For anyone who grew up in the ‘90s, it’s almost impossible not to think: ‘Chlorophyll? More like borophyll!’ whenever we see or hear the word ‘chlorophyll.’ But how much do we actually know about the green pigment that’s found in plants and vegetables, other than that it was used as a set up to a funny punchline in a movie? So, let’s take some time to get to know chlorophyll a whole lot better. We promise to do our best not to borophyll you.
What Is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a group of related green pigment proteins found in photosynthetic organisms. Plants use chlorophyll along with sunlight to get their nutrients. Since chlorophyll contains components that are activated by light, it can be found in green leafy vegetables, some algae, wheatgrass, green tea, potatoes, and some herbs. Commercial sources of chlorophyll include alfalfa (Medicago sativa), silkworm droppings, and algae.
Chlorophyll a is found in higher plants, as well as red and green algae, while chlorophyll b is found in higher plants, chlorophyll c is found in brown algae, diatoms, and flagellates, and chlorophyll d is found in red algae. Chlorophyll is also related to protoheme, which is the red pigment of blood.
Different Ways That Chlorophyll Can Be Used
In addition to playing an important role in keeping plants and vegetables healthy, chlorophyll also has vitamins. Chlorophyll can be applied topically, taken orally, or used internally.
How You Can Get Chlorophyll
You can incorporate chlorophyll into your diet by consuming dark green leafy vegetables or other chlorophyll-rich vegetables like parsley, arugula, alfalfa, spinach, spirulina, broccoli, or asparagus. Fruits such as green apples, kiwi, and green grapes have chlorophyll; as do pistachios, hemp seeds, and matcha, which is a type of powdered green tea.
You can also get chlorophyll from supplements, which are usually available in the form of drops, pills, or capsules. Some nutritional supplements that contain chlorophyll are greens powder, green tea, wheatgrass, spirulina, barley grass, chlorella, and blue-green algae.
Chlorophyll supplements often contain chlorophyllin and have copper instead of magnesium. Chlorophyllin is a water-soluble derivative of natural chlorophyll that is potentially better absorbed by the body than other forms of chlorophyll. In humans, no more than about 5% of ingested chlorophyll phytol is absorbed.