The Health Benefits of Chlorophyll!

Written by: Pard Bharaj

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Time to read 12 min

Introduction: What is Chlorophyll?


Chlorophyll, a term that often conjures up images of lush, dark greenery, is much more than just a pigment in plants. It's a complex molecule that plays a critical role in the natural world. Structurally, chlorophyll is characterised by its green pigment, which is due to its unique chemical structure centered around a magnesium atom. This green pigment is essential for the process of photosynthesis, the method through which plants convert sunlight into energy.


In the realm of photosynthesis, chlorophyll's role is indispensable. It absorbs light, primarily blue and red wavelengths, and converts it into chemical energy. This process not only fuels the plant's growth but also produces oxygen.


In this article, we delve into 'The Health Benefits of Chlorophyll,' examining its impact on health and wellness.

How to Take Chlorophyll?


When it comes to incorporating chlorophyll into our diet, we are faced with two primary sources: natural chlorophyll from plants and chlorophyll supplements, available in forms like pills and liquids. The comparison between these two sources is significant in understanding their respective benefits.

Natural Chlorophyll:

 

Natural chlorophyll, found abundantly in algae, seaweed, green vegetables and herbs, is as close to nature's design as possible. Foods like spinach, parsley, and green beans are not just rich in chlorophyll; they also come packed with a host of other nutrients and fiber. This synergy of components in whole foods often enhances the body's ability to utilise chlorophyll effectively.

Pros:


  • Whole Food Nutrition:¬†Natural chlorophyll sources like algae, leafy greens provide a broad range of nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals, in addition to chlorophyll.
  • Balanced Absorption:¬†The body may absorb chlorophyll more naturally and effectively from food sources compared to supplements.
  • Lower Risk of Side Effects: Consuming chlorophyll through natural sources typically presents a lower risk of the side effects associated with high doses found in supplements.
  • Natural Superfood Based Supplements: Can be naturally rich in Chlorophyll content.
  • Easier on the stomach

Cons:


  • Lower Concentration:¬†The amount of chlorophyll in natural sources is lower compared to concentrated supplements, which might be less effective for specific therapeutic needs.
  • Pesticides and Contaminants:¬†Some chlorophyll-rich foods, especially¬†non-organically¬†grown ones, may contain pesticides or other contaminants, compared to¬†organically grown.
  • Limited Shelf Life: Fresh, chlorophyll-rich foods have a limited shelf life and require proper storage to maintain their nutritional value.
  • Seasonal Availability: Some chlorophyll-rich sources may be seasonally available, limiting access at certain times of the year.

Natural Chlorophyll and Its Sources:

 

The best natural sources of chlorophyll are found in green vegetables, agae and herbs. These include:


  • Seaweed and Algae:¬†Such as¬†spirulina and chlorella, are exceptional sources of chlorophyll and are often used in supplement form.
  • Spinach: One of the richest sources, spinach is versatile and can be easily included in various dishes.
  • Parsley:¬†Known for its high chlorophyll content, parsley is more than just a garnish.
  • Green Beans: These not only contain chlorophyll but also provide fiber and other nutrients.

Incorporating these foods into your diet is a natural way to boost your chlorophyll intake. Whether it's through a fresh salad, a green smoothie, or a side dish, the options are both delicious and beneficial.


In the next sections, we will explore more about the health benefits of chlorophyll, its impact on various aspects of wellness, and how to effectively integrate it into your daily regimen.


Chlorophyll Supplements:


On the other hand, chlorophyll supplements, which are available in various concentrations and forms, offer a more direct and concentrated dose of this green pigment. These supplements are especially useful for individuals who may not consume enough green vegetables in their daily diet. However, it's important to note that supplements might lack the additional nutritional benefits found in whole food sources.

Pros:


  • Concentrated Benefits: Supplements provide a concentrated form of chlorophyll, which can be beneficial for those who don't consume enough green vegetables.

  • Convenience:¬†They offer a convenient way to incorporate chlorophyll into the diet, especially for people with busy lifestyles.
  • Purity:¬†Supplements often contain purified chlorophyll, which may be free from contaminants found in some natural sources.
  • Specific Health Benefits: They can specifically target certain health issues like bad breath, body odor, or skin problems.

Cons:


  • Lack of Additional Nutrients: Unlike natural sources, supplements don't provide the other nutrients and fiber found in green vegetables.
  • Potential Side Effects: High doses can lead to digestive issues or allergic reactions in some individuals.
  • Interactions with Medications: Chlorophyll supplements can interact with certain medications, so it's important to consult with a healthcare provider.
  • Cost: Supplements can be more expensive than obtaining chlorophyll from dietary sources.

The Health Benefits of Chlorophyll:


Chlorophyll, the lifeblood of plants, is not just crucial for their survival but also offers promising set of health benefits for humans. Below we explore some the main benefits of chlorophyll as well as the evidence.

1. Chlorophyll Benefits for Skin Health and Acne:


Chlorophyll is celebrated for its skin benefits. It is believed to improve skin health by reducing inflammation and bacterial growth in skin wounds, which can be particularly beneficial for acne treatment. Its antioxidant properties also help in combating aging signs.


Scientific Study: This study reports that chlorophyll can improve facial wrinkles and elasticity. This was observed in female volunteers over the age of 45 who received chlorophyll extract supplements for 90 days. The results showed an increase in type I procollagen synthesis and a reduction in UV-induced thymine dimer staining and UV-induced apoptosis of keratinocytes. Chlorophyll's benefits for the skin are believed to be primarily due to its antioxidant properties. These properties help in reducing wrinkles, minimising epidermal DNA damage, and preventing apoptosis (cell death).

2. Chlorophyll and Energy Levels:


Chlorophyll is believed to enhance energy levels by improving blood flow and increasing oxygen supply to cells. This boost in cellular oxygenation can lead to increased vitality and overall energy.  However, there is no definitive evidence that Chlorophyll increases energy levels.  

3. Chlorophyll For Lungs:


This study highlights the potential of chlorophyll derivatives, particularly ZnPh, in lung health and as a possible treatment for respiratory diseases like COVID-19. The ability of ZnPh to increase cellular Zn2+ concentration and its cytotoxic effects on harmful lung cells, combined with its low toxicity at certain concentrations, makes it a promising area for further research and clinical trials.

4. Chlorophyll For Hair:


It is believed that Chlorophyll can stimulate hair growth and improve scalp health due to its ability to increase blood circulation in the scalp, however there is no credible medical research to answer whether or not chlorophyll helps with hair growth

5. Chlorophyll Detox:


Chlorophyll can bind with toxins and heavy metals in the body, aiding in their removal. This cleansing action helps purify the blood and liver, contributing to overall health and well-being.


Scientific Study: This study concluded detoxification capabilities of chlorophyll are linked to its antioxidant activity. By reducing oxidative stress, chlorophyll can potentially mitigate the formation of reactive species that contribute to cellular damage and disease development. However, more research is needed to overcome the challenges related to their bioavailability and stability.

6. Impact on Blood Health:


Chlorophyll is similar in structure to hemoglobin (red blood cell protein), and some believe it helps in the formation and quality of red blood cells, improving oxygen transport and overall blood health.  


Scientific Study: There is some evidence to suggest chlorophyll derivatives, as part of SXN tablets can increase hemoglobin levels, improve iron metabolism, and enhance the overall quality of red blood cells. However, apart from this study there is not many others to back-up the claim.

7. Chlorophyll for Weight Loss:


Chlorophyll supplementation was found to effectively hold-back body weight gain in the mice fed a high-fat diet. This suggests that chlorophyll can play a role in managing body weight and potentially preventing obesity.  The study also observed improvements in glucose tolerance and a reduction in low-grade inflammation as well as beneficial changes in the gut microbiota composition due to chlorophyll supplementation.  However the study was conducted on mice and further research could be required to verify the claim.

8. Chlorophyll for Cancer


There is evidence to suggest that chlorophyll can bind to potential carcinogens and interfere with how they're absorbed within the human gastrointestinal tract, thereby helping in cancer prevention.


Scientific Study:  This study concludes that chlorophyll-mediated changes in the redox status of pancreatic cancer cells might be responsible for their antiproliferative and anticancer effects. This suggests a potential role for chlorophyll in cancer prevention, particularly for those who consume green vegetables.

9. Chlorophyll For Anemia:


As mentioned earlier, Chlorophyll has a molecular structure similar to haemoglobin, which can help improve the quality of red blood cells.


Scientific Study: This study provides evidence that chlorophyll derivatives, as part of SXN tablets (Chinese patented medicine made from silkworm excrement), effectively treat iron deficiency anemia. They help increase haemoglobin levels, improve iron metabolism, and enhance the quality of red blood cells.

10. Does chlorophyll Help with Body Odor?

 

It is believed that Chlorophyll’s natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties could make it effective against body odor.


Scientific Study: However, this study found the effectiveness of chlorophyllin (a chlorophyll derivative) in this regard was not conclusively superior to placebo, indicating that further research is needed to fully understand its potential in managing body odor.

11. Chlorophyll for Gut Health:

 

Chlorophyll aids in maintaining a healthy gut by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and reducing inflammation. This contributes to improved digestion and absorption of nutrients, essential for overall gut health.


Scientific Study: This study shows us how chlorophyll and its related compounds are broken down in our digestive system and how they might help keep our gut healthy. When chlorophyll interacts with the good bacteria in our gut, it might help make beneficial substances called SCFAs. This is really important for young kids, as what they eat early on can affect their health for a long time. Knowing how chlorophyll works in our body can help us make better food choices and use the goodness of green foods to improve our gut health and overall well-being.

12. Chlorophyll Nutrional Benefits:

 

Chlorophyll itself is a pigment found in plants and is not a nutrient in the traditional sense, like vitamins or minerals. However, it is often associated with nutrient-rich foods. Chlorophyll is abundant in green vegetables, which are sources of various essential nutrients. 

Effective Dosage

 

The optimal amount of chlorophyll for effective results can vary based on individual needs and health conditions. Generally, doses of 100 to 300 milligrams per day have been used in studies without any reported side effects. However, it's always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Safety and Side Effects:


1. Understanding the Side Effects

 

While chlorophyll is largely beneficial, it's important to understand its potential side effects to use it safely.


  • Common and Specific Side Effects: The most common side effects of chlorophyll supplements include¬†digestive discomfort, such as diarrhea or cramping, especially when consumed in large amounts. Some individuals may also experience green-colored stools, which is generally harmless but can be surprising.
  • Side Effects of Too Much Chlorophyll: Excessive intake of chlorophyll via supplements can lead to more pronounced digestive issues. In rare cases, it may cause photosensitivity, leading to skin reactions when exposed to sunlight.


2. Precautions and Recommendations

 

Awareness of when to exercise caution with chlorophyll intake is crucial for its safe and effective use.


  • When to Be Cautious:¬†Individuals with a history of allergies to green vegetables should be cautious, as they might have a similar reaction to chlorophyll supplements. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult a healthcare provider before taking chlorophyll supplements. Additionally, those on medication, particularly those that increase sensitivity to sunlight, should discuss chlorophyll intake with their doctor to avoid potential interactions.

Conclusion: The Health Benefits of Chlorophyll


In conclusion, chlorophyll, the vibrant green pigment in plants, is more than just a colorant; It has shown to have potential in improving energy levels and blood health to enhancing gut health and aiding in detoxification, chlorophyll plays a vital role in promoting overall well-being. Its benefits extend to skin health, lung function, and even hair vitality, making it a versatile component in any health regimen.


Whether consumed through natural sources like leafy greens, spirulina, and wheatgrass, or taken as a supplement, chlorophyll offers a natural way to boost your health. While it's important to be mindful of the potential side effects and interactions with other medications, the advantages of incorporating chlorophyll into your diet are clear.


 As we continue to understand more about this remarkable compound, it's evident that chlorophyll is a positive component of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.


Remember, as with any dietary supplement, it's best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the right approach for your individual health need

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does chlorophyll take to work?

Chlorophyll: Supplements: When taken as a supplement, chlorophyll can start interacting with your body fairly quickly. Some people report noticing effects such as improved energy or digestion within a few days to a week of regular supplementation. However, for more significant health benefits, such as skin healing or detoxification, it might take longer.


Natural Chlorophyll from Food Sources: Consuming chlorophyll naturally through food involves eating green vegetables like spinach, parsley, and green algae like spirulina and chlorella. The benefits from natural sources are typically absorbed more slowly as the body needs to digest and process the food. Noticeable health improvements from dietary chlorophyll can take a longer time, possibly several weeks to months, as part of an overall healthy diet.

Should I take chlorophyll on an empty stomach?

Chlorophyll Supplements: In Capsule or Tablet Form: These are often recommended to be taken with food to help with absorption and to reduce the chances of gastrointestinal discomfort. Taking supplements with a meal can also help prevent any potential nausea or stomach upset, which can occur with some individuals when supplements are taken on an empty stomach.


Liquid Chlorophyll: If you're using liquid chlorophyll, the instructions might vary. Some people prefer taking it on an empty stomach for quicker absorption, while others may find it's better tolerated with food. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions or a healthcare provider's advice in this case.

Chlorophyll and kidneys

Chlorophyll can have various effects on the kidneys, many of which are considered beneficial, but as with any supplement or dietary change, it's important to approach its use with consideration for individual health circumstances.


Detoxification and Cleansing: Chlorophyll is often touted for its detoxifying properties. It may assist the kidneys in flushing out toxins from the body more effectively. This is due to chlorophyll's potential to bind with certain toxins and aid in their elimination through the digestive tract, thereby reducing the toxin load on the kidneys.


Antioxidant Properties: Chlorophyll has antioxidant properties, which can be beneficial for kidney health. Oxidative stress is a factor in many kidney conditions, and antioxidants can help in neutralizing free radicals, potentially protecting the kidneys from damage.


Diuretic Effects: Some studies suggest that chlorophyll can have a mild diuretic effect, increasing urine production. This can help in flushing out more waste products, which is a key function of the kidneys.


Potential Risks: While chlorophyll is generally safe for most people, those with kidney disease or impaired kidney function should be cautious. An increased intake of chlorophyll, especially in supplement form, could potentially affect the balance of minerals and fluids that people with kidney issues need to manage carefully.

Which foods are high chlorophyll?

Spirulina: Extremely high in chlorophyll, it's a blue-green algae often found in supplement form.


Chlorella: Another type of algae, known for its rich chlorophyll content.


Wheatgrass: A concentrated source of chlorophyll, popularly used in juices and supplements.


Moringa: Moringa leaves are not only rich in chlorophyll but also packed with various nutrients.


 Barley grass : Similar to wheatgrass, it's a significant source of chlorophyll and is often consumed as a juice or powder.


Parsley: A common kitchen herb with a high concentration of chlorophyll.


Spinach: One of the most chlorophyll-rich leafy green vegetables.


Mustard Greens: These greens are not only high in chlorophyll but also in other nutrients.


Green Beans: A good vegetable source of chlorophyll.


Seaweed: Varieties like nori and kelp are substantial in their chlorophyll content.

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Image of Pard, the Author

Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. My journey in the health and wellness field has been driven by a passion for understanding and sharing the most effective ways to maintain and improve health. Over the years, I have delved into a wide range of topics, constantly seeking out the latest research and insights. My commitment is to provide well-researched, accurate, and trustworthy information to help readers make informed decisions about their health.

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