Drugs A - Z
Generic Name: chlorophyllin
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
ABCG2 substrates, chlorin e6, chlorin p6, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, chlorophyll c, chlorophyll d, chlorophyllin, chlorophyllpt, chlorophyll lipiodol, chlorophyll phytol, copper chlorophyll, Laminaria, microalgae, nutraceutical, Nullo®, peridinin chlorophyll-alpha protein, pheophorbide, pheophorbide a, pheophytin a, photodynamic antimicrobial therapy (PACT), phytanic acid, phytochemicals, porphobilinogen, porphyrin, PPBa, pristanic acid, protochlorophyllidae a, protoporhyrin IX, purpurin-18, retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, uroporphyrinogen-III.
Chlorophyll is a chemoprotein commonly known for its contribution to the green pigmentation in plants, and is related to protoheme, the red pigment of blood. It can be obtained from green leafy vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and spinach), algae (Chlorella and Spirulina), wheat grass, and numerous herbs (alfalfa, damiana, nettle, and parsley).
Chlorophyll has been used traditionally to improve bad breath and other forms of body odor including odors of the urine, feces, and infected wounds. More recently chlorophyll has been used to aid in the removal of various toxins via the liver and remains a key compound for improving the function of essential detoxification pathways. Supportive evidence suggests it may be used as an anti-inflammatory agent for conditions, such as pancreatitis as well as exhibiting potent antioxidant and chemoprotective activities. Scientific research has demonstrated it may be an effective therapeutic agent in the treatment of herpes simplex, benign breast disease, chemoprevention, tuberculosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Type 2 diabetes and obesity are also being explored as areas where chlorophyll can also be used.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Cancer (laser therapy adjunct):
Preliminary evidence suggests that chlorophyll may aid in the reduction of side effects associated with photodynamic therapies such as those used in management of malignant tumors. Further research is required to support its use for reducing photosensitivity symptoms.
Fibrocystic breast disease:
The benefits of chlorophyll in benign breast disease may be attributed to its ability to alter liver enzyme pathways involved in estrogen metabolism. A combination product containing chlorophyll may be beneficial for this condition, but more research is needed to confirm these preliminary results.
Herpes (simplex and zoster):
Clorophyll may treat herpes simplex and herpes zoster, although more research is needed in this area.
Chlorophyll-a may reduce the mortality rate of experimental pancreatitis. Additional study is needed in this area.
Pneumonia (active destructive):
Chlorophyll may help to regulate T lymphocyte counts in patients with active destructive pneumonia. Further studies are required to further elaborate on the immune-modifying effects of chlorophyll.
Poisoning (reduce Yusho symptoms):
Yusho is a poisoning caused by ingestion of rice oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, specifically polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). A chlorophyll-rich diet may increase PCDF and PCB elimination, but further high quality research is needed.
Protection from aflatoxins:
Chlorophyll may be of use as a chemopreventative agent due to its ability to inhibit the tumor-promoting effects of carcinogens. Chlorophyll may act to improve the detoxification of toxins involved in cancer promotion. However, more research is needed in this area.
Reduction of odor from incontinence/bladder catheterization:
Based on historical use, chlorophyll has been suggested to improve bodily odor in colostomy patients. Despite empirical use, clinical research did not support these findings.
Diets high in chlorophyll have been hypothesized to modify intestinal flora resulting in improved management of immune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis. More evidence is needed to support the use of chlorophyll in autoimmune diseases.
Preliminary evidence suggests that chlorophyll intake during chemotherapy treatment in patients with tuberculosis may improve immune parameters and free radical indices, such as malonic dialdehyde. Additional study is needed in this area.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Anemia, cancer prevention, antioxidant, antiviral, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), bad breath, blood disorders (porphyria), constipation, deodorant, detoxification, diabetes, food uses (colorant), gastrointestinal conditions, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), obesity, wound healing.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven effective dose for chlorophyll. For bad breath, 100 milligrams has been taken two or three times daily. For colostomy odor, 75 milligrams three times daily for up to 100-200 milligrams daily in divided doses has been used. 300 milligrams daily has been used if odor was still not controlled. 1-2 tablets of 100 milligrams have been placed in the empty pouch each time it is reused or changed in a patient who has had an ostomy. For protection from aflatoxins, chlorophyllin 100 milligrams three times daily for four months has been studied. For pancreatitis, an infusion of 5-20 milligrams water-soluble chlorophyll-a daily for one to two weeks followed by intermittent administration thereafter has been used. For pneumonia, infusion of 0.25% chlorophyllypt solution in physiological sodium chloride solution administered by intravenous drip has been studied.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is no proven effective dose for chlorophyll in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to chlorophyll or any of its metabolites; contact may result in a photosensitive rash. Copper chlorophyll (E141) could be a pseudoallergen.
Side Effects and Warnings
It appears that chlorophyll is generally safe and without many side effects or toxicities in non-sensitive people. Adverse effects are usually gastrointestinal or dermatologic in nature. Common gastrointestinal complaints may include nausea, diarrhea, green stools, and abdominal cramping. When taken by mouth, chlorophyllin may cause green discoloration of the urine.
Use cautiously in patients who show signs of photosensitivity, such as a rash, to chlorophyll or any of its metabolites.
Use cautiously in patients with compromised liver function due to the possibility of the development of jaundice.
Use cautiously in patients with diabetes or taking diabetes agents as chlorophyll may have antidiabetic effects.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Interactions with Drugs
The chlorophyll metabolite phytanic acid may have antidiabetic activity. Caution is advised when using medications that may lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Although not well studied in humans, chlorophyll or its metabolites may have antineoplastic (anticancer) properties. Caution is advised in patients taking other anticancer agents.
The chlorophyll metabolites phytanic and pristanic acids may have antiobesity properties. Caution is advised when taking chlorophyll and other agents for weight loss.
Chlorophyll may have detoxifying effects, especially dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs).
Chlorophyll and some of its synthetically produced derivatives may be photosensitizing. Chlorophyll may cause hyperpigmentation, dermatitis, or make a patient more sensitive to laser treatment.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Although not well studied in humans, chlorophyll or its metabolites may have antineoplastic (anticancer) properties. Caution is advised in patients taking anticancer herbs or supplements.
Chlorophyll may have antioxidant and antiviral properties. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements with antioxidant and antiviral properties due to possible additive effects.
Although not well studied in humans, chlorophyll may have detoxifying effects, especially dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs).
The chlorophyll metabolite phytanic acid may have antidiabetic activity. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Chlorophyll and some of its synthetically produced derivatives may be photosensitizing. Chlorophyll may cause hyperpigmentation, dermatitis, or make a patient more sensitive to laser treatment. Beta-carotene or canthaxanthin may prevent or lessen chlorophyll-induced photosensitivity.
The chlorophyll metabolites phytanic and pristanic acids may have antiobesity properties. Caution is advised when taking chlorophyll and other herbs or supplements for weight loss.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Rebecca Bramwell, PharmD (Northeastern University); Thuy-Duong Le, PharmD (Oregon State University); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Julie Montalbano, PharmD (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole J. Trelour, ND (Symbion Health, Australia); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Heeja Yoon, PharmD (Drake University); Mario M. Zeolla, PharmD, BCPS (Albany College of Pharmacy).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Abbott BL. ABCG2 (BCRP) expression in normal and malignant hematopoietic cells. Hematol Oncol 2003;21(3):115-130.
Acheson DW, Flegg PJ. Diagnostic delay due to chlorophyll in oral rehydration solution. Lancet 1-17-1987;1(8525):171.
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Bezpalov VG, Barash NI, Ivanova OA, et al. [Investigation of the drug "Mamoclam" for the treatment of patients with fibroadenomatosis of the breast]. Vopr Onkol 2005;51(2):236-241.
Egner PA, Munoz A, Kensler TW. Chemoprevention with chlorophyllin in individuals exposed to dietary aflatoxin. Mutat.Res 2003;523-524:209-216.
Fahey JW, Stephenson KK, Dinkova-Kostova AT, et al. Chlorophyll, chlorophyllin and related tetrapyrroles are significant inducers of mammalian phase 2 cytoprotective genes. Carcinogenesis 2005;26(7):1247-1255.
Lim DS, Ko SH, Kim SJ, et al. Photoinactivation of vesicular stomatitis virus by a photodynamic agent, chlorophyll derivatives from silkworm excreta. J Photochem Photobiol B 2002;67(3):149-156.
Lozovskaia ME. [Effectiveness of using the biologically active additive to food from Laminaria in adolescents during complex treatment of the pulmonary tuberculosis]. Vopr Pitan 2005;74(1):40-43.
Mukherji M, Schofield CJ, Wierzbicki AS, et al. The chemical biology of branched-chain lipid metabolism. Prog Lipid Res 2003;42(5):359-376.
Nagayama J, Takasuga T, Tsuji H, et al. Promotive excretion of causative agents of Yusho by one year intake of FBRA in Japanese people. Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 2005;96(5):241-248.
Nagayama J, Takasuga T, Tsuji H, et al. Active elimination of causative PCDFs/DDs congeners of Yusho by one year intake of FBRA in Japanese people. Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 2003;94(5):118-125.
Schluter A, Yubero P, Iglesias R, et al. The chlorophyll-derived metabolite phytanic acid induces white adipocyte differentiation. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2002;26(9):1277-1280.
Sugiyama C, Nakandakari N, Hayatsu H, et al. Preventive effects of chlorophyllin fixed on chitosan towards DNA adduct formation of 3-amino-1-methyl-5H-pyrido [4,3-b]indole in CDF1 mice. Biol Pharm Bull 2002;25(4):520-522.
Tajmir-Riahi HA, Neault JF, Diamantoglou S. DNA adducts with chlorophyll and chlorophyllin as antimutagenic agents: synthesis, stability, and structural features. Methods Mol Biol 2004;274:159-171.
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Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.