Chlorophyll is a natural pigment found in plants that provides their signature green color.
Liquid chlorophyll has become a popular supplement recently because it contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide a variety of surprising health benefits.
Two benefits getting the most attention at the moment are its ability to assist the body with detoxification and the pigment’s function as a possible natural deodorant alternative.
What is Chlorophyll and How can it Benefit the Body?
Chlorophyll is a natural pigment that provides the green color in plants’ stems, leaves, and flowers. It is also responsible for absorbing the energy from sunlight and converting it into the plant’s food.
Even though chlorophyll is present in all plants, it is found in the highest amounts in green fruits and vegetables. Most common, but not always, dark, leafy green vegetables.
A few foods with the highest concentrations of chlorophyll are (1):
- Green beans
- Matcha green tea
Also, chlorophyll is becoming increasingly popular in supplement form, either as a powder, juice, capsule, or liquid chlorophyll supplement. These supplements can be purchased at most health food stores, natural food shops, drug stores, and online supplement retailers.
Many health professionals recommend consuming chlorophyll supplements over food sources, because they contain chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin is a natural compound, but is a water-soluble derivative of chlorophyll that is better absorbed by the body (2).
Chlorophyll contains ample micronutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals, that positively impact the detoxification. The most notable include (3):
- Vitamin A – Is a fat-soluble vitamin and carotenoid that supports liver detoxification.
- Vitamin C & E – Is an antioxidant that protects against free radicals and oxidative stress to prevent liver damage.
- Magnesium –Only found in plant-based sources of chlorophyll and minimizes natural odors.
- Potassium – Maintains the circulatory system, which assists with balancing body pH.
- Copper – Found only in chlorophyll supplements (in place of magnesium) and chlorophyllin, and plays an important role in maintaining the detoxification processes and natural deodorization.
How Chlorophyll Assists with Detoxification
The liver is the primary location of detoxification in the body.
The liver’s main function is to remove waste and toxins – including ammonia from food break down –from the body via the blood. This is a natural process called detoxification (2).
A chlorophyll supplement has shown to achieve positive results in supporting the liver and its functions, as well as staving off liver damage, making the detoxification process more effective (2).
Additionally chlorophyll, has the added benefit of maintaining a stable body pH – between 7.35-7.45 (4). When your body pH falls below 7.35, your body is put into an acidic state, which increases your risk of becoming ill. Chlorophyll contains an alkaline pH and has been shown to possibility counteract acidic blood levels and return blood pH to the normal range.
Both of these benefits assist the liver to function efficiently and promote the healthy performance of other systems, including the immune system. As the liver is responsible for regulating the immune system, fighting pathogens and toxicants (2).
Chlorophyll May Also Function as a Natural Deodorizer
Since the 1940’s, chlorophyllin has been used to neutralize odors (1).
Usually, these odors chlorophyllin has been associated with treating are side-effects of genetic disorders that cause the body to emit unpleasant smells. Including trimethylaminuria, which is a condition that causes fishy odors and breath (1).
But the potential for natural deodorization that chlorophyll supplements may be able to provide is also related to its ability to maintain pH as well. When pH is balanced, it manages odor and growth or bacteria that may contribute to pungent body odors in sweat and breath, but also urine and fecal matter (5).
However, it’s important to note that more research needs to be done to prove chlorophyll supplements are as effective at deodorizing as marketing claims suggest.
Dosage and possible side effects of Chlorophyll
There is currently no specific, research-backed recommendations for daily chlorophyll dosage. However, best practices from most medical professionals recommend an average maximum dose of 100 – 300 mg three times per day (6).
Consuming over this recommended threshold, like with any supplement, can lead to a variety of risks and side effects.
The side effects of chlorophyll supplements are usually discomfort issues of the digestive system and may include any of the following (2):
- Discolored (yellow, green, or black) stools
- Stomach cramps
- Skin and tissue irritation (4)
It’s important to seek advice from a medical professional if you experience any of these side effects when adding a new supplement to your daily routine.
Could adding chlorophyll to your daily diet benefit your health?
Though research is still being done to determine all of the science-backed benefits of chlorophyll, this pigment has shown potential to be beneficial when added to your daily diet with its plethora of powerful micronutrients.
If you are looking for a natural alternative to boost detoxification and deodorization, eating more dark green vegetables or adding a liquid chlorophyll supplement to your day may be right for you.
Easy options to squeeze chlorophyll into your day are:
- Enjoy a green smoothie in the morning
- Make your own no-bake granola bars with your favorite chlorophyll mixed in
- Eat a dark leafy green salad along with your dinner every day
As always, seek the advice of a trusted medical professional when considering taking a new supplement, especially if you are experiencing side effects.
Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD