As Malaysians, we pride ourselves on several things: our tolerance for the hot and humid weather, spicy food, and the ability to break our backs for our bosses – all of which are not good for our health, and certainly not our skin.
Fortunately, these days we have social media influencers to our rescue, sharing their beauty hacks so that we can still look 25 at 30. Latest amongst these TikTok trends is drinking a dark green solution known as liquid chlorophyll. But fad aside, what exactly are the benefits of chlorophyll for skin health?
Read along to find out.
- What is Chlorophyll?
- Alleged Benefits of Drinking Chlorophyll
- Risks of Consuming Chlorophyll
- Chlorophyll for Skin Supplements
What is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants that give them that signature colour. More than just your regular dye however, chlorophyll is also responsible for harvesting and storing light from the sun as part of a process you may remember as photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis helps provide sustenance for the plant, in addition to producing oxygen for the atmosphere. So yeah, pretty big deal.
When it comes to consumption, you can get chlorophyll in several ways. First and foremost, vegetables – leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, and parsley are jam-packed with chlorophyll among other nutrients. The amount of chlorophyll tends to differ from plant to plant, but generally the greener the plant, the higher the chlorophyll content.
If you’re not a fan of the texture, you can also blend your veggies with water to make liquid chlorophyll and take that instead. Do note that this is different from the chlorophyll drops that you see making rounds on TikTok, which are closer to supplements in nature.
However, if the leafiness doesn’t sit well with your taste buds altogether, you can always purchase chlorophyll supplements from your local pharmacies for a one-and-done fix.
Alleged Benefits of Drinking Chlorophyll
The study of chlorophyll and its alleged health benefits have been a point of contention long before TikTokers made it a thing. Chlorophyll as a substance has antioxidant properties, and is touted to have cancer prevention benefits, blood detoxification, and skin rejuvenation.
The list goes on, but it’s important to understand that there is much we still don’t know about the effects of chlorophyll on the human body due to the lack of larger, more rigorous studies.
Here’s what we do know:
Anti-inflammatory Effect Improves Skin and Combats Acne
A 2008 study on wound care and treatment recorded the effects of several ointments, some of which contained papain-urea-chlorophyllin (a derivative of chlorophyll). These were found to be more effective in reducing inflammation and bacterial growth in skin wounds.
Another pilot study on 10 people with acne also showed that a topical chlorophyllin gel was able to help improve skin condition within a relatively short timespan.
But while individual studies have remained positive thus far, there has yet to be sufficient wide-scale evidence to prove that chlorophyll is the cure-all many influencers say it is.
Boosts Energy Levels
Chlorophyll is chemically similar to haemoglobin, a protein found in our red blood cells that help bind to and transport oxygen. Researchers suggest that this makes it potentially beneficial in combating anemia-related symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness. As it’s plant-based, drinking chlorophyll for skin can also be worked into the keto diet.
One study suggested that wheatgrass, which consists of approximately 70% chlorophyll, reduced the frequency of transfusions amongst those afflicted by thalassemia, a disorder in which the body produces an abnormal form of haemoglobin.
However, the researchers did not definitively state that the lowered number of transfusions were a result of the presence of chlorophyll, as it is believed to be destroyed during the wheatgrass extraction process.
Chlorophyll increases the number of phase 2 biotransformation enzymes in the body, which help to keep your liver healthy and promotes the body’s natural elimination of waste and toxins.
One animal study suggested that the presence of chlorophyll lowered the probability of aflatoxin-induced liver damage by 29 to 63 percent and stomach tumours by 24 to 45 percent.
Supports Weight Loss
A study conducted on 38 women indicated that those who took a green plant supplement containing chlorophyll recorded greater weight loss than those who didn’t. Researchers suggest that this may have been a result of reduced harmful cholesterol levels, but did not state whether chlorophyll played a part in this process.
As of now, studies linking chlorophyll and weight loss, while numerous, are still inconclusive.
Improves Gut Health
In addition to helping your liver cleanse your body of toxins, chlorophyll is said to also promote overall gut health by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in your intestines due to its antimicrobial properties. This in turn helps your body to more efficiently absorb key nutrients and minerals.
Some research suggests that chlorophyllin may help to reduce flatulence in older people as well. However, there has been little data to properly gauge its effectiveness.
Helps Prevent Cancer
As an antioxidant, chlorophyll helps bind to free radicals, which are waste substances produced within our body. An accumulation of free radicals causes oxidative stress, which can potentially lead to illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
One study conducted on mice recorded a lower incidence of cancer among those which consumed green plants containing chlorophyll.
Risks of Consuming Chlorophyll
Neither naturally occurring chlorophyll in plants, or chlorophyllin that’s found in supplements are known to be harmful to the body. That being said, there are certain discomforts that can be attributed to chlorophyll consumption, and some potential risks as well.
When ingested, chlorophyll can sometimes cause digestive issues such as stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting. They can also lead to diarrhoea. Dark-green coloured stools are a common side effect of taking chlorophyll as well, which can be mistaken as gastrointestinal bleeding.
Topical creams containing chlorophyll are also known to potentially cause burning or itching when in contact with skin.
For the most part, these effects are only temporary and will go away with time. But if they persist, you should definitely call your doctor.
Chlorophyll for Skin Supplements
Now that you’ve properly assessed the benefits and risks of having chlorophyll in your diet, comes the question of deciding which source to get it from.
Obviously, you can get it from actual greens like spinach and wheatgrass. But what if you want to still reap the benefits without having to put your tongue through the wringer?
Liquid chlorophyll offers a simple way of getting chlorophyll for those of you who, for whatever reason, prefer not having to eat your veggies the conventional way. Here are some brands you can start off with.
1. Aspen Liquid Chlorophyll
Ideal for blood cleansing, detoxification, constipation, bad breath, and improving colon health, the Aspen Liquid Chlorophyll also comes at a relatively affordable price. A single 15ml serving contains 135mg of water-soluble chlorophyllin, and you can take them up to twice a day with chilled water or fruit juices.
2. Liquid Chlorophyll Plus
If you’re on the prowl for a budget buy, Liquid Chlorophyll Plus is what you want. Its chlorophyll powder is extracted from mulberry leaves, and it consists of other ingredients such as lemon juice powder and permitted food-grade preservatives. Liquid Chlorophyll Plus provides benefits such as increased oxygen levels, promotes skin health, and combats free radicals within the body.
3. Biocare Liquid Chlorophyll
The most highly rated and reviewed product on this list, Biocare Liquid Chlorophyll is surprisingly, yet another budget-friendly option. It has 4 times the content of ordinary vegetables, and boasts numerous health benefits like better skin healing, enhancing your immune system, promoting gastrointestinal health, and weight loss. Biocare Liquid Chlorophyll also helps boost the intake of vitamins and minerals within your body to prevent fatigue.
4. Original Klink K-liquid Chlorophyll
Made from quality alfalfa, an ingredient prized for its healing capabilities as well as a rich source of nutrients, Original Klink K-liquid Chlorophyll prides itself in 3 main aspects: detoxification and removal of impurities from your body; regulate your hormones and internal pH levels; promotes blood health and energizes the body by increasing red blood cell count. Certainly, it may not be cheap, but if you’re looking for quality and money is not an issue, we highly suggest you look into this product.
Theoretically, there are many advantages to taking chlorophyll, orally or otherwise, but there has yet to be any conclusive study that proves that it is suitable for humans. And while pilot studies have shown positive results, there are potential downsides you need to be aware of.
If you’re looking for other supplements that might improve your skin health, you can also try a collagen drink!
However, if you’ve any insights or questions you’d like to share, drop us a comment down below and let us know!
Certainly, there hasn’t been any life-threatening effects attributed to chlorophyll ingestion thus far, so if you’re interested in joining the social media hype train, feel free to try it out for yourself!