Life Extension Magazine®

Field scientist studying environmental toxins that may resist against chlorophyllin

Chlorophyllin Protects Against Environmental Toxins

Every year, over 4 billion pounds of toxic, untested chemicals are released into the environment, many of which are known carcinogens. These chemicals surround us in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Overcooked foods create similar mutagenic compounds. Chlorophyllin is a water-soluble form of chlorophyll that has been shown to neutralize toxic compounds and protect cellular DNA against mutations that can lead to cancer.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Carol Campi, RN, DC, in August 2023. Written 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

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

What You Need To Know
Chlorophyllin Protects Against Environmental Toxins

Chlorophyllin Protects Against Environmental Toxins

  • Chlorophyllin provides protection against environmental toxins.
  • Chlorophyllin is a safe, inexpensive supplement derived from the plant substance chlorophyll. It helps stop the damage done to DNA by environmental chemicals and toxins that are present in nearly everyone.
  • Laboratory studies have shown that chlorophyllin is able to bind to and remove cancer-causing toxins in the body.
  • Chlorophyllin targets multiple molecules and pathways involved in cancer development brought about by environmental toxin exposure, including mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene so that these mutations do not occur and raise the risk of cancer.
  • The ability of cancer-causing toxins to form DNA adducts is significantly decreased in the presence of chlorophyllin.
  • Chlorophyllin has been shown in numerous studies to protect against multiple forms of cancer, including bladder, breast, pancreatic, and colon cancer.
  • Aflatoxins, the cause of a significant number of liver and other cancers around the world, are significantly neutralized in the presence of chlorophyllin.
  • Chlorophyllin is a potent free radical scavenger and has been shown in studies to protect mitochondria against oxidative damage.
  • Chlorophyllin offers optimal protection against cancer-causing DNA and mitochondrial damage in a world contaminated with toxic chemicals.

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 study, 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, 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: 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.”

Aflatoxin: Nature’s Own Deadly Toxin
Aflatoxin: Nature’s Own Deadly Toxin

It’s not just industrial chemicals that increase the risk for cancer. There are also toxic compounds found in nature. Aflatoxin, a biochemical in the class of substances called mycotoxin, is produced by molds and is one of the most common and deadly carcinogens. While aflatoxin is associated with being a cause of liver cancer39-41 through the formation of carcinogenic by-products and its ability to cause DNA mutations, studies show that aflatoxin is also the cause of other cancers.42-44

An article in JAMA presented documentation that aflatoxin exposure is a risk for gallbladder cancer.42 In this case-control study conducted in Chile, researchers presented strong evidence that aflatoxin is linked to development of gallbladder cancer in primates, —a leading cause of cancer deaths in women in Chile—stating “ ...the associations between aflatoxin exposure and gallbladder cancer were statistically significant. A more recent article published in 2015 in the journal Tumour Biology showed evidence that aflatoxin both potentially causes lung cancer,55 and stimulates lung cancer cell migration, or metastasis.43

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 which, therefore, puts 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.”

Environmental Toxins And Their Destructive Effects On Mitochondria
Environmental Toxins And Their Destructive Effects On Mitochondria

One way in which toxins may bring about the myriad of damage that they cause is through their destructive effects on mitochondria, microscopic organelles found in every human cell that convert oxygen and food into energy. There are multiple studies that provide evidence that environmental toxins are poisons to these life-giving organelles and can lead to multiple diseases including cancer,1-2 metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance,3-5 Alzheimer’s disease,45 Parkinson’s disease,46 chronic kidney disease,47 and cardiovascular disease.4

Environmental toxins damage mitochondria in multiple ways.48-51 Chlorophyllin helps neutralize these poisons.

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.

Environmental Toxins And Cancer
Environmental Toxins And Cancer

Despite the claims put out by national organizations like the American Cancer Society, we are not winning the war on cancer. Far from it. A report was sent to President Obama in 2010 by the Presidents Cancer Panel. From September 2008 and January 2009, this Panel took testimony from 45 experts from academia, government, and industry regarding environmental toxins and cancer.52 In the panel’s conclusion, they stated “… the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are…understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.” While research is on-going, recent studies on how environmental chemicals cause cancer include damaging changes to DNA and increasing cellular oxidative stress leading to unchecked free radical formation.53-54


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® Wellness Specialists at 1-866-864-3027.


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