Are Chlorophyll Supplements Healthy?

Plants get their green color from chlorophyll, which also allows a plant to absorb sunlight and convert it into energy. As you know from grade school, the process is called photosynthesis. When we eat green plants like spinach or wheatgrass, we are also eating their chlorophyll. Many people believe the chlorophyll has lots of health benefits, which can be maximized by consuming supplements. Are they right?

Chlorophyll supplements come in pill and liquid form. If you’re going the liquid route, you only need 1 teaspoon, though some brands recommend as much as 30 drops per 8-ounces of water. The taste is grassy, not surprisingly, so if it’s too strong, you can mix it into a smoothie or up the water to 12-ounces. Yoga studios and other holistic health places sell bottled “chlorophyll water,” but it’s more affordable to make your own. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor first. 

Benefits of drinking chlorophyll supposedly include boosted production of red blood cells, detoxification, less junk food cravings, and healthier skin. It might even have anti-cancer and anti-bacterial properties.

Not everyone is sold on this new trend, however. Over at the Plant-Based Pixie, registered associate nutritionist Pixie questions the scientific merits people are using to support drinking chlorophyll. The studies on the anti-cancer and anti-bacterial benefits of the green substance have mostly been studied in cell cultures and not in the human body. As for trying to “detox,” that’s just a buzzword that doesn’t really mean anything since your body doesn’t hoard toxins; if it did, you would be dead, says professor Edzard Ernst. Organs like your liver and kidney are perfectly capable of cleansing your body.

If you want to add more chlorophyll to your diet, just eat more dark leafy greens, the Plant-Based Pixie says. The combination of vitamins and fiber is way healthier than singling out the liquid chlorophyll, which is done through a process involving acetone and copper. That hardly seems healthy. If I were you, I’d follow her advice and buy more fresh spinach, kale, and other greens.