chlorophyll It is the substance that gives plants green color.It helps plants absorb energy and obtain nutrients from sunlight in a process known as a biological process photosynthesis.
Chlorophyll is found in many green vegetables, especially leafy greens. Some people also take chlorophyll as a dietary supplement or apply it to their skin for health reasons. Doing so is thought to boost energy, heal wounds and fight certain ailments.
This article describes how chlorophyll is used and whether it may provide some of the health benefits that some people claim. It also outlines possible side effects of chlorophyll and ways to choose the safest supplement brand.
Chlorophyll has many reported health benefits in humans. Among them, it is thought to be a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent cellular damage that leads to premature cell aging.
Some experts also suggest that chlorophyll may help treat skin conditions, reduce body odor, and even prevent certain types of cancer.
Chlorophyll is also sometimes used to treat or prevent:
- chronic fatigue
- Thrush (yeast infection in the mouth)
- vaginal yeast infection
To date, there is little evidence to support these and other health claims.
The use of chlorophyll for wound healing dates back to the 1950s. Some healthcare providers still prescribe a drug called chlorophyll to promote wound healing and reduce the odor associated with open wounds.
There is some evidence that, when applied topically (skin), chlorophyll can help wounds heal.
Chlorophyll may also have other benefits for the skin, but more research is needed.
For example, a 2018 study Journal of Clinical Aesthetics and Dermatology It was concluded that topical chlorophyll is beneficial for acne patients. Despite the positive findings, the results were limited by the small study size (24 participants) and the lack of a control group (ie, a group of participants given an inactive placebo or a sham treatment).
A 2016 study published in Clinical Cosmetics and Investigational Dermatology It is inferred that topical chlorophyll has anti-aging properties that may reduce the signs of aging caused by sun exposure. However, these findings were also limited by the small study size (four women) and the lack of a control group.
Some researchers refer to liquid chlorophyll as a “hematopoietic agent,” suggesting that it can increase the number and/or improve the quality of red blood cells.This is based on chlorophyll which is chemically similar to hemoglobina protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
A 2016 study involving 72 people hemodialysis It was concluded that participants who took liquid chlorophyll 2 to 3 times a day for three weeks had higher red blood cell counts than those who took a placebo. It is thought that chlorophyll may help reduce the risk of anemia — a lack of healthy red blood cells — which is common in people on dialysis.
It has also been suggested that chlorophyll may enhance the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body, although findings so far have been limited to animal studies.
The anticancer effects of chlorophyll have actually only been studied in animals or in test tubes.A study published in Food Chemistry and Toxicology A lower incidence of liver cancer has been reported in rainbow trout raised in tanks containing liquid chlorophyll. Whether the same happens with chlorophyll in humans has yet to be determined.
Some believe that chlorophyll provides many health benefits when applied to the skin or taken by mouth. To date, there is no evidence that any form of chlorophyll can prevent or treat any health condition.
Whether or not you decide to take a chlorophyll supplement, nutrition experts agree that it’s not a bad idea to include chlorophyll-containing vegetables in your diet.
Dark green leafy vegetables are generally rich in chlorophyll, but there are other foods that also contain healthy amounts of chlorophyll. These include:
- barley grass
- green apple
- green grapes
- cannabis seeds
- wheat grass
Another way to add chlorophyll to your diet is to use supplements, including tablet, capsule, or liquid form. Nutritional supplements containing chlorophyll are usually derived from wheatgrass, spirulina, barley grass, chlorella, and cyanobacteria.
There is no recommended dosage for chlorophyll supplements. As a general rule, do not exceed the dosage printed on the product label.
Dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll can also be found in other green fruits, herbs, and vegetables, or taken as a supplement in tablet, capsule, or liquid form.
While chlorophyll is generally considered a safe supplement, some people may experience mild side effects, especially when using liquid chlorophyll. These include:
- green stool
- stomach cramps
Chlorophyll supplements may interfere with certain medications, especially those that cause sun sensitivity.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not strictly regulate nutritional supplements. Therefore, the quality of supplements can vary from one manufacturer to another.
For better safety, choose brands that voluntarily submit for certification by third-party agencies such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF International. Certification doesn’t mean the supplement is effective, but it does confirm that the ingredients are pure and present in the amounts listed on the label.
Chlorophyll supplements may cause nausea and other gastrointestinal side effects in some people. To ensure purity, choose a brand that has been independently certified by a third-party authority such as the US Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or ConsumerLab.
Chlorophyll is a pigment that gives plants their green color. Chlorophyll has nutritional value when consumed in food, but is also believed by some to have significant health benefits. This includes treating acne, anemia and constipation, as well as preventing liver toxicity, yeast infections and even cancer. To date, there is little evidence to support these claims.
Dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of chlorophyll, but chlorophyll is also found in other green fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Chlorophyll may cause green stools, nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal side effects when taking supplements.
Chlorophyll should neither be considered a substitute for prescription drugs nor inherently safe simply because it is “natural.” Even consuming large amounts of chlorophyll in the form of juice can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Consult your doctor before using any nutritional supplements or making major changes to your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can eating chlorophyll cause harm to the body?
Like most foods and supplements, chlorophyll should not cause harm unless taken in excess. If you choose to take a supplement, be sure to follow the recommended dosage on the label and remember that supplements are not regulated by the FDA.
What types of cancer may benefit from chlorophyll supplements?
Although research is ongoing, some studies suggest that chlorophyll supplements may benefit certain types of cancer, including liver, bladder, and pancreatic cancer.