top of page

Does Chlorophyll + Sunlight = ATP in the Human Body?

Let's dive into an intriguing topic today—enhancing ATP production through chromophore supplementation coupled with sun light exposure.

Understanding the intricate mechanisms behind chromophore action is essential. At its core, a chromophore is a molecular component within a compound responsible for imparting color through the selective absorption of specific wavelengths of visible light. This absorption phenomenon is deeply rooted in the electron configuration and excitation of the chromophore molecule. Essentially, the unique arrangement of electrons within the molecular framework enables electrons to become excited and jump to certain energy levels corresponding to a particular wavelength of light.

Consider methylene blue as an example. Its structure boasts a highly conjugated system of alternating single and double bonds, facilitating electron delocalization throughout the molecule. This property enables methylene blue to absorb light in the orange-ish region of the spectrum, resulting in its characteristic blue color upon reflection. When light interacts with methylene blue, the delocalized electrons become excited, leading to the absorption of specific light wavelengths and the reflection of the blue color.

Now, let's shift our focus to chlorophyll—a prominent chromophore integral to our discussion. Our interest centers on elucidating how chlorophyll metabolites not only influences light absorption within mitochondria but also possibly reduces CoQ10 within the electron transport chain, consequently influencing ATP production. One notable chlorophyll metabolite, chlorin p-a, emerges as a key player in stimulating ATP synthesis within cells.

To deepen our comprehension, let's briefly revisit ATP production within mitochondria. Mitochondrial complexes extract electrons from molecules like NADH and succinate, utilizing them to reduce CoQ10 and generate a trans-membrane potential. This potential drives ATP synthesis via ATP-synthase. Importantly, chlorophyll metabolites can uniquely interact with CoQ10 by reducing it, therefore, potentially enhancing electron transport and ATP production.

Crucially, successful activation of chlorophyll metabolites hinges on the absorption of photons at specific wavelengths, around 670 nm for chlorophyll metabolites. While red light therapy effectively delivers these photons into the body, a pertinent question arises—can natural sunlight, with its inherent red light, sufficiently activate chlorophyll metabolites to boost ATP production?

Research suggests that under sunlight, chlorin P-a, a chlorophyll metabolite, induces changes in energetics within animal tissues. Another thing to consider is light penetration. With that said, studies on light penetration indicate that wavelengths conducive to chlorophyll metabolite activation can reach various tissues within the body, thus, potentially enhancing ATP production.

Furthermore, studies do suggest that combining chlorophyll supplementation with light exposure extends the lifespan of model organisms such as worms (up to 17%), implying broader implications for human health and longevity.

Study: Xu C, Zhang J, Mihai DM, Washington I. Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP. J Cell Sci. 2014 Jan 15;127(Pt 2):388-99. doi: 10.1242/jcs.134262. Epub 2013 Nov 6. PMID: 24198392; PMCID: PMC6518289.


bottom of page