Investigation of the effects of Chlorella vulgaris supplementation in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized clinical trial

Hepatogastroenterology. 2012 Oct;59(119):2099-2103. doi: 10.5754/hge10860.


Background/aims: To investigate the advantage of Chlorella vulgaris supplementation as an adjunctive therapy in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Methodology: In a randomized, open-label clinical trial, 76 individuals with NAFLD were randomly assigned to: 1) Chlorella group (n=33), receiving C. vulgaris extract (1200 mg/day) + metformin (750 mg/ day) + vitamin E (200 mg/day) for 3 months, or 2) Metformin group (n=43), receiving metformin (1250 mg/ day) + vitamin E (200 mg/day) for 3 months. Weight, body mass index (BMI), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index as well as serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), insulin, total and direct bilirubin, fasting blood sugar (FBS), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), uric acid, albumin and lipid profile were evaluated at baseline and at the end of trial.

Results: Weight and BMI were decreased in both groups. Serum ALT, AST, triglycerides, uric acid, HbA1c and HOMA-IR index were reduced only in the Chlorella group whereas significant changes in total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and FBS were only observed in the metformin group. There were also borderline significant reductions in insulin and FBS in the Chlorella group.

Conclusions: The findings of the present trial indicated that addition of C. vulgaris extract to the therapeutic regimen of NAFLD including metformin and vitamin E, is associated with favorable effects on serum levels of transaminases, triglycerides as well as insulin sensitivity. Therefore, C. vulgaris extract might be a promising hepatoprotective supplement for patients with NAFLD.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chlorella vulgaris*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Serum Albumin, Human
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • ALB protein, human
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Plant Preparations
  • Serum Albumin
  • Triglycerides
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Vitamin E
  • Uric Acid
  • Metformin
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Bilirubin
  • Serum Albumin, Human