Chlorella is not a treatment for Sweet’s syndrome

Links checked on 30/01/18.

Can Chlorella be used to treat Sweet’s syndrome?

No. Despite the fact that some alternative therapists have started recommending and using the algae, Chlorella, as a treatment for Sweet’s syndrome (SS), there’s no evidence to prove that it’s effective or always safe.

Chlorella is ‘natural’. Does that mean that it doesn’t have side-effects?

No, just because Chlorella is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have side-effects, and these include:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • Nausea.
  • Flatulence.
  • Green-coloured stools.
  • Stomach cramps.

Other effects and reactions.

Allergic reaction.

Common signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to Chlorella include:

  • Redness.
  • Itching.
  • Hives.
  • Skin rash.
  • Swelling of the face and mouth.

Chlorella can also cause a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, and symptoms include:

  • Wheezing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Confusion.
  • Fainting.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Possible death.


Chlorella causes the skin to become extra-sensitive to the sun. This is known as photosensitivity. Some patients with SS will already be sensitive, and overexposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light can potentially trigger a flare-up (read more here). Certain medications used to treat SS, e.g. dapsone, and tetracycline antibiotics such as doxycycline and minocycline, can also increase sensitivity.

Are there some people who should avoid using Chlorella?

Yes, there are some people who should completely avoid using Chlorella, and these include:

  • Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding: Chlorella has not been proven safe to use, and could potentially harm the baby.
  • Those with iodine sensitivity: Chlorella contains iodine, and this can lead to an allergic reaction.
  • Those with an allergy to mold: they’re much more likely to have an allergic reaction.
  • Those with a weak immune system (immunodeficiency): Chlorella can cause ‘bad’ bacteria to take-over in the intestine of people who have a weak immune system.
  • Those with autoimmune, and possibly autoinflammatory conditions: autoimmune and autoinflammatory conditions are caused by an overactive and not an underactive immune system – an overactive adaptive immune system in autoimmune conditions and an overactive innate immune system in autoinflammatory conditions. Chlorella has been proven to ‘boost’ the immune system, i.e. make it more active. This can cause an overactive immune system to become even more overactive, potentially making autoimmune conditions worse. Evidence is needed before we know if Chlorella can negatively affect people with autoinflammatory conditions such as SS in a similar way, but as yet, no research has been conducted. However, it’s important to remember that SS can develop secondary to autoimmune conditions, and if this is the case, when the autoimmune condition flares-up then the SS often does too.

Is it safe to take Chlorella alongside medications?

No, not always. Chlorella can interact with, or prevent certain medications from working properly.

Do not use Chlorella if you are taking the following medications:

  • Immunosuppressents: these are medications that suppress or ‘dampen down’ the immune system to bring an overactive immune system under control and reduce levels of inflammation in the body. These medications include prednisone, azathioprine, cyclosporine, mycophenolate, and tacrolimus, but there are many others. Supplements such as Chlorella that ‘boost’ the immune system prevent immunosuppressants from doing their job properly. This is because they increase immune system activity while the immunosuppressant is trying to suppress it.
  • Warfarin – an anticoagulant: warfarin thins the blood and stops it from clotting, and is commonly used to treat conditions such as heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism. Chlorella contains large amounts of vitamin K. This is used by the body to help the blood clot, and prevents the warfarin from working properly.

There is very little reliable information on Chlorella. It should never be taken for more than 2 months, unless under medical supervision, as there are no studies on the long term side-effects in humans. This means that it may or may not be safe to use in the longer term.

Remember, just because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean that it’s safe or doesn’t have side-effects. There are plenty of herbs, plants and extracts that have side-effects, can cause allergic reaction, interact with medications, be poisonous, or even prove fatal.

Keep safe!

Further information.

A warning about Polly Heil-Mealey! Sweet’s syndrome cannot be cured with herbs or homeopathic remedies.

Baking soda is not a treatment for Sweet’s syndrome or myelodysplastic syndromes.

Herbs and supplements that should be avoided or used with caution in Sweet’s syndrome.

What is the treatment for Sweet’s syndrome?

2012-2018 Sweet’s Syndrome UK


4 thoughts on “Chlorella is not a treatment for Sweet’s syndrome

  1. There have been people who take chlorella for more than 2 months and they are fine. They even feel better than before. This contradicts your statement that says we should never take it more than 2 months.


    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Can you please send me the links to the medical case-studies that show that chlorella is always safe to use for longer than 2 months? I will then be more than happy to update the information.

      Also, when you say that ‘they even feel better than before’, do you mean people with Sweet’s syndrome? If you do mean those with Sweet’s syndrome, please send me links to medical case-studies that will back up your claims.



    FDA (2015) 6 Tip-offs to Rip-offs: Don’t Fall for Health Fraud Scams:

    – One product does it all.
    Be suspicious of products that claim to cure a wide range of diseases. A New York firm claimed its products marketed as dietary supplements could treat or cure senile dementia, brain atrophy, atherosclerosis, kidney dysfunction, gangrene, depression, osteoarthritis, dysuria, and lung, cervical and prostate cancer. In October 2012, at FDA’s request, U.S. marshals seized these products.

    – Personal TESTIMONIALS.
    Success stories, such as, “It cured my diabetes” or “My tumours are gone,” are easy to make up and are not a substitute for scientific evidence.

    – Quick fixes.
    Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, even with legitimate products. Beware of language such as, “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days” or “eliminates skin cancer in days.”

    – “All NATURAL.”
    Some plants found in nature (such as poisonous mushrooms) can kill when consumed. Moreover, FDA has found numerous products promoted as “all natural” but that contain hidden and dangerously high doses of prescription drug ingredients or even untested active artificial ingredients.

    – “Miracle CURE.”
    Alarms should go off when you see this claim or others like it such as, “new discovery,” “scientific breakthrough” or “secret ingredient.” If a real cure for a serious disease were discovered, it would be widely reported through the media and prescribed by health professionals — not buried in print ads, TV infomercials or on Internet sites.

    – Conspiracy theories.
    Claims like “The pharmaceutical industry and the government are working together to hide information about a miracle cure” are always untrue and unfounded. These statements are used to distract consumers from the obvious, common-sense questions about the so-called miracle cure.

    Even with these tips, fraudulent health products are not always easy to spot. If you’re tempted to buy an unproven product or one with questionable claims, check with your MEDICAL doctor or other health care PROFESSIONAL (not an alternative therapist) first.


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