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Chlorophyll in Your Diet

author image Joel Le Blanc
Joel Le Blanc is a professional writer for various websites. Le Blanc is currently a student at the University of Canterbury, where he studies English literature, folklore and creative writing. He holds a Diploma in Herbal Medicine and has studied massage, nutrition, bach flowers and reiki.
Chlorophyll in Your Diet
Green smoothies made with leafy greens provide extra chlorophyll in your diet. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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.

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What It Is

Chlorophyll makes plants green.
Chlorophyll makes plants green. Photo Credit: Hattanas Kumchai/iStock/Getty Images

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

Wheat grass is a source of chlorophyll.
Wheat grass is a source of chlorophyll. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

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

Rocket/Arugula plant.
Rocket/Arugula plant. Photo Credit: Yoeml/iStock/Getty Images

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

Seek emergency medical attention if you suspect poisoning.
Seek emergency medical attention if you suspect poisoning. Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you consume chlorophyll through whole foods or take chlorophyll supplements at the dosage recommended on the packaging, complications are unlikely. According to, 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.

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