Increasing the chlorophyll in your diet is one way to support your health and improve the nutritional value of your meals. Found in green vegetables, herbs and algae, chlorophyll has also become popular as a dietary supplement. Consuming chlorophyll every day benefits your antioxidant levels, your immune system and your detoxification, but it's not a substitute for medical care. Consult with your doctor before combining supplements with prescribed medications.
What It Is
Chlorophyll is the green pigment that gives color to the leaves and stems of plants and is required for photosynthesis. In the plant tissues, chlorophyll translates light into chemical energy, making it an essential part of plant health and growth. The chemical structure of chlorophyll is similar to the heme in human hemoglobin, which may explain the traditional use of chlorophyll as a blood-building and nutritive tonic. When isolated and extracted for supplementation, chlorophyll is often referred to as chlorophyllin.
Dietary Sources of Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is present in all green plants and vegetables, though some have more than others. According to Dr Michael Murray and Dr Jospeh Pizzorno, authors of "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods," good dietary sources of chlorophyll include broccoli, wheat grass, green leafy vegetables and algae such as spirulina and chlorella. Chlorophyll can also be purchased as a supplement, but you must be be sure you are getting a quality product. Liquid chlorophyll supplements have been altered chemically to make the chlorophyll water soluble and they may not have the same benefits to your health as natural chlorophyll found in plants and vegetables.
Chlorophyll Health Benefits
Chlorophyll provides a range of health benefits when included in the diet on a regular basis. Users claim chlorophyll can help you cleanse toxins from the blood, promote healthy bowel movements, deodorize the breath and feces and modulate immune function. In a study published in "Molecular Immunology" in 2007, researchers from Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India found chlorophyll stimulated the immune system in mice and protected against radiation-induced immune suppression. Green leafy vegetables and algae are good nutritional sources of chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll's Safety and Toxicity
If you consume chlorophyll through whole foods or take chlorophyll supplements at the dosage recommended on the packaging, complications are unlikely. According to Drugs.com, overdoses of chlorophyll resulting in chlorophyll poisoning are rare, but they do occur. Symptoms of chlorophyll poisoning include digestive problems such as diarrhea and stomach cramps. If you experience symptoms and suspect chlorophyll poisoning, you should seek emergency medical attention right away.
- The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods; Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
- Molecular Immunology: Antiapoptotic and Immunomodulatory Effects of Chlorophyllin; D. Sharma, et al.
- Drugs.com: Chlorophyll