Chlorophyllin Protects Against Environmental ToxinsDecember 2015
By Edward R. Rosick, DO, MPH, DABIM
Every day, we are surrounded by environmental toxins. Studies show they can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer through induction of mutations to our DNA.1-5
Fortunately, an inexpensive supplement—chlorophyllin—has been shown in multiple studies to detoxify these deadly chemicals, and protect DNA.
Proper use of chlorophyllin affords considerable defense against the natural and man-made toxins that permeate our food and environment.6-8
Environmental Toxins: An Unfortunate Fact Of Life
In the last 70 years, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been synthesized, and every year, over 4 billion pounds of these chemicals, many known carcinogens, are released into the environment.9 Even more disturbing is that the vast majority of these chemicals have never been adequately tested by any government agency, including the EPA and FDA, in regards to their effects on human health.10
On a daily basis, nearly everyone is exposed to this barrage of compounds through industrial and manufacturing facilities, agricultural runoff that includes pesticides and herbicides laced in foods, and emissions from trucks, cars, and planes. Even our brave military men and women face exposure from a multitude of chemicals used on bases and facilities around the world.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in 2009 confirmed these findings by examining the burden of 212 industrial chemicals in the bodies of US citizens.11 In particular, the CDC report showed widespread exposure to commonly used industrial chemicals, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and bisphenol A (BPA), which is a chemical known for its toxic effects on reproduction.12 BPA is reported to be present in at least 90% of the US population. Perfluoroalkyl chemicals are present in 98% of people sampled.11-13 Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a type of perfluoroalkyl chemical, is best known for being part of the substance Teflon™ and is linked with multiple diseases, including ulcerative colitis,14 kidney disease,15 thyroid disease,16 and cancer.17
Chlorophyllin: Protection Against Toxins
Chlorophyllin is a water-soluble derivative of the green plant substance chlorophyll.
In multiple studies, chlorophyllin exhibits powerful anticarcinogenic effects in regards to a variety of environmental toxins.6-8 The way chlorophyllin accomplishes this is by targeting a number of molecules and pathways involved in cancer development, such as protecting against mutations of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Cell proliferation is partially controlled by the p53 gene, so protecting healthy expression of p53 is a critical factor that helps guard against cancerous changes.18
Chlorophyllin disables potent carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines by forming complexes with these chemicals that limit the ability of these toxins to bind to normal cells to inflict malignant changes.19-20
Chlorophyllin binds to a number of other common carcinogens including dibenzanthracene, dibenzopyrene and benzophenanthrene and limits their ability to form DNA adducts, which are strands of DNA bonded to cancer-causing toxins. Formation of DNA adducts is an early step in the formation of cancer-causing DNA mutations. Chlorophyllin limits DNA adduct formation caused by a variety of known carcinogens.21-23
Chlorophyllin also functions as an antimutagenic agent against a number of prevalent chemicals in the environment such as PhlP (2-amino-1-methyl-6- phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine), known to be involved in colon, prostate, pancreatic, and breast cancer.23-24
Chlorophyllin Protects Against Multiple Cancers
The ways in which chlorophyllin provides protection against cancer—and the number of cancers it’s effective against have been shown in multiple studies including:
Oral Cancer: A 2012 study in hamsters showed that chlorophyllin can both prevent and reverse genetic mutations linked to oral cancer caused by the chemical 7,12 dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA).25 Scientists in this study conclusively showed that chlorophyllin modulated and even reversed changes to 104 genes that were deleteriously affected by DMBA.
Pancreatic Cancer: A study published in 2014 examined the effects of a number of dietary supplements on pancreatic cell lines, with the results showing that chlorophyllin has antiproliferative effects on pancreatic cells.26
Colon Cancer: In a study on human colon cancer cells, researchers showed that chlorophyllin-treated colon cancer cells had a statistically decreased expression of human ribonucleotide reductase (RR), an enzyme used by these cancer cells for DNA synthesis and repair. By inhibiting RR, chlorophyllin made these cancer cells less able to grow and more receptive to mainstream cancer chemotherapeutic agents.27
Bladder Cancer: In a 2014, researchers examined the combined effects of chlorophyllin with photodynamic therapy (PDT), a minimally invasive cancer treatment in which cancer cells take up a chemical or substance and are then exposed to a certain wavelength of light. In the presence of the photosensitizing substance, the PDT generates a form of oxygen that kills the cancer cells. In this study the researchers, using a special form of chlorophyllin, showed that when combined with photodynamic therapy (PDT), it resulted in approximately 85% destruction of bladder cancer cells.28
Breast Cancer: Researchers at the University of Kentucky showed that when human breast cells were exposed to dibenzopyrene (DBP), a known carcinogen, dangerous and unstable DNA adducts were formed. However, in the presence of chlorophyllin a decrease of more than 65% in the number of DNA adducts was observed.29
Stomach Cancer: A 2014 study examined the effects of chlorophyllin on stomach cancer in rats and more specifically, the effects on transforming growth factor (TGF) beta signaling, a pathway that plays a vital role in cancer formation.30 Chlorophyllin showed strong effects in stopping cancerous growth and metastasis, leading the authors of the study to conclude: “Dietary chlorophyllin that simultaneously abrogates TGF beta signaling pathway and the key hallmark events of cancer appears to be an ideal candidate for cancer chemoprevention.”
Chlorophyllin Protects Against Liver Cancer
Out of the 600,000 new cases of liver cancer diagnosed yearly around the world, conservative estimates are that up to 155,000 of them are caused by aflatoxin found in multiple improperly stored foods including peanuts, corn, pistachios, and rice.31
Fortunately, studies show that chlorophyllin has the potential to significantly reduce the risk of liver cancer induced by aflatoxin by binding to carcinogenic byproducts of aflatoxin metabolism and therefore, decreasing bioavailability of these cancer-causing chemicals.32-33
In a study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, researchers showed that in volunteers, ingestion of 150 mg of chlorophyllin significantly decreased the absorption of aflatoxin B.32
An even more compelling study on the preventive power of chlorophyllin was done in Qidong, China, a province where the population is known to have a high exposure to aflatoxins and therefore, putting them at high risk of liver cancer.33 In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 180 men and women were randomized to receive either 100 mg of chlorophyllin or a placebo three times daily over a four-month period.
The researchers showed that those men and women randomized to the chlorophyllin arm of the study had a 55% reduction in a biochemical marker of aflatoxin when compared to those people not taking chlorophyllin. This significant finding led the authors of this study to conclude “ ...interventions with chlorophyllin or supplementation of diets with foods rich in chlorophylls may represent practical means to prevent the development of hepatocellular carcinoma or other environmentally induced cancers.”
Chlorophyllin Shields Mitochondria
Another way that chlorophyllin provides protection against environmental toxins is via its free radical scavenging activities, both in general and specifically in mitochondria. In a study published in 2000, researchers looked at the protective effects of chlorophyllin on various organs and mitochondrial membranes in mice and rats.34 The authors of this study showed that not only did chlorophyllin protect mice brains, liver, and testes from oxidative damage, but it also proved to be a potent free radical scavenger in rat liver mitochondria, leading the researchers to conclude “ ...our studies showed that CHL [chlorophyllin] is a highly effective antioxidant, capable of protecting mitochondria against oxidative damage... ”
In another study using rat liver mitochondria, researchers showed that chlorophyllin provided significant protection against ionizing radiation, a potent generator of free radicals.35 Finally, with mitochondrial damage strongly implicated in the aging process,36-38 chlorophyllin may very well be useful in preventing chronic diseases and premature senescence.
Life Extension® described the antimutagenic properties of chlorophyllin in the mid-1980s.
There was ample evidence decades ago that taking 100 mg of chlorophyllin with the heaviest meal of the day made sense because larger meals tend to contain more dietary mutagens.
A popular formula used by health-conscious people today provides 100 mg of chlorophyllin along with other nutrients that are best taken with a heavy meal. If you ingest more than one large meal daily or are exposed to excessive dietary or environmental toxins, you may consider taking 100 mg of chlorophyllin with each meal.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
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