One of the many benefits of chlorophyll is that it can give you energy, which leads to many people wondering: does it have caffeine in it? After all, a lot of different products on the market that claim to be energy boosters, fat burners, or other such supplements get most of their active effects from caffeine. It's a valid concern!
Does Chlorophyll Have Caffeine?
In a word: no. Chlorophyll does not have caffeine in it. Some sources of caffeine, like green tea, have chlorophyll in them, but not in hugely significant amounts. Probably the most chlorophyll-laden green beverage that has caffeine in it is matcha, with its rich green color, and even then, it has less chlorophyll in it than a typical green salad.
Chlorophyll can be obtained from pretty much any green plant you eat, including:
- Barley Grass
- Hemp Seeds
- Brussels Sprouts
You can read more about what these vegetables bring to the table in our post dedicated to the subject.
The fact is, none of those have caffeine in them. The energy that chlorophyll gives you comes from the phytonutrients, fiber, natural sugars, and other compounds your body needs for fuel, not from a stimulant like caffeine.
Does Caffeine Affect Chlorophyll?
Again, a simple answer to this question is no, caffeine does not interact with chlorophyll. At least, it doesn't interact in a way that matters directly to you, taking one or both of them as a supplement.
There are some experiments that include both caffeine and chlorophyll, such as this one. It includes such simple and easy-to-understand paragraphs as:
"During the titration by caffeine the porphyrins absorption spectra undergo the evolution – the bathochromic effect can be observed as well as the hypochromic of the Soret maximum. The association constants were calculated using the curve-fitting procedure (KAC of the order of magnitude of 103 mol-1). Whereas the emission spectra point at the presence of the fluorescence quenching effect testifying for the partial inactivation of the porphyrin molecule. The fluorescence quenching constants were calculated from Stern-Volmer plots. The results obtained show that caffeine can interact with water-soluble porphyrins and through the formation of stacking complexes is able to quench their ability to emission."
Do you know what all of that means? We don't. Reading through the paper, it seems to be largely focused on detecting caffeine in the environment, and its effects on wildlife. As it turns out, caffeine isn't all broken down when you consume it; a lot of it passes through you and out through your urine or feces. That, then, ends up in sewage treatment facilities, which occasionally can spill over. The entire experiment is about using caffeine levels in the environment to determine whether or not it can be used as a marker for contamination.
While this is important work, it's not relevant at all to our discussion. It's neat, though!
When you take caffeine, it stimulates your body. It can help push you to break down fat for energy, it can give you more energy regardless, and it can increase brain activity in some individuals.
When you take chlorophyll, you get energy naturally through breaking down the nutrient for, well, nutrients. You get a bunch of other benefits as well, such as:
- Increased generation of red blood cells.
- Absorption of bodily toxins and enhancement of liver function.
- Removal of odor-causing compounds from the body.
- Attachment to the detrimental amino in the intestines.
- Normalization of intestinal transit (that is, regularity of bowel movements).
- Properties of antioxidants, similar to many vegetables.
- Anti-cancer properties, in certain specific cancers.
- Enhanced healing through the production of white blood cells.
Of course, as with all such benefits, a lot of these have only been proven in isolation and with a relatively good diet, to begin with. Taking some chlorophyll isn't going to cure diseases, kill cancer, or revive a liver that has been damaged through years of hard-drinking. It's not a miracle ingredient, it's just a supplement.
When the two combine, essentially, you're just giving your body a boost to energy and functionality. You'll get energy without jitters, you'll have a suppressed appetite because of the nutrients in chlorophyll, and you'll have a better ability to focus on your tasks at hand.
How to Mix Chlorophyll and Caffeine
If you're interested in getting the benefits of both chlorophyll and caffeine, you have a bunch of options.
Chlorophyll is green. It is the essence of green. It's what makes green plants green in the first place. Thus, as you might expect, it tastes green. It's one of the most concentrated green, plant-like flavors you'll ever come across. Thus, if you want to mix it with other things, you need to decide whether you want to accentuate that flavor or hide it.
Option 1: Simple Tea. Tea is a great source of caffeine, but it doesn't have a ton of chlorophyll in it. It's easy enough to add a dose of concentrated chlorophyll to your tea, but you might end up with something that is overwhelmingly vegetal in taste. This is because the taste of concentrated chlorophyll is strong enough to overwhelm the subtle flavors of tea. You can brew your tea extra strong to make sure you get the flavor, but chances are you're going to want to go with something to accent the vegetable flavors instead. We recommend matcha, rather than plain green tea.
Option 2: Green Coffee. No, you don't need to hunt down pre-roasted coffee beans for this. Instead, what we recommend is mixing a dose of chlorophyll with your favorite coffee. Coffee is a much stronger flavor than tea, so it will do better to combat the flavor of the chlorophyll, in case you don't like it. Make sure you're getting pure chlorophyll before you do this, though; if you mix coffee with a citrus chlorophyll or a fruit juice-based chlorophyll, you're going to have a weird flavor combination on hand.
Option 3: Basic Smoothies. A simple green smoothie can go a long way towards masking or accentuating the flavor of chlorophyll. We covered a bunch of different options for masking the flavor of a super greens powder over in this article, and those can all apply to using pure chlorophyll as well. A lot of people don't really care for either flavor, but want to take the ingredients as health supplements, and who are we to get in your way? It's good for your health, so we want to help you in any way we can.
Option 4: Capsules and Pills. Another option you have is to take chlorophyll capsules rather than a liquid chlorophyll preparation. They may not be as effective as pure, liquid chlorophyll, largely because they're just dehydrated plant matter rather than an extract of caffeine. It's still beneficial, though, and a good way to stimulate digestion.
A green supplement capsule can work very well, and you can combine it with a source of caffeine of your choice. You can wash it down with tea or coffee, or you can just take a caffeine pill alongside the chlorophyll capsule. This is probably the least interesting way to take the supplements, but it's still a perfectly acceptable way, especially if you don't want to prepare an elaborate smoothie every day.
Option 5: Peppy Smoothies. Speaking of smoothies, there are a lot of different smoothies you can create for your chlorophyll intake. Mixing chlorophyll with citrus, pineapple, mango, or other strong fruit flavors can do a lot to mask the vegetal taste of the chlorophyll. You can also work in a source of caffeine of your choice, whether it's a ground-up caffeine pill, an energy shot, an energy supplement, or green tea extract. Put some pep in your step with these smoothies!
The Issue of Dietary Chlorophyll
"I eat plenty of vegetables, why would I need a chlorophyll supplement?"
Chlorophyll is a lipid-soluble molecule. What this means is that it dissolves in fat, but not in water. Since your digestive process typically doesn't involve an injection of fat, a lot of the chlorophyll you eat simply passes through you. At least, that was the theory.
Closer observation discovered that chlorophyll is actually broken down very quickly by the body. It's broken down so well, in fact, that very little actual chlorophyll makes it into your system. A bunch of component nutrients does, sure, but not the chlorophyll itself. That means you lose out on a lot of the benefits you would get from an infusion of chlorophyll.
The solution that science has discovered is a supplement that is actually close but not quite exactly, chlorophyll. It's so close that it's considered chlorophyll, but it's not precisely the same molecule you get from plants. This supplement is called chlorophyllin, and it's identical in structure and composition to regular chlorophyll, except where chlorophyll has magnesium, chlorophyllin has copper. Otherwise, the two are identical. Science has done a bunch of testing as well and found that despite the mineral change, the two work in much the same way.
If you're curious to know more about chlorophyll and chlorophyllin, you can read a detailed rundown of the two here.
Are There Potential Side Effects or Risks?
As with any supplement, you should ask yourself if there are any risks to taking it. For example, grapefruit can cause issues with medicine uptake, which is generally not good.
Fortunately, with the combination of chlorophyll and caffeine, there aren't too many risks.
For chlorophyll, your risks are largely digestive. Since chlorophyll interacts with the digestive system, it can, in large doses (especially if you aren't prepared for them) give you diarrhea, nausea, or a disturbingly green/black stool when you use the bathroom. Some people mistake this as a sign of internal bleeding, but it's really just that some of the chlorophyll makes it all the way through you and dyes what comes out.
Caffeine is a stimulant, so it has a few more serious drawbacks. It can trigger anxiety in some people. It can lead to agitation, restlessness, a higher heart rate, higher blood pressure, sleeping problems, and jitters. Most of these come when you take too much caffeine in a day, or in a short time span. Don't drive four cups of coffee, take a caffeine pill, and take a fat burner all at once!
Caffeine, unlike chlorophyll, has a restriction on how much of it you should take in a day. In a normal, healthy adult, that restriction is 400 mg. In pregnant women, 300mg is an upper bound, and you should generally take even less, if not cut it out entirely. High levels of caffeine have been linked to premature birth and low birth weights in babies.
There's also a study, a meta-analysis of other studies that included over 200,000 people, that indicated 4 cups of coffee per day can increase the risk of a heart attack in men, but not in women. You go, girls!
At the end of the day, there's not a lot to unpack with chlorophyll and caffeine.
- No, chlorophyll does not have caffeine in it, naturally or synthetically.
- While many plants that contain caffeine also contain chlorophyll, you typically don't get much chlorophyll from them directly.
- Taking a chlorophyll supplement is generally a better way to get it than eating a ton of greens. However, eating greens is good for you, so do that too.
- You can mask the taste of chlorophyll by using powerful flavors like coffee, citrus, and other fruits.
- You can take chlorophyll and caffeine together without incident, so long as you don't take too much caffeine.
What do you think? Have you tried out a chlorophyll supplement like our liquid chlorophyll? If so, what did you think? Did you want to mask the flavor, or did you like it the way it is? Is there potentially something additional you might be looking for in a chlorophyll supplement? Drop us a line and let us know your thoughts!