|CHLOROPHYLL BENEFITS - anti-diabetic and anti-cancer activities?
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Chlorophyll is the chemical in plants accomplishes photosynthesis and it is responsible
for the green color of the plant. Chlorophyll can be found in dark green leafy vegetables,
some algae, wheat grass and barley grass. Historically, chlorophyll was used to improve
bad breath, and reduce the odors of urine and feces. It was also believed that it might
have health benefits on constipation and anemia.
Some preliminary evidence suggests that chlorophyll might have anti-inflammatory,
antioxidant, and wound-healing activities. [1,2] Chlorophyll has also been shown to have
benefits on chemoprevention.
A few studies have shown that chlorophyll prevents the detrimental, cytotoxic and
hyperproliferative colonic effects of dietary haem. Diets high in red meat are associated
with increased colon cancer risk. This association might be partly due to the haem
content of red meat. In rats, dietary haem is metabolized in the gut to a cytotoxic factor
that increases colonic cytotoxicity and epithelial proliferation. Chlorophyll is magnesium
porphyrin structurally analogous to haem. In a study, researchers fed rats with a purified
control diet or purified diets supplemented with 0.5 mmol haem/kg, spinach (chlorophyll
concentration 1.2 mmol/kg) or haem plus spinach (n = 8/group) for 14 days. Researchers
found that haem increased cytotoxicity of the colonic contents approximately 8-fold and
proliferation of the colonocytes almost 2-fold. Spinach or an equimolar amount of
chlorophyll supplement in the haem diet inhibited these haem effects completely. 
Chlorophyll may have health benefits on diabetes. The chlorophyll metabolite phytanic
acid is a natural rexinoid--potential for treatment and prevention of diabetes. Synthetic
ligands of the retinoid X receptor (RXR) have shown antidiabetic activity in mice. The
chlorophyll metabolite phytanic acid has been shown to be a natural ligand for RXR,
active in concentrations near its physiological levels.  Further, phytanic acid was also
shown to be a ligand of the 9-cis-retinoic acid receptor and peroxisome
proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) a. PPAR agonists are widely used in the treatment
of type 2 diabetes. Phytanic acid is also found to act via different PPAR isoforms to
modulate expression of genes involved in glucose metabolism. [Heim M, et al, FASEB J.
It is thus reasonable to suspect that phytanic acid may have benefits for people at risk of
type 2 diabetes.
REFERENCES:  Rudolph C. The therapeutic value of chlorophyll. Clin Med Surg
1930;37:119-21  Chernomorsky SA, Segelman AB. Biological activities of chlorophyll
derivatives. N J Med 1988;85:669-73.  de Vogel J et al, Green vegetables, red meat
and colon cancer: chlorophyll prevents the cytotoxic and hyperproliferative effects of haem
in rat colon. Carcinogenesis. 2005 Feb;26(2):387-93. Epub 2004 Nov 18.  McCarty
MF, The chlorophyll metabolite phytanic acid is a natural rexinoid--potential for treatment
and prevention of diabetes. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Feb;56(2):217-9.
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