The Health Benefits of Liquid Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes plants green. It’s responsible for helping plants absorb energy from sunlight during the process of photosynthesis. Consuming chlorophyll is known to have many health benefits.
What Is Liquid Chlorophyll?
Liquid chlorophyll is an extraction of the pigment chlorophyll, found in plants. One way to get liquid chlorophyll in your diet is by juicing and drinking wheatgrass and other dark leafy greens. Another way is to consume liquid chlorophyll as a supplement.
Most of the research conducted on chlorophyll has been on its topical use. When applied topically, chlorophyll has been known to help heal wounds and reduce acne.1 Several studies have also suggested the antioxidant benefits of chlorophyll as protective against cancer.2
Although the information is limited, there is evidence and literature in support of the health benefits chlorophyll might have when taken internally. Supplemental chlorophyll can be taken in either liquid, powder, or tablet form.
Reduces Cancerous Tumors and Cells
Results published in 2012 suggest chlorophyll has the ability to reduce the size of cancerous tumors in an animal model.3 Using a study population of more than 12,000 rainbow trout, the investigators were able to conclude that chlorophyll reduced liver tumors in the fish by up to 64 percent and stomach tumors by up to 45 percent. It’s unclear if chlorophyll would have the same effect on humans. While endorsing the regular consumption of chlorophyll-rich green vegetables to provide substantial cancer chemoprevention, the study authors were careful to emphasize that the doses applied in the fish research would be of questionable human relevance.
It is important to note that while relatively nonpoisonous, chlorophyll can be harmful in large amounts.4
Since liquid chlorophyll is ingested, researchers have hypothesized that the supplement would be most beneficial in protecting against cancers related to digestion. A 2007 review concluded that chlorophyll derivatives and diets high in chlorophyll have the potential to prevent colon cancer.5 When tested on human colon cancer cells in a 2009 study, researchers found that a chlorophyll derivative was a positive treatment.6
Improves Liver Detoxification
Chlorophyll has been shown to enhance the liver’s natural ability to remove toxins and waste from the body. This process is known as detoxification. One study on human and rat livers almost thirty years ago introduced these properties of chlorophyll.7 Specifically, in this research chlorophyllin, a copper/sodium salt of chlorophyll, was found to be able to fight against liver damage and potentially liver cancer by making the detoxification process more effective.8
Treats Hemoglobin Deficiencies
Liquid chlorophyll may be what’s called a “blood builder.” This means it can potentially increase the count of red blood cells and improve their quality.
Red blood cells contain a molecule called hemoglobin, which has a very similar chemical structure to chlorophyll. Because of this nearly identical makeup, chlorophyll may be an effective treatment in patients with hemoglobin deficiencies such as anemia.
A 2016 study that used a form of chlorophyll to treat patients with anemia found that its use may improve anemia symptoms.9 Another study suggests that grass drinks high in chlorophyll could be used to treat hemoglobin deficiencies due to the antioxidant activity of the chlorophyll and its molecular structure that resembles red blood cells.10
Aids in Weight Loss
Several small studies have been conducted to determine whether chlorophyll supports healthy weight loss in humans. A trial in 2013 involving overweight women found that chlorophyll supplements in conjunction with a high-carbohydrate meal increased feelings of fullness while regulating hunger hormones. The researchers concluded that supplementing high-carb meals with chlorophyll may reduce body weight over time.11
An earlier study involving rats had a direct effect on food intake. The 2009 study found that rats reduced their food intake when supplemented with chlorophyll. Researchers concluded this long-term suppression of food intake prevented weight gain.12
Benefits That Need More Research
Liquid chlorophyll is believed to have many more health benefits than what has been studied so far. A significant amount of research suggests topical chlorophyll has many benefits, but the research on liquid chlorophyll is behind.
Other health benefits of liquid chlorophyll that need more research include:
- Improves digestion
- Relieves constipation
- Reduces inflammation, especially in arthritis
- Anti-aging benefits
- Prevents body odor
- Reduces yeast in patients with Candida
Possible Side Effects
When introducing a new supplement into your routine, it’s important to consider the possible side effects. The side effects associated with taking liquid chlorophyll are mild. They’re mainly associated with digestion. Because chlorophyll is a natural pigment and not a man-made compound, it’s believed to be non-toxic. For the most part, liquid chlorophyll is a safe and mild supplement.
The digestive system starts in the mouth. Since liquid chlorophyll is ingested through the mouth and travels through the digestive tract, this is where most of the side effects occur.
Some of the mild side effects reported include:
- Gastrointestinal cramping
- Discolored stools
These symptoms usually occur when liquid chlorophyll is taken in excessive amounts or on an empty stomach.
The existing research suggests that side effects resulting from consuming chlorophyll are rare. However, there’s not enough research to conclude whether liquid chlorophyll is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Chlorophyll supplements may also inhibit certain prescription medications. Specifically, they can interfere with medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight. Taking chlorophyll alongside photosensitizing drugs can increase the risk of sunburns and sun damage.
Dosage and Preparation
Liquid chlorophyll is taken orally. It comes in liquid form or powder form that is mixed with water or another liquid. Chlorophyll can also be taken in tablet form. Liquid chlorophyll is an accessible supplement that can be purchased in many health food stores, online and over-the-counter at local pharmacies. Look for it in the herbal supplements section.
Liquid chlorophyll is commonly added to smoothies and juices. It’s also commonly found in powders mixed with other greens, such as spirulina, wheatgrass, and chlorella.
There is no recommended daily allowance for liquid chlorophyll. Doses vary per liquid chlorophyll supplement, but the average dose is 100mg per serving.
What to Look For
Because chlorophyll supplements are unregulated, you should look for options that have been tested by third-parties for potency, purity, and safety. For supplements made under the strictest standards, choose the ones produced in FDA-regulated facilities.
The chlorophyll in supplements is actually a compound known as chlorophyllin, which is derived from chlorophyll and is very similar in structure.13 This should be the main ingredient in chlorophyll supplements. Pure chlorophyll can be derived from whole foods like alfalfa or wheatgrass. Be sure that the product indicates where the chlorophyllin comes from.
Foods Naturally High in Chlorophyll
An alternative to liquid chlorophyll supplements is consuming foods that are naturally high in chlorophyll. This can also be done alongside taking chlorophyll supplements.
Chlorophyll-rich foods include:
Does Liquid Chlorophyll Need to Be Refrigerated?
Most liquid chlorophyll supplements should be kept in a cool place after opening. For best results, refrigerate when not in use. This will vary per supplement so read the instructions on the packaging.
How Do You Take Liquid Chlorophyll?
Liquid chlorophyll supplements are taken orally. Depending on the specific product, you may use a dropper or tablespoon to measure it out. Mix the liquid chlorophyll in another liquid such as water, juice, or a smoothie. You can also drink the liquid chlorophyll undiluted and by itself, but many users dislike the earthy taste.