Is Liquid Chlorophyll Safe?

There are claims that it does everything from boosting energy to reducing skin redness to detoxifying the body—but is this true?

As a registered dietitian, I'm often asked about nutrition trends that become popular on TikTok—from apple cider vinegar (never take straight, undiluted shots) to "what I eat in a day" videos (many of which feature menus that aren't balanced or nutritionally adequate). 

One of the latest trends to bubble up is chlorophyll, sold as a tablet or capsule, or liquid with a dropper for dispensing the green solution—liquid is the most common form. You may see fans of the liquid chlorophyll supplement swirl it into water. Some claim chlorophyll does everything from boosting energy to reducing skin redness and detoxifying the body. 

If you're tempted to try it yourself, here are a few things to know before you jump on the liquid chlorophyll bandwagon.

Is it safe to drink liquid chlorophyll? Shot of a young woman drinking a green juice at home
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What Is Chlorophyll?

In its natural form, chlorophyll is a chemical that gives green plants their color. But in addition to leafy green plants, you'll also find chlorophyll in some of the following items:

  • Plant foods
  • Some cosmetics
  • Natural supplements 

Chlorophyll Makes Plants Green

You may remember from science class that chlorophyll is the most abundant pigment in plants, including those we eat.

Green vegetables, like spinach and green beans, are rich natural sources of chlorophyll. For example, one cup of raw spinach provides 23.7 milligrams of chlorophyll, and one cup of green beans provides 8.3 milligrams of chlorophyll. So, if you eat your greens, you'll get plenty of chlorophyll.

Supplements Are Made With Chlorophyllin

You'll also find chlorophyll in some supplements, often in the form of liquids. Because natural chlorophyll is unstable, most over-the-counter (OTC) chlorophyll supplements contain chlorophyllin.

Chlorophyllin is a semisynthetic derivative of chlorophyll. Some evidence suggests that chlorophyllin-containing supplements may act as antioxidants and help protect against cancer.

About one in 10 adults eat the minimum recommended two to three cups of vegetables daily. Upping your intake to at least three cups—although I typically recommend five cups—and choosing green varieties will provide enough chlorophyll

Consuming your chlorophyll in the form of vegetables also supplies you with many other essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In other words, eating more green plants is a much better way to get this pigment. And if you do that, you don't need a supplement.

Research on Drinking Liquid Chlorophyll

The research surrounding chlorophyll is limited and outdated. In the few studies that have been done, researchers did many on animals rather than humans. But few studied the benefits of chlorophyll on humans.

Little Research Supports Supplement Benefits

In addition to its role in supplements, chlorophyllin can be used as a color additive in foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

As of November 2022, the benefits of chlorophyllin-containing supplements have yet to be widely studied. Some of the supposed benefits of the liquid supplement may include:

But there needs to be more research to back those claims.

Still, there is some research regarding the effects of chlorophyll as an ingredient in a topical cream. Researchers have tested topical chlorophyllin as a treatment for different skin conditions. Some research has found that a topical cream containing chlorophyllin in combination with phototherapy is a safe and effective treatment for acne. The participants' acne showed improvement in just four weeks.

Other research has found that a topical cream containing chlorophyllin helps improve skin wrinkles and irregular pigmentation caused by sun damage.

The Ideal Dose and Potential Side Effects Are Unknown

A lack of research on any supplement means an absence of knowledge about its effectiveness, the precise amount to use, and potential side effects or interactions. 

There are no general adverse effects of chlorophyllin. Some known possible mild effects may include:

  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight (and therefore increased sunburn risk)
  • Loose stools
  • Green-colored urine or feces

The safety of chlorophyll has not been tested on pregnant people, so pregnant people may want to avoid consuming chlorophyllin supplements. Even though no adverse effects have been reported, there needs to be more research surrounding chlorophyll, so researchers may not know all the side effects.

But generally, while some nutrients are beneficial in one form or amount, they may become dicey when taken in higher concentrations. For example, zinc helps support immune function. But too much zinc can trigger digestive upset, suppress immune function, and reduce blood levels of HDL, or "good," cholesterol.

Also, antioxidants have protective benefits in the amounts found in fruits and vegetables. Still, when taken in supplement form, antioxidants can act as pro-oxidants, potentially increasing health risks.

Bottom-Line Advice

I'm not anti-supplement. Still, I'm cautious about liquid chlorophyll simply because there's a lot we don't know due to the lack of research.

The supplement may not be appropriate for pregnant people, and there's no established ideal dose or length of use. Potential interactions with prescription and OTC medicines, vitamins, and herbal products are also unknown. 

And if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, keep this in mind: It shouldn't be used without consulting your healthcare provider.

A Quick Review

If you've been using liquid chlorophyll and feel you see benefits, talk to a healthcare provider about its pros and cons based on your health status and history. 

And if you're looking for benefits backed by more research, your best bet is to get your greens from fresh vegetables rather than a supplement.

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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.
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  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits or vegetables.

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