Before you Bandwagon: The Internet’s Obsession with Liquid Chlorophyll

By: Andie Horowitz

Recently, I was on a walk with my resident know-all-things-wellness friend, Courtney. I was curious about the latest self-care trends and asked if she knew anything I may have missed and can further research. Immediately, she brought up the recent TikTok trend of liquid chlorophyll — a topic taking the app by storm, with a current 299.1M views under the #cholorphyll hashtag to date. Though Courtney has seen a significant amount of content surrounding the product, she, a quasi-health guru, was still not sold on its efficacy.

Is chlorophyll actually a miracle worker or just another five-minute fad? 

The low-down

It turns out that chlorophyll, a green pigment found in plants and an essential element of photosynth

esis, is not just relevant to your eighth-grade biology class. The super substance is full of antioxidants, known for having positive effects on the immune system, the digestive system, and, as TikTok recently discovered, skin. And while a person does ingest a good amount of chlorophyll from plants like spinach and parsley, it may be difficult to see the effects of the element from food consumption alone, as it may dissolve in the digestive system before absorption. Because of this, consumers have turned to higher concentration supplements and, more famously, liquid chlorophyll to uptick their intake. 

It's important to note that though these products are advertised as "chlorophyll," they are made with chlorophyllin, a more absorbable version of the pigment. When taking the supplements or drinking (or applying) liquid chlorophyll regularly, people have advertised seeing a decrease in red spots, clearer skin, and even weight loss. And with the Internet providing a plethora of testimonials from satisfied users, brands like Vitamin Shoppe saw a 500 percent increase in the product's sales in the last week of April. 

Why people claim it works

The liquid chlorophyll trend did not come out of a vacuum. In recent years, studies have shown that both topical chlorophyllin gel and certain chlorophyll supplements improved acne levels and both unwanted pore and wrinkle appearance on users. This is most likely due to its high levels of nutrients such as vitamins C, A, E, and K. Even registered dermatologists have given the product the go-ahead for its skincare benefits.

Yet despite its promising effects in the skin department, research falls flat regarding chlorophyll's influence on weight loss. More research is needed to know if the liquid or supplement form may aid in weight control. And as with most things, there are potential side effects that consumers should be aware of when taking any chlorophyll-related product, including gastrointestinal cramping, diarrhea, and dark green stool. Additionally, there is little to no long-term research on these products, implying that other possible side effects and chlorophyll's efficacy in these new forms are essentially unknown. 

Our take

Chlorophyll as an independent entity, specifically when included as a regular part of your diet — be it through greens or vegetables — is good for you. The science is there. But when taken in liquid or supplement form for the purposes many brands are marketing...I would wait before you stock up. Because products like liquid chlorophyll and chlorophyll supplements are so nascent in the world of health and wellness, I argue that more substantive research needs to be presented before we cash out on the latest trend. 

While waiting, we can increase the green vegetable intake in our diets and reap similar results. And if down the road, more research points to conclusive, life-changing benefits, I will personally clear out my nearest health store then. 

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