TikTok users swear by liquid chlorophyll drops. Here's what you should know if you're thinking of hopping on the bandwagon.

By Renee Cherry
April 14, 2021
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Wellness TikTok is an interesting place. You can go there to hear people speak passionately on niche fitness and nutrition topics or see which questionable health trends are circulating. (Looking at you, teeth filing and ear candling.) If you've been lurking in this corner of TikTok lately, you've probably seen at least one person sharing their love of liquid chlorophyll — and the social media-friendly, visually gorgeous green swirls it creates. If you have a love-hate relationship with green powders and supplements, you might be wondering if it's worth adding to the rotation.

Chlorophyll drink

If you aced your sixth grade science class, then you probably know that chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their green color. It's involved in photosynthesis, aka the process when plants convert light energy to chemical energy. As far as why a lot of humans choose to consume it? Chlorophyll has antioxidants and has some noteworthy potential health benefits. (Related: Mandy Moore Drinks Chlorophyll-Infused Water for Gut Health — But Is It Legit?)

"There are a wide range of purported benefits ranging from boosting energy, metabolism, and immune function, to aiding in cellular detoxification, anti-aging, and healthy skin," says Christina Jax, R.D.N., L.D.N., Lifesum Nutritionist. "However, the best supported research data is in chlorophyll's ability to help reduce cancer risk due to its antioxidant properties." Note: These studies technically looked at chlorophyllin and not chlorophyll. Chlorophyllin is a mixture of salts derived from chlorophyll, and supplements contain chlorophyllin rather than chlorophyll since it's more stable. While supplements actually contain chlorophyllin, brands typically label them as "chlorophyll."

You might already be getting chlorophyll through your diet when you eat — you guessed it! — green plants. But if you want to supplement, chlorophyllin is also available in pill form or the liquid drops that have become so popular on TikTok. When it comes to chlorophyllin supplements, "the tough part is determining the best method ([liquid chlorophyllin] vs. supplement tablet) and dosage needed for optimal benefits," says Jax. "More research needs to be done in the area to determine how much survives the digestive process."

Liquid chlorophyllin (whether from the chlorophyllin drops that are popular on TikTok or pre-mixed chlorophyllin water bottles) is not known to be toxic, but it does carry possible side effects.

"There are side effects of daily doses of chlorophyll supplements such as gastrointestinal cramping, diarrhea, and dark green stools," says Jax. (Of course, if you tried Burger King's infamous Halloween burger, you're probably no stranger to that last one.) "These symptoms can vary, but no long-term studies have been done to evaluate long-term use and potential negative health outcomes, either." (Related: I Drank Liquid Chlorophyll for Two Weeks — Here's What Happened)

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And with any dietary supplements it's important to keep in mind that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates supplements as food and not drugs (meaning less hands-on regulation). The FDA prohibits supplement companies from marketing products that are contaminated or don't contain what's on the label, but the FDA places responsibility on the companies themselves for making sure they meet those requirements. And companies don't always comply; the supplement industry is infamous for marketing products that contain contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, or pharmaceuticals that aren't specified on the label. (See: Is Your Protein Powder Contaminated with Toxins?)

After weighing out its pros and cons, is liquid chlorophyllin is worth trying? The jury's still out. While existing research on the compound shows promise, there isn't enough at this point proving liquid chlorophyllin's health benefits to know for certain.

"In the end," says Jax, "it's always a good idea to eat a plant-based diet that includes lots of green plants that will not only provide chlorophyll, but also other micronutrients and fiber needed for optimal health."

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