Chlorophyll - Supporter of all human and animal life
By Jacob Handel
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in all plants, algae and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Vital for photosynthesis, chlorophyll allows plants to obtain energy from light by converting the sun’s rays into chemical energy. Since all life on earth — with the exception of some bacteria — is supported by the sun, photosynthesis is a fundamental and essential process.
In addition to its critical role in photosynthesis, chlorophyll is also a great indicator of the health attributes of foods. The deeper the green color of a plant food, the richer the food is in chlorophyll — and the more abundant the food is in health-building qualities. Foods rich in chlorophyll can play a role in blood production and protection from cancer and radiation. Chlorophyll also has many therapeutic uses. Among these are wound healing, intestinal regularity, reducing cholesterol, detoxification and deodorization. Chlorophyll is an especially unique way to address these issues because, through hundreds of experiments and trials on humans and test animals, chlorophyll therapy has always been shown to have no toxicity (absolutely zero toxic side effects) — whether ingested, injected or rubbed onto your skin.
Chlorophyll is built around a structure known as a porphyrin ring, which is common to a variety of natural organic molecules. Chief among these is hemoglobin, the substance in human and animal blood which carries oxygen from the lungs to the other tissues and cells of the body. When looking at the structures of heme (the oxygen carrying portion of hemoglobin) and chlorophyll (see diagrams below), it’s easy to see their similarities. The main difference between them is the porphyrin ring of hemoglobin is built around iron (Fe) and the porphyrin ring of chlorophyll is built around magnesium (Mg). Verdel first suggested the chemical similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll in 1855. The similarity was specifically demonstrated in the early 1920s.
Over the following twenty years, much research was done on interconvertibility of the two substances in the body. While the process isn’t quite as simple as substituting the magnesium molecule in chlorophyll with an iron molecule to turn it into hemoglobin, there is evidence of the blood-building characteristics of chlorophyll-rich foods. Studies supporting this correlation date as far back as the 1920s.
In 1926 research suggested a relationship between the chlorophyll component pheophytin and hemoglobin generation. Then in 1934 Dr. Rothemund discovered that porphyrins from chlorophyll stimulated the synthesis of red blood cells in a variety of animals when fed in small doses.
Further research by Dr. Arthur Patek in which fifteen patients with iron-deficiency anemia were fed different amounts of chlorophyll along with iron, not only showed that Iron alone could reverse this condition, but also demonstrated that when chlorophyll and iron were given together, the number of red blood cells and the level of blood hemoglobin increased faster than with iron alone. As stated by Dr. Patek, “This study may serve to encourage the use of a diet ample in greenstuffs and protein foods, for it must be that over a long space of time favorably nutritious elements are absorbed which aid the blood reserve and which furnish building stones for the heme pigments necessary to the formation of hemoglobin.”
Research indicates that some porphyrins (ringed structures in heme and chlorophyll) stimulate the synthesis of globin (the protein portion of the hemoglobin molecule). This could partially explain the effect of chlorophyll on hemoglobin synthesis. While the complex physiological processes involved in generating blood aren’t completely understood, the parts of the process relating to nutrition are well defined. Essential nutrients for the maintenance of healthy blood include iron, copper, calcium, and vitamins C, B-12, K, A, folic acid, and pyridoxine, among others. Many of these blood-building components are found in chlorophyll-rich foods such as cereal grasses (wheat, oats, barley, etc.) and dark green vegetables. Young cereal plants absorb and synthesize vitamin K, vitamin C, folic acid, pyridoxine, iron, calcium and protein for their growth and development. These very same nutrients are essential to the generation and utilization of hemoglobin in humans and animals.
Protection from Cancer
Scientific evidence has shown that chlorophyll and the nutrients found in green foods offer protection against toxic chemicals and radiation. In 1980, Dr. Chiu Nan Lai at the University of Texas Medical Center reported that extracts of wheatgrass and other green vegetables inhibit the cancer-causing effects of two mutagens (benzopyrene and methylcholanthrene). The more chlorophyll in the vegetable, the greater the protection from the carcinogen.
Chlorophyll can reduce the ability of carcinogens to cause gene mutations, as shown in several laboratory studies. Chlorophyll-rich plant extracts, as well as water solutions of a chlorophyll derivative (chlorophyllin), dramatically inhibit the carcinogenic effects of common dietary and environmental chemicals.
Protection from Radiation
Green vegetables provide protection from radiation damage in test animals. This information has been reported in scientific literature dating back to the early 1950s. Early reports showed that certain vegetables significantly reduced mortality in rats exposed to lethal doses of X-rays. Dark green broccoli offered more protection than the lighter green cabbage. In a later study, the same vegetables were shown to reduce the damage caused by radiation. These protective effects were more pronounced when even darker green vegetables such as mustard greens and alfalfa leaves were used. When two or more of the green vegetables were fed together, the positive resistance to radiation was greatest.
Chlorophyll vs. Chlorophyllin
Chlorophyllin is a semi-synthetic sodium/copper derivative of chlorophyll. It has been used for over 50 years as a food additive and alternative medicine because it has a longer shelf life than natural chlorophyll and it costs less than some forms of natural chlorophyll. A 2005 study was conducted in the Netherlands to compare the effects of chlorophyll and chlorophyllin. Human diets high in red meat and low in green vegetables are associated with colon cancer. Such a diet was simulated in rats using dietary heme. The heme, simulating the red meat rich — and green vegetable lacking — diet of many people, caused a staggering increase in cytotoxicity (>50-fold increase, measured in fecal water), a nearly 100% increase in proliferation of colonocytes and almost complete inhibition of exfoliation of the colonocytes. The study found that chlorophyll, but not water-soluble chlorophyllins, completely prevented these heme-induced effects.
While chlorophyllin has exhibited some of the same benefits as natural chlorophyll, this study shows that the natural option has an overwhelming advantage in at least one application. The best way to incorporate more natural chlorophyll in your diet and reap all its wonderful health benefits is through green foods. When you eat fresh, organic, chlorophyll-rich foods and drink their juices, you are getting the best of the best. Growing your own cereal grasses and juicing them costs pennies, and these foods are the richest in chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll And Hemoglobin By Viktoras Kulvinskas
For ages men have puzzled over the question – “What makes grass green?” About a century ago, chemists named the green pigment in growing plants chlorophyll.
A certain belief evolved about this green fluid. The fact that herbivora build hemoglobin (blood cell pigment) on a diet composed of leafy greens invites the hypothesis that derivatives of chlorophyll may be used in making hemoglobin. A Dr. Abderhalden, in his textbook, suggests that blood pigment might be made from plants.
Added to this biological relationship is the chemical similarity between chlorophyll and hemoglobin This was suggested by Verdeil in 1851, though on the basis of invalid evidence. It was substantiated in 1879 by Hoppe-Seyler, who showed a similarity between hematin and chlorophyll derivatives.
Willstater’s work between 1906 and 1913 identified chlorophyll as an unstable water soluble magnesium compound characterized by ester groups of methyl and phytyl alcohol. He further showed both chlorophyll and hemoglobin to be closely related; both had some phyrrole fragments.
The years of research that were stimulated by Verdeil’s hypothesis culminated in the series of brilliant investigations by Hans Fisher, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930. He and his co-workers finally established the correct structure of hemin, part of the hemoglobin, by synthesis, and showed the true relationship to chlorophyll. They observed that the chlorophyll molecule closely resembles hemin, the pigment which, when combined with protein, forms hemoglobin.
The latter is present in the red corpuscles of the blood, and by carrying oxygen to the tissues, makes the production of energy and life feasible. One of the major differences between chlorophyll and hemin is that chlorophyll contains magnesium, while the hemin molecule contains iron for the central atom. Note, hemoglobin is one of the most important constituents of cells; it makes up three quarters of the solid content.
Owing to the close molecular resemblance between chlorophyll and hemoglobin, it was believed by Frans Miller, another scientist, that chlorophyll is nature’s blood-building element for all plant eaters and humans. He writes: “Chlorophyll has the same fast blood-building effect as iron in animals made anemic.” This has led to a great deal of controversy.
What exactly is anemia? According to Webster’s dictionary, anemia is a condition in which there is a reduction of the number of red blood corpuscles or the total amount of hemoglobin in the blood stream or both. Thus, anemia is an excellent vehicle for the study of the relationship between food and hemoglobin count.
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The first scientist to demonstrate the regenerative effect of chlorophyll on animals was Dr. Emil Burgi, who, in 1916, observed that rabbits rendered anemic by bleeding recovered more rapidly when chlorophyll was added to their diet.
Scott showed that a diet of milk, white bread and chlorophyll rebuilt blood faster than bread and milk. Scott and Delor noted that iron-and-copper-free alfalfa extract relieved milk induced anemia.
Patek and Minor, in clinic study with a rare type of anemia caused by pigment scarcity, observed a small positive increase in hemoglobin concentration on intravenous injection of chlorine derivative. Dr. Fisher in Germany announced that for some time he had been using chlorophyll in the treatment of anemia with promising (although by no means conclusive) results.
In another clinic study, Dr. Patek used fifteen adult patients with chronic hypochronic anemia. They were given chlorophyll and allied substances, and were placed on house diets free of meat and eggs, whereas the diet was adequate in all other respects.
The crude chlorophyll was a tar-like substance extracted from alfalfa leaves. It was found that chlorophyll alone was not effective. When chlorophyll and its derivatives were administered, there was an increase in hemoglobin and improvement in the sense of well being.
Other workers have reported curative effects of chlorophyll and its derivatives in a wide variety of anemias: protein deficiency, hemorrhagic, phenyl hydrazine poisoning, pernicious, hypochronic of unknown etiology and “experimental nutritional anemia” of unidentified character. Some of the reports are based on clinical studies, while others are the results of animal experimentation.
J. Howell Hughes and A.L. Latner, from the Department of Physiology, University of Liverpool, in a highly discriminative experiment, finally resolved the question of the blood regeneration capacity of chlorophyll. Rabbits were made anemic by daily bleeding, reducing the hemoglobin level to two-fifths of the normal value. The rabbits were split into two groups. The experimental received in diet chlorophyll in oil, the control only oil.
They performed five experiments. Three were with varying degrees of pure chlorophyll, one with large doses of crude chlorophyll (unrefined), and one with magnesium-free chlorophyll derivatives. The following is a summary of their findings.
Pure chlorophyll in large doses has no effect on the speed of hemoglobin regeneration after hemorrhage. It seems large doses are toxic to the bone marrow.
Very small doses of pure chlorophyll markedly increased the speed of hemoglobin regeneration to approximately its previous level.
Crude chlorophyll is effective even in large doses. Hughes concludes: “It seems, therefore, that the animal body is capable of converting chlorophyll to hemoglobin.” This is in agreement with Zin, who, however, showed the effect of chlorophyll injection on the red blood cell count of animals not rendered anemic.
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Thus we see how chlorophyll can aid in rebuilding the bloodstream. Without correcting all the causes of anemia, the chlorophyll results are temporary in nature and not consistently workable with every individual. If, however, the individual was to be placed on organic live foods and on one of the richest crude forms of chlorophyll, then the results are always the same, and the anemic condition disappears. Rev. Ann Wigmore, in clinical studies, has proven this many times.
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