Aim: Chlorella vulgaris is a unicellular green microalga with several pharmacological activities including anti-hyperlipidemic effects. In spite of interesting preclinical findings, the clinical efficacy of C. vulgaris in dyslipidemia—whether alone or in combination with statins—has not been clarified. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of supplementation with C. vulgaris as an adjunctive therapy to atorvastatin in dyslipidemic subjects.
Methods: In a randomised, open-label clinical trial, 100 dyslipidemic subjects were randomly assigned to: (i) Chlorella group (n = 50, dropouts = 24), receiving C. vulgaris (600 mg/day) + atorvastatin (20 mg/day) for 8 weeks; or (ii) atorvastatin group (n = 50, dropouts = 13), receiving only atorvastatin (20 mg/day) for 8 weeks. Lipid profile and biomarkers of muscular, hepatic and renal injury were determined at baseline and at the end of the trial.
Results: There were significant reductions in serum total cholesterol (P < 0.001), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P < 0.001) and triglycerides (P= 0.006 in Chlorella and P= 0.004 in atorvastatin group) in both groups. No significant change in serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels was observed in any of the groups. Serum aspartate aminotransferase levels were raised in both Chlorella (P= 0.034) and atorvastatin (P= 0.002) groups, whereas alkaline phosphatase was only elevated in the Chlorella group (P= 0.028). In comparison with baseline values, no significant change was observed in serum levels of alanine aminotransferase, creatine phosphokinase, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen and fasting blood sugar.
Conclusion: Based on the results, addition of C. vulgaris to atorvastatin therapy for 8 weeks does not appear to be associated with an improved control of serum lipid profile.