Chlorophyll Water Is TikTok's Latest Health Obsession — But Is It Really Good for You?

Here's what you need to know before guzzling the trendy green water.

June 18, 2021
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One of the newest TikTok trends is adding drops of chlorophyll into your cup of H2O. Touted benefits include stimulating the immune system, detoxifying the blood, cleaning your intestines, deodorizing sweat glands, energizing the body, and even preventing cancer. Find out if there is merit to any of these supposed claims and if you should be using liquid chlorophyll drops in your cup of water.

What Is Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in organisms that undergo photosynthesis such as green leafy vegetables, some algae, wheatgrass, green tea, potatoes, and some herbs. The liquid chlorophyll found in commercial supplements can derived from various sources including mulberry leaf, alfalfa, and algae. Some liquid chlorophyll may not be entirely chlorophyll and are made from chlorophyllin, a semisynthetic, water-soluble version of chlorophyll made by combining sodium and copper salts with chlorophyll. This combination supposedly makes it more absorbable by the body.

Although liquid chlorophyll is generally well-tolerated, reported side effects to the supplement include sensitivity to light, dermatitis, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Oral chlorophyll supplements have been used safely in short term trials for up to 4 weeks. In addition, the use of chlorophyll supplements hasn’t been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women and those individuals are recommended to avoid taking it until further research is conducted.

Does It Really Work?

Chlorophyll is fat soluble and has antioxidant properties. There is some research regarding the anti-cancer effects of chlorophyllin, however, in this 2009 in vitro study published in the International Journal of Cancer researchers concluded that chlorophyll in has the potential to be effective but more research is certainly needed.

There have been some initial studies done on some of these claims. For example, a 2004 study published in Indian Pediatrics showcased a pilot study which shows that consuming wheatgrass, a plant high in chlorophyll, reduced the number of blood transfusions needed in folks with a blood disorder called thalassemia. However, researchers didn’t call out chlorophyll as the reason for the decreased need for the transfusions. In addition, this study was done in a very specific population and it’s tough to determine its effects on healthy individuals.

Overall, there is very little evidence showing any benefit to adding liquid chlorophyll drops into your water daily.

Bottom Line: Stick to Green Vegetables

If you really want to add more chlorophyll in your diet—you can do so naturally by eating several servings of leafy green vegetables every day. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) only 1 in 10 U.S. adults get the recommended amount of veggies daily. Instead of dropping costly supplements into your water, why not up your green veggie game?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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