4 Amazing, Evidence-Backed Bone-Saving Powers Of Chlorophyll (And How To Get More Of It)
Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere, and everything is popping up green! The trees are budding, the bulbs are bursting from the ground, and flowers are greeting the sun. As the flora around us resumes the process of absorbing sunlight through glorious foliage, I’m reminded of the incredible way that plants gather energy and forge life from the light of the sun.
That process of harnessing the power of our solar system’s star is pretty incredible, and it’s made possible by a pigment called chlorophyll, common to all green plants. Humans use the sun too of course! Our skin uses its rays to produce Vitamin D, which as Savers know, is essential to absorbing calcium and facilitating the creation of new bone.
While we don’t utilize chlorophyll like plants do, we do consume it in many of the plants we eat. Not surprisingly, given that it comes from plants – our healthiest and most abundant source of nutrients – chlorophyll offers many health benefits.
Today we’ll take a close look at four reasons why chlorophyll is an important part of your diet, examine its relationship to bone health, and find out the best ways to incorporate it into your daily meals.
Breath in that spring air, and read on to learn what the green of spring has to offer!
1. A Jolly Green Healer
Many of the studies on chlorophyll use a synthetic liquid equivalent called chlorophyllin, that can be applied to test subjects by various means. These studies have shown that chlorophyll has the remarkable quality of slowing the rate at which harmful bacteria reproduce, making it a powerful agent for wound healing and infection prevention.1
This has been long established. Ever since the ‘40s chlorophyllin has been an ingredient in ointments for healing persistent open wounds like vascular ulcers and pressure ulcers. It has also been found to assist in reducing inflammation caused by injuries and wounds, promote healing, and control the unpleasant smell that results from bacteria accumulation.1
Obviously this is a useful quality since we all suffer the occasional cut, scrape or wound. But the real benefit here is the bone building facilitated by chlorophyll’s anti-inflammatory action.
Inflammation harms your bones, and high levels of certain inflammatory markers have been shown to increase hip fracture risk as much as 73%. Even high levels of general inflammatory markers create a significant increase in the likelihood of a fractured hip. Much of this risk is related to the negative impact of inflammation on the kidneys, which suffer a damage that prevents them from regulating necessary processes for bone formation.2
The simple equation winds up as: less inflammation equals healthier bones. And chlorophyll can help put that math in motion.
2. Digest Better and Manage Your Weight
Digestion and weight gain are both related to waste elimination, fluid levels and metabolism. And chlorophyll has a positive impact on all of these, speeding waste elimination and balancing fluid levels (often having having the result of reducing cases of constipation) and improving metabolism, which assists with weight loss efforts.
Chlorophyll helps you to feel full. Research over the years has looked at various forms of chlorophyll taken with different diets and its relationship to increased feelings of fullness, or decreased feelings of hunger.
A 2009 study on rats examined chlorophyll taken in thylakoid supplements that helped balance the release of hormones including cholecystokinin, ghrelin, and insulin, all of which are part of the process that makes us feel full so we realize when we’ve had enough to eat.3 This feedback system is important to preventing overeating. While these studies were conducted on rats, biological parallels suggest that humans experience the same results.
We depend upon all three of those hormones (cholecystokinin, ghrelin, and insulin) for communication between our digestive system and our brain to register feelings of hunger or satiation. They’re even called the “hunger hormones” because of it. But the regulation of these compounds is important for bone health as well.
Ghrelin and its receptor hormone GHS-R1a have been located in the osteoblasts of rats, meaning that they’re a component of the process of bone formation, and in particular the part of the process that creates new bone.4 That’s exactly what we want more of.
When your blood glucose levels drop, neuropeptide Y is stimulated in the hypothalamus. It’s presence triggers an increase in the production of ghrelin, stimulating your appetite. As you eat and your insulin levels rise, along with them increases cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK, produced in the intestines, is the hormone that flips on the “now I feel full” switch. Your blood glucose level has gone back up along with your insulin levels, so the process is paused until levels drop enough to restart the cycle. Along the way, the production of ghrelin is helping you build bone. So the regulation of the hormone by chlorophyll is bone positive
A more recent study that took place at Lund University in Sweden in 2014 examined the impact of taking chlorophyll supplements with a high carb meal on overweight women. The researchers found that the subjects who took the supplements had decreased feelings of hunger, elevated cholecystokinin levels and were less likely to develop hypoglycemia (an abnormally low blood-sugar level).5
This small study looked at 20 women and found those who took the thylakoids had an increased secretion of satiety hormones. As a result they didn’t feel the need to compensate by eating more later in the day. Clearly, this is helpful for weight loss and appetite control.
A Super Effective Antioxidant
Chlorophyll protects cells from oxidative damage by eliminating free radicals.6
Their negative impact on your bones has been scientifically proven. You see, free radicals harm cells by robbing them of an electron, and in most cases, turning them into electron scavengers. This can happen to bone cells, as well as to the myriad of types of cells that are important to the complex systems that facilitate and participate in the process of bone creation.
Many antioxidants are also responsible for reducing inflammation, which as discussed above is a danger to your bones.
One study showed these effects by examining the impact of Conyza triloba, a plant that contains high chlorophyll levels. An in vitro study found that it effectively reduced free radicals while reducing cell damage.7 Conyza is a flowering plant in the same family as sunflowers, though you might know a variety of this plant called horseweed. But you don’t have to gobble horseweed to get the positive impact of chlorophyll. It’s available in a wide variety of healthy, and delicious, foods.
Unsurprisingly, green foods are the best sources of chlorophyll. The foods in the following list are the best sources of it, and those marked with an asterisk are also alkalizing Foundation Foods:
- Spinach* (topping this list as the highest in chlorophyll)
- Swiss chard*
- Green beans*
- Sugar peas
- Chinese cabbage
- Green peppers
- Brussels sprouts*
- Green peas*
- Green apples*
- Honeydew melon
Experiments on spinach have shown that its chlorophyll levels are highest when raw. Boiling, steaming, freezing-then-thawing and other forms of preparation reduce the levels by as much as 50%, so make sure to include raw greens in your meals to get the most out of them.8
Protect Your Liver – Protect Your Bones
And now it’s time to get more technical: chlorophyll increases phase II biotransformation enzymes. The result is the protection of healthy cells and bodily tissues. Here’s how:
These important enzymes protect the body’s ability to eliminate harmful toxins by supporting the liver. Studies conducted on animals have shown that chlorophyllin reduces the risk of aflatoxin-induced liver damage or liver cancer by increasing the activity of phase II biotransformation enzymes and removing toxins.9
Aflatoxin is no laughing matter: aflatoxin-B1 is associated with an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and liver cancer because once it’s metabolized, it becomes a carcinogen.
A human study conducted in China looked a 180 adults with a high risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and chronic hepatitis B infection. The researchers gave the participants either 100 mg of chlorophyllin or a placebo before three meals a day. After 16 weeks of this, the levels of aflatoxin dropped 55 percent more in those taking the chlorophyll equivalent than those getting the placebo.10
We can deduce from this study that chlorophyll is an important protector of the liver. The liver, in turn, is essential to the health of your entire body, including your bones.
It’s important enough that I created a 7 day cleanse especially designed to boost and support the health of your liver. I do this cleanse twice a year, to help me offset the liver and kidney damaging chemicals that we can hardly avoid in the modern world. Part of the cleanse includes eating a raw meal every day, which as mentioned above, maximizes chlorophyll intake, along with bountiful other benefits.
And to make it even easier, OsteoCleanse™ contains over 40 raw recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and mouth-watering desserts such as Coconut Almond Cream Pie, Lemon Mousse, and No Bake Cookies.
Even with a healthy, pH balanced diet that includes plenty of chlorophyll, it’s important to take action to revitalize and rejuvenate your liver, to help you accelerate building and rejuvenating your bones. And that’s exactly what OsteoCleanse™ The Seven Day Bone Building Accelerator can do for you.
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Till next time,
1 Telgenhoff D, et al. “Influence of papain urea copper chlorophyllin on wound matrix remodeling.” Wound Repair Regen. 2007 Sep-Oct;15(5):727-35. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17971019
2 Barbour KE, Boudreau R, Danielson ME, et al. “Inflammatory markers and the risk of hip fracture: the Women’s Health Initiative.” J Bone Miner Res. 2012;27:1167-1176. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22392817
3 Köhnke R, et al. “Thylakoids suppress appetite by increasing cholecystokinin resulting in lower food intake and body weight in high-fat fed mice.” Phytother Res. 2009 Dec;23(12):1778-83. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2855. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19548286
4 Nobuhiro, Fukushima, et al. “Ghrelin Directly Regulates Bone Formation.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 27 Dec 2004. Web: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/JBMR.041237/full
5 Stenblom EL et al. “Supplementation by thylakoids to a high carbohydrate meal decreases feelings of hunger, elevates CCK levels and prevents postprandial hypoglycaemia in overweight women. “ Appetite. 2013 Sep;68:118-23. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23632035
6 Zhang YL, Et al. “The protective effect of chlorophyllin agaist oxidative damage and its mechanism. Zhonghua Nei Ke Za Zhi. 2012 Hun; 51(6): 466-70. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22943759
7 El-Sayed WM, Hussin WA, Mahmoud AA, AlFredan MA. “The Conyza triloba extracts with high chlorophyll content and free radical scavenging activity had anticancer activity in cell lines.”Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:945638. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23781512
8 Bohn, T., Walczyk, T., Leisibach, S. and Hurrell, R.F. “Chlorophyll-bound Magnesium in Commonly Consumed Vegetables and Fruits: Relevance to Magnesium Nutrition.” Journal of Food Science, 69: S347–S350 (2004). Web: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2004.tb09947.x/abstract
9 Yun CH, Jeong HG, Jhoun JW, Guengerich FP. Carcinogenesis. “Non-specific inhibition of cytochrome P450 activities by chlorophyllin in human and rat liver microsomes.” 1995 Jun;16(6):1437-40. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7788866
10 Egner PA, et al. “Chlorophyllin intervention reduces aflatoxin-DNA adducts in individuals at high risk for liver cancer.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Dec 4;98(25):14601-6. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11724948