Chlorophyll is a compound that gives plants their green coloring. It is related to another compound called protoheme, which gives blood its red color. Chlorophyll can be taken from leafy green vegetables (such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and spinach), algae, wheat grass, potatoes, green tea, and herbs (such as alfalfa, damiana, nettle, and parsley).
Chlorophyll has been used to improve bad breath and other body odor, including the smell of urine, feces, and infected wounds. For centuries in Asia, chlorophyll has been used as an internal deodorant, or pills swallowed to help reduce body odor.
More recently, chlorophyll has been used to remove liver toxins and improve liver function. Evidence suggests that it may be used to reduce inflammation of the pancreas. It may also have antioxidant and anticancer benefits.
Research has shown that chlorophyll may help treat herpes, benign breast disease, tuberculosis (TB), and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as prevent cancer. Chlorophyll is also being studied for type 2 diabetes and weight loss.
2-1[hexyloxyethyl]-2-devinylpyropheophorbide-a (HPPH), ABCG2 substrates, Bn-NCC-1, CD45-peridinin chlorophyll protein, CHL, Chl(a), CHLN, chlorin e6, chlorin p6, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll-a, chlorophyll b, chlorophyll c, chlorophyll d, chlorophyllin, chlorophyllin copper (Cu(II)-chlorophyllin), chlorophyllin iron (Fe(II)-chlorophyllin), chlorophyllin zinc, Chlorophyllipt®, chlorophyllpt, chlorophyll lipiodol, chlorophyll phytol, copper chlorophyll, CpD-A, CpD-B, CpD-C, CpD-D, E121, fluo-chlorophyllin, hydroxy pheophorbide, Laminaria, metallochlorophyllin, microalgae, Nullo®, peridinin chlorophyll-alpha protein, pheophorbide, pheophorbide a, pheophorbide-a, pheophytin a, photodynamic antimicrobial therapy (PACT), phytanic acid, phytochemicals, porphobilinogen, porphyrin, PPBa, pristanic acid, protochlorophyllidae a, protoporhyrin IX, purpurin-18, Radachlorin®, retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, sodium copper chlorophyllin, sodium iron chlorophyllin, Sonoflora 1, tetrapyrroles, uroporphyrinogen-III, Yebaike™ tablet (YBK).
Select combination products: Chlorofresh (sodium copper chlorophyllin, oil of mint), Derifil® (chlorophyllin copper complex), FRBA (chlorophyll- and fiber-rich health food), mamoclam (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, iodine, chlorophyll derivatives), talaporfin sodium (chlorin e6, L-aspartic acid).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Protection from aflatoxins
Early research reports that chlorophyll may reduce levels of aflatoxins, a type of toxin produced by a fungus. Although promising, further study is needed in this area.
Benign breast diseases
Chlorophyll may affect liver enzymes involved in the metabolism of estrogen, which may benefit people with benign breast disease. One low-quality study suggests that mamoclam, a product containing chlorophyll, may have benefits when used with omega-3 fatty acids and iodine. However, more research is needed to understand the effects of chlorophyll alone.
Research suggests that chlorophyll may help prevent cancer as part of a healthy diet. However, most studies in this area have found mixed results. More research is needed on the effects of chlorophyll alone.
Several studies have looked at the use of chlorophyll in reducing the side effects of photodynamic therapy (PDT), a type of cancer treatment. Early research has found that chlorophyll may reduce light sensitivity of skin in people with lung cancer who have undergone laser treatment. More high-quality research is needed to confirm these findings.
Chlorophyll has been studied for the treatment of the herpes viruses that cause cold sores and shingles. Although early results are promising, more high-quality research is needed in this area.
Low white blood cell count
Early evidence suggests that the Yebaike™ tablet, which contains chlorophyll, may improve white blood cell count and reduce dizziness and fatigue in people with low white blood cell count. Although promising, further high-quality research is needed to confirm these results.
Phytanic acid, a chlorophyll product produced in some animals, has been studied for metabolic syndrome risk. Early results suggest that there may be a lack of effect in healthy people given phytanic acid. Further research is needed.
Early studies suggest that chlorophyll may have benefits in improving symptoms of pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas. Although promising, more high-quality research is needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be made.
Early research shows that Chlorophyllipt®, a chlorophyll extract, may be used as part of a complex therapy to improve immune system function in people who have severe pneumonia. More research is needed in this area.
Foods containing chlorophyll have been studied for benefit in reducing levels of toxins in the body. Early studies show that dietary fiber and chlorophyll may help the body get rid of toxins and reduce levels in the liver. However, more evidence is needed before conclusions can be made.
Reduction of odor from incontinence/bladder catheterization
Chlorophyll has been used to help reduce odor in people undergoing intestinal surgery. However, evidence is lacking in support of the use of chlorophyll for this purpose. More high-quality research is needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be made.
Diets high in chlorophyll have been studied for managing immune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. However, strong evidence is lacking. Further study is needed in this area.
Sepsis (severe reaction to bacteria)
One study suggests that applying Chlorophyllipt® solution to the skin may help protect against complications in people undergoing minor surgery. Although promising, more research is needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be made.
Dietary intake of chlorophyll during chemotherapy treatment may help improve immune function in people with tuberculosis. However, other supportive evidence is lacking. More studies are needed to better understand the effects of chlorophyll alone.