• Katie Floyd

Chlorophyllin vs. Chronic Kidney Disease

Updated: a day ago

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the gradual loss of kidney function. When our kidneys are working normally, they filter wastes and excess fluids from the body that are excreted in the urine. During advanced stage kidney disease, toxic levels of excess fluids, electrolytes, and wastes build up in the body (1). About 37 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at risk (2).

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two main causes of CKD and are likely responsible for two-thirds of the cases (2). Currently, 34.2 million Americans have diabetes (3) and nearly half of American adults (108 million) have high blood pressure (4). This means that some of the 140.2 million Americans that do not already have CKD could potentially be at risk due to their current health conditions.

March is National Kidney Month, and throughout the month communities and healthcare groups focus extra attention on kidney disease awareness, facts, resources, and more. Dedicating a month to kidney disease awareness brings a lot of necessary attention to it. However, with so many people affected by CKD and so many others at risk of developing it, researchers are putting in more effort to find alternative treatments. During a recent study in Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology, researchers evaluated the effect of sodium copper chlorophyllin (SCC) in adenine-induced chronic kidney disease (5).

Sodium copper chlorophyllin is water soluble derivative of chlorophyll, the naturally occurring pigment that gives plants and algae their green color (6). Recent studies have shown that chlorophyllin possesses antioxidant properties. Chlorophyllin can neutralize several oxidants in vitro (7, 8) and chlorophyllin supplementation may decrease oxidative damage from chemical carcinogens and radiation (9, 10). Other therapeutic applications of chlorophyllin includes its use as an internal deodorant and for wound healing (6).

What effect would sodium copper chlorophyllin have on adenine-induced chronic kidney disease? To find out, CKD was induced in male Wistar rats, then they were treated with sodium copper chlorophyllin (SCC) for 28 days. Measurements of creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), albumin, total protein creatinine clearance, urea clearance, and glomerular filtration rate were collected and assessed. The researchers also assessed plasma TGF-β1, COX-2 and IL-6 levels, determined various oxidative stress parameters and TGF-β1 expression in the kidneys, and studied kidney histopathology with different stains.

The study yielded a number of positive results regarding the use of sodium copper chlorophyllin against chronic kidney disease (5):

- SCC-treated rats showed a significant reduction in urine output and relative kidney weight.

- The treatment with SCC significantly improved kidney function by normalizing biochemical and urine parameters.

- Treatment with SCC significantly reduced circulatory inflammatory mediators—TGF-β1, COX-2, and IL-6.

- The SCC treatment significantly reduced oxidative stress and TGF-β1 expression in kidney tissues.

- Histopathology studies showed inhibition in kidney damage due to the SCC treatment.

Researchers ultimately concluded that sodium copper chlorophyllin treatment diminished chronic kidney disease in the rats (5).

Access the full study here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00210-020-01912-3


(1) Chronic kidney disease. (2021). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354521

(2) Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Symptoms and Causes. (2021). National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease#ckd

(3) National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020. (February 11, 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-stat-report.html

(4) Facts About Hypertension. (September 8, 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

(5) Suryavanshi, S., Gharpure, M., & Kulkarni, Y. (2020). Sodium copper chlorophyllin attenuates adenine-induced chronic kidney disease via suppression of TGF-beta and inflammatory cytokines. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology, 393, 2029–2041. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00210-020-01912-3

(6) Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin. (June 2009). Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/chlorophyll-chlorophyllin

(7) Kumar, S., Devasagayam, T., Bhushan, B., & Verma, N. (2001). Scavenging of reactive oxygen species by chlorophyllin: an ESR study. Free Radical Res. 35(5), 563-574. https://doi.org/10.1080/10715760100301571

(8) Kamat, J., Boloor, K., & Devasagayam, T. (2001). Chlorophyllin as an effective antioxidant against membrane damage in vitro and ex vivo. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1487(2-3), 113-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1388-1981(00)00088-3

(9) Park, K., Park, J., Jung, Y., & Chung, W. (2003). Inhibitory effects of chlorophyllin, hemin and tetrakis(4-benzoic acid)porphyrin on oxidative DNA damage and mouse skin inflammation induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate as a possible anti-tumor promoting mechanism. Mutation Research, 542(1-2), 89-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2003.09.001

(10) Kumar, S., Shankar, B., & Sainis, K. (2004). Effect of chlorophyllin against oxidative stress in splenic lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1672(2), 100-111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbagen.2004.03.002

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