Both chlorella and spirulina are microscopic plants that grow in fresh water. They're actually called micro-algae, since they are microscopic forms of algae. (For those sticklers out there, I'm using the term "algae" to mean both "alga" and "algae" throughout this report, ignoring the proper conventions for this term.) And they've been around for quite some time: a few billion years, actually. These are some of the earliest and simplest life forms on the planet, appearing way before animals roamed these lands.
These micro-algae contain an astounding array of nutritional elements: vitamins, macrominerals, trace minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), chlorophyll, and a vast spectrum of phytochemicals. They are thought to contain every nutrient required by the human body. Yes, you could literally live off these micro-algae. You wouldn't need to eat much, either, since they are so nutritionally dense.
The "micro" part of their name is no joke: these superfoods range in size from 2 to 8 microns, which is about the same size as a human blood cell. They appear green due to their chlorophyll content. Harvesting them requires special centrifuge equipment, which is one reason why individuals don't grow their own micro-algae for consumption. You have to get it from commercial processors who grow these superfoods in vast water farms located in regions of the world where the climate permits (the closer to the equator, the better, since there's more sunlight).
Here is the general analysis of pure Spirulina Algae:
Protein: 55%- 70%
Carbohydrates: 15% – 25% (an excellent low ratio for fish)
Fats (lipids): 6% – 8%
Minerals: 6 -13%
Fiber: 8% – 10%
Natural Pigment Enhancers:
Phycocyanin (Blue): 14%
Chlorophyll (Green): 1%
/ Red): 47%
Important Trace Minerals (many of these are essential for proper electrolyte balance and osmotic function):
Calcium (1,315 mg/kg), Iron, Phosphorus (15,400 mg/kg), Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, Molybdenum, Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Germanium, Boron.
Essential Amino Acids:
• ISOLEUCINE (4.130/o): Required for optimal growth, nitrogen equilibrium in the body Used to synthesize other non-essential amino acids.
• LEUCINE (5.8001o): increases muscular energy levels.
• LYSINE (4.000/o): Building block of blood antibodies, strengthens circulatory system and maintains normal growth of cells.
• METHIONINE (2.170/o): Vital lipotropic (fat and lipid metabolizing) amino acid that maintains liver health. An anti-stress factor.
• PHENYLALANINE (3.950/o): Stimulates metabolic rate.
• THREONINE (4.170/o): Improves intestinal competence and digestive assimilation.
• TRYPTOPHANE (1.1301o): Increases utilization of B vitamins, improves nerve health.
• VALINE (6.0001o): Stimulates muscle coordination.