If it’s green, it’s healthy—right? There’s a reason you can find all kinds of green juices, from cold-pressed to fresh-squeezed, not just lining grocery store shelves, but at every other fitness studio. Now, you’re likely to see pre-packaged chlorophyll water popping up next to your standard Blueprint or Pressed Juicery blends.
What is chlorophyll?
If you need a refresher on what the heck chlorophyll even is, think back to high school biology: “Chlorophyll is a plant pigment that absorbs light during photosynthesis, helping to create energy,” says Samantha Presicci, R.D, the lead dietitian at Snap Kitchen.
“Chlorophyll molecules are found in all green plants, including a lot of the veggies we eat regularly,” explains Presicci. Foods like wheatgrass, green beans, spinach, parsley, and arugula are all naturally packed with chlorophyll.
Potential benefits of chlorophyll
Just like chlorophyll keeps plants healthy, chlorophyll could help keep your body in peak condition. “Chlorophyll is an antioxidant powerhouse,” says registered dietitian Allie Gregg. The average consumer typically knows it for its detoxification properties. “Chlorophyll has enzymes that not only aid the liver in its natural functions as a detoxifier but also help reduce damage to the liver, making it more effective,” says Gregg.
The chlorophyll water trend
But eating chlorophyll doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the stuff into your system—so people (like Mandy Moore and Reese Witherspoon) have taken to drinking it to max out the perceived health benefits.
“What’s marketed as liquid chlorophyll (what you find in chlorophyll water or chlorophyll drops) is actually called chlorophyllin,” explains Presicci. Chlorophyllin is a supplement; it’s a semi-synthetic mixture of salts derived from natural chlorophyll. Chlorophyll-infused H2O like Verday and Chlorophyll Water, as well as concentrated liquid chlorophyll drops that you add to water chlorophyllin because it’s water-soluble versus chlorophyll, which is fat-soluble.
Water-soluble nutrients are more readily absorbed into the body; fat-soluble nutrients need fat to absorb and take longer for your body to process. Drinking chlorophyllin means you’ll potentially reap the benefits faster than you would by eating it in chlorophyll-filled veggie form.
Does chlorophyll water work?
Chlorophyll isn’t a miracle solution for everything from your acne to serious gut issues, though. While there has been some promising research, there isn’t enough solid scientific evidence on the effectiveness of chlorophyll water.
That said, “it’s not known to be toxic or cause any risks,” says Gregg. Overconsuming it may lead to mild symptoms like diarrhea, she says. You could also experience green urine or feces or tongue discoloration, adds Presicci. The recommended daily dose of chlorophyllin is between 100 and 300 milligrams per day over three separate doses, according to research from Oregon State University.
One thing you can be sure of? Drinking chlorophyll water means you’re going to be more hydrated. The more hydrated you are, the more energized you’ll feel, the more smoothly your GI system will run, and the better your skin will look—and that’s with or without infusing your H2O with any greens.