Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Chlorophyll Print

Chlorophyll

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Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 2-1[hexyloxyethyl]-2-devinylpyropheophorbide-a (HPPH), ABCG2 substrates, Bn-NCC-1, CD45-peridinin chlorophyll protein, CHL, Chl(a), CHLN, chlorin e6, chlorin p6, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll-a, chlorophyll b, chlorophyll c, chlorophyll d, chlorophyllin, chlorophyllin copper (Cu(II)-chlorophyllin), chlorophyllin iron (Fe(II)-chlorophyllin), chlorophyllin zinc, Chlorophyllipt®, chlorophyllpt, chlorophyll lipiodol, chlorophyll phytol, copper chlorophyll, CpD-A, CpD-B, CpD-C, CpD-D, E121, fluo-chlorophyllin, hydroxy pheophorbide, Laminaria, metallochlorophyllin, microalgae, Nullo®, peridinin chlorophyll-alpha protein, pheophorbide, pheophorbide a, pheophorbide-a, pheophytin a, photodynamic antimicrobial therapy (PACT), phytanic acid, phytochemicals, porphobilinogen, porphyrin, PPBa, pristanic acid, protochlorophyllidae a, protoporhyrin IX, purpurin-18, Radachlorin®, retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, sodium copper chlorophyllin, sodium iron chlorophyllin, Sonoflora 1, tetrapyrroles, uroporphyrinogen-III, YebaikeT tablet (YBK).
  • Select combination products: Chlorofresh (sodium copper chlorophyllin, oil of mint), Derifil® (chlorophyllin copper complex), FRBA (chlorophyll- and fiber-rich health food), mamoclam (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, iodine, chlorophyll derivatives), talaporfin sodium (chlorin e6, L-aspartic acid).

Background
  • Chlorophyll is a compound that gives plants their green coloring. It is related to another compound called protoheme, which gives blood its red color. Chlorophyll can be taken from leafy green vegetables (such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and spinach), algae, wheat grass, potatoes, green tea, and herbs (such as alfalfa, damiana, nettle, and parsley).
  • Chlorophyll has been used to improve bad breath and other body odor, including the smell of urine, feces, and infected wounds. For centuries in Asia, chlorophyll has been used as an internal deodorant, or pills swallowed to help reduce body odor.
  • More recently, chlorophyll has been used to remove liver toxins and improve liver function. Evidence suggests that it may be used to reduce inflammation of the pancreas. It may also have antioxidant and anticancer benefits.
  • Research has shown that chlorophyll may help treat herpes, benign breast disease, tuberculosis (TB), and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as prevent cancer. Chlorophyll is also being studied for type 2 diabetes and weight loss.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Early research reports that chlorophyll may reduce levels of aflatoxins, a type of toxin produced by a fungus. Although promising, further study is needed in this area.

B


Chlorophyll may affect liver enzymes involved in the metabolism of estrogen, which may benefit people with benign breast disease. One low-quality study suggests that mamoclam, a product containing chlorophyll, may have benefits when used with omega-3 fatty acids and iodine. However, more research is needed to understand the effects of chlorophyll alone.

C


Research suggests that chlorophyll may help prevent cancer as part of a healthy diet. However, most studies in this area have found mixed results. More research is needed on the effects of chlorophyll alone.

C


Several studies have looked at the use of chlorophyll in reducing the side effects of photodynamic therapy (PDT), a type of cancer treatment. Early research has found that chlorophyll may reduce light sensitivity of skin in people with lung cancer who have undergone laser treatment. More high-quality research is needed to confirm these findings.

C


Chlorophyll has been studied for the treatment of the herpes viruses that cause cold sores and shingles. Although early results are promising, more high-quality research is needed in this area.

C


Early evidence suggests that the YebaikeT tablet, which contains chlorophyll, may improve white blood cell count and reduce dizziness and fatigue in people with low white blood cell count. Although promising, further high-quality research is needed to confirm these results.

C


Phytanic acid, a chlorophyll product produced in some animals, has been studied for metabolic syndrome risk. Early results suggest that there may be a lack of effect in healthy people given phytanic acid. Further research is needed.

C


Early studies suggest that chlorophyll may have benefits in improving symptoms of pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas. Although promising, more high-quality research is needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be made.

C


Early research shows that Chlorophyllipt®, a chlorophyll extract, may be used as part of a complex therapy to improve immune system function in people who have severe pneumonia. More research is needed in this area.

C


Foods containing chlorophyll have been studied for benefit in reducing levels of toxins in the body. Early studies show that dietary fiber and chlorophyll may help the body get rid of toxins and reduce levels in the liver. However, more evidence is needed before conclusions can be made.

C


Chlorophyll has been used to help reduce odor in people undergoing intestinal surgery. However, evidence is lacking in support of the use of chlorophyll for this purpose. More high-quality research is needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be made.

C


Diets high in chlorophyll have been studied for managing immune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. However, strong evidence is lacking. Further study is needed in this area.

C


One study suggests that applying Chlorophyllipt® solution to the skin may help protect against complications in people undergoing minor surgery. Although promising, more research is needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be made.

C


Dietary intake of chlorophyll during chemotherapy treatment may help improve immune function in people with tuberculosis. However, other supportive evidence is lacking. More studies are needed to better understand the effects of chlorophyll alone.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Anemia, antioxidant, antiviral, bad breath, blood disorders, body odor, clogged arteries, constipation, detoxification, diabetes, food uses, high cholesterol, inflammation, stomach disorders, ultraviolet light skin damage protection, weight loss, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • To treat bad breath, 100 milligrams of chlorophyll has been taken by mouth two or three times daily.
  • To treat low white blood cell count, 40 milligrams of sodium copper chlorophyllin (YebaikeT tablet) has been taken by mouth three times daily for one month.
  • To protect from aflatoxins, 100 milligrams of chlorophyllin has been taken by mouth three times daily for four months.
  • To reduce odor caused by urinary problems, 100 milligrams of chlorophyllin (Derifil®) has been taken by mouth daily for two weeks. 100-300 milligrams of chlorophyll has been taken by mouth daily in single or divided doses. One or two tablets of 100 milligrams have been placed in the empty pouch each time it is reused or changed in people who have had an ostomy.
  • To treat cancer, 0.1 grams per centimeter squared of Radachlorin® gel has been applied to the skin during 1-3 hours of exposure to 400-800 joules per centimeter squared light therapy at interval schedules of two sessions over four weeks, three sessions over one week, or four sessions over one week, for up to 18 months. A dose of 3-6 milligrams per meter squared of HPPH (2-[1-hexyloxyethyl]-2-devinyl pyropheophorbide-a) has been applied to the skin 24-48 hours before exposure to 150, 175, or 200 joules per centimeter of 665 nanometer light. Sonoflora 1 has been placed under the tongue 24 hours before therapy. A dose of 0.5-1.2 milligrams per kilogram of Radachlorin® has been injected into the vein together with 200-300 joules per centimeter squared of laser treatment at interval schedules of two sessions over four weeks, three sessions over one week, or four sessions over one week, for up to 18 months.
  • To treat herpes, 2-5 milligrams of chlorophyll per 1 gram of cream or per 1 milliliter of saline solution has been applied to affected areas 3-6 times daily.
  • To treat sepsis (severe reaction to bacteria), 1 percent Chlorophyllipt® ethanol solution has been applied to the skin.
  • To treat inflammation of the pancreas, a dose of 5-20 milligrams of water-soluble chlorophyll-a has been injected into the vein daily in 1-2 divided doses for periods of three days to three years, for a total chlorophyll-a intake ranging from 30-1,960 milligrams.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for chlorophyll in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to chlorophyll or any of its parts. Chlorophyll may cause an allergic reaction to the sun and intolerance to copper chlorophyll in food has been reported.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Chlorophyll is likely safe when taken by mouth at recommended doses.
  • Chlorophyll may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in people who have heart conditions. Chlorophyll may cause chest pain.
  • Use cautiously in people who have stomach disorders. Chlorophyll may cause changes in stool color, diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea, and stomach cramps.
  • Use cautiously in people who have liver problems. Chlorophyll may cause pseudojaundice (changes in skin color due to blood changes).
  • Chlorophyll may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs, herbs, or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these agents may be altered in the blood, and may cause potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert, and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Use cautiously in people taking agents that may affect the immune system. Chlorophyll may affect immune cells.
  • Use cautiously in people who have light sensitivity or rash. Chlorophyll may cause light sensitivity, rash, and skin irritation.
  • Avoid in children and in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety data.
  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to chlorophyll or any of its parts.
  • Chlorophyll may also cause changes in urine color, food intolerance (caused by copper chlorophyll), and porphyria (disorder in which heme protein is not made properly).

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of chlorophyll during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of safety data.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Chlorophyll may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also affect blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Chlorophyll may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood, and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert, and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Chlorophyll may also interact with agents that may affect the blood, agents that may affect the immune system, agents that may increase light sensitivity, agents that may prevent mutation, anticancer agents, antiseptics, antivirals, cholesterol-lowering agents, detoxifying agents, heart agents, skin agents, stomach agents, and weight loss agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Chlorophyll may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Chlorophyll may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
  • Chlorophyll may also interact with anticancer herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antivirals, carotenoids, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, detoxifying herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that may affect the blood, herbs and supplements that may affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that may increase light sensitivity, herbs and supplements that may prevent mutation, herbs and supplements that may protect against radiation, herbs and supplements that may treat heart disorders, herbs and supplements that may treat stomach disorders, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, and weight loss herbs and supplements.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Gawel E. Chemical composition of lucerne leaf extract (EFL) and its applications as a phytobiotic in human nutrition. Acta Sci.Pol.Technol.Aliment. 2012;11(3):303-310.
  2. Gomaa I, Ali SE, El-Tayeb TA, et al. Chlorophyll derivative mediated PDT versus methotrexate: an in vitro study using MCF-7 cells. Photodiagnosis.Photodyn.Ther. 2012;9(4):362-368.
  3. Grossi MR, Berni A, Pepe G, et al. A comparative study of the anticlastogenic effects of chlorophyllin on N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) or 7,12-dimethylbenz (alpha) anthracene (DMBA) induced micronuclei in mammalian cells in vitro and in vivo. Toxicol.Lett. 11-15-2012;214(3):235-242.
  4. Hederstedt L. Heme A biosynthesis. Biochim.Biophys.Acta 2012;1817(6):920-927.
  5. John K, Pratt MM, Beland FA, et al. Benzo[a]pyrene (BP) DNA adduct formation in DNA repair-deficient p53 haploinsufficient [Xpa(-/-)p53(+/-)] and wild-type mice fed BP and BP plus chlorophyllin for 28 days. Carcinogenesis 2012;33(11):2236-2241.
  6. Kucuksezgin F. The water quality of Izmir bay: a case study. Rev.Environ.Contam Toxicol. 2011;211:1-24.
  7. Liu W, Li S, Bu H, et al. Eutrophication in the Yunnan Plateau lakes: the influence of lake morphology, watershed land use, and socioeconomic factors. Environ.Sci.Pollut.Res.Int. 2012;19(3):858-870.
  8. Miller PE and Snyder DC. Phytochemicals and cancer risk: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutr.Clin.Pract. 2012;27(5):599-612.
  9. Moreno-Jimenez E, Esteban E, and Penalosa JM. The fate of arsenic in soil-plant systems. Rev.Environ.Contam Toxicol. 2012;215:1-37.
  10. Nava HR, Allamaneni SS, Dougherty TJ, et al. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using HPPH for the treatment of precancerous lesions associated with Barrett's esophagus. Lasers Surg.Med. 2011;43(7):705-712.
  11. Sakagami H, Iwamoto S, Matsuta T, et al. Comparative study of biological activity of three commercial products of Sasa senanensis Rehder leaf extract. In Vivo 2012;26(2):259-264.
  12. Schlothauer JC, Hackbarth S, Jager L, et al. Time-resolved singlet oxygen luminescence detection under photodynamic therapy relevant conditions: comparison of ex vivo application of two photosensitizer formulations. J.Biomed.Opt. 2012;17(11):115005.
  13. Wogan GN, Kensler TW, and Groopman JD. Present and future directions of translational research on aflatoxin and hepatocellular carcinoma. A review. Food Addit.Contam Part A Chem.Anal.Control Expo.Risk Assess. 2012;29(2):249-257.
  14. Xodo LE, Rapozzi V, Zacchigna M, et al. The chlorophyll catabolite pheophorbide a as a photosensitizer for the photodynamic therapy. Curr.Med.Chem. 2012;19(6):799-807.
  15. Zhang J, Wang W, Yang F, et al. Comparative proteomic analysis of drug sodium iron chlorophyllin addition to Hep 3B cell line. Analyst 9-21-2012;137(18):4287-4294.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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