Chlorophyll’s a natural plant pigment that makes veggies green and helps leaves turn sunshine into food. But plants are plants. What could chlorophyll do for people?
It turns out, there’s some evidence that the benefits of chlorophyll could range from fighting acne to even preventing stinky pits. Here’s what you need to know.
5 benefits of chlorophyll
Wondering whether to try this green ingredient? Here’s some of its biggest potential perks.
- may help improve skin
- may boost blood health
- may smooth fine lines and wrinkles
- may help fight acne
- may work to reduce odors
Chlorophyll’s the pigment that’s responsible for the pop of green in the garden each spring. But it doesn’t just exist to bring you out of your long winter blues! Plants need it to carry out photosynthesis (the process that helps them turn sunshine into fuel).
And it might even have some perks for humans. You can get chlorophyll by eating your veggies or by using chlorophyll supplements.
Just keep in mind that most liquid chlorophyll or chlorophyll supplements that you buy from the store aren’t pure chlorophyll. Chlorophyll degrades quickly, so instead they’re made of chlorophyllin. That’s a mixture of sodium-copper salts derived from chlorophyll. You’ll see it listed as “sodium copper chlorophyllin” or “chlorophyllin copper complex” on the label.
Chlorophyll’s cool for plants and all, but why would you wanna put down cold hard cash for this supplement? Here’s what the science says so far.
1. It might help improve skin
Scraped your knee? Got a cut that won’t heal? Chlorophyllin may be able to help with that!
Older research suggests that an ointment containing chlorophyllin could be more effective at healing wounds than a saline solution. This is promising, but the ointment was a mixture including other ingredients too, so a lot more research is needed to confirm the dosage and results.
A small 2015 study looked at the effects of chlorophyllin on women experiencing sun damage on their face. This worked well for the participants, but again there’s not enough concrete evidence to know if this could work for everyone.
2. It may boost your blood health
Chlorophyll has long been rumored to improve red blood cell quality. And there is some research to support that.
Back in 2004, scientists studied folks with a blood disorder called thalassemia. When participants drank 100 milliliters (mL) chlorophyll-rich wheatgrass juice each day, their need for blood transfusions decreased by at least 40 percent. However, it’s still unclear whether the wheatgrass itself, or the chlorophyll content in that wheatgrass, is responsible for these benefits.
3. It could smooth out your fine lines and wrinkles
Want to keep your skin smooth and firm? Chlorophyll *might* be able to play a role.
Sodium copper chlorophyllin can be dabbed directly onto the skin. In one tiny 2016 study, four women who applied chlorophyllin gel to their skin experienced an improvement in their skin’s texture. The results were similar to what they’d get from tretinoin, a retinoid.
It’s important to note that this was an incredibly small bit of research. We need more studies to confirm that topical chlorophyllin could lead to smooth, bouncy skin.
4. It could tame your acne
Let’s keep it 100: There haven’t been any large, conclusive studies on chlorophyll for skin texture *or* acne. But initial studies seem promising. In one 2015 study of 10 people, a gel infused with chlorophyllin helped prevent zits and smoothed large pores after 3 weeks.
Another study found that a skin care regimen of cleanser, over-the-counter (OTC) cream with 2 percent salicylic acid, and a finishing gel with chlorophyllin was highly effective for women battling a combo of acne and fine lines.
5. It might subdue body odor
Do you or someone you know (no names…) need to take their B.O. down a notch? Chlorophyll might be the air freshener you’ve been looking for!
While the science remains slim, lots of folks claim chlorophyll helps them smell better.
- Urinary and fecal stench. Chlorophyllin has been used to tamp down noxious bathroom odors.
- Body odor related to a medical condition. A brief 2004 study discovered that it’s also useful against the fishy odor caused by a metabolic disorder called trimethylaminuria.
- Bad breath. This is all anecdotal, but some peeps say it reins in bad breath.
Chowing down on fresh greens is the best, easiest, and most affordable way to get your fill of chlorophyll. Getting your nutrition from a well-balanced diet is almost always more effective than supplementation. Remember, there’s really no evidence that these supplements can be a major health game-changer.
If you’re still interested in supplements, you can find them:
- at health food stores
- at some drugstores
Common chlorophyll forms include:
- liquids or drops
- ointments for topical application
Keep in mind that supplements are not regulated as strictly as medicines are. So talk with your doctor before adding chlorophyll drops or pills to your daily routine. And if you *do* opt to supplement, always follow the label for dosing instructions.
Munching on chlorophyll-rich foods shouldn’t cause any issues unless you’re allergic to those foods.
Side effects of chlorophyllin supplements may include digestive issues like:
- green or yellow poop
- upset stomach
If you apply chlorophyll on your skin for wrinkle- or acne-fighting benefits, watch for any surface reactions. If you experience itching, burning, or irritation, opt for a different skin care product.
Rule of thumb? Always check with your doc before taking chlorophyll or chlorophyllin as a supplement. This will help you avoid potential medication interactions or negative side effects.
Do you *need* to pop chlorophyll supplements or liquid drops? Nope.
These green foods can boost your chlorophyll intake without drops or pills.
- Wheatgrass. Studies show that there’s promise that some of the proteins in wheatgrass could help fight oxidative stress.
- Spinach. Chlorophyll = the stuff that makes green veggies so bright and colorful. Foods that are green inside *and* out have the most chlorophyll. Spinach is also replete with micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
- Green beans. The magical fruit, right? Nosh on green beans to up your chlorophyll and fiber fills.
- Chlorophyll is an antioxidant-rich pigment found in green plants.
- Most folks ingest chlorophyll through their food, but it’s also available in liquid drops or supplement form.
- Chlorophyll has a reputation as a weight loss supplement, but there isn’t any science behind this use.
- Though chlorophyll is considered safe, you should check with your doctor before taking it in liquid or supplement form.
- The more fresh vegetables, the better!