Chlorophyllin Supplementation for High-risk Liver Cancer Individuals
A study on the residents of Qidong, China found they were at high risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)—the most common type of primary liver cancer. HCC results in more than 200,000 deaths annually in China alone and the leading cause of cancer death in Qidong (1).
The high risk was partially due to the population consuming foods contaminated with aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are poisonous substances produced by certain kinds of fungi (molds) and are typically found on dead and decaying vegetation. In favorable conditions, high temperatures and high humidity, these molds can invade food crops (2).
Animal models have demonstrated chlorophyllin to be an effective inhibitor of aflatoxin hepatocarcinogenesis by blocking carcinogen bioavailability by “impeding their absorption and by shuttling them through the fecal stream, leading to reduced DNA adduct and tumor burden.” Furthermore, “chlorophyllin can act as an ‘interceptor molecule’ through the formation of tight molecular complexes with carcinogens such as AFB-1” (3). This discovery led to continued research and human trials.
During one chemoprevention trial, 180 healthy adults from Qidong were randomly assigned to ingest either 100 mg of chlorophyllin or a placebo three times a day for 4 months. Results showed an overall 55% reduction in median urinary levels of an aflatoxin biomarker in the group consuming chlorophyllin, compared with those taking placebo. Additionally, participants’ adherence to the study protocol was excellent, and there were no adverse events reported during the study (4).
Read the full study:
(1, 3-4) Egner, Patricia & Wang, J & Zhu, YR & Zhang, B & Wu, Yan & Zhang, Q & Qian, G.S. & Kuang, S.Y. & Gange, Stephen & Jacobson, Lisa & Helzlsouer, Kathy & Bailey, George & Groopman, John & Kensler, Thomas. (2002). Chlorophyllin intervention reduces aflatoxin-DNA adducts in individuals at high risk for liver cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 98. 14601-6. 10.1073/pnas.251536898.
(2) “Aflatoxins.” World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/foodsafety/FSDigest_Aflatoxins_EN.pdf. February 2018.