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The Powerful Pigment Called Chlorophyll

Have you ever wondered why most plants and vegetables are green?

The answer is chlorophyll, the famous green pigment that gives many plants, algae and cyanobacteria their iconic colors. 

But, there’s more to the story:

Thanks to centuries of research from chemists and physiologists across Europe and the United States, we now know that chlorophyll is more than just an important influence on the spectrum of vegetative color. 

In fact, its primary role is actually as an essential chemical in photosynthesis -- the process green plants use to synthesize foods.

More importantly for our purposes, however, chlorophyll can also be an asset in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Incredibly, it can benefit the human body in many diverse ways that significantly differ from its influence on plants and vegetables.

To help you best unlock the positive power of this plant pigment, let’s break down chlorophyll’s benefits for your skin, liver, digestive tract and more, while also helping you find safe, reliable sources in our Living Proof Guide to Chlorophyll

Uses and Health Benefits 

Thanks to the wonders of modern science, there are myriad ways to use chlorophyll to benefit our health and life.

Let’s break down a few of the most effective uses and lasting benefits of chlorophyll:

Topical

The most famous benefits of chlorophyll (for humans) might be its skin-boosting, topical powers of wound healing, acne prevention and photoaging:

Wound Healing

The use of chlorophyll to aid the healing process of wounds has been studied for more than 60 years.

Encouraged by positive research results, some doctors prescribe chlorophyll to patients dealing with wounds to promote recovery, reduce the unpleasant odors of healing wounds and prevent further infection.

Acne Prevention

In what may come as a welcome surprise for many adolescents (and even adults), some research has found topical chlorophyll to be an effective acne deterrent.

According to scientific results, topical application of this plant pigment can help reduce facial acne, shrink large pores, reduce the presence of excess oils and contribute to smoother skin in some patients.  

Photoaging

The final notable benefit of topically-applied chlorophyll is a reduction in the major signs of photoaging, which is skin damage caused by overexposure to the sun.

As detailed in a National Institute of Health (NIH) study, patients who treat their skin with chlorophyllin (a water-soluble form of chlorophyll) can find success in reversing the signs of photoaging, restoring youthful qualities to their skin and potentially protecting skin from further damage.

Cancer Studies

While more data is certainly needed, research indicates that chlorophyll can play a beneficial role in cancer treatment:

Using studies of animals, scientists have found that chlorophyll might prevent and slow the development of multiple types of cancer

Additionally, other research shows that chlorophyll lessens the potential for colon cancer in rats and slows the growth of lung cancer in mice -- encouraging results for future application in humans.

In the vitally important cancer treatment field, these results are exciting steps on the path toward more effective, accessible treatment.

Increase of Cellular Energy

One of the unique ways chlorophyll can positively influence humans is by increasing the production of cellular energy.

According to findings from the Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, chlorophyll in the human body can promote boosted red blood cell production, thereby increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to our muscles.

This two-pronged benefit of added red blood cells and improved oxygen delivery in our body can bring lasting feelings of energy and vitality, leaving us with a rejuvenated sense of vigor.

Liver Detoxification

As detailed in a scientific investigation, chlorophyll can have a wonderfully beneficial effect on the human liver.

By halting the metabolism of pre carcinogenic chemicals, which damage our DNA, chlorophyll can cleanse the liver and create further protection against carcinogens that attack healthy cells.

Digestion and Weight Control

The benefits of chlorophyll on digestion and weight control are still very much research and discussion topics, but many in the health and scientific community are optimistic.

Some dietitians and nutritionists suggest that chlorophyll supplements (like chlorophyll water) can improve the body’s digestive process, help us efficiently process toxins and reduce excess food cravings.

How to Best Consume It

The most popular and healthy ways of consuming chlorophyll are healthy foods and approved supplements:

Food Sources

As you might expect, the optimal food sources of chlorophyll are naturally green vegetables.

While there are many options to choose from, here are 10 of our favorites:

  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Green Cabbage
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce

From salads to green smoothies, there’s no shortage of options to infuse your diet with delicious servings of health-boosting chlorophyll.

Supplement Options

If you’re looking to supplement your chlorophyll intake beyond just green vegetables, natural supplements like chlorella, spirulina and chlorophyll tablets, liquids and powders can be great places to start:

Chlorella

Chlorella is a single-celled algae that originates in freshwater environments. In addition to chlorophyll, it’s chock full of beneficial nutrients like protein, iron and omega-3s.

If you’re looking to increase the presence of chlorophyll in your diet, you can easily find a wide variety of chlorella capsules, tablets and powders from many health companies.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae packed with many nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin E, beta carotene and, of course, chlorophyll.

This supplement is typically sold in powdered form and mixed with liquids, but it can also be found in capsules or juices.

Chlorophyll Tablets, Liquids and Powders

Last but not least, we have chlorophyll tablets, liquids and powders, which are more specific supplements crafted to directly increase your intake of this plant pigment.

As this section’s title suggests, these supplements come in multiple different forms that affect dosing recommendations.

Liquid chlorophyll dosing often starts at 5 millimeters and is added to water, juices or smoothies; chlorophyll powders that mix with liquids are usually served in similar dosages. 

If you’d rather opt for chlorophyll tablets, you’re likely to find serving recommendations between 300-900 milligrams per day.

For any questions about nutrition, self-care or other healthy living protocols, feel free to contact us at any time.

About the Author: Lisa Jubilee

Lisa Jubilee

Lisa Jubilee is a New York State Certified Dietician-Nutritionist, who has been counseling individuals on sustainable weight management and disease prevention for over 20 years. Her mission is to empower individuals to obtain healthy food relationships and to clearly understand the concept of food as medicine. Lisa chose to create a functional nutrition practice where what, why and how we eat are all part of the conversation. There is no One-Size-Fits-All dietary approach, but Ms Jubilee has experienced great success utilizing specific dietary protocols such as intermittent fasting, time restricted eating, low carb/ketogenic dietary regimens and AIP (autoimmune protocol) in her practice.

In 2005, Lisa co-created Living Proof Nutrition Strength Pilates, a private nutrition, HIST (high intensity strength training) and Pilates studio, located in midtown Manhattan. The inspiration behind Living Proof was to create a private fitness and wellness space, where the importance of nutrition and functional movement are emphasized in tandem.

As of March 2020, in order to continue to service her clients and the public at large during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Jubilee is offering all of her nutrition counseling and support services remotely. Feel free to contact Lisa with any questions: Lisa@livingproofnyc.com