Chlorophyll supplement benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 25 2014

Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in higher plants and algae. Chlorophyll is the main photoreceptor in photosynthesis, the light-driven process in which carbon dioxide is "fixed" to yield carbohydrates and oxygen. Chlorophyll contains chlorophyllin. The microalgae chlorella dunaliella and scenedesmus, and the cyanobacteria spirulina and aphanizomenon flos-aquae, are being used as supplements. They have good amounts of lipid, protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and unique pigments.
   Cereal grass is the young green plant that grows to produce the cereal grain. Wheat grass and barley grass are popular nutritional supplements. These cereal grasses, along with spirulina, chlorella, oat grass and alfalfa are sometimes referred to as "green foods." Wheat grass and barley grass are rich sources of chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll benefit
Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, a magnesium porphyrin structurally analogous to heme. Green vegetables may decrease colon cancer risk because chlorophyll prevents the detrimental, cytotoxic and hyperproliferative colonic effects of dietary heme. A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin.
   Cyclophosphamide is a potent antitumour agent used against many forms of cancer and against certain other diseases. Chlorophyllin, which is obtained by hydrolysis of chlorophyll to remove phytyl alcohol, is an efficient antimutagenic agent and has been used as a dietary supplement or to diminish the intensity of the discomforting side effects of cyclophosphamide therapy. Chlorophyll may have beneficial effects when used in combination with cyclophosphamide therapy.

Availability of Chlorophyll supplement pill
You can find liquid chlorophyll, chlorophyll tablet and chlorophyll powder. The benefit of liquid chlorophyll or the advantage of liquid chlorophyll over the tablet form has not been determined.

Chlorophyll use and chlorophyll side effects
No major chlorophyll side effects have yet been reported in the medical literature regarding chlorophyll supplement use.

Structure of chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is a cyclic tetrapyrolle, similar in structure to the heme group of globins (hemoglobin, myoglobin) and cytochromes. Chlorophyll differs from heme in a few major respects, most notably that the central metal ion in chlorophyll is magnesium while that in heme is iron.

Chlrophyll supplement research
Effects of the dietary supplements, activated charcoal and copper chlorophyllin, on urinary excretion of trimethylamine in Japanese trimethylaminuria patients.
Life Sci. 2004. Laboratory of Drug Metabolism, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, N12W6, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Japan.
Trimethylaminuria (TMAU) is a metabolic disorder characterized by the inability to oxidize and convert dietary-derived trimethylamine (TMA) to trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). This disorder has been relatively well-documented in European and North American populations, but no reports have appeared regarding patients in Japan. We identified seven Japanese individuals that showed a low metabolic capacity to convert TMA to its odorless metabolite, Copper chlorophyllin (total 180 mg per day for 3 weeks) was effective at reducing free urinary TMA concentration.

Questions
Q. I have been readings your news letters recently and enjoyed them immensely. If I may, I would like your opinion on taking chlorophyll as a supplement. My local GNC advisor claims it cleans and oxygenates the blood. Thanks in advance for your valued response.
   A. There are a number of beneficial herbs and supplements and chlorophyll supplement is one of these hundreds that are available in health food stores. A good option is to have several different types of herbal supplements and alternate their use. It would be difficult to say that chlorophyll is any better or worse than other herbs such as curcumin, mangosteen, garlic, pomegranate, etc. They each have their benefit and alternating their use is one option.

Q. I used to take some chlorophyll supplements because it was recommended to me by two naturopathic physicians. I noticed the amount of copper that I was obtaining from the supplement, about 10 mg, was extremely high considering the RDA and UL. Yet somehow I don't believe I ever experienced adverse effects from this. Is it possible that the copper from the chlorophyll is not absorbed?
   A. I am not sure what the actual content of copper is in different chlorophyll supplements. This could vary between different chlorphyll products on the market. I have not seen research regarding the absorption rate of copper from chlorophyll supplements but I have no reason to believe that it would not be absorbed.

I have recently read an article that states that liquid chlorophyll is synthetic because the magnesium in chlorophyll is replaced with copper. Is the claim by NSP Liquid Chlorophyll true?
    This does not make sense to me. And, practically speaking, I have seen no clinical human studies that compare NSP Liquid Chlorophyll to other similar products.