Another day, another weird, trendy water. And the proponents of chlorophyll water talk quite a big talk: It isn't just going to keep you hydrated, oh no — this stuff can help oxygenate your blood, detox your liver, and prevent cancer, they say. But are there any legit reasons to be slurping this stuff?
Before we get going, let's just address the obvious: Yes, chlorophyll is the stuff you remember from high school bio class that plants use to create energy from sunlight. It's the pigment that makes plants appear green. And, yes, human fans of chlorophyll have long suggested that we humans should take it in the form of supplements. So now we have the option of infused water, as if that would somehow make it more appealing.
Okay, so, does chlorophyll provide any benefits for those of us who are not plants? "Chlorophyll does contain a fair amount of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and E. So it's helping in that regard," says Lisa Young, PhD, RD, adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU Steinhardt. But you can get those same benefits from eating whole fruits and vegetables, she explains — there's no reason to go out of your way to get them via a fancy drink, especially when you consider the fact that regular old produce is probably cheaper and more satisfying to eat. And there are no proven benefits to getting more of those vitamins than your recommended amount, so "there's no need to go above and beyond," Dr. Young says.
Your best food sources for chlorophyll are going to be dark, leafy greens (e.g. spinach, kale, collard greens, arugula), adds Kim Larson, RDN, spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. You can also put them in your smoothies "to capture any potential health benefits along with fiber and other nutrients," Larson says.
The fact that you can easily get the same nutrients (and more) from your food isn't the only reason to skip supplementing with chlorophyll, whether it's in a pill or a drink. "You can become sun-sensitive when taking [chlorophyll] so you should wear sunblock when taking it," Larson says. "And you will see a change in the color of things in the toilet when you are taking it, too." (Granted, that change in the color of your poop can happen after one too many kale smoothies as well.)
On top of that, "pregnant or breastfeeding women clearly shouldn’t take it," Dr. Young says, because the safety of this stuff hasn't been evaluated in those populations.
So, are you going to improve upon your body's already excellent detoxification processes while drinking chlorophyll water? We're gonna say no. But if you're eating a varied diet full of fruits and veggies, you're probably getting your fair share of chlorophyll anyway — along with other nutrients and calories to keep you going. So you're probably already as chloro-full as you need to be. (Sorry.)