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Some studies suggest that chlorophyll can help with skin healing, cancer protection, and weight loss, among other benefits. Natural sources include wheatgrass and parsley. Consult a doctor before taking chlorophyll supplements.
Chlorophyll plays an important role in making plants green and healthy. It also has vitamins, antioxidants, and therapeutic properties that have the potential to benefit your body.
You can get chlorophyll from either plants or supplements, although supplements may be more effective. This is because chlorophyll may not survive digestion long enough for absorption.
Chlorophyll supplements are actually chlorophyllin, which contains copper instead of magnesium. When doses of chlorophyllin are taken, the copper can be detected in plasma, which implies absorption has occurred.
Luckily, chlorophyllin has similar properties to chlorophyll. When you’re shopping for chlorophyll supplements, you may notice that the marketed benefits are:
- stimulating the immune system
- eliminating fungus in the body
- detoxifying your blood
- cleaning your intestines
- getting rid of bad odors
- energizing the body
- preventing cancer
However, research results are mixed about whether chlorophyll can actually boost your health in these ways. Larger, more rigorous studies are needed to evaluate the potential health benefits of chlorophyll.
Researchers continue to explore how chlorophyll may be beneficial for health and wellness. Let’s explore a little bit of what we know so far.
1. Skin healing
Chlorophyllin has shown possible effects to reduce inflammation and bacterial growth in skin wounds.
A 2008 review of wound care research involved several studies on ointments containing papain-urea-chlorophyllin.
While individual studies found this ointment to be more effective than other treatments, the reviewers note that larger, better controlled studies are required to confirm these findings.
Chlorophyllin may also be effective for other skin conditions, as evidenced by the results of two pilot studies. A pilot study is a small-scale preliminary study that’s performed prior to a larger study or trial.
2. Blood builder
Some people suggest that liquid chlorophyll can build your blood by improving the quality of red blood cells.
A 2004 pilot study suggested that wheatgrass, which contains about 70 percent chlorophyll, reduced the number of blood transfusions needed in people with thalassemia, a blood disorder.
However, it’s important to note that the study authors didn’t conclude that chlorophyll was the reason for the decreased need for transfusions.
Dr. Chris Reynolds, a clinical expert in wheatgrass, believes that the benefits likely come from wheatgrass itself rather than from the chlorophyll.
It’s unclear how wheatgrass affects red blood cells. But it’s believed that chlorophyll is destroyed during the production of wheatgrass extract.
3. Detoxification and cancer
Researchers have looked into the effect of chlorophyll and chlorophyllin on cancer.
Researchers found that taking oral chlorophyll daily significantly reduced tumor size in mice that had been transplanted with human pancreatic cancer cells.
While the results of animal studies are promising, there have only recently been human trials. A small study of four volunteers found that chlorophyll may limit ingested aflatoxin, a compound known to cause cancer.
This is in line with an
Accordingly, a clinical trial in China will look at the effects of chlorophyllin on liver cancer over 20 years, per the International Business Times.
Trials are also being planned to examine how a chlorophyll-rich diet could impact colon cancer risk. Such a diet would involve increasing intake of leafy greens like spinach and parsley.
4. Weight loss
One of the most popular claims associated with liquid chlorophyll is weight loss support. However, research into this topic is currently very limited.
A 2014 study involving 38 female participants found that those who took a green plant membrane supplement, which included chlorophyll, once daily had greater weight loss than a group that didn’t take the supplement.
The researchers also suggested that the supplement reduced harmful cholesterol levels. The mechanism behind these findings, and whether it involves chlorophyll, is currently unknown.
5. A natural deodorant
While chlorophyllin has been used since the 1940s to neutralize certain odors, studies are outdated and show mixed results.
The most recent
As for claims about chlorophyllin reducing bad breath, there’s little evidence to support it.
Natural chlorophyll and chlorophyllin aren’t known to be toxic. But there are some possible side effects, including:
- digestive problems
- green, yellow, or black stool, which can be mistaken for gastrointestinal bleeding
- itching or burning, when applied topically
Researchers haven’t studied the effects of taking chlorophyll in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Check with your doctor before taking it. It’s also possible that chlorophyll could negatively interact with medications you’re taking.
You can buy chlorophyll supplements at most health food stores, drug stores, and natural food shops.
As a supplement, chlorophyll comes in a few different forms, including:
According to Oregon State University, the average dosage of chlorophyllin supplements is between 100 and 300 milligrams (mg) per day over three divided doses.
Chlorophyll supplements aren’t regulated, and their doses vary. Consult with your doctor to decide whether you need them and what dosage is right for you.
Some people incorporate chlorophyll into their diets by adding a liquid form to recipes. You can also add the powder form into water, juice, or sauces.
Always talk to your doctor before you take chlorophyll or any herbs or supplements. They can cause unintended side effects, especially if you’re already taking medication or have existing health concerns.
The blog Cook (almost) Anything shows how you can make your own liquid chlorophyll supplement by using parsley and water. Three ounces of parsley makes about 2 tablespoons of chlorophyll. Get the recipe here.
You can then use your homemade chlorophyll for a tasty smoothie recipe, like from the blog The Green Lean Bean.
Plants that are fresh and green are probably a good source of chlorophyll. This means vegetables and herbs such as:
- green beans
According to Oregon State University, one cup of raw spinach contains about 24 mg of chlorophyll. Parsley has about 19 mg per cup. You can blend parsley with water to create a “liquid chlorophyll” drink.
Other greens will average 4 to 15 mg per cup.
Your best source of chlorophyll will come from veggies and herbs that are green, inside and out.
Veggies like broccoli and asparagus may be green on the outside, but their whitish interior indicates a smaller amount of chlorophyll.
Wheatgrass may be a good alternative-medicine approach for some conditions.
A review of wheatgrass juice therapy found that it might be helpful for people who need:
- blood transfusions
- anticancer therapy
- ulcer healing
- liver detoxification
- to prevent tooth decay
Wheatgrass oil may help treat scars. You can make wheatgrass oil by roasting wheatgrass until it turns black and then pressing out the oil. As with chlorophyll, additional research into the potential health benefits of wheatgrass is needed.
Wheatgrass should be available at your local health food store or farmers market.
You can also plant your own wheatgrass. An organic kit costs about $60 online. Wheatgrass powder can range from $12 to $60, depending on the quality and where you buy it.
Chlorophyll can be found in plants or taken as a supplement. It may have several health benefits, such as reducing cancer risk and helping with skin healing.
However, research is currently limited. Additional studies are needed to characterize these potential benefits.
You can include chlorophyll in your diet by increasing your intake of vegetables like spinach, parsley, and arugula. Chlorophyll supplements are also available at health food stores and drug stores.
Always speak with your doctor first before starting on a new supplement.