Chlorophyll is the constituent in plants that makes their parts green. It aids in producing food for the plant by storing sunlight for photosynthesis, which uses water, carbon dioxide and sunlight to make usable carbohydrates. Chlorophyll, as found in nature, provides many health benefits, including protecting your DNA from free radicals that can cause cancer. There are a few risks associated with chlorophyll use.
As a Deodorizer
Since the 1940s, chlorophyll (or its liquid derivative chlorophyllin) has been used to reduce the odor of infected wounds. It worked well in this capacity, so people began marketing it for use as a breath freshener and to control fecal odor for patients with colonoscopy bags. It is not always as effective in this use, but you can still find chlorophyll breath products in stores. A better way to use chlorophyll to freshen breath would be to eat parsley after your meals.
As a Detoxifier
Whole foods, especially raw and minimally processed vegetables, are effective in cleaning the colon and helping to detoxify the liver and kidneys. Green, leafy vegetables are particularly singled out. While it could be inferred that the chlorophyll in these plants is the agent that promotes detoxification, it’s more likely the fiber and electrolytes contained in fresh produce are the remedy here.
As a Food Additive
Recently there has been a backlash against chemical food additives, due to the conception that they can cause allergies and other ailments. Chlorophyllin is becoming popular as a color enhancer because it is naturally derived. According to Jane Higden, Ph.D., of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, “Natural chlorophylls are not known to be toxic, and no toxic effects have been attributed to chlorophyllin despite more than 50 years of clinical use in humans.”
As a Cancer Fighter
The prevailing thought that eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables to prevent cancer has its roots in several things. Good colon health, which is sustained by getting enough fiber, is paramount in avoiding chronic illnesses and a weakened immune system. Chlorophyll, and the liquid chlorophyllin, are being studied for their antioxidant properties as well.
Liquid Chlorophyll Side Effects
Since chlorophyll is a good thing when you consume it in green, leafy vegetables and other foods, many people now use it in a concentrated form believing it to be even better. This liquid is made by processing the chlorophyllin out of vegetables or algae with a sodium copper compound. While there is little danger in using liquid chlorophyll supplements, there can be side effects. Some people experience green-colored urine or a black or yellow tongue after prolonged use of chlorophyll. If you use it on a cut as an antiseptic, you may itch temporarily. Some people may experience diarrhea, and chlorophyllin may cause a fecal blood culture to show a false positive.
References and ResourcesOregon State University- Linus Pauling Institute
Nutritional Supplements Health Guide