Chlorophyll Helps Prevent Cancer
The research first analyzed a number of studies that have been done testing chlorophyll for cancer prevention, including those involving rainbow trout, mice and humans. In the human study, cellular uptake of the carcinogen aflatoxin was blocked by chlorophyll.
The researchers then focused on what is called the dose-response relationship between chlorophyll and the prevention of tumor-genesis – or cancer formation.
Chlorophyll is a primary constituent of green vegetables. It is the pigment that makes plants green. Plants use chlorophyll to help convert the sun’s energy into nutrition in a process called photosynthesis.
The research utilized 12,360 rainbow trout, treated with chlorophyll after exposure to dibenzochrysene – a toxic carcinogen. Those trout given chlorophyll had from 29 to 64 percent fewer liver tumors, and 24 to 45 percent fewer stomach tumors. The mechanism involved again appears to be that chlorophyll blocks carcinogen absorption and use by the cells.
However, when carcinogen exposure was significantly increased, chlorophyll did little to reduce tumors, and even accompanied an increase in the number of tumors. However, the researchers characterized this level of toxin exposure as “unrealistic.”
In other words, when considering the typical exposure to toxins, and the healthy inclusion of vegetables in the diet – within the parameters that resulted in chlorophyll’s ability to reduce tumors – there is a clear cancer prevention benefit from eating dark green leafy vegetables and other chlorophyll sources.
The researchers concluded: “These results show that chlorophyll concentrations encountered in chlorophyll-rich green vegetables can provide substantial cancer chemoprotection, and suggest that they do so by reducing carcinogen bioavailability.”
Nutritionists and traditional doctors have long held that chlorophyll provides numerous health benefits. Besides the array of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients, this research provides yet another reason to eat our vegetables.
McQuistan TJ, Simonich MT, Pratt MM, Pereira CB, Hendricks JD, Dashwood RH, Williams DE, Bailey GS. Cancer chemoprevention by dietary chlorophylls: A 12,000-animal dose-dose matrix biomarker and tumor study. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Nov 3.