My 13, 2021
Chlorophyll water has been gaining popularity since 2016, when celebrities began touting its health and beauty benefits. Now, TikTokers are claiming in viral videos that it can help treat acne and inflamed skin, reduce body odor, prevent cancer, and support gut health, HuffPost reports.
The most popular TikToks―which have garnered 1.5 million to 2 million “likes” to date―promote chlorophyll water’s transformative effects on the skin. In the videos, TikTokers show their skin’s progress over time and advise adding liquid chlorophyll drops to water rather than applying chlorophyll topically or swallowing a chlorophyll pill.
“Drinking liquid chlorophyll seems to hit on people’s intuitions about naturalness and purity, because you are taking water and adding something that comes from plants, which are instinctively viewed as pure,” noted Andrew Shtulman, a professor of Psychology at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
It is also easier to swallow chlorophyll than, say, cook green vegetables or exercise. After all, these health-boosting activities “take more effort, or we might not have the resources to purchase the materials or access to a space where we need to do them,” Shtulman said.
That said, HuffPost cautions, don’t expect it to be the cure TikTok users are making it sound. Like most things related to your well-being, there isn’t one magical solution or a quick fix. Here’s what to know:
First, it is important to remember that dietary supplements are not regulated or required to undergo Food and Drug Administration approval, said Judy Simon, a registered dietitian and nutritionist and adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington.
“Anyone can make all kinds of claims about chlorophyll supplements,” said Simon, so approach cautiously when you see them on your TikTok “For You” page.
To assess the true effectiveness of liquid chlorophyll, you need to look at chlorophyllin, a semi-synthetic form of chlorophyll found in liquid chlorophyll that is different from the natural version contained in plants, Simon said. This form allows it to be mixed into water and dissolve well.
However, HuffPost reports,the limited number of human studies on chlorophyllin’s effect on skin focus on topical application, as opposed to ingestion, and these studies involve only 10 people or fewer.
Board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park emphasized that better research is needed to uncover the benefits of using topical or liquid chlorophyll supplements.
While she did note that chlorophyll may hold potential benefits for the skin because “its antioxidant properties help with anti-aging and it also has anti-inflammatory properties to help treat acne,” the research remains limited.
Ultimately, Park advised against relying on chlorophyll as your sole antioxidant or acne treatment. And you can reap the benefits of natural chlorophyll by eating green vegetables, drinking matcha, or consuming spirulina, Simon said.
Existing studies are still inconclusive when it comes to drinking liquid chlorophyll for other health reasons. Some viral videos claim it can do everything from reduce body odor to prevent types of cancer, but there’s no solid evidence to suggest this is true.
A single study on mice did find that drinking chlorophyllin mixed with water may regulate the gut microbiome. But Simon said this doesn’t provide enough evidence for her to recommend it to her clients to boost their gut health.
After drinking chlorophyll water, you may experience side effects such as diarrhea or green-colored stools. Some experience an allergic reaction or have stomach cramps, prompting some people to seek medical help.
Drinking chlorophyll water isn’t likely to damage your skin, Park said. But it is still unclear whether chlorophyllin has other adverse impacts on your body when you use it long-term, since the only safety data that currently exists is for taking 300 milligrams daily for up to three months, Simon said.
And for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, safety data does not yet exist, Simon said. If you fall into one of these groups, your doctor will likely advise you to avoid drinking chlorophyllin during these periods.
You also may be advised to avoid it if you take medications that increase your sensitivity to sunlight, like some antidepressants or blood pressure medication, as chlorophyllin can increase your chances of sunburn.
Research contact: @HuffPost