The Academy:

Wheatgrass - An Affordable Elixir (almost) for Everyone

By:   Dr.Owl Wiseacre - The Bear's Scoop Editor   Magazine Editor    June 27th, 2017

If you studied the health benefits of wheatgrass you will likely get this reaction, “Betul ke? This is practically a real-life Elixir!”. Well, it can’t cure every disease and health problems but what it can do can almost qualify it. Just to give you an idea, nutritional analysis done on wheatgrass reveals that it is rich in chlorophyll, minerals like magnesium, selenium, zinc, chromium, antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, anti-anemic factors like vitamin B12, iron, folic acid, pyridoxine and many other minerals, amino acids, and enzymes. Basically, a 2g of wheatgrass can meet a significant level of person’s daily requirement of micronutrients (wow!).  The most popular health effect of wheatgrass is its antioxidant action which is derived from its high content of bioflavonoids like apigenin, quercetin, and luteolin (Chauhan, 2014; Elayath and Iyer, 2011, Annapurna, 2011).

Note:

  • Bioflavonoids are a class of plant and fungus secondary metabolites.
  • Metabolites are the intermediate and products of metabolism.
  • Composition of wheatgrass varies depending on their production process and growing condition (Bar-Sela et al, 2015). This means it’s important to buy wheatgrass product from people with the right knowledge and experience.

health benefits of wheatgrass

Not convinced? Okay, based on research, nutrient analysis, and clinical studies, we can confidently list up to ELEVEN health benefits from consumption of wheatgrass whether either in the form of tablet, powder or juice:

1.  Good for blood building

Wheatgrass has very high chlorophyll content. How is it relevant? Well, chlorophyll is almost chemically identical to hemoglobin. The difference? It’s the central element of chlorophyll is magnesium while that of hemoglobin is iron. In the case of Thalassemia, a study method using cellular assay lead to an observation of 3-5 fold increase in the production of hemoglobin after consumption of wheatgrass and the level and speed of induction is found to be significantly greater than any pharmaceutical inducers available (Chauhan, 2014). Another clinical study also reported a 70-83% increase in red blood cells and hemoglobin concentration after 10-16 days of regular administration of chlorophyll product (Rana et al, 2011).

Note:

  • Hemoglobin is protein bodies which act as the oxygen carrier in higher animals by binding to an oxygen molecule (Chauhan, 2014).
  • Thalassemia is a form of a hereditary blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin.

2.  Adjuvant Therapy for Haemolytic Anemia

In a clinical study using wheatgrass juice treatment, it was found to have decreased the total volume of blood transfusion and increased the intervals between blood transfusion of the entire study cohort. Further analysis attributes the effect of this study to the rich nutrients of wheatgrass that includes antioxidant such as vitamins and bioflavonoids where it may have helped in the reduction of antioxidant capacities of red blood cells of patient with haemolytic disorder (Chauhan, 2014).

Note:

  • Clinical studies/trials: experiments or observations done in clinical research involving human participants.
  • Antioxidant: Molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules.
  • Oxidation: A chemical reaction that can produce free radicals that lead to chain reactions that may damage cells.

3.  Good For Your Heart

Vitamin E which is found in wheatgrass is a protector of the heart and it is 10x more easily assimilated by the body than synthetic Vitamin E. Lastly, wheatgrass is also a good source of calcium which can help build strong bones and teeth, and regulates heartbeat, and can act as a buffer to restores blood pH. Another study also shows that consumption of wheatgrass juice can reduce total cholesterols, LDL and triglyceride levels which ultimately helps on your heart’s health! (Rana et al  2011)

4.  Detox Your Cells

Wheatgrass juice is reported to have a dilating effect on blood vessel thus able to reduce blood pressure and enhances the capillaries. A better and easier blood flow means better nutrition to the cells and more efficient removal of waste from them (Rana et al 2011). On another note, Wheatgrass is known to be highly alkaline and thus making it a perfect tool for detox. While there is a debate on whether an alkaline diet can truly change the pH of your blood, it is generally agreed by the nutritionist that a person who is eating an alkaline diet inadvertently end up eating healthier (Monaco, n.d.)

5.  Improve Immunity

It is almost a no-brainer to say that wheatgrass boosts immunity. A person’s immunity is contributed by many factors and that includes intake of sufficient macro and micro nutrients, blood and heart health, maintaining pH of blood, managing body stress condition and more! Seeing that wheatgrass is able to offer positive effect on the mentioned factors, it definitely an excellent immunity booster. (Monaco, n.d.)

A research paper written by Rana et al (2011) mentioned that selenium which is found in wheatgrass has the ability to boost the immune system, and thus able to decrease the risk of cancer.

Note:

  • Selenium: a non-metal chemical element with symbol Se and atomic number 34.

6.  Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Based on a clinical study, it was found that when 8.5g of wheatgrass extract taken twice per day with water, in the case of 15 severe Rheumatoid Arthritis patient, showed decreased Ritchie index, improvements in morning stiffness. Furthermore, chlorophyll which is found abundantly in Wheatgrass is known to fight inflammation which is associated with joint pain. Therefore, we can say that consumption of wheatgrass product can help in treating rheumatoid arthritis (Monaco, n.d.; Chauhan, 2014).

7.  Cleanse the Liver

Wheatgrass is probably best known for its effects on the liver. This is mainly contributed by the presence of choline in wheatgrass which is known to prevent the deposit of fats based on a study conducted on animal administered with diets rich in cholesterols. Furthermore, choline is also found to remove the ester of both cholesterols and glycerols, enhances the oxidation of fatty acids and formation of tissue lecithin (Chauhan, 2014).

Note:

  • Choline: a water-soluble vitamin-like essential nutrient.
  • Lecithin: fatty substance occurring in animal and plant tissues.

8.  Lose Weight

Perhaps the more appropriate words here is “manage your weight”. Basically, the choline which can help to prevent the deposit of fats in your body has an effect in assisting you to manage your weight. In addition, Wheatgrass contains selenium, which is crucial for the healthy function of the thyroid gland and thyroid gland is one of your body’s natural weight management tools. Nevertheless, your diet and exercise always matter. I mean, you can’t be drinking coke and eating pizza every day and expecting that you can see a significant weight loss with consumption of wheatgrass products right? (Chauhan, 2014; Monaco, n.d.)

9.  Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels

Clinical studies showed that regular intake of wheatgrass products can be beneficial for people who are suffering from diabetes or other hyperglycemic issues. A science paper written by Rana et al (2011) pointed out that it is the abundance of fiber in wheatgrass is able to help optimize blood sugar level. Another study also showed that wheatgrass is a powerful anti-hyperglycemic agent (Chauhan, 2014; Monaco, n.d.).

Note:

  • Hyperglycemia: high blood sugar.

10. Anti-Ulcer Activity

Okay, this is important because some ulcer can be really bad. For example, peptic ulcer can eat a hole through the wall of your stomach or small intestine and put you at risk of serious infection of your abdominal cavity (ouch!). 

Now, wheatgrass product is also a well known adjuvant therapy for ulcers because it was observed to have shown anti-stomach ulcer activity in stressed rats. Another 9 months long clinical studies involving 400 cases have found that wheatgrass consumption has shown to stimulate tissue formation, possess drying effect on abscesses and surface lesion, and enhanced healing (Chauhan, 2014)

11. Prevent Cancer

Wheatgrass product is a well-known alternative medicine for anti-cancer therapy and this is due to high antioxidant content such as chlorophyll (up to 70%), laetrile, and superoxide dismutase which can convert dangerous free radical’s reactive oxygen species to into hydrogen peroxides and an oxygen molecule. In addition, it is also found that chlorophyll has the ability to induce mammalian phase 2 proteins that protect cells against oxidant and electrophiles (Rana et al, 2011)

Another finding where wheatgrass is implicated as an anticancer agent is the presence of plant hormone known as Abscisic Acid – which is found to able to neutralize the effect of the hormone chorionic gonadotropin where a similar compound has been found to be produced by the cancer cells.

For the case of breast cancer (pay attention now), a clinical study conducted on human cancer cell has found that chlorophyllin (chemically similar to chlorophyll), has the capability to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

health benefits of wheatgrass

Bonus Health Benefits of Wheatgrass without strong scientific and clinical proof.

Alright, aside from the 11 major benefits, wheatgrass offers more benefit that has no strong scientific or clinical proof but was supported by years of testimonials from populations with a strong tradition in wheatgrass consumption (i.e. India). Well, science can't prove everything yet. It’s not on scientific paper does not mean it doesn’t exist. Take it with a pinch of salt though... but really, no harm trying isn’t it?

  1. Treat Skin Wound and Diseases - likely come from the fact that wheatgrass has enhanced healing, help drying lesion and has an anti-bacterial effect.
  2. Reduce Fatigue - Chlorophyll is also naturally regenerative for the adrenal glands, boosting the adrenal system is crucial for sufferers of chronic fatigue.
  3. Get Rid of Body Odour - It is said that bad-smelling sweat may be due to problems digesting dietary fats or a magnesium deficiency and wheatgrass helps on both fronts.
  4. Prevent Tooth Decay - Wheatgrass has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can increase mouth health and reduce the risk of cavities and gum inflammation when drunk.
  5. Treat Sunburn - Just as wheatgrass is able to treat wounds, it is also able to accelerate the healing process of the burnt skin.
  6. Clear Sinus Congestion - As wheatgrass supports immunity and reduces inflammation, it can also be an excellent tool for reducing congestion.
  7. Get Rid of Acne - Wheatgrass’ antibacterial benefits and its ability to reduce chronic inflammation combine to make wheatgrass an excellent tool to reduce acne and occasional breakouts.
  8. Fight the Common Cold – Wheatgrass boosts immunity, strong immunity = no sick :D.
  9. Treat a Hangover - The abundance of alkalinity in wheatgrass may offset the acidity caused by alcohol consumption, which means that wheatgrass could be a great way to start off the morning after.
  10. De-Stress - The vitamins in wheatgrass are effective in helping you to overcome anxiety and achieve a better state of mental health, and its helpfulness in boosting the adrenal system allows you to better manage stress.
  11. Fight Depression - keeping iron levels balanced is crucial for those suffering from depression, and the iron in wheatgrass is one way to contribute to this.
  12. Improve the Appearance of Nails - A lack of iron in your diet or poor circulation are often the main reasons why your nails are weak, have white spots, or are rough in texture and yellow or blue in color. Wheatgrass’ ability to boost red blood cell health also boosts circulation, allowing blood to reach the ends of your fingers and giving life to otherwise lackluster nails.
  13. Ease Menstrual Pains - Irregular and painful menstrual cycles can be attributed to malnourishment or vitamin and mineral deficiencies, particularly of magnesium and niacin. Wheatgrass’s abundance of vitamins helps to fill in any holes in your diet, helping you to weather through that time of the month more easily.
  14. Combat Bowel Inflammation – attributed to wheatgrass’ general anti-inflammatory qualities.
  15. Slow Aging - The amino acid chains and antioxidants in wheatgrass can help repair damaged DNA and reduce the effect of free radicals.
  16. Feed Your Brain - The chlorophyll in wheatgrass fuels the body with oxygen, thanks to its ability to increase red blood cell health. Oxygen is vital to many body processes, especially for the brain, which uses 25 percent of the body’s oxygen supply – making wheatgrass a good brain food.
  17. Get Rid of Dandruff - Countless people affirm that rinsing the hair with wheatgrass can help to balance the pH of your scalp and ultimately repair it, and wheatgrass’ ability to improve other skin ailments makes this home remedy worth a try.
  18. Increase Fertility – it reported that Wheatgrass contains P4D1, a compound that impacts sperm cells and DNA, ultimately increasing fertility.
  19. Develop a More Discernible Palate - Including nutrient-dense foods like wheatgrass in your diet can help you wean off of unhealthy, nutritionally-devoid foods. By balancing your body’s pH and satisfying your body’s nutritional needs 

Reference

Annapurna, A. 2011. Wheat Grass Health Benefits. Informatics Journal. Vol. 3. No.3

Bar-Sela. Gil, Cohen. Miri, Ben-Arye. Eran, Epelbaum. Ron 2015. The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Application. Mini Review in Medical Chemistry, Vol. 15, Number 12, Pp 1002-1010.

Chauhan M. 2014. A pilot study on wheat grass juice for its phytochemical, nutritional and therapeutic potential on chronic diseases. International Journal of Chemical Studies. Vol. 2, No. 4, Pp. 27-34.

Elayath, N. Iyer, U. 2011. Wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum L.) as Functional Food – bridging the Translational Research Gap in Nutrition. Inventi Rapid: Nutraceuticals. Vol. 2012, No. 1,

Monaco, E. n.d. 35 Amazing Wheatgrass Benefits for Health, Hair and Beauty (Backed by Science) Organic Authority. Viewed on <http://www.organicauthority.com/benefits-of-wheatgrass.html>.

Rana, S. Kamboj, J.K. and Gandhi, V. 2011. Living life the natural way – Wheatgrass and Health. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. Vol. 1, No.11, Pp. 444-456.

 

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Dr.Owl Wiseacre - The Bear's Scoop Editor

Magazine Editor

Dr.Owl is the Guru of Life at Luveco Marketplace (www.luveco.my) providing consultation to all those who are seeking for answers on lifestyle related matter. At the same time, he is also the editor for The Bear's Scoop by Luveco Marketplace and he is always on the look out for interesting news, stories, promotions and updates for anything on living a Healthy, Natural Green lifestyle.

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