Chlorophyll has become an increasingly popular supplement in recent years, with claims that it can help improve health in a variety of ways. Some proponents suggest drinking chlorophyll water or taking chlorophyll supplements on a daily basis. But is consuming chlorophyll everyday actually good for you?
What is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants and algae. It’s responsible for absorbing light energy and allowing photosynthesis to occur. The basic structure of chlorophyll is similar to heme, the pigment that makes blood red. The only difference is chlorophyll contains magnesium at its core while heme contains iron.
There are several different types of chlorophyll: chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and chlorophyll c1,c2, and c3. Chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b are the two most common types found in plants. Chlorophyll molecules contain nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Potential Benefits of Chlorophyll
Here are some of the purported benefits of consuming chlorophyll regularly:
- May provide antioxidant effects – Chlorophyll contains antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage.
- Boosts red blood cells – The molecular structure of chlorophyll is similar to hemoglobin, which may help boost red blood cell production.
- Anti-inflammatory effects – Animal and test tube studies indicate chlorophyll has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit a variety of health conditions.
- Supports detoxification – Chlorophyll binds to toxins and may help promote their elimination from the body.
- Wound healing – Applying chlorophyll directly to wounds is associated with faster healing times.
- Reduces body odour – The antimicrobial effects of chlorophyll may reduce odour from bodily secretions and/or bacteria.
- Protects skin – Chlorophyll extracts applied topically may help protect skin from sun damage.
However, more human research is needed to determine the potential mechanisms and benefits of chlorophyll supplementation.
Common Sources of Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll can be obtained through food sources or supplements:
Green leafy vegetables and algae contain the highest amounts of natural chlorophyll. Some good plant-based sources include:
- Green beans
Chlorophyll supplements are usually in the form of:
- Liquid chlorophyll complex
- Chlorophyll capsules/softgels
- Chlorophyllin tablets
The chlorophyll in supplements is typically extracted from algae or other botanical sources. Supplements may also contain copper, which helps makes chlorophyll more bioavailable.
Is it Safe to Consume Chlorophyll Daily?
Existing research indicates that chlorophyll is likely safe for most people to consume on a regular basis. Some key points about the safety of daily chlorophyll intake:
- No serious side effects observed in clinical studies using doses up to 300 mg daily for 4 weeks.
- Considered “possibly safe” in pregnant women when used orally in appropriate dosages.
- Unlikely to accumulate in the body or cause toxicity due to inefficient gastrointestinal absorption.
- May cause mild adverse effects like loose stools or green-colored urine at high intakes.
- Generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Drinking chlorophyll water or taking chlorophyll supplements according to dosage recommendations on supplement labels is unlikely to pose health risks for most individuals.
There is no standard recommended dosage for chlorophyll. Supplement labels provide suggested intake amounts based on the concentration of chlorophyll in the product. Some general dosage guidelines include:
|Form of Chlorophyll
|Liquid chlorophyll complex
|30-100 mg daily
|100-300 mg daily
|100-200 mg daily
It’s best to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase over time to assess individual tolerance. Exceeding dosage recommendations may increase the likelihood of adverse effects.
How Much Chlorophyll Can You Safely Consume?
There is limited research investigating the maximum safe intake of chlorophyll supplements. However, some studies provide insight:
- Human trials using single doses up to 5 grams (5,000 mg) of chlorophyllin did not report adverse effects.
- Doses up to 300 mg daily for 4 weeks were well tolerated by healthy adults.
- Pregnant women have safely used 100-300 mg per day under medical supervision.
These findings suggest healthy adults can likely safely consume up to 300 mg daily from supplements and obtain additional chlorophyll from food sources. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking high doses of chlorophyll for extended periods.
Benefits of Liquid Chlorophyll vs. Capsules
The main forms of supplemental chlorophyll include liquid chlorophyll complex and chlorophyll capsules. There are some differences between these two options:
|May have lower bioavailability
|Quickly added to water/drinks
|Easy to swallow
|Easy to adjust/measure doses
|Each capsule contains set dose
|Strong, earthy taste
|No unpleasant taste
|Typically more expensive
|Usually more affordable
Both forms appear effective, so the choice comes down to personal preference. Those who don’t mind a strong, earthy taste may prefer liquid. Capsules are a good option for those looking for convenience and no added flavor.
Is it Better to Drink Chlorophyll Water or Take Supplements?
Chlorophyll water and chlorophyll supplements both provide health benefits, but there are some differences:
|Easy to drink throughout the day
|Require intentional dosing 1-3 times daily
|Varies depending on intake
|Provides standardized chlorophyll content
|May affect bioavailability
|Optimized for absorption
|Can be expensive over time
|Typically more affordable long-term
|Imparts green color and mild earthy flavor
|No taste if capsules are used
Drinking chlorophyll water makes it easy to increase intake, but it may be difficult to reach therapeutic dosages. Chlorophyll supplements provide more control over chlorophyll content. Overall, supplements may provide the most consistent option for health benefits.
Risks and Side Effects
Chlorophyll is generally well tolerated with minimal risks or side effects at recommended dosages. However, some potential adverse effects can occur:
- Green urine or feces – High chlorophyll intake can causes a harmless green discoloration of bodily fluids and excrement.
- Loose stools – Chlorophyll has a laxative effect at high doses, which may cause diarrhea.
- Upset stomach – Abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting have occurred in some cases.
- Itching or rash – Allergic reactions are possible but very uncommon.
Chlorophyll supplements may also interact with some medications, including:
- Blood thinners – May increase risk of bruising and bleeding.
- Photosensitizing drugs – Could increase light sensitivity and sunburn risk.
- Antibiotics – Could reduce effectiveness of certain antibiotics like ciprofloxacin.
Talk to your healthcare provider before taking chlorophyll if you take any medications or have any health conditions. Stop using immediately if any concerning symptoms develop.
Who Should Avoid Chlorophyll Supplements?
The following populations should exercise caution with chlorophyll use or avoid it altogether:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women – Insufficient evidence exists regarding safety. Avoid use unless approved by doctor.
- Children and infants – Lack of research means chlorophyll can’t be recommended for children.
- People with Wilson’s disease – Excess copper from chlorophyll could be hazardous.
- Individuals taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs – May increase bleeding risk.
- People undergoing surgery – Chlorophyll may slow blood clotting and raise complications risk.
- Those with active ulcers or gastrointestinal issues – Chlorophyll may aggravate GI discomfort.
Due to inadequate safety research, chlorophyll supplements should be avoided in pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as young children unless deemed appropriate by a healthcare provider.
The Bottom Line
Here’s the takeaway on whether it’s advisable to drink chlorophyll water or take chlorophyll supplements every day:
- At recommended dosages, chlorophyll is likely safe for most healthy adults to consume daily.
- Starting with lower doses and increasing gradually can help assess individual tolerance.
- Exceeding suggested intakes increases the risk of mild side effects like digestive issues.
- Chlorophyll water makes getting more chlorophyll easy but may provide less controlled dosing.
- Chlorophyll supplements offer more precise concentrations but require intentional, regular dosing.
- Higher doses for extended periods may be inadvisable due to insufficient safety research.
- Certain populations like pregnant women should avoid use or exercise caution.
Incorporating a chlorophyll supplement or chlorophyll water into your daily routine is generally fine for healthy adults. But consult your doctor before dramatically increasing your chlorophyll intake, especially if you take any medications or have underlying health issues.
Chlorophyll’s health-promoting properties make it an intriguing supplement for improved wellbeing. Current research suggests drinking chlorophyll water or taking chlorophyll supplements on a daily basis within recommended dosages is likely safe and beneficial for most healthy adults. But exceeding dosage guidelines may increase the risk of side effects and uncertainty remains regarding the long-term safety of high intakes. It’s best to start slowly and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns before making chlorophyll a part of your everyday routine.