Why are people on TikTok drinking chlorophyll, and should you start?



Green water didn’t clear my skin, but it did clear my mind.

I’m a sucker for a health and beauty trend. I can’t figure out if it’s the excitement of a shiny new addition to my self-care routine, or if I’m just shamelessly gullible and often fall victim to genius marketing tactics. 

Regardless, you can imagine my enthusiasm when I discovered the first of many hydrated, acne-free girls excitedly sipping from giant glasses of dark green liquid on TikTok. 

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If you have no clue what I’m talking about, chlorophyll water is the latest trend doing the viral rounds on the video-sharing app. The claims? Mixing liquid chlorophyll into your water every day for a week will turn you into a celestial, glass-skinned mermaid. Not really, but alleged benefits of the routine include clear and glowy skin, weight loss and elimination of body odour. 

@marycjskinnerweek 1 update!! honestly shocked, more in comments 🌿 #chlorophyll #chlorophyllwater#chlorophylldrops #rosacea#rosaceacheck#inflammation♬ deja vu – Olivia Rodrigo

To be completely transparent, the sceptic in me thought this trend was definitely too good to be true. But at the same time, like any typical Gen Z-er, I wasn’t going to turn down the prospect of clearer skin. So I took a leap of faith and chlorophyll-ified my diet for a week.

Is chlorophyll just a plant thing or do humans need it too?

Chlorophyll is a pigment in plants that makes them green, and that’s probably the only piece of information I retained from high school science. But I’m certainly no dietitian or health scientist, so I enlisted the expert advice of an accredited practising dietitian and sports dietitian, Liz Radicevic from Everyday Nutrition, to find out what chlorophyll has to offer for the human body. 

“Natural chlorophyll is found in green leafy vegetables, which would be more of a beneficial way to ingest chlorophyll, just because it includes fibre, vitamins and minerals from the vegetable itself as well as chlorophyll,” she tells me. So humans already ingest chlorophyll in their diet, but how much do we need? 

According to Liz, there’s no guideline for the recommended amount of chlorophyll in the human diet. Being a relatively new addition to the health food market, she says there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done. 

“There are many claims made about chlorophyll, but whether they’re all true is questionable. There’s little research or evidence to support the claims made about chlorophyll.” 

How much of the stuff do I need to drink to achieve these alleged benefits?

In an intensive deep-dive of ‘chlorophyll-tok’, users were suggesting anywhere between a few drops to a few teaspoons of liquid chlorophyll, mixed with a tall glass of water. Users claimed to see results after drinking the solution between one to three times a day. 

After following the recommendations for seven days, without changing my diet, skincare or exercise routine, I concluded that, on its own, chlorophyll didn’t do much for me. I know, not the exciting answer either of us was looking for. 

I still had hyperpigmentation on my face, and it wasn’t glowing like the girls I saw on TikTok. The number on the scales didn’t dramatically fall, and I still needed to reapply my deodorant on my lunch break. While I didn’t have as many breakouts as when I started drinking chlorophyll, my week had also been less stressful than usual, and my hormonal cycle was sitting in a rare sweet spot. 

But Liz contends that, perhaps, if I were to take chlorophyll in conjunction with a healthier diet and lifestyle, I may have seen better results. 

“Supplements don’t work to their fullest potential without pairing with a healthy diet. So it’s important to know you can’t have a diet that’s lacking in fruit and vegetables and just supplement with chlorophyll and expect it to have its optimal benefits,” she says. 

With all this in mind, the experience wasn’t without any benefit. To my surprise, I looked forward to my thrice-daily green drink and felt happy imagining the green goodness running through my body. Even if it was ultimately a placebo, as a self-care ritual, I felt content knowing I was treating my body with kindness. 

What does science say?

Liz says chlorophyll does provide a number of benefits for humans, such as “providing an antioxidant benefit [and] reducing chronic inflammation”, but the jury is still out on the full scope of benefits from the pigment.

There is research to support the contention that chlorophyll aids in acne reduction by reducing inflammation, and other studies revealed supplemental chlorophyll contributed to weight loss in subjects. 

Despite such evidence, Liz says there’s “still quite limited research in the area”. She believes that when it comes to nutrition, a balanced diet is your best friend.  

“You don’t usually need to supplement anything in the diet unless you’re deficient. You should be able to get adequate chlorophyll intake through diet alone,” she tells me.

“Any supplement taken in isolation would never trump a healthy and balanced diet. So really chlorophyll shouldn’t replace nutrient-dense foods as a supplement.” Gotcha. Guess I can’t put down the kale salads just yet.

But can chlorophyll water really act as a natural body deodoriser and detoxifier?

Liz says the human body is probably already taking care of many of the alleged benefits chlorophyll water claims to possess, without us knowing. 

“The human body has a natural detoxing system through the liver and kidneys, and that’s usually thought to be the most effective way to detox anything in the body. If they’re functioning well, they usually do the job that’s needed,” she says. 

“Therefore such a claim about chlorophyll acting as a detoxifying agent is probably a bit hard to believe.” 

When it comes to the body deodorising claim, studies from the 1950s found a chlorophyll-rich diet did in fact decrease body odour in patients. But modern research hasn’t concluded whether this claim is well-founded.

“This particular trend about chlorophyll at the moment is very much in isolation. Whereas if we were looking at internal natural body deodorisers, they could come from other healthy foods as well. But the evidence is very limited there,” Liz says. 

So should you jump on the chlorophyll water bandwagon?

From a dietitian’s perspective, Liz concludes the best way to reap the benefits of chlorophyll is through your diet, not a supplement. 

“My advice would be that food is always the best approach over supplements. So having plenty of leafy green vegetables would increase your intake of chlorophyll and provide benefits, but it would also mean you had a balanced and healthy diet,” she says.

So if science is somewhat on the fence about chlorophyll water, yet TikTok appraisals claim it works, is there any explanation for the success of the trend?

In a completely unqualified hot-take, I personally think the benefits I saw could have been less about chlorophyll, and more about the fact the ritual had me drinking an extra litre of water per day. Water is known to aid the kidneys in flushing out toxins and waste, and according to Liz, it can also help the weight loss process. 

“Drinking chlorophyll water daily will help you promote increased fluid intake. So if we are consuming more water, water itself will help keep you full. So it is a benefit to consume more water for weight management anyway,” she explains. 

“Whether that’s a chlorophyll benefit, or whether it’s a result of having more water is probably another question.”

While I don’t see myself repurchasing a bottle of the deep-green ‘miracle juice’, I’ll never be one to discredit a health trend that provides benefits for my mental health. As a self-care ritual, drinking chlorophyll water really was fulfilling.

Even though I didn’t see drastic physical results for my body or skin, the improvement in my mental health from ‘taking care of my body’ made it worthwhile. So if you’re still wondering whether to try this trend, I say there’s no harm. Just don’t cut out your five-a-day in the process.

Want to know more about chlorophyll? Head here

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