Chlorophyll Water Doesn’t Really Do What You Think It Is, Says Expert

If you follow health trends online, you may have heard of “chlorophyll water”. The complaints range from clean your skinstopping body odorincreasing energy and oxygenat detoxify your liver and prevent cancer.

Chlorophyll water is sold as a liquid concentrate or already mixed with water. Many TikTok videos claim its health benefits.

Then there are celebrity endorsements for chlorophyll water, including from Kourtney Kardashian on her lifestyle channel.

So what is chlorophyll water? And is it really a healthy choice?

READ MORE: What does “eating the rainbow” actually do for your body?

Remind me again, what is chlorophyll?

What you might remember about chlorophyll from high school science might sound pretty wholesome.

Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants (and some algae and bacteria) their green color. It is vital for photosynthesisthe process that uses sunlight to produce oxygen and chemical energy stored in sugar glucose.

indoor plants indoor plants
Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants (and some algae and bacteria) their green color. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

At the core of most chlorophyll is magnesium – an essential nutrient for humans – needed for healthy nerves and muscles, regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, and building bones, proteins and DNA.

The chemical structure of chlorophyll somewhat resembles protoheme. It is the red part of our hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen in our blood.

So what is chlorophyll water?

Water and pigments that keep plants healthy and contain the nutrients humans need, sound good. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

First, chlorophyll does not dissolve in water. So what you get in these products is not “natural from plants”. It’s the molecule chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin is made from chlorophyll by a process called saponification.

It basically involves reacting it with sodium hydroxide and making a smaller, water-friendly molecule. Then, to help it stay bright green, another reaction replaces the magnesium with copper, which is much more stable.

A more accurate name for these products would be “sodium copper chlorophyllin water”. But it’s not so marketable.

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But is it healthy?

Just because it has been converted from its natural form does not automatically mean that it is unhealthy. So how do the health claims stack up?

There is plenty of evidence that diets high in chlorophyll are healthy. But, since the evidence is mostly diets rich in green plant foodsthis cannot be directly translated into water containing a processed derivative of a small part of green plants.

chlorophyll water
By switching to chlorophyll water, people can simply increase their water intake. (Stock)

There are some evidence which comes from the extracted and transformed form (chlorophyllin). But this comes mostly from animal or laboratory studies. These involve very high concentrations that would require you to drink dramatic levels of chlorophyll water to match the doses, or inject it deep into your cells. To be clear, please don’t either.

By switching to chlorophyll water, people can simply increase their water intake and decrease their intake of sugary drinks or alcohol.

There are also studies (mostly very small) of its impacts on skin and its use as deodorant, but most of them involve applying chlorophylls and chlorophyllins directly to the skin. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that it’s not the same as drinking it in water.

How about boosting your energy and oxygen? That might make sense on simple logic, because that’s what it does in plants and the pigment’s similarities to hemoglobin.

But there is no data to back up these claims. We have a little pilot study wheatgrass and thalassemia, a blood disease. But wheatgrass is much more complex than chlorophyll, and what helps someone with a disorder doesn’t necessarily make us healthier.

READ MORE: A nutritionist reveals the pros and cons of popular diets

So why do so many people say they feel better?

First, who does the testimonials on social networks? Do you trust them? Could it be The advertisement rather than someone’s personal experience?

Second, it could be the “placebo effect“, where just taking something like a treatment makes you feel better.

But above all, the main ingredient of chlorophyll water is water.

It’s definitely an essential nutrientand definitely something we want to encourage people to drink more of.

By switching to chlorophyll water, people can simply increase their water intake and decrease their intake of sugary drinks or alcohol. Improve hydration only could explain their relationship.

Are there any risks?

Excessive consumption (several doses per day) could cause side effects like nausea, upset stomach, discoloration of your poop and staining of your teeth.

Like all supplements, there is a risk that chlorophyll water may interact with medications. And there haven’t been any large safety studies in risk groups, like pregnant or breastfeeding women. Caution is therefore called for.

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But stop and think about the potential indirect downsides of drinking chlorophyll water. It’s expensive. Chlorophyll concentrate, which you dilute with water, costs about $16 for a 500mL bottle. So it could be an expensive way to increase your water intake if you think you’re not drinking enough, since tap water is safe and cheap.

Even though there are benefits, you might get those benefits by eating real plant foods. So the money and time you spend buying chlorophyll water could waste your money and time on other food and drink choices that could have health benefits a lot. more important.

The bottom line

If you like it, can afford it, and have no drug risks, the choice is yours.

You can also try other ways to increase your chlorophyll intake, such as eating more green vegetables. You can add cheaper things to the water to make it appealing, like mints, fruits, or teas.

These options might be cheaper and have even better health effects, but probably won’t get as many views on TikTok.

By Emma BeckettSenior Lecturer (Food Science and Human Nutrition), School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle.

This article is republished from The conversation under Creative Commons license. Read it original article.

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