There are claims that chlorophyll boosts energy, reduces skin redness, and detoxifies the body, but are these claims accurate?
As a registered dietitian, I’m frequently asked about popular nutrition trends on TikTok, such as apple cider vinegar (never take straight, undiluted shots) and “what I eat in a day” videos (many of which feature menus that aren’t balanced or nutritionally adequate).
One of the most recent trends to emerge is chlorophyll, which is sold as a tablet, capsule, or liquid with a dropper for dispensing the green solution; the liquid form is the most prevalent. Fans of the liquid chlorophyll supplement might mix it with water. Some claim that it boosts energy, reduces redness of the skin, and detoxifies the body.
Here are a few things to consider before jumping on the liquid chlorophyll bandwagon, should you be tempted to try it yourself.
What Exactly Is Chlorophyll?
It is a naturally occurring chemical that gives green plants their color. In addition to green plants, chlorophyll is also present in the following substances:
- Plant nutrients
- Some cosmetics
- Natural supplements
Chlorophyll Gives Plants Their Green Color
You may recall from your science classes that chlorophyll is the most prevalent pigment in plants, including those we consume.
Green vegetables, like spinach and green beans, are rich natural sources of chlorophyll. For instance, one cup of raw spinach contains 23.7 milligrams of chlorophyll, whereas one cup of green beans contains 8.3 milligrams. Therefore, consuming your greens will provide you with ample chlorophyll.
With Chlorophyllin, Supplements Are Made
Additionally, chlorophyll can be found in some supplements, typically in liquid form. The majority of over-the-counter (OTC) chlorophyll supplements contain chlorophyllin because natural chlorophyll is unstable.
Chlorophyllin is a semisynthetic derivative of chlorophyll. Some evidence suggests that supplements containing chlorophyllin may act as antioxidants and help prevent cancer.
About one in ten adults consume a daily minimum of two to three cups of vegetables. Increasing your consumption to at least three cups, although I usually recommend five cups, and selecting green varieties will provide sufficient chlorophyll.
In addition to chlorophyll, consuming vegetables provides you with numerous other essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In other words, consuming a greater quantity of green plants is the best way to obtain this pigment. And if you do so, you will not require a supplement.
Investigations of Drinking Liquid Chlorophyll
Research on chlorophyll is limited and obsolete. In the few studies that have been conducted, animals have been used more frequently than humans. However, few studies have examined the benefits of chlorophyll for humans.
Few Studies Support Supplement Benefits
In addition to its function in supplements, chlorophyllin can also be used as a coloring agent in foods, drugs, and cosmetics.
The benefits of chlorophyllin-containing supplements have not been extensively studied as of November 2022. Among the purported benefits of the liquid supplement are the following:
- Increasing the red blood cell count
- Facilitating weight loss
- Avoiding cancer
However, additional research is required to support these claims.
However, there is some research on the effects of chlorophyll as a topical cream ingredient. Researchers have evaluated chlorophyllin as a topical treatment for various skin conditions. A topical cream containing chlorophyllin in combination with phototherapy is a safe and effective acne treatment, according to some research. In less than four weeks, the acne of the participants improved.
Other research has demonstrated that a topical cream containing chlorophyllin can reduce sun-induced skin wrinkles and irregular pigmentation.
Unknown Are the Optimal Dose and Potential Adverse Effects
A lack of research on any dietary supplement results in a lack of knowledge regarding its efficacy, dosage, and potential side effects or interactions.
There are no adverse effects of chlorophyll in general. Some possible mild side effects include:
- Increased sunlight sensitivity (and therefore increased sunburn risk)
- Loose stools
- Green-colored feces or urine
Chlorophyll’s safety during pregnancy has not been evaluated, so pregnant women may wish to avoid chlorophyllin supplements. Even though no adverse effects have been reported, researchers may not be aware of all of chlorophyll’s side effects due to a lack of research.
In general, however, while some nutrients may be beneficial in one form or amount, they may become hazardous when consumed in greater quantities. For example, zinc helps support immune function. However, excessive zinc can cause digestive distress, suppress immune function, and lower HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels in the blood.
Also, antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have protective properties. Antioxidants can act as pro-oxidants when taken in supplement form, potentially increasing health risks.
I’m not anti-supplement. In spite of this, I am cautious about liquid chlorophyll due to the lack of research.
The supplement may not be safe for pregnant women, and no optimal dosage or duration of use has been established. Unknown are potential interactions with prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal products.
And remember, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use this product without first consulting your healthcare provider.
A Brief Overview
If you’ve been using liquid chlorophyll and believe you’re experiencing benefits, discuss its pros and cons with a healthcare provider based on your health status and medical history.
And if you want benefits supported by more research, your best bet is to consume fresh vegetables instead of a supplement.
- Have you ever tried supplements of chlorophyll?
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