I woke up one morning, opened my TikTok app, and it was booming. Liquid chlorophyll was everywhere — either people swearing by its beneficial effects or “nutritionists” and “dieticians” sharing their opinions on the supplement. What is liquid chlorophyll and why are people everywhere using it?
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Users of the platform are now adding drops of chlorophyll to their water every day to clear up their skin, reduce bloating, and lose weight.
Are there more benefits? Should we all be hopping on the liquid chlorophyll bandwagon, or is this just another self-improvement lark with no scientific evidence?
We depend on food to get nutrients, and it’s best to get nutrients from whole foods. However, supplements like probiotics, EPA/DHA, and zinc, can help fill the void if we don’t get the right minerals and vitamins from whole foods.
But it’s hard to know when we’re putting too much trust in a green-water supplement that’s not backed by any reputable organization. So let’s start with the basics.
What is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a natural pigment found in plants that give vegetables, like spinach and other leafy greens, their green color. But more importantly, chlorophyll is essential for plant life. It’s a vital part of photosynthesis because it helps plants absorb energy from the sun and keeps plants healthy as they grow. Almost every growing plant you see in nature has chlorophyll in it.
There are four types of chlorophyll: chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, chlorophyll c, and chlorophyll d. The two that concern us are chlorophyll a and b.
Chlorophyll is a pigment, but the substance humans consume from chlorophyll is called chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin is a semi-synthetic blend of sodium copper salts that comes from chlorophyll. One difference between the two is that chlorophyll has magnesium, but with chlorophyllin, the magnesium is replaced with copper and the phytol hydrocarbon tail disappears. Another difference is that chlorophyllin is water-soluble, making it easier for the body to absorb the chlorophyll and obtain its benefits.
In supplement form, chlorophyll is sold as a liquid that can be added to water, as a powder, as vitamins, and as Chlorophyll Water, a drink also containing vitamins A, B12, C, and D. It’s sold at most stores that sell supplements and also online.
These are some examples of different chlorophyll supplements online. You can see one supplement is chlorella. Chlorella is a type of single-celled, fresh-water algae that contains chlorophyll along with other antioxidants.
Is There Any Science Behind this Trend?
Unlike most viral diet trends, chlorophyll does have science behind it.
When it comes to skincare, studies have shown that a topical sodium copper chlorophyllin complex can reduce signs of aging and help reduce acne in women. However, some of the studies also had women use retinol, too, which may indicate that the combination of both may lead to better results.
Other studies show that, because of its antioxidant properties, consuming chlorophyll in vegetables may reduce the size of cancer cells and have anticancer effects. This is because the chlorophyll in both versions can “form tight molecular complexes with certain chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer,” according to the Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University. This binding can reduce the number of cancerous cells reaching vulnerable tissues.
Some studies even state that chlorophyll can reduce inflammation in the body. In a study on rats, chlorophyll a and pheophytin — a magnesium-free chlorophyll a combined from leaves — were highly effective at reducing inflammation.
Other chlorophyll studies have found antioxidant effects; specifically, it may reduce oxidative damage from carcinogens and radiation, aid in detoxification of carcinogens, and decrease chances of developing aflatoxin-associated liver cancer. Some people use chlorophyll therapeutically as an internal deodorant, especially in wound care, to slow bacteria growth in wound healing. Wheatgrass has even been shown to help in blood transfusions, ulcer healing, liver detoxing, and preventing tooth decay.
So How Much Should I Be Consuming?
Currently, the FDA states that people 12 years and older can take 300 milligrams of chlorophyll a day. To put it in perspective, we are supposed to eat four servings of leafy green vegetables a day. That amounts to about 30 milligrams, depending on the plant. Spinach is especially high in chlorophyll, with about 24 milligrams per one-cup serving. Parsley follows close behind with 19 milligrams per serving. This leaves space for extra chlorophyll from a supplement, if you desire.
Now, this doesn’t mean we should go crazy on the chlorophyll. Too much of anything isn’t good. And while supplements can help us get the nutrients we don’t get from food, taking too much of any particular supplement can harm you, according to Harvard Health. In general, the effects of too much chlorophyll are minor and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rash or irritation when used as a topical solution.
Which Supplement Should I Buy?
Choosing the right chlorophyll supplement for you should start with a conversation with your doctor. Even though the FDA says we can consume 300 milligrams of chlorophyll a day, it’s good to talk with your doctor to find out if you should be consuming that much. If you eat lots of green veggies, you may not need any. Your doctor will be able to tell you which supplement and dosage are best for your lifestyle.
While liquid chlorophyll and other chlorophyllin supplements can be great for those not getting enough of the nutrient in whole foods, it’s healthier to increase the amount of veggies eaten than to take a supplement.
According to Harvard Health and several studies, all nutrients are most potent and best absorbed when they come from whole foods, not supplements. Also, any foods we eat that contain chlorophyll also have numerous other nutrients that our bodies need. This is why it’s critical to consume a variety of fruits and veggies every day and why most nutritionists recommend eating 5-7 servings. Each vegetable contains different nutrients that our bodies use for different functions and that feed different microbiome in the gut. This will ultimately benefit your immune system and overall health.
So, if you want to up your chlorophyll intake, consider altering your diet to include more veggies before running to the supplement aisle of the grocery store. Here are some chlorophyll-dense foods you can add to your diet:
The Bottom Line
Chlorophyll is a dense nutrient that’s an important part of our diet. However, consuming liquid chlorophyll, although easy, is not the best way to reap its benefits. Eating whole green vegetables will give you the chlorophyll you need, plus many other essential nutrients.