Benefits of Chlorophyll

By Dr. Mark Drucker

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Updated April 6, 2020

Within every photosynthesizing plant cell on this planet is the green pigment, chlorophyll. It’s used by plants to harness the sun’s power, split water molecules and recombine them with carbon dioxide to create stored energy in the form of carbohydrates.

We depend on this green magic for the food we eat. And just as importantly, we depend on it to produce the life-giving gas we breathe, oxygen.

The health benefits of chlorophyll have been largely forgotten over the last 70 years, but holistic health experts are starting to rediscover them.

Chlorophyll And Human Blood

Chlorophyll is very similar in structure to the pigment that allows our blood to transport oxygen, heme. Both contain a specific chemical structure called a porphyrin ring. In the center of chlorophyll’s porphyrin ring is a magnesium atom. In the middle of the heme’s ring is iron.

Long-overlooked preliminary research and some more recent case study reports indicate chlorophyll-rich foods and chlorophyll extracts may help support production of red blood cells. Some of the research indicates that chlorophyll supplies the body with porphyrin rings, making it easier for the body to manufacture heme, necessary for increasing a healthy red blood cell count.

The health benefits of chlorophyll seem to go even further.

Chlorophyll's Forgotten History

In 1930, Dr. Hans Fisher won a Nobel prize for mapping out heme's molecular structure. When he showed how similar it was to chlorophyll, he ignited a wave of medical research on chlorophyll.

The results captured the attention of surgeons and the public. An experimental study with kids using chlorophyll-laced toothpaste showed 2-3 times better dental health than kids who used the plain old stuff. Respiratory specialists, Drs. Robert Ridpath and T. Carroll Davis used chlorophyll treatments with over 1000 patients. They reported that there was not a single case in which chlorophyll didn't help their patients enjoy good respiratory health. Soon breath mints, toothpaste and even toilet paper were being made with chlorophyll.

Unfortunately, the chlorophyll craze of the 1930's and 40's dissipated with the discovery of antibiotics. Since then, there has been limited research on this special green pigment. And even the documented cases of the 1940's were not conducted carefully as full-scale clinical trials, so we still don't have irrefutable documentation of these many chlorophyll health benefits. However, integrative doctors and medical researchers are returning to chlorophyll's magic with renewed interest.

The Rediscovery Of Chlorophyll's Concentrated Cleaning Power

In 2005, a group of German researchers published a study in the journal Carcinogenesis, showing that chlorophyll supplementation seemed to be good for the colon. According to the researchers, it seemed that chlorophyll may block the absorption of its look-alike molecule, heme, in the colon, helping to keep the colon walls smooth and healthy.

These studies are only two and preliminary ones at that. However, they hint at what's to come. And they echo what I've found case by case in my own practice. I urge my patients to make good use of chlorophyll in their diet. It's like an “internal shower” helping to clean the bowels.

According to the late Dr. Bernard Jensen, holistic health pioneer and author of Chlorella, Gem of the Orient, Chlorophyll is the greatest natural tissue cleansing agent known to man.

And one of the best sources of chlorophyll is chlorella. With 8 times more concentrated chlorophyll than wheat grass, and 10 times more than barley and at least 20 times as much as alfalfa, chlorella has more concentrated chlorophyll than any other plant on the planet.