Do you remember what you learned about chlorophyll in school? It's the pigment that gives plants and algae their beautiful green color. What you may not know is that chlorophyll benefits your health and well-being. This compound can be obtained from food or supplements, and it exhibits therapeutic properties.
Chlorophyll exhibits strong antioxidant effects and may protect against free radical damage. A small number of studies suggest that it may also aid in weight loss by improving appetite control and reducing cravings.
Chlorophyll vs. Chlorophyllin
Liquid chlorophyll has emerged as one of the most popular supplements among health-conscious consumers. Proponents say that it cleanses the body, neutralizes free radicals and aids in digestion. Unfortunately, most of those claims lack scientific proof.
As Medical News Today points out, most dietary supplements contain chlorophyllin, not chlorophyll. However, these compounds are related and have similar properties. Several studies conducted over the years indicate that chlorophyllin may slow down aging, reduce acne breakouts and fight oxidative stress.
Chlorophyllin is often promoted as chlorophyll in dietary supplements. These compounds are related and have similar properties.
This natural compound is derived from chlorophyll. Its chemical names include sodium copper chlorophyllin, sodium-copper chlorin e6, chlorophyllin copper sodium salt and others. You may find these terms listed on supplement labels. Both liquid chlorophyll and chlorophyllin have been used as medication for decades.
Does Chlorophyll Support Weight Loss?
From dieters and nutritionists to celebrities, everyone is talking about greens supplements and functional beverages. These products typically contain chlorophyll or chlorophyllin, along with chlorella, spirulina, barley grass and other natural compounds extracted from plants. According to Ryan Andrews, MS, RD, greens supplements may increase your energy, keep your bones healthy and boost your antioxidant levels. They also balance the body's pH and reduce acidity.
Liquid chlorophyll is a popular choice for those trying to slim down. A 2014 study published in the journal Appetite confirms that it may help with weight loss. Dieters who took supplements made with chlorophyll-containing membranes lost about 3 pounds more than the placebo group. They also reported fewer sugar cravings and a greater reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels compared to those who didn't use supplements.
Researchers suggest that chlorophyll may facilitate weight loss by reducing the urge to eat sugary and fatty foods. This substance may also increase glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) levels after a meal, which further improves appetite control and insulin response. GLP-1 regulates appetite and delays gastric emptying while balancing the hormones that influence satiety and hunger. According to a 2018 review published in the journal Brain Injury, it may also protect against Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Protect Your Liver Naturally
In addition to its neuroprotective and appetite-suppressing effects, chlorophyll promotes liver health and balances the gut flora. A recent study posted in Frontiers in Physiology in 2018 has found that chlorophyllin may help relieve hepatic fibrosis symptoms by reducing harmful gut bacteria. As mentioned earlier, this plant compound is derived from chlorophyll and has similar properties.
The study also indicates that chlorophyllin may reduce liver inflammation and protect the small intestine in mice with hepatic fibrosis. Its beneficial effects on the gut microbiota hold promise for future research.
Whether you're taking chlorophyll for weight loss or medical purposes, consult your doctor first. Like most natural remedies, this supplement has potential side effects and may interact with certain drugs.
Fight Oxidative Stress
Functional beverages are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. A 2016 review featured in the Journal of Food Science and Technology analyzed several grass beverages for their chlorophyll and antioxidant content. Barley grass juice appears to be higher in chlorophyll and gallic acid than wheat and rice grass drinks. Researchers also pointed out that chlorophyll has a similar structure to hemoglobin and may help protect against cancer.
Another study, which was published in Food and Nutrition Sciences in 2013, highlights the antioxidant power of this plant compound. Scientists suggest that chlorophyll may prevent DNA damage and lipid peroxidation, reduce cancer risk and improve overall health. These potential benefits are thanks to its ability to scavenge free radicals.
Smoking, pollution, processed foods and household chemicals all accelerate the production of free radicals in the body, according to Medical News Today. These harmful compounds have been linked to a higher risk of cancer, inflammatory disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and premature aging. They also affect your eyesight and promote the onset of cataracts. Drinking liquid chlorophyll and other functional beverages may help reduce oxidative stress and offset free radical damage.
Ward Off Chronic Diseases
Wheatgrass juice is one of the most popular functional beverages on the market — and for good reason. Rich in chlorophyll, amino acids and micronutrients, it may help protect against chronic diseases and add years to your life. According to a 2014 pilot study published in the International Journal of Chemical Studies, this beverage can prevent anemia thanks to its high chlorophyll content. Patients with beta-thalassemia, a disorder that affects hemoglobin synthesis, required fewer blood transfusions and reported general well-being and pain relief after drinking wheatgrass juice every day.
Researchers have also found that chlorophyll accelerates tissue repair and wound healing. Furthermore, it may increase lifespan due to its anticancer, antioxidant and detoxifying properties. The same study outlines its ability to fight inflammation and inhibit bacteria growth.
Is Liquid Chlorophyll Safe?
Chlorophyll supplements are safe for most people. In some cases, it may cause increased sensitivity to the sun, rashes, stomach pain, and digestive distress. Its side effects are mild, though.
Use these products with caution if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. The effects of chlorophyll during pregnancy are unknown. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements that contain this ingredient.
Chlorophyll may not be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Use it with caution if you're expecting a baby.
Green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, parsley, leeks and arugula, are naturally high in chlorophyll. This plant compound is also found in blue-green algae and sprouts. If, for some reason, you can't or don't want to take liquid chlorophyll, fill up on veggies. This is a safe, natural way to boost your antioxidant intake and get more nutrients in your diet; plus, vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other micronutrients that support optimal health.
- World of Molecules: Chlorophyll Molecule
- Medical News Today: What Are the Benefits of Chlorophyll?
- PubChem: Chlorophyllins (Compound)
- Precision Nutrition: All About Greens Supplements
- ScienceDirect: 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
- SpringerLink: Effects of GLP-1 on Appetite and Weight
- Taylor & Francis Online: GLP-1’s Role in Neuroprotection: A Systematic Review
- Frontiers in Physiology: Chlorophyllin Modulates Gut Microbiota and Inhibits Intestinal Inflammation to Ameliorate Hepatic Fibrosis in Mice
- NCBI: Chlorophyll and Total Phenolic Contents, Antioxidant Activities and Consumer Acceptance Test of Processed Grass Drinks
- Food and Nutrition Sciences: The Antioxidant and Free Radical Scavenging Activities of Chlorophylls and Pheophytins
- Medical News Today: How Do Free Radicals Affect the Body?
- Semantic Scholar: A Pilot Study on Wheat Grass Juice for Its Phytochemical, Nutritional and Therapeutic Potential on Chronic Diseases
- WebMD: Chlorophyll
- WebMD: Chlorophyll: Uses and Risks