What A Nutritionist Has To Say About TikTok's Miracle Green Juice

TikTok is full of fads and trends that often focus on quick fixes for things like weight loss and acne. But how reliable is the information you can find in these bite-size videos? Nutritionists have weighed in to educate viewers on the app, which is becoming increasingly popular in those ages 18-29. While not all TikTok-inspired health advice is necessarily harmful, some isn't exactly helpful either. One viral "health hack," chlorophyll water, has been seen all over the app, with videos tagged #chlorophyllwater having racked up more than 250 million views. Many of these videos show users squirting the dark green liquid into glasses of water and then drinking (via Harvard Pilgrim). Some people claim it helps them lose weight, reduce acne, boost energy, and even prevent cancer.

Susan Schachter, registered nutritionist (MSRDN) and co-founder of 120/Life, spoke to Health Digest and weighed in on this recent trend. "Let's start with what chlorophyll is," she began. "Chlorophyll is the pigment found in plants that give them their green color. In plants, it's responsible for capturing sunlight and turning it into energy for the plant's cells." She went on to say that you can almost think of chlorophyll as "plant blood," since its structure is practically the same as blood in humans. Except in blood, the center of the molecule is iron, while in chlorophyll it's magnesium.

What is chlorophyll and what does it do?

The form of chlorophyll you see being mixed in glasses of water on TikTok is liquid chlorophyll, also called chlorophyllin. Schachter said, "The primary structural difference is that chlorophyllin has copper (instead of magnesium) in its center." This makes it easy for our bodies to take in. "The primary difference of usefulness to us is that chlorophyllin is more readily absorbable and possibly more easily used by our bodies in this form."

And Schachter thinks this trend could, in fact, be beneficial. "I do believe that this drink would be full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, both of which are great things to get enough of for our good health." She notes there's actually some research to back up the claims made by TikTok users. "In terms of the specific claims made about the drink, there does seem to be some preliminary evidence in support of each of the claims," she said. "And it does appear to help prevent cancer from a specific fungus (aflatoxin B)." However, Schachter also thinks that more studies are needed. "I do think that there needs to be more research done before we can fully rely on the claims," she added.

Proceed with caution before adding the drink to your diet

Because of the drink's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Schachter believes that it could be a healthful addition to your diet, she told Health Digest. However, like with all new regimens, it's also useful to check with your doctor before starting any kind of new supplement. "There are some conditions that would necessitate a conversation with your MD if you want to use this product," she said. Some conditions that could have an interaction with liquid chlorophyll include liver disease, cancer, weakened immune system, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

Schachter also pointed out the need for sun protection when drinking this "miracle juice." "Care should be taken to use sunscreen when in the sun because chlorophyllin can increase your risk of sunburn," she shared. It could also interact with certain medications and herbal supplements, so extra caution may be needed. "Aside from that, [drinking chlorophyll] doesn't appear to be a problem if you're a generally healthy person and you keep it to the daily dose."

You can find chlorophyll in green veggies, too

If you decide to try making your own liquid chlorophyll drink, Schachter recommends finding a quality product. "Since supplements aren't regulated the same way as food, it's important to get a product that's third-party verified so that you know that you're actually getting what you're being told you're getting, in terms of ingredients and amounts."

But you can also get chlorophyll from green veggies, which can have other benefits as well. "If you eat enough green vegetables, you'll get plenty of chlorophyll," Schachter told Health Digest. "Most Americans don't eat enough of them. One of the great things about eating the actual vegetables (as opposed to drinking a liquid chlorophyllin beverage) is that you get other goodies, like fiber and other minerals and vitamins." Schachter recommended trying vegetables like leafy greens, parsley, watercress, green beans, and sugar snap peas, which are all high in chlorophyll. You could also try wheatgrass, green tea particles, and various other herbs that also contain chlorophyll.

But there's no need to totally ignore the TikTok-popular drink, though. "If you can't eat enough of these," Schachter continued, "I believe it's fine to supplement with a beverage like this, taking into account the precautions listed above."