Remember way back in grade school, when you were taught about how chlorophyll helped plants transform sunlight into fuel? Well, it turns out that there is much more to chlorophyll than that! Chlorophyll is considered a superfood, and for good reason- chlorophyll has many benefits including being a potent anticancer agent, wound healer, and antiviral.
Curious as to what these benefits are? Read on!
What is chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is the pigment responsible for the green colour of plants and algae. There are many products marketed as liquid chlorophyll supplements. However, most of them contain chlorophyllin as chlorophyll is not as stable or as cheap as chlorophyllin. Thankfully, chlorophyllin, a water soluble derivative of chlorophyll has similar properties to chlorophyll.
Benefits of Taking Liquid Chlorophyll
1: Chlorophyll offers protection from the toxic effects of polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
PAHs are chemicals that exist in coal, crude oil, and gasoline and that are formed when wood, coal, oil, gas, wood and tobacco are burned. We are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis but scientists do not know whether our health is affected by low levels of exposure to these chemicals. However, if you are exposed to a high level of these chemicals, you may develop blood and liver disorders. Furthermore, many of the PAHs are carcinogenic (cancer causing).
Chlorophyll has been shown to bind PAHs, so taking liquid chlorophyll may be of benefit particularly if you are a smoker as studies show that you have more exposure to PAH than the general population.
2: Chlorophyll may offer protection from the toxic effects of aflatoxin B
Aflatoxin B is a liver carcinogen made by various types of fungi. You can find them in grains and legumes that have been exposed to mold such as corn, peanuts and soybeans. In areas such as Africa and Asia which are hot and humid regions that may not have proper storage facilities, the population is at greater risk of exposure to Aflatoxin B.
What is the risk of greater exposure to Aflatoxin B? If you are exposed to Aflatoxin B, you are at increased risk of getting lung cancer. Research has shown that chlorophyll may be protective against the effects of aflaxtoxin B. A study conducted in an area of China where adults at a higher risk of lung cancer due to unavoidable exposure to Aflatoxin B, found that participants taking 100mg of chlorophyllin three times a day before meals had 55% lower levels of Aflatoxin B induced DNA damage than those taking the placebo.
3: Chlorophyll may be useful as a natural deodorant
In the 1940s and 1950s, people noticed that chlorophyllin made foul-smelling wounds smell better. This led physicians to give chlorophyllin orally to colostomy and ileostomy patients. However, studies regarding the use of chlorophyllin as a deodorant have been mixed.
A study done on 62 residents of a nursing home found that giving residents chlorophyllin tablets helped control body and fecal odours. However, another study found that catheter patients taking 100mg per day of chlorophyllin for two weeks had no difference in odor levels compared to those receiving a placebo.
4: help with wound healing
Animal studies done in the 1940s found that chlorophyllin led to faster wound healing in animals. Studies done on humans found that patients who applied chlorophyllin containing ointments to their wounds healed faster than those who used other treatments. You can get a chlorophyll/papain/urea ointment by prescription.
5: protect from heterocyclic amines
Heterocyclic amines are carcinogenic substances that are made when you grill your food. Chlorophyll has been shown in test tube and animal studies to offer protection from heterocyclic amines. A study done in rats found that rats who ingested heterocyclic amines and were given chlorophyll had 60% less binding of heterocyclic amines to their DNA than rats who were not given chlorophyll.
6: Chlorophyll may be helpful for weight loss
One of the popular claims for liquid chlorophyll is weight loss. A human study examining the effect of taking a green plant membrane supplement containing chlorophyll for 12 weeks found that those who took the supplement lost 43% more weight than those not taking the supplement. They also reduced their total and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
7: may inhibit the spread of the polio virus
When the polio virus enters your body, it is carried to the blood stream and into your nervous system where it multiplies and destroys the nerve cells that are responsible for swallowing, blood flow, and breathing.
Chlorophyllin has been shown in in-vitro studies to bind to polio virus cells and prevent them from entering normal cells, maintaining the integrity of the cell. It may therefore have good antiviral activity in people infected with the polio virus.
8: Chlorophyll may be effective against colon cancer
Colon cancer is one of the major causes of cancer-related deaths. Chlorophyllin has been shown to be effective in killing colon cancer cells through apoptosis (programmed cell death) of the cancer cells. Chlorophyllin has also been shown to prevent colon cancer in mice.
9: effective insect repellent
If you live in the tropics, you may be familiar with dengue. Dengue is a viral infection caused by mosquitoes. There is no suitable vaccine or treatment for dengue. In a study, compounds made from chlorophyll were able to kill 85% to 100% of the larvae population.
10: effective against the carcinogen acridine orange
If you work in a lab, you may have been exposed to the substance acridine orange. Acridine orange is a stain used to visualize the cell nucleus. Though it is a useful stain, it is a known carcinogen. Chlorophyll acts as a binding agent, binding acridine orange, therefore preventing it from causing cancer. A study found that chlorophyllin was more effective than resveratrol (a powerful antioxidant found in wine) at binding acridine orange. Chlorophyllin was found to be more than ten times as effective as resveratrol.
11: may be effective against breast cancer
Breast cancer is the major cause of cancer in women across the world. Lab research has found that chlorophyllin against breast cancer cells. Researchers found that when chlorophyllin was used at a high dosage, it was able to inhibit 65% of the binding of breast cancer DNA to a potent breast cancer carcinogen.
12: It Helps Treat acne
Do you have black heads? Chlorophyll may be effective against them. A study found that a chlorophyllin containing complex applied to the face twice a day was able to improve acne in ten participants with mild to moderate acne.
13: Chlorophyll offers protection from the toxic effects of heterocyclic amines
Heterocyclic amines are carcinogens found in meat that has been cooked at high temperatures. High temperature methods of cooking include pan frying or barbecuing, hence you want to enjoy these foods only occasionally.
Chlorophyllin and chlorophyll bind with heterocyclic amines, preventing them from being absorbed into your gut.
14: helpful for sores caused by the herpes simplex virus
Preliminary research shows that applying chlorophyll in a cream or solution form to the skin enhances healing and decreases the number of sores caused by the herpes simplex virus.
15: Promising Potential for Treating shingles
Shingles is a viral infection which results in painful red rashes. Preliminary research shows that when chlorophyll is applied as a cream or solution it improves sores and recovery in patients with shingles.
16: helpful for treating basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Preliminary research shows that when chlorophyll is injected in the veins or applied to the skin in those receiving laser or light therapy, it reduces the recurrence of basal cell cancer.
How to take Liquid Chlorophyll
Liquid chlorophyll in the dosage of 100-300mg per day has been used as an internal deodorant. For everyday use you are looking at taking 50mg three times a day. You can place the drops in a glass of water.
Side Effects of Chlorophyll
If you take chlorophyll by mouth, as in the liquid form, it is likely safe for you. If you apply it to your skin in ointment form or have it injected by a doctor it is considered possibly safe.
Be extra careful out in the sun if you apply it to your skin as it can cause your skin to become extra sensitive to the sun. You should be especially careful to wear sunscreen, particularly if you are light in complexion. Chlorophyll in the liquid form can cause your urine or feces to turn green, and cause your tongue to turn yellow or black. You may also get diarrhea. It may also cause false positive results on a blood test. If you apply chlorophyll as an ointment to wounds, it may cause you to itch or cause slight burning.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not take chlorophyll supplements as there is not enough information regarding its safety for pregnant or lactating women.