Chlorophyll: add some green to your plate.

Chlorophyll: add some green to your plate.

Social media seems to have fallen in love with the fascinating, gorgeous green chlorophyll. It’s perfect for TikTok and Instagram, but you might be wondering if it’s healthy.

What is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is the well-known pigment that makes plants green. Plants use chlorophyll to produce food during photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants (and some other organisms) use sunlight to make food from carbon dioxide and water.

What is the logic of using chlorophyll?

It makes sense in a way. If eating vegetables is good for your health, then ingesting the condensed form of the substance that makes up your vegetables must be very good for you. Chlorophyll is also an antioxidant. It’s no secret that antioxidants are useful: they fight free radicals in your body, compounds that are linked to diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Free radicals become problematic when their levels are high in our body.

What are the other supposed benefits of ingesting chlorophyll or applying it topically?

Humans have been consuming chlorophyll since ancient times. In the 1930s, scientists experimented with chlorophyll for various reasons, including speeding up wound healing. This led the scientist, Dr. Benjamin Gruskin, a researcher at Temple University, to patent the use of chlorophyll in water-soluble solutions. In the 1950s there was a chlorophyll craze because people thought (thanks to a lot of marketing) that chlorophyll reduced body odor and bad breath. Does anyone remember the Clorets brand of gum and mints? It was one of many products marketed under the umbrella of chlorophyll benefits, and is still produced today.

Back in vogue, chlorophyll is being touted for its amazing array of health benefits, particularly the following.

  • Acne treatment.
  • A burst of energy.
  • Relief from constipation.
  • Weight loss.
  • Cancer prevention.
  • Skin care and wound healing.
  • Relieve gas.

Research has confirmed that chlorophyll has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, when we use “chlorophyll drops”, it is not actually chlorophyll. That beautiful, swirling green potion you see influencers dripping into crystal clear water is actually chlorophyllin, a semi-synthetic mixture of compounds (copper and sodium salts) derived from chlorophyll. Chlorophyllin is also available in pill and topical form. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people over the age of 12 can safely consume up to 300 milligrams of chlorophyll a day.

As for side effects?

Although chlorophyll is essential for plant life, it can also have negative side effects. When ingested by humans, chlorophyll can cause:

  • Digestive disorders.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Greenish, yellowish or blackish stools that can be mistaken for gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Itching or burning, applied topically.
  • Discolored tongue.
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight.

Are there other ways to increase your chlorophyll intake?

Yes, the best and easiest way to include chlorophyll in your diet is to eat green vegetables. Spinach, alfalfa, and wheatgrass are three excellent options. Eating foods rich in chlorophyll gives you other benefits of green vegetables, including nutrients like iron and high fiber. The following foods are rich in chlorophyll.

  • Spinach.
  • Green leaves of cabbage.
  • Mustard leaves.
  • Lucerne.
  • Parsley.
  • Broccoli.
  • Green cabbage.
  • Asparagus.
  • Green beans and peas.
  • Matcha green tea.

If taking chlorophyll could protect us from cancer and diabetes, make us feel fresh, cure acne and help us lose those extra five pounds, it wouldn’t be a secret offered by most people on TikTok.

Chlorophyll may have health benefits, but not enough research has been done to know. It won’t hurt you to take it, but whether it does everything the advertising industry claims it will do remains to be seen.

* Presse Santé strives to convey knowledge about health in a language accessible to all. IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES can the information provided replace the advice of a medical professional.

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