Chlorophyll is a natural pigment found in plants that may provide some very surprising health benefits.
This color compound contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for many body functions.
They can also boost and improve the function of several bodily systems as well – including the detoxification system, immune system, and circulatory system, to name a few.
These benefits have spurred chlorophyll to become a popular supplement, both by consuming a higher variety of chlorophyll-containing foods or liquid chlorophyll supplements.
What is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a natural pigment that provides the green color in plants.
It is also responsible for absorbing the energy from sunlight and converting it into food for the plant.
Chlorophyll has shown many benefits to the body already, with many more being researched.
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
- Mullen Leafs
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 still a natural compound, but is a water-soluble derivative of chlorophyll that is better absorbed by the body (2).
Essential vitamins and minerals in Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll and chlorophyll supplements contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that provide its many benefits in the body.
Essential vitamins in chlorophyll (3):
- A – Is a fat-soluble vitamin and carotenoid that keeps tissues and skin healthy.
- C – Is an antioxidant that protects against free radicals and oxidative stress. It also reduces inflammation.
- K – Benefits the circulatory system and red blood cells.
- E – Is also an antioxidant with oxidative stress and inflammation reduction power.
Essential minerals in chlorophyll (3):
- Calcium – Supports the circulatory system.
- Magnesium – Works with calcium to support the circulatory system. Only found in plant-based sources of chlorophyll.
- Iron – Benefits red blood cells and increases their ability to carry oxygen.
- Potassium – Balances fluid in the body and maintains the circulatory system.
- Copper – Found in chlorophyllin and plays an important role in the immune system. Only in chlorophyll supplements (in place of magnesium).
4 benefits of Chlorophyll in the body
As stated above, chlorophyll has shown potential to be a very beneficial aid when added to your daily diet.
With its plethora of powerful vitamins and minerals, adding chlorophyll may be a great option for you to boost your health outcomes, primarily through its four main benefits –
Detoxification and immune system support, improving skin healing, boosting blood quality, and natural deodorizing.
- Aids detoxification and boost the immune system
The liver is the primary location of detoxification in the body.
The liver’s main function is to remove toxins and waste from the body via the blood. This is a natural process called detoxification (2).
Supplement with chlorophyll has shown positive results in supporting the liver and its functions, making the detoxification process more effective (2).
Also, it has the possibility of being able to stave off liver damage, which is essential for a healthy immune system.
The liver is responsible for regulating the immune system, fighting pathogens and toxicants, and preventing illnesses.
- Improved tissue and wound healing
Chlorophyllin has been shown to reduce inflammation and harmful bacterial growth associated with tissue wounds to promote proper healing (1).
It’s also shown effectiveness at reducing pain associated with wounds.
Additionally, chlorophyll has shown potential for its ability to treat/reduce acne and large pores because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (4).
- Boosting blood quality and RBC health
Chlorophyll has scientifically been called a “blood builder,” which means it has the potential to increase the red blood cell count in blood and also improve their quality (2).
Chemically, chlorophyll is a similar structure to hemoglobin (an essential protein component of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body), allowing them to improve red blood cell’s ability to carry oxygen (4).
- May function as a natural deodorizer
Since the 1940’s, chlorophyllin has been used to neutralize odors (1).
Usually, these odors have been associated with diseases and disorders that cause the body to emit unpleasant smells (ex: trimethylaminuria, a condition that causes fishy odors) (1).
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 when it comes to bad breath.
Dosage and possible side effects of Chlorophyll
There is currently no specific, research-backed recommendations for chlorophyll dosage. However, best practices from most medical professionals recommend an average maximum dose of 100 – 300 mg three times per day (4).
Consuming over this recommended threshold, like with any supplement, can lead to a variety of risks and side effects.
The side effects of a chlorophyll supplement are normally digestive discomfort issues and may include any of the following (2):
- Discolored (yellow, green, or black) stools
- Stomach cramps
Skin irritation is also a possible side effect of too much chlorophyll (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?
As stated above, chlorophyll can provide many benefits for the body when added to the daily diet.
If you are looking for a boost to your detoxification, immune, or circulatory systems, an increased intake of chlorophyll might be the right move for you – either through consuming more dark green vegetables or adding a liquid chlorophyll supplement to your daily routine.
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