Home / Phytonutrients / Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin

Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin

What is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is a pigment that gives the plant leaves their green color; it absorbs ultraviolet light and thus provides energy for photosynthesis. Chlorophyllin is a semi-synthetic mixture of sodium-copper salts derived from chlorophyll and used as supplements [1].

Foods High in Chlorophyll

  • PLANT FOODS: green leafy vegetables (spinach, garden cress, green beans, arugula, leeks, endive, Chinese cabbage), green beans, sugar peas, spirulina [1].

Chlorophyllin as a Food Additive

Sodium copper chlorophyllin may be used as a green color in beverages, jams, jellies, candies, cakes, ice creams, other commercial foods, and certain drugs [1]. In the European Union, chlorophyll and chlorophyllins are labeled as the E-number E141.

Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin Supplements

Nonprescription (over-the-counter) oral supplements [1]:

  • Chlorophyl supplements in the form of green algae, such as chlorella
  • Sodium-copper chlorophyllin (chlorophyllin-copper complex)

Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin Health Benefits

Chlorophyllin supplements are POSSIBLY INEFFECTIVE to reduce urine odor in individuals with urine incontinence [2,4].

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE [1,2] about the effectiveness of chlorophyll or chlorophyllin supplements in the prevention or treatment of cancer (colorectal, liver), constipation or excessive gas (flatulence), in promoting wound healing (when used topically) or in reducing body or stool odor in people with colonostomias or ileostomias.

In one study in Chinese population, chlorophyllin supplements before meals significantly decrease the absorption of aflatoxin–a known liver carcinogen; this may, in theory, reduce the risk of liver cancer in people who consume a lot of foods high in aflatoxin, such as corn, peanuts, soy sauce, and fermented soy beans [3].

Chlorophyllin Safety: Side Effects, Toxicity

No serious side effects or toxicities of chlorophyll or chlorophyllin have been observed, so far. Diarrhea may occasionally occur. Chlorophyllin supplements may color the tongue yellow or black, and color the urine or stool green.

Not enough is known about the safety of chlorophyll and chlorophyllin supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so women in these periods should avoid them [2].

Oral chlorophyllin may result in false positive guaiac stool test for occult blood [1].

  1. Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin  Linus Pauling Institute
  2. Chlorophyllin uses, side effects  WebMD
  3. Egner PA et al, 2001, Chlorophyllin intervention reduces aflatoxin–DNA adducts in individuals at high risk for liver cancer  PubMed Central
  4. Nahata MC et al, 1983, Effect of chlorophyllin on urinary odor in incontinent geriatric patients PubMed

2 Responses to "Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.