Chlorophyll Water | Are there any benefits?
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Have you come across drinking chlorophyll water as a beauty and wellness trend? Last year there were over 150million hashtags for this product on TikTok alone. As with every trend on TikTok, doing your own research outside of TikTok is essential to avoid risking your health or wasting time and/or money.
What is chlorophyll water?
Let’s start with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their nice green color. It is a photosensitizer meant to assist plants to absorb light for photosynthesis to occur. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in leaves. Chlorophyll helps leaves absorb energy from light. In particular, chlorophyll absorbs energy from blue and red/orange light. These wavelengths are about 450-475 nm for blue and around 650-675 nm for red. Remember these wavelengths are in the visible light spectrum that ranges from 400 to 700 nm. This is not the UV portion of the spectrum. This means that plants do not necessarily require UV light in particular for photosynthesis which is the process by which plants use carbon dioxide to produce food and release oxygen into the air. UV light may be needed for other plant functions for growth, but not for photosynthesis in particular.
Liquid chlorophyll is technically not just chlorophyll, it is actually chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin is a liquid form of chlorophyll that also contains copper or sodium. Chlorophyll water is technically speaking water with added chlorophyll. The chlorophyll itself is actually usually something called chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin is a substance that has been extracted from plants and undergone chemical modification from its original form. It has been used as a green colorant. By itself, it can change color from green to brown making it less favorable for use as a colorant. To stabilize the green color, copper and/or sodium is added to the structure to maintain its green color.
How do you make chlorophyll water?
Chlorophyll water comes pre-made or can come as drops to add to water. Drinking chlorophyll had become a very popular trend in skincare. To make chlorophyll water, take water, some lemon and ice cubes, and even garnish with mint. Add a few drops of liquid chlorophyllin and the water turns a green hue.
Does chlorophyllin have any potential benefits?
Chlorophyllin has had some potential benefits found in studies.
Some studies have demonstrated anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties of chlorophyllin. It may be an inhibitor of hepatic aflatoxin B1 involved in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
Interestingly, chlorophyllin has had some small studies demonstrating its benefits in reducing odor associated with body and fecal odor and a condition called trimethylaminuria. Trimethylaminuria is a rare metabolic condition that results in releasing a foul fishy odor.
There are some studies that date back to the 1940s and 1950s demonstrating some benefit to the use of topical formulations in wound healing.
TikTokers claim: Drinking chlorophyll helps them combat acne. Is there any truth to this possibility?
There are some studies that indicate that the topical version of chlorophyllin can reduce acne, redness associated with rosacea and even potentially improve the appearance of mild to moderate sun damage. Taking this as a supplement orally may not have the same effect or at least has no studies to support its use.
It is relatively harmless to try as long as it’s in moderation. If your acne is severe, scarring, or cystic, however, it would not be advisable to continue too long with this trend if it is not showing true benefits early on. For severe, persistent, or resistant acne it is best to have your dermatologist evaluate your skin to consider more effective interventions.
TikTokers claim: Drinking chlorophyll helps them reduce skin inflammation. Is there any truth to this possibility?
Chlorophyll does have some potentially anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and potentially even antibacterial properties. The potential may be there but further human studies would need to be performed to confirm this.
How much chlorophyllin should be added to water?
For over the counter supplementation, the amount of chlorophyllin is not often listed. In the studies reviewing the use of chlorophyllin for odor, 100 to 300 mg daily was studied.
Can I just get the same amount by eating vegetables?
Chlorophyll is, of course, a component of leafy green vegetables. Remember leafy greens and wheatgrass contain chlorophyll naturally. Consider simply integrating foods in your diet that can achieve a similar result. The best source is likely spinach with up to around 24 mg of chlorophyll in a one cup serving. Other leafy greens can also provide from around 4mg to 15 mg of chlorophyll in a serving such as from lettuce. Keep this in mind when preparing meals to make sure that there are greens on your plate.
Also remember that getting your chlorophyll through foods will give you the added benefit of other naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients offered by those vegetables. Chlorophyll on its own is only chlorophyll. Supplements may add in other vitamins but this can vary widely from brand to brand. I tend to recommend focusing on food intake, meal planning, and preparation for achieving better outcomes with nutrient supplementation and likely better absorbed by the gut.
Are there any side effects associated with taking chlorophyll supplementation?
Chlorphyll supplementation is generally considered to be safe. Since chlorophyllin is a green colorant, there is the possibility of greenish discoloration to the stools.
Remember to disclose to all healthcare providers if you are taking chlorophyll supplements. There is a risk of a false positive guaiac test. A guaiac test is a test that may be performed in the office as an initial screening to determine if there is blood in the stool. These rapid tests may lead to an initial concern for the possibility of bleeding in the GI tract. A positive test may lead a healthcare provider to consider a colonoscopy or other type of endoscopy to check the gut for bleeds. Taking chlorophyll supplementation has been linked to the possibility of a false positive test result. To avoid unnecessary workups, disclose to your provider all supplements and consider discontinuing them 1-2 weeks prior to a screening test to avoid falsely affecting the results.