Wellness Nutrition Health Benefits of Chlorophyll Chlorophyll supplements, powders, and drinks are available, but are they actually healthy? By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's Health's contributing nutrition editor and counsels clients one-on-one through her virtual private practice. Cynthia is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics and has consulted for five professional sports teams, including five seasons with the New York Yankees. She is currently the nutrition consultant for UCLA's Executive Health program. Sass is also a three-time New York Times best-selling author and Certified Plant Based Professional Cook. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook, or visit www.CynthiaSass.com. health's editorial guidelines Updated on January 8, 2020 Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page You may have seen chlorophyll in various products, from chlorophyll pills to energy bars. Chlorophyll is a pigment that gives plants their green color. Plants store chlorophyll in a part of their cells called chloroplasts. Chlorophyll is essential for photosynthesis, or the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Chlorophyll is naturally found in green fruits and vegetables like apples, broccoli, kiwi, and spinach. You can find chlorophyll in the form of oral tablets and capsules or topical gels. You can add liquid or powder chlorophyll to drinks like juices, smoothies, or water. Some evidence suggests that chlorophyll has benefits like helping you lose weight, protecting against certain cancers, and treating skin concerns like acne. More research is needed to fully understand chlorophyll's effects on health. Read on to learn about chlorophyll, its possible benefits and risks, and how to use it. Standard Disclaimer Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. The effects of supplements vary from person to person and depend on many variables, including type, dosage, frequency of use, and interactions with current medications. Please speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting any supplements. Getty Images Benefits of Chlorophyll Proponents of chlorophyll say the substance has a wide range of benefits. Those benefits may include helping you lose weight, protecting against certain cancers, and treating acne and sun-damaged skin. Though, there is a lack of research on chlorophyll-containing products. While the evidence behind those claims is mainly anecdotal, there is some research on the benefits of chlorophyll. Of note: Many studies on chlorophyll have looked at intravenous or topical chlorophyll. Helps You Lose Weight Some evidence suggests that chlorophyll may help you lose weight. For example, a study published in 2014 looked at 38 overweight women who followed a weight-loss plan. The researchers found that over 12 weeks, on average, those who took a chlorophyll supplement once daily lost three additional pounds. Being overweight or having obesity are significant risk factors for several illnesses, such as: Certain cancersHeart diseaseKidney diseaseType 2 diabetes Eating foods full of nutrients like chlorophyll can help you manage your weight. Green fruits and vegetables containing chlorophyll pack fiber, minerals, and vitamins essential for weight control and overall health. May Protect Against Certain Cancers Research has found that chlorophyll may have antioxidant effects, which might protect against certain cancers. For example, a study published in 2018 looked at the effects of chlorophyll on the spread of pancreatic cancer. Your pancreas, which sits between your stomach and spine, makes juices that help your body break down food. Pancreatic cancer begins when cells that make up those juices grow out of control. Often, pancreatic cancer does not cause symptoms in its early stages. As a result, pancreatic cancer is hard to diagnose and treat until it has spread to other body parts. According to the researchers, chlorophyll has a similar structure to other pigments with antioxidant effects that stop cancer cells from spreading. The study found that chlorophyll helped reduce the size of pancreatic tumors. However, the researchers looked at the effects of chlorophyll on human pancreatic cancer in mice. More human studies are needed to know whether chlorophyll helps protect against certain cancers. Might Treat Skin Concerns Chlorophyll may help treat common skin concerns like acne and sun damage. Acne is one of the most prevalent skin concerns, which causes pimples to pop up on your body if bacteria, dead skin, or excess oil clog your pores. Acne can be painful and cause emotional distress. A study published in 2015 looked at the effects of a topical chlorophyll-containing gel on mild-to-moderate acne. Ten people applied a small amount of the gel to their faces twice daily for three weeks. The researchers found that the gel helped reduce acne and minimized large pores. Research has found that chlorophyll may treat sun-damaged skin, too. Going outside without sun protection or using tanning beds exposes your skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Over time, UV rays can damage your skin and cause age spots and wrinkles. A study published in 2015 looked at the effects of chlorophyll on 10 participants with mild-moderate fine lines and wrinkles over eight weeks. The researchers found that applying a pea-sized amount of a topical gel containing chlorophyll to the eye area, cheeks, and nose twice daily reduced mild-to-moderate sun damage. Health Benefits of Liquid Chlorophyll Good Sources of Chlorophyll You do not need a supplement to include chlorophyll in your diet. Adding more naturally green foods to your meals will ensure you get plenty of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is abundant in 100-gram servings of green fruits and vegetables like: Broccoli: 12.8mgGreen apples: 59–83mgGreen cabbage: 2.75mgLettuce: 37.70mgParsley: 182–203mgKiwi: 0.99mgSpinach: 108mg How To Use Chlorophyll Chlorophyll is naturally found in green fruits and vegetables like apples, parsley, kiwi, and spinach. Research has found that heat lowers chlorophyll levels in plants. Some evidence suggests that storing chlorophyll-rich foods in the freezer for several months can have a similar effect. To best preserve the chlorophyll content of your green fruits and vegetables, eat them raw. Use short, light cooking methods, like steaming or low-heat sautéing. You can also find chlorophyll in oral tablets and capsules or topical gels. You can add liquid or powder chlorophyll to drinks like juices, smoothies, or water. How much chlorophyll you take or apply to the skin may vary by brand, so pay attention to the instructions. Dosage There is a lack of research on chlorophyll, so there's no established optimal dosage or recommended way to consume it. Though, many green vegetables are good sources of chlorophyll. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise eating two to three cups of vegetables daily. For example, you would consume about 57 milligrams of chlorophyll in two cups of lettuce. Is Chlorophyll Safe? Chlorophyll is safe to consume. Researchers have not looked at the efficacy or safety of chlorophyll supplements in pregnant or breastfeeding people. In contrast, eating green fruits and vegetables with chlorophyll is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Those foods pack nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, folic acid, iron, and magnesium, that you need during pregnancy. Potential Drug Interactions Generally, chlorophyll supplements are safe. Research has found that chlorophyll has photosensitizing effects. In other words, the substance may make you sensitive to the sun. As a result, you may need to avoid chlorophyll supplements if you take medicines that have the same effect, such as: AntibioticsAntidepressantsAntihistaminesBlood pressure and cholesterol drugs What To Look For The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate chlorophyll supplements. Ensure that any chlorophyll supplements you buy are third-party tested. Read the ingredient list and avoid artificial additives and potentially risky herbs or stimulants. For example, most chlorophyll supplements use chlorophyllin or a semi-synthetic chlorophyll derivative. That is because natural chlorophyll is unstable. Ensure that any chlorophyll supplements have chlorophyllin on their ingredient lists. Can You Have Too Much Chlorophyll? Generally, chlorophyll is nontoxic, but chlorophyll poisoning can occur. Ensure you stay within the dosage listed on the instructions for chlorophyll supplements. Consult a healthcare provider or your local poison control center immediately if you are worried you consumed too much. Side Effects of Chlorophyll Generally, chlorophyll does not lead to adverse effects if consumed in safe amounts. Rarely, chlorophyll may cause side effects like: Blackening or yellowing of the tongue Burning or itching, if applied to the skin Diarrhea Green stool or urine Loose stools Stomach cramps 13 Veggies You Only Think You Don't Like A Quick Review Chlorophyll is a pigment that makes plants green and is naturally found in green fruits and vegetables. You can find chlorophyll in oral tablets and capsules, topical gels, and liquid and powder supplements. Some evidence suggests that chlorophyll may help you lose weight, protect against certain cancers, and treat common skin concerns. Still, research on chlorophyll is lacking. Consult a healthcare provider before starting a chlorophyll supplement. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 21 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Department of Agriculture. The chemistry behind the color. Cömert ED, Mogol BA, Gökmen V. Relationship between color and antioxidant capacity of fruits and vegetables. Curr Res Food Sci. 2019;2:1-10. doi:10.1016/j.crfs.2019.11.001 Montelius C, Erlandsson D, Vitija E, et al. 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