fast food or beverage can cause your blood sugar to spike. You’ll find that sugar-rich and high-carbohydrate foods and drinks usually fall under the high glycemic index category.

Meanwhile, chlorophyll is the most prominent pigment found in chlorella. Although they’re not exactly the same, you’ll find product labels for both chlorella and chlorophyll supplements indicate they have fairly similar nutrition values, especially in macronutrients.

Both are incredibly low in carbohydrates and, in supplement forms, have barely any sugar in them. So, no, chlorophyll is unlikely to raise your blood sugar level.


Does Chlorophyll Help With Diabetes?

The therapeutic effect of chlorophyll supplements needs to be studied further. A 2020 animal study, however, presented its potential antidiabetic effect by improving hepatic functions.

Researchers found that when administered via photodynamic therapy, chlorophyll-a may improve the liver condition of type 1 diabetic rats by reducing lipoperoxidation and oxidative stress.


Life May Be Sweeter With Chlorella


Nothing can replace a balanced diet and active lifestyle in keeping your body healthy and your blood sugar at a normal level. However, the challenges of a fast-paced life can present difficulties in tracking our blood sugar levels. So, as always, we don’t have to wait for things to get worse before we start working on managing healthy blood glucose.

This is where the wonders of natural dietary supplements come into play. With its superfood status, you may already be asking if chlorella can lower blood sugar. Thanks to the many studies published in the past decades, we have tons of scientific evidence that chlorella’s myriad of health benefits include better management of blood sugar as well.


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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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