When we hear the word chlorophyll, we typically think back to our school days spent in science class. Back then, you learned that chlorophyll collects light from the sun to make energy in plants, and it's also what gives plants their beautiful green color. Thus, you can find large amounts of chlorophyll naturally in leafy vegetables (think kale and collard greens) and to a lesser extent in fruits (think apples, kiwi and pears). This green gem is now popping up in juice bars and in the supplement section on supermarket shelves — in both pill and liquid form — claiming health benefits from weight loss to cancer prevention. Sound too good to be true? Here's the science-based truth on the health benefits of liquid chlorophyll: As with any supplement, you should talk to a medical professional prior to consuming liquid chlorophyll.
Does Liquid Chlorophyll Support Weight Loss?
There is promising preliminary research to support chlorophyll aiding in weight-loss efforts. A recent study published in Appetite in 2014 found that adding chlorophyll (from plant membranes) to the diet resulted in greater weight loss over 12 weeks. And for further encouragement, the longer the study went on, the more weight was lost compared to the control group. The University of Lund researchers conducting the study also found that it decreased the craving for junk food and lowered LDL-cholesterol levels. An earlier study from the same research group published in 2013 in Appetite showed that chlorophyll might play a role in satiety. The researchers studied the effects of adding chlorophyll to a high-carbohydrate diet in 20 overweight women. They found that adding chlorophyll suppressed their hunger motivation and increased the secretion of a hormone called CCK, which helps to metabolize fat and protein in the diet.
Liquid Chlorophyll and Cancer
Preliminary research has shown that chlorophyll can help to mitigate the oxidative damage from cancer-causing chemicals and radiation. According to Chlorophylls and Bacteriochlorophylls: Biochemistry, Biophysics, Functions and Applications, liquid chlorophyll binds to carcinogenic molecules produced from daily exposure to tobacco smoke, grilling meats and aflatoxin produced from molds in foods. Chlorophyll forms a complex with the carcinogens that your body has a difficult time absorbing, so your body eliminates these complexes through feces, helping to prevent cancer.
Detox With Liquid Chlorophyll
Liquid chlorophyll also has the ability to bind and remove toxic heavy metals like mercury from your body. Additionally, liquid chlorophyll aids your body in destroying and removing germs and helps to prevent the growth of new germs. Moreover, it is a good and effective source of magnesium that can alkalinize your body. It's also an antioxidant, preventing harmful oxidation in the body.
Reduce Odor With Liquid Chlorophyll
Bad breath? Digestive issues? Topical chlorophyll has been used for decades in clinical settings to help reduce odor from open wounds. From this, doctors began to provide chlorophyll orally to reduce urine and fecal odors; liquid chlorophyll can function as a deodorizer and a promoter of good digestive function. Therefore, medical professionals sometimes recommend this supplement to treat bad breath. To date, there is still little science to support this practice.
Natural Food Sources of Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll occurs naturally in vegetables and some fruits, including kiwi, apples, pears, spinach, green beans, arugula, sugar peas, cabbage and parsley.
The Risks of Liquid Chlorophyll
Natural chlorophyll has no history of being poisonous or toxic to the body. As with any supplement, check with your doctor before taking, as it may interact with some of your medications. The safety of liquid chlorophyll has not been tested on pregnant or lactating women, so they should avoid this supplement. Diarrhea, constipation and stomach upset have been occasionally reported with chlorophyll use. It may also discolor your urine or feces.
- "Chlorophylls and Bacteriochlorophylls: Biochemistry, Biophysics, Functions and Applications (Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration)"; Bernhard Grimm and et al; 2010
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- Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(2):203-11. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2015.990573. Epub 2015 Feb 4. Chemopreventive potential of chlorophyllin: a review of the mechanisms of action and molecular targets. Nagini S1, Palitti F, Natarajan AT.
- Appetite. 2014 Oct;81:295-304. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.06.101. Epub 2014 Jun 30. Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women. Montelius C1, Erlandsson D1, Vitija E1, Stenblom EL1, Egecioglu E1, Erlanson-Albertsson C2.
- J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2013;76(23):1307-15. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2013.851632. Protective effect of chlorophyllin and lycopene from water spinach extract on cytotoxicity and oxidative stress induced by heavy metals in human hepatoma cells. Yang UJ1, Park TS, Shim SM.
- Appetite. 2013 Sep;68:118-23. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.04.022. Epub 2013 Apr 28. Supplementation by thylakoids to a high carbohydrate meal decreases feelings of hunger, elevates CCK levels and prevents postprandial hypoglycaemia in overweight women. Stenblom EL1, Montelius C, Östbring K, Håkansson M, Nilsson S, Rehfeld JF, Erlanson-Albertsson C.
- Oregon State