Mya Care Blogger 18 Mar 2024

Chlorophyll is the green pigment that furnishes plants and algae with their vibrant green hue and is essential for photosynthesis.

The potential health benefits of chlorophyll have gained more attention in recent years, leading to the rise of chlorophyll supplements and liquid drops. This blog examines the science behind chlorophyll and its effects on our health, including the potential benefits and risks.

Chemical Structure of Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is a type of pigment found in plants and algae. Its primary function is to absorb sunlight and convert it into energy through photosynthesis.

The pigment consists of a chemical structure called a porphyrin ring, similar to the heme in our red blood cells. The only difference between heme and chlorophyll is that chlorophyll contains magnesium at its center, while heme contains iron.[1]

Types of Chlorophyll

There are a few chlorophyll types. The most common ones found in plants are chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b. These two types of chlorophyll work together to absorb different wavelengths of light, allowing plants to convert sunlight into energy efficiently.

Supplements consist of these natural chlorophyll forms and chlorophyllin (in liquid supplements and topical ointments). Chlorophyllin is a semi-synthetic form of chlorophyll modified to make it more stable. We absorb this form better than conventional chlorophyll from plants.

It is typically derived from chlorophyll extracted from plants and then chemically altered to replace the magnesium ion in the center of the molecule with copper. This conversion improves the stability and bioavailability of chlorophyllin, making it a more suitable form for supplementation.

Potential Health Benefits of Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is known for its antioxidant properties, helping defend our tissues from the damage of free radicals. This property may underscore most of its potential health benefits.

Free radicals are highly reactive chemical compounds associated with oxidative stress and cell damage. Over time, free radical buildup and antioxidant depletion can lead to chronic ailments. By neutralizing these free radicals, chlorophyll can help prevent cell damage and promote overall health.

Despite limited evidence, several studies show that chlorophyll has anticarcinogenic activity.

Chlorophyll in Cancer Prevention

 According to studies, chlorophyll can hinder the formation of cancer cells by forming complexes with carcinogens, inhibiting their activation, and promoting antioxidant activity and induction of apoptosis in cancer cells.[2]

Some of chlorophyll’s potential anticarcinogenic mechanisms are listed below.

  • Chlorophyll binds to carcinogens and prevents them from attaching to DNA. This effect can prevent carcinogens from causing mutations that can lead to cancer.
  • Chlorophyll promotes antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help to guard cells from free radical harm, which slows cancer development.
  • Chlorophyll induces apoptosis in cancer cells. Apoptosis is a programmed cell death necessary for removing damaged or cancerous cells from the body.

Similar benefits are associated with a high intake of chlorophyll-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables. Incorporating more of these foods in a balanced diet may lower cancer risk,  promoting overall health and well-being.[3]

More research is needed to understand the mechanisms of chlorophyll's anticarcinogenic effects fully, but the available evidence suggests that it is a promising natural compound for cancer prevention and treatment.

Wound Healing

Chlorophyllin, in the 1940s-50s, was found to slow bacterial growth, heal wounds, and reduce foul odor. These results led to chlorophyllin solutions for treating wounds during the 20th century. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can help promote healing and prevent infection.

Topical chlorophyllin shows higher efficacy over other treatments regarding wound healing, pain reduction, and decreasing wound-related inflammation. Chlorophyllin was added to ointments to reduce inflammation, promote healing, and control odor. You can still get a prescription for some of these ointments today.[4]

Other Chlorophyll Benefits

Chlorophyll can potentially exert several other health benefits, including:

  • Detoxification: Chlorophyll can bind to toxins and heavy metals, theoretically aiding in their removal from the body. It can also inhibit specific P450 enzymes that promote detoxification and prevent the complete uptake of toxins and other cancer-causing compounds in the liver.[5]
  • Digestive Health: Some studies have suggested chlorophyll may help improve digestion and relieve constipation. Animal studies show that chlorophyll can alleviate symptoms of IBDs.[6]
  • Weight Loss: Chlorophyll may aid weight loss by reducing cravings, increasing fullness, and regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Skin Health: Chlorophyll in skincare products may lessen acne and facilitate healthier skin.
  • Natural Deodorant: Historically, internally consumed chlorophyllin helped to control odor in patients with foul-smelling disorders, such as colostomies, ileostomies, incontinence, and trimethylaminuria.[7]

While promising, the scientific evidence supporting these claims requires further confirmation. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of ingested chlorophyll and chlorophyllin supplementation on human health.

Sources of Chlorophyll

A variety of plant-based foods contain chlorophyll, particularly leafy green vegetables.[8] The table below reviews the chlorophyll content from some of the best dietary sources.


Chlorophyll Content (mg/kg)















Green beans






Brussels sprouts






Green grapes


Chlorophyll Supplements: Advantages and Disadvantages

With the growing interest in the potential health benefits of chlorophyll, many companies have started selling chlorophyll supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, and liquid drops.

While these supplements may seem convenient to increase your chlorophyll intake, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of chlorophyll supplements:

  • Convenience: Chlorophyll supplements are a convenient way to increase your chlorophyll intake, especially if you do not consume enough leafy green vegetables.
  • Potential Benefits: While more research is needed, some studies have shown potential benefits of chlorophyll supplements, such as cancer prevention, weight loss, and wound healing.
  • No Green Stools: One of the potential side effects of consuming large amounts of chlorophyll is green stools. You can control the dosage with supplements and avoid this side effect.

Disadvantages of chlorophyll supplements:

  • Lacks Magnesium[9]: We lose the benefit of magnesium when supplementing with chlorophyllin, which potentially reduces some of the benefits.
  • Overconsumption: Too much chlorophyll can lead to side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and skin discoloration.
  • Environmental Impact: The production of chlorophyll supplements can harm the environment, as it requires large amounts of energy and resources.

Chlorophyll Side Effects and Potential Risks

While chlorophyll is generally considered safe, high doses can lead to side effects, most of which are minimal. Some of the potential risks include:

  • Diarrhea: Consuming too much chlorophyll can lead to diarrhea, especially in liquid form.
  • Skin Discoloration: In rare cases, consuming large amounts of chlorophyll can cause skin discoloration, particularly in people with light skin.
  • Drug Interactions: Chlorophyll may interact with certain medications, rendering them ineffective. Discuss taking chlorophyll supplements with your doctor first.

Recommended Dosage and Consumption of Chlorophyll

The recommended dosage of chlorophyll supplements varies depending on the form and brand. It is advisable to follow the instructions on the packaging and consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting any supplement.

When consuming chlorophyll through food, there is no specific recommended dosage. However, it is vital to maintain a balanced diet and include a variety of leafy green vegetables in your meals to ensure you are getting enough chlorophyll and other essential nutrients.


Chlorophyll is a plant pigment linked to several potential health benefits, including antioxidant properties, weight loss, wound healing, and more. While present in various plant-based foods, some people may supplement their intake with chlorophyll supplements. For safety, consider the potential risks and side effects of chlorophyll consumption and consult your healthcare professional before starting any supplement. Chlorophyll-rich foods, like leafy green vegetables, are necessary to round out a balanced diet and consuming them is the best way to ensure you are getting enough chlorophyll for overall health.

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