Chlorophyll is "plant blood." It absorbs sunlight and converts
it into energy through a process called photosynthesis. It is the basis for life
on this planet. Its chemical structure is almost identical to hemoglobin, one of
the components of human blood, except the central atom of chlorophyll is
magnesium and the central atom of hemoglobin is iron.
From a practical standpoint, research and decades of clinical
experience have shown that chlorophyll can be 1) a very effective tool to help
heal external wounds and lesions, and 2) a good, safe dietary source of vitamin
K. Let's take a closer look at these two benefits.
Wound and Lesion
During World War
II, chlorophyll ointments were used on combat wounds with a great deal of
success--even in cases where sulfa creams and penicillin weren't effective.
(New York State J Med July 15;Vol.55:2041)
Chlorophyll doesn't work as a strong antibiotic. However, it
does break down carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which can be lethal to
certain forms of bacteria. Chlorophyll's strong suit tends to be its ability to
accelerate the formation of granulation tissue that forms the base for new
tissue growth in wound healing.
Chlorophyll can also be used on skin and leg ulcerations,
especially those related to poor circulation, rectal lesions, surgical wounds,
abscesses, and burns. It is non-irritating, soothing to the skin, and totally
non-toxic. At worst, it may leave a temporary green stain on the skin.
A Great Source of
also a very good non-prescription source of vitamin K. Unfortunately, this
vitamin receives little attention. Few people, including doctors, ever treat
vitamin K deficiencies.
Vitamin K was discovered by a Danish scientist Henrik Dam, and
three forms have been identified. Two are natural and the third is synthetic. In
nature, vitamin K is an oil-soluble vitamin found mainly in green vegetables
(vitamin K1) and also formed by bacteria in our lower bowel (vitamin K2).
Vitamin K3 is the synthetic form.
Within our bodies, the liver uses several steps to convert
vitamin K into a compound called thrombin. This compound aids in blood clotting,
or coagulation. The Danish spelling of coagulation begins with a "k," which is
why the substance is called vitamin K.
The richest food sources of vitamin K are greens like kale,
spinach, endive, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce and cabbage. However,
polyunsaturated fatty acids decrease the absorption of vitamin K. So if you eat
a nice spinach salad but use a typical salad dressing made from polyunsaturated
oils, chances are you won't absorb much of the vitamin K from the spinach.
It is difficult to
accurately determine whether a person is getting adequate amounts of vitamin K
from the diet and intestinal bacteria. But there are several symptoms and
conditions that might indicate a shortage of vitamin K in the body. Many of
these symptoms are related to excess bleeding of one kind or another.
One of the most common signs of a deficiency is bleeding under
the skin. In the elderly, who are very often vitamin K deficient, it is fairly
common to find huge black and blue marks, called purpura, just beneath the skin.
Purpura can also be a sign of vitamin C and vitamin P deficiencies, but adding
those two vitamins alone often does not correct the problem.
Other bleeding problems that can be a result of
lower-than-normal vitamin K levels include excessive menstrual flow and
clotting, nose bleeding, bloody vomit or stools, and eye hemorrhages. One other
symptom that is often overlooked is the occurrence of stroke--especially in the
form of several "mini-strokes."
Vitamin K is also necessary for the calcification of bone.
Women with osteoporosis, especially those who have experienced fractures, have
been shown to have lower levels of vitamin K. Such deficiencies also appear to
be a factor in the development of hardening of the arteries (artheroscleroses).
When you step back and take a look at the broader picture,
it's not hard to see why vitamin K is a fairly common deficiency. Since it is
fat-soluble, if a person has had their gallbladder removed, or has difficulty
digesting fats, getting sufficient vitamin K could easily be a problem.
Sulfa and aspirin both destroy vitamin K so, if you take
aspirin on a regular basis, it could help explain why you bruise so easily.
Getting adequate amounts of vitamin K from the bacterial flora is not an
adequate alternative to dietary vitamin K for most people.
There has not been much research into chlorophyll in the last
couple of decades but there have been small clinical trials and independent
reports of several benefits stemming from its use. Chlorophyll taken internally
may help heal stomach and gastrointestinal ulcerations or damage and, early on,
it was used as a treatment for anemia.
There are also a couple of early studies suggesting that
chlorophyll might help retard the formation of kidney stones. (Investigative
Urology 80;18(2):86-89,90) And there is a study suggesting that 5
milligrams of vitamin K along with 25 milligrams of vitamin C has been shown to
effectively treat the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy. (Am J
Obstetrics Gyn 52;64:416)
Getting K Every
Unless you eat a
lot of greens and fermented foods like sauerkraut, borscht, yogurt, buttermilk,
etc. or if you have a family history of stroke, osteoporosis or atherosclerosis,
you may want to seriously consider increasing your vitamin K intake. Natural
vitamin K is safe in doses up to 15 milligrams. Generally 1 to 6 milligrams is
adequate for those showing signs of a deficiency, but please keep the following
Since vitamin K functions as a coagulant it should not be
taken if you are using anti-coagulants like Coumadin. And since it is
fat-soluble, you may need to take bile salts to help assimilate it. If you're
not digesting your fats, you won't be able to digest vitamin K.
There are not too many suppliers that sell vitamin K directly
to the public. Scientific Botanicals (206) 527-5521 sells Vitamin K Drops that
contain 2 milligrams per drop but they sell only to physicians.
Progressive Labs sells
Chlorophyll Perles that contain only 2 megs of vitamin K per pearl.