Scene: yoga class.
You (pondering) – “Why is her water vibrant green?!”
Girl next to you (just spent $46 on a 1 L bottle) – “I just started taking this chlorophyll stuff in the mornings with my water! I feel AMAZING!”
Words like “detoxify”, “alkalise” and “purify” often get thrown around alongside this formula, which is usually purchased in a liquid form. However, the benefits for the human consumption of chlorophyll are unsubstantiated with any research.
Read on below to understand why!
Inside plants, chlorophyll’s molecules use the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen. You will be familiar with this amazing process – termed PHOTOSYNTHESIS. Photosynthesis allows the carbohydrates to be used to create protein, fiber and all the other necessities that a plant requires to have life! Oxygen (also released in the photosynthesis process) gets generously given to us humans. Yet another amazing benefit of sharing this life with plants.
In the early 1900’s a German chemist named Richard Willstatter found that chlorophyll’s chemical structure is very similar to that of hemeoglobin. Hemeoglobin is a very important molecule involved in transporting oxygen around in your blood. This oxygen is what keeps you alive, gives you energy and feeds your muscles throughout the day.
Hemeoglobin (inside humans) looks like this – see below
<– A Hemeoglobin molecule
The “Fe+” (or iron) in red in the middle is responsible for actually attaching the oxygen! This is why when you are iron deficient (and you don’t have enough of the iron in your blood) you can’t carry as much oxygen around your body. Hence, why you can often become tired, lethargic and irritable.
Now, below is the structure of chlorophyll (from plants).
<– A chlorophyll molecule
If you look closely you can see that the structures between haemoglobin and chlorophyll are kind-of similar. However, there is one vital component missing from the chlorophyll molecule.
Instead of having Fe+ iron in the middle like haemoglobin does (so that it can carry your oxygen) there is magnesium. Magnesium is great in it’s own right, HOWEVER, it cannot hold oxygen – a critical point.
So despite all the claims you might be hit with, chlorophyll is not haemoglobin. It therefore cannot provide humans with any “greater energy”, “cleansing”, “super-food” powers which some marketers claim it to do.
Some supplement brands suggest you to take up to 18 tablets per DAY of chlorophyll to feel its “full benefits”. That would amount to approximately $1 758/year.
It upsets me when I see young girls having high hopes of getting clearer skin and feeling less fatigued from drinking chlorophyll.
Personally? I suggest you save your money and eat a diet rich full of fruits and veggies instead! They contain an extensive array of nutrients that will undeniably help you to feel your best.
In the wise, cheeky words of scientist Ben Goldacare…
“Is chlorophyll ‘high in oxygen’? No. It helps to make oxygen. In sunlight. And it’s pretty dark in your bowels: in fact, if there’s any light in there at all then something’s gone badly wrong…[and if] by some miracle you really did start to produce oxygen in there, you still wouldn’t absorb a significant amount of it through your bowel, because your bowel is adapted to absorb food, while your lungs are optimized to absorb oxygen. You do not have gills in your bowels”.
If this post is unclear – this youtube video gives a nice, clear shot at explaining it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpc3fo5x_i4
Images sourced via pinterest. Authors unknown.