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Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized



Phytol is the product of chlorophyll metabolism in plants. It is chemically called an acrylic diterpene alcohol which is used in the manufacture of Vitamin E and K which are important in the many functions of the human body.

The use of phytol in the human body is indispensable, it is essential in activating enzymes that have a positive effect on the production of insulin. It can also be effective in the decrease of blood cholesterol levels.

History and Origin

Phytol is released when plants are digested in the intestines and are converted as phytanic acid which is stored in the body’s plant tissues. In studies regarding phytol, Conny Lijenberg published a report in the Physiologia Plantarum in 1971 that the best plant source for phytol was barley. There have been many reports however regarding the effectiveness of fish liver oil to provide a greater supply of phytol.

Ancient Uses

Phytol was not heard of during ancient times but its natural sources barley and fish was a staple food of many cultures. Fish and sea foods are eaten by tribes and cultures that live on the coastlines of every continent. Barley has been planted, milled and used to make flour for bread and other foods throughout several cultures worldwide.

Modern Uses

The discovery of phytol as an important part of a human’s regular diet has led to many research studies regarding its use. Phytol is associated with Vitamins E and K. Vitamin E is useful for cell health and can help decrease cell aging. It is useful for healthy skin, hair and a stronger immune system. Vitamin K on the other hand is also involved in blood clotting and is useful in improving bone health and the treatment of many gastrointestinal illnesses.
Phytol is also beneficial in regulating blood glucose and can possibly restore the metabolic functions of a type 2 diabetic. There have also been studies regarding the effectiveness of phytol in reducing cholesterol levels in blood ultimately reducing blood pressure levels as well.

In nature, insects use phytol and its metabolites to deter predators and insects get phytol from plants that they eat. It is also evident that apes get more phytol from plants since they consume more plants that humans do.

Side Effects

Phytol could be harmful if ingested more than the intended dose. Refsum, a disease which is a result of the accumulation of large doses of phytol is characterized with cerebellar ataxia, anosmia and hearing loss.

Although phytol is found naturally in plants, supplements are not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is also not recommended for very young children and those with immune system deficiency.

If you would like to use phytol in maintaining your blood sugar levels for diabetes, it is better to consult a diabetic specialist to find out the best diet alternative and the ideal activity for your condition. Only with the right diet and appropriate blood sugar regimen can you maintain your blood sugar levels. Always consult your doctor regarding the use of herbal remedies for your illness before beginning any treatment.

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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