Chlorophyll is present in many green vegetables, but many people get it additionally through supplementation. The recent trend shows that the intake of chlorophyll as a supplement is on the rise. In addition to this, numerous studies confirm its multiple positive effects on the body.
In this article, you can read about the development and usage of chlorophyll for medicinal purposes, based on scientific facts and research. Chlorophyll is most often used for the purpose of detoxification of the body, as well as the removal of chemotherapy agents and its antitumor effect.
Chlorophyll is a green pigment that helps plants produce food in a process called photosynthesis. One of the basic ways to introduce it into the body is through the introduction of a lot of green food, mainly vegetables. These usually include spinach, alfalfa, broccoli, etc. Wheatgrass is especially rich in chlorophyll [Figure 1.]
Figure 1. Microscopic view of chlorophyll cells
Numerous medical studies claim that chlorophyll helps with skin problems, and increases the production of red blood cells. Besides this, it also neutralizes toxins, helps regulate body weight, stops inflammation, and prevents tumors. A truly impressive list, especially when we consider that many are backed by scientific facts.
A popular way to get chlorophyll is mostly through supplementation, in pill form, or as liquid chlorophyll. Scientific studies suggest that liquid chlorophyll has greater advantages over chlorophyll tablets. This is due to the speed of absorption and the availability of active components.
In the rest of the text, you will learn more about the benefits of chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll has a porphyrin ring similar to the heme group in hemoglobin, although the central atom in chlorophyll is magnesium instead of iron [Figure 2]. Chlorophyllin is a polysynthetic mixture of sodium-copper salts obtained from chlorophyll. During the formation of chlorophyllin, the magnesium atom is replaced by a copper atom, and the phytol tail is lost. Unlike natural chlorophyll, chlorophyllin is soluble in water.
Figure 2. Molecular structure of chlorophyll and red blood cells
Chlorophyll derivatives, after being released from the plant matrix, are exposed to the acidity of stomach acid. This leads to conversion to the corresponding non-metallic pheophytins. After the digestive breakdown of commercial chlorophyll derivatives, they are absorbed in intestinal cells and finally pass into the bloodstream [Egner, 2000, Ferruzzi et al., 2002]. Chlorophyll and its derivatives act through various mechanisms. Some of them include antioxidant activity, a modifier of genotoxic effect, and inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes. But it is also important to mention the induction of second-phase enzymes, increased level of glutathione S-transferase, cell differentiation, and arrest of apoptosis.
The main source of reactive oxygen species [ROS] is the leakage of electrons from the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Then, it reacts with molecular oxygen to form ROS. ROS include free radicals such as superoxide [O2·−] and hydroxyl radical [OH·] and non-radical species such as hydrogen peroxide [H2O2].
These free radicals start a new chain reaction of free radical formation when they interact with another molecule. A high concentration of ROS causes oxidative damage to biomolecules such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. This leads to disruption of cellular metabolism.
Antioxidants act as inhibitors, by neutralizing free radicals and preventing their formation [preventive antioxidants] or preventing the propagation of the free radical chain.
Free radicals are thought to play an important role in the development of several diseases [Yoshikawa et al., 2000; Devasagayam et al., 2004; Knasmüller et al 2008]. These diseases include some forms of cancer, neurological disorders, inflammatory diseases, and dermatitis. But the list goes on, including tissue damage and sepsis, cardiovascular disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis. Besides these, it is important meeting also idiopathic infertility, reduced immune function, and several diseases of aging.
Cancer development is a protracted process involving initiation, promotion, and progression. This ultimately leads to the spread from one part of the body to another during the late stage of metastasis. Current clinical therapies include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The last ones are limited, especially during the metastatic stage. However, there is a growing body of data from epidemiological and pathological studies that certain dietary substances can prevent or slow down the progression of cancer. Since it is almost impossible to cure cancer in the stage of advanced metastases, therefore, chemoprevention and retention in the early stage are extremely important.
Many dietary compounds that contain chlorophyll have protective properties against cancer. They include a cellular detoxification mechanism and antioxidant properties that protect against cell damage by environmental carcinogens or endogenously generated reactive oxygen species. These dietary substances can affect death signaling pathways that can prevent tumor cell proliferation.
Chlorophyll can also act as an anti-aging drug. Some studies have shown that after applying a gel containing chlorophyllin to the skin, the signs of photoaging are reduced. Photoaging occurs as a result of exposure to the sun. The study used skin samples from four healthy women and lasted twelve days.
The results of the study showed that the skin treated with chlorophyllin improved in a similar way to the skin treated with tretinoin. This skin cream is available with a prescription and is proven to help with skin aging.
Topical chlorophyll may also have the potential for treating acne. One study found that a gel containing chlorophyllin helped reduce facial acne and large, visible pores. Ten people who took part in the study had mild to moderate acne and used chlorophyllin gel for three weeks.
In another study, researchers compared using a combination of topical chlorophyll and phototherapy with phototherapy alone to treat acne. People who received the combination had fewer acne lesions, less severe acne, and less oily skin than those who did not.
Chlorophyll is chemically similar to hemoglobin, as shown in Figure 2. a protein that is essential in building red blood cells. Oxygen is attached to the HEM group, which is formed by the incorporation of divalent iron, which is further transported to all organs. As any cell becomes cancerous if it is deprived of oxygen for 48 hours, it is extremely important that we have enough oxygen in the body.
Researchers studied chlorophyll as a wound-healing aid during the 1940s and 1950s. Some of these studies suggest that chlorophyll helps heal surgical wounds and prevent infections.
A 2008 study suggests that a drug containing chlorophyllin promotes wound healing and reduces odors. Some doctors prescribe this medicine today.
Most natural green vegetables contain chlorophyll. Foods that are particularly rich in chlorophyll include spinach, kale, chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, and parsley. But not to forget as well broccoli, green cabbage, asparagus, green beans and peas, and matcha green tea.
Apart from chlorophyll, numerous minerals and vitamins are present in these foods. Make sure some of these plants are part of your daily routine.
Chlorophyll dietary supplements vary considerably in strength and formulation. In addition to liquid chlorophyll, chlorophyll tablets can also be found on the market.
Chlorophyll supplementation is generally safe to use and no side effects have been identified so far. Numerous studies have shown that in addition to the intake of food rich in chlorophyll, supplementation is completely safe. The results that were recorded were showing only positive effects on the overall state of the organism have been determined.
Our product stImuno, which contains the strongest natural antioxidants, also contains chlorophyll. As such, this supplement is one of the most important stimulators of our immunity. The most common cause of decreased immunity, as the first mild reaction of the body before some acute and chronic diseases develop, is stress. So despite a healthy lifestyle and physical activity, you should also strengthen the body with an adequate intake of supplements. The most important thing you can do is to adequately support organism due to daily exposure to stress.
You can read more about our product on the Carnomed website.