Chlorella vs Spirulina vs Barley Grass: Which Supergreen Should You Try

chlorella vs spirulina vs barley

Article at a glance:

  • Chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass are some of the most sought-after supergreens because they are chock-full of essential nutrients that might be missing in your typical diet.
  • On top of learning their nutritional profiles, it’s extremely helpful to know their key health benefits to make the best choice according to your health goals.
  • While they are all great additions to your diet, each super green may have an advantage over the other regarding specific health goals, like detoxification, improved protein intake, healthy digestion, and sleep improvement.


The continuously growing popularity of green superfoods like chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass is a great thing. It has made these super healthy dietary supplements much more accessible for anyone who needs support for overall health improvement.

Choosing the right supergreen to consume might leave you stumped. After all, it can be hard to choose if all the options have promising health benefits. So keep breaking as we break down what might work best for you: chlorella vs spirulina vs barley grass?


Chlorella vs Spirulina vs Barley Grass: Quick Comparison


Over the years, more supergreens have gained popularity, which is a good thing. That means you have more options for fortifying your health goals.

If you’re new to adding a supergreen to your diet, here’s a quick comparison of chlorella vs spirulina vs barley:

ChlorellaSpirulinaBarley Grass
What it isSingle-celled alga, also commonly called green algaeBlue-green algae or cyanobacteriaFrom leaves of the barley plant
How to consumeAvailable in powder, tablet, and capsule supplementsSold in powder, tablet, and capsule formsMost commonly consumed in powder form and juice form
Primary pigmentChlorophyllPhycocyaninChlorophyll
Rich in protein?YesYesYes
Key nutrientsVitamin A, vitamin B12, calcium, and ironVitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, iron, and magnesiumVitamin A, calcium, and potassium


Spirulina vs Chlorella vs Barley Grass Nutritional Facts


Choosing the perfect supergreen can be complicated because they all have promising health benefits.

Studies on spirulina, chlorella, and barley grass are still evolving. However, they all exhibited tremendous potential in supporting overall health, attributed to their nutritional components.

Here are notable nutritional facts about supergreens that can help you get a better idea of how each can benefit your health.


Per 100 gramsChlorellaSpirulinaBarley Grass
Protein60 g57.5 g40 g
Calcium333 mg120 mg534 mg
Iron240 mg28.5 mg21 mg
Potassium1360 mg3360 mg
Magnesium195 mg500 mg
Phosphorus118 mg
Vitamin C20 mg10.1 mg
Vitamin A558300 IU570 IU19000 IU
Beta carotene342 mcg


Chlorella Top Health Benefits


You can’t talk about green superfoods without talking about chlorella. This green microalga is known to be an amazing source of vegan protein, as it contains up to 60% of this macronutrient.

What sets chlorella apart from other green supplements is its abundant chlorophyll content, which accounts for up to 5.5% of its weight.

Scientists have recognized the potential of chlorella as a nutrient-dense food source to support the ever-growing world population.

Its distinct taste and smell became a concern early on, but fortunately, chlorella supplements have become much more popular since then. Chlorella is now easily accessible in various supplement forms, making it easier to consume. Now, you can find chlorella in powder, tablet, and capsule forms from your favorite health stores.

Existing research provides evidence of the potential of chlorella to improve overall health, promote detoxification of heavy metals, and enhance gut health.

Here are some of the research-backed benefits of consuming chlorella:


Potent Detoxifying Agent


Chlorella’s detox power is widely attributed to its extremely high chlorophyll content. Some evidence suggests that the green algae may bind with heavy metals to eliminate them from the human body.

One study found that 90 days of chlorella supplementation helped reduce levels of heavy metals, including mercury and lead, in participants with long-term titanium dental implants.


Immune System Support


Chlorella may boost the immune system, as demonstrated in several preclinical studies. Participants who consumed chlorella pyrenoidosa at a 6 g dose daily for 4 weeks showed increased levels of IgA antibody, which helps the immune system fight pathogens.

Research also found chlorella may act as an antiviral agent. Edible chlorella vulgaris extract inhibited herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in one study.


Improve Gut Health and Digestion


Various studies revealed chlorella’s prebiotic potential that may promote gut microbiota stability.

Chlorella pyrenoidosa was effective in vitro in increasing beneficial microorganisms with anti-inflammatory properties, fighting harmful bacteria, and improving motility.


Key Spirulina Health Benefits


Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, so it’s not exactly like chlorella. It also contains chlorophyll, although its most abundant pigment is phycocyanin.

In one analysis of its nutritional composition, every 1 g sample of spirulina was found to contain up to 180 mg of phycocyanin compared to 11 mg of chlorophyll.

The phycocyanin content of spirulina has garnered researchers’ interest for many years because of its powerful antioxidant capacity.

Early studies revealed phycocyanin can scavenge free radicals, suggesting it may help fight oxidative stress that could lead to chronic diseases. More recent studies have backed these findings, adding that the blue pigment also has immunomodulatory properties.

Spirulina also contains beneficial vitamins for overall health improvement. These include vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, and bioflavonoids.

The same analysis also backed the superfood status of spirulina, noting that the blue-green algae contain all essential amino acids and over 60% protein.

Spirulina also boasts an impressive fatty acid profile, the most noteworthy being gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This type of omega-6 fatty acid exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and may help fight DNA damage.

With a rich nutritional profile, it’s no surprise that spirulina has demonstrated tremendous health benefits in many studies.

Here are some of the most notable benefits spirulina supplementation may provide:


Cardiovascular Health Support


According to the WHO, cardiovascular diseases are the most fatal disorders worldwide. Thus, it’s important to be mindful of its risk factors to lower the chances of developing illnesses affecting the heart and blood vessels. Various studies found that supplementing with spirulina may assist in this goal.

Preclinical evidence shows that spirulina supplements with daily doses ranging from 1 to 8 g per day led to significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.

Another study with dyslipidemia patients found positive effects after taking 1 g of spirulina supplements daily for 12 weeks.

Following spirulina consumption, significantly lower triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and non-high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol were observed.


Antioxidant Boost


Thanks to its phycocyanin and beta-carotene content, spirulina is a good source of additional antioxidants. Both components exhibited abilities to inhibit lipid peroxidation and fight DNA damage caused by free radicals.

Additionally, the blue-green algae contains enzymes like superoxide dismutase that may fight oxidative stress. It’s also worth noting that spirulina contains other micronutrients with antioxidant activity, such as vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.


Blood Glucose Management


While spirulina is not an approved medication for diabetes, the dietary supplement is shown to be extremely helpful in managing symptoms.

Earlier studies found that taking spirulina at 800 mg daily led to significantly decreased blood sugar levels when consumed with diabetes medication.

Another trial revealed that spirulina consumption of 2 g daily for two months improved blood glucose levels, HbA1c levels, and lipid profile in diabetic patients.


Promising Barley Grass Health Benefits


Barley Grass Health Benefits


As you may have guessed from its name, barley grass comes from the barley plant. More specifically, it comes from young green leaves, so while barley grain has gluten, you’ll find barley grass powder labeled gluten-free.

Like other supergreen powders and juices, barley grass is well-known for its potential to aid digestion. However, more studies have revealed that barley grass consumption may provide more health benefits because of its impressive nutritional composition.

Barley grass is also a good source of plant-based protein. But the microalgae superfoods have more to offer when it comes to the protein content of chlorella vs barley grass and spirulina vs barley grass.

That said, barley grass is still touted as a nutrition powerhouse because it’s a rich source of chlorophyll, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals with antioxidant properties, and essential amino acids like tryptophan.

The bioactive compounds in barley grass also include flavonoids, polyphenols, and polysaccharides that give this supergreen its immunomodulatory effect, anti-inflammatory properties, and other health benefits.

While research is still limited, there is growing evidence of the diverse health benefits of consuming barley grass.

Here are some of the notable barley grass benefits:


May Improve Sleep


Research suggests that adding barley grass to one’s diet may promote sleep improvement due to its high levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), as well as calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins.

GABA is a type of chemical messenger that functions by inhibiting neurotransmissions, so it has been a research subject for its potential to promote better sleep and stress management.


Supergreen for Healthier Skin


Barley grass from the young plant of barley cereal grains has been recognized for its potential use in cosmetics following health claims that it could help manage skin disorders.

While research is limited, there’s some evidence that daily supplementation of barley grass may improve acne-prone skin and may provide relief from atopic dermatitis.

Another research also found that barley grass extract may offer protective and restorative effects against UVB damage. Its benefits for skin health have been attributed to its total phenolic compounds and total antioxidant capacity.


Potential Laxative Effect


Young barley grass is found to be a great source of water-insoluble dietary fiber. One study revealed that this particular component gives barley grass an alkalizing effect (lowers pH) in the digestive tract. This may explain the supergreen’s potential to increase bowel movement.


Chlorella vs Spirulina vs Barley Grass: Can You Take Them Together?


Chlorella vs Spirulina vs Barley Grass: Can You Take Them Together?


Choosing the absolute best of these green superfoods is complicated because each person has specific health needs and goals. So, the “best” supergreen for your needs is unlikely the same for everyone else.

Here’s some good news. You might not even have to worry about choosing just one supergreen among chlorella vs spirulina vs barley grass.

Chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass are generally safe to consume daily. But it’s also possible to take them together. You can even find tons of supergreen blends that contain two or all these healthy supplements together. These premixed supplements also often contain other nutritious food components, like wheatgrass powder.

Can I take barley and spirulina together? Can I mix spirulina powder and barley grass? Available data indicates no known interaction between barley grass and the blue-green algae.

You may safely consume spirulina powder and barley grass together by adding them to your favorite smoothies and juices for a super healthy beverage.

Can I take chlorella and barley together? Can I mix chlorella powder and barley grass?

Yes, and yes. Like spirulina, chlorella may also be safely consumed with barley grass. Get creative when you’re preparing your own blend. You can add chlorella powder and barley grass to healthy juices, smoothies, and even soups.


Chlorella vs Spirulina vs Barley Grass Consumption


1. Consult Your Doctor


Keep in mind that there are standard recommendations for daily doses of chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass. Before starting your supergreen regimen with chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass, talk to a healthcare professional.

Your healthcare provider can help you determine the right daily amount of super green products. Taking just the right amount of these supplements can lower the risks of consuming excessive amounts of vitamins.


2. Be Mindful of Potential Allergies


Allergic reactions and intolerances to spirulina, chlorella, and barley grass are uncommon but can occur. Start with a lower amount of supergreen powder or supplement, and always observe how your body responds to them.


3. Determine Your Ultimate Health Goals


Many of the nutrients in chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass overlap, which means they have some similar health benefits. But if you have a specific goal in mind, consider that when deciding which supergreen to prioritize.

The high chlorophyll content of chlorella makes it a detox dynamo. If you have protein intake goals, spirulina may be the top choice. Research suggests barley grass is an excellent option for natural sleep and digestion aids.


4. Get Your Supergreen Products From Trusted Brands


Not all super green supplements are created the same. To get the best experience and most benefits, it helps to purchase products from trustworthy brands and health stores that follow high production standards.

Doing so will reduce the risk of consuming products contaminated with harmful toxins due to poor cultivation and manufacturing practices.


5. Supergreen Powders Are Supplements


As marvelous as these green supplements are, remember that they should not be considered a replacement for a balanced, healthy diet and active lifestyle.


Frequently Asked Questions


How Much Chlorella, Spirulina, and Barley Grass Can I Take Daily?


Reputable brands of dietary supplements often recommend a daily serving of 3 g to 5 g of spirulina and chlorella supplements in powder, tablet, and capsule forms. Meanwhile, available data indicates that taking 15 g of barley grass daily may help lower cholesterol levels.

However, if it’s your first time taking these supplements, start at a lower dose to slowly introduce any supergreen to your system.


Is Chlorella Better Than Spirulina for Heavy Metals?


Spirulina has exhibited the ability to mitigate heavy metal toxicity in various studies. However, chlorella’s heavy metal-binding properties are well-documented, which may be explained by its high chlorophyll content.


Which Is Better, Spirulina or Barley Grass, for Protein Intake?


While barley grass is also an incredible source of protein and essential amino acids, spirulina has a higher protein content and is also considered a complete protein. It has all nine essential amino acids the body needs.


Achieve Your Health Goals With the Best Supergreens


Chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass have all rightfully earned their superfood status because they are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Their profiles of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, high protein, and healthy pigments make them desirable additions to your diet to achieve your health goals.

If you want to take your supergreen regimen slowly, choosing just one among chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass will undoubtedly be more favorable than not having any.

Are you still having trouble choosing? Don’t worry—you can safely combine these supergreen supplements to reap the maximum health benefits.




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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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